Kona Bids Farewell to Connor Fearon After 10 Years

Dec 16, 2021 at 3:04
by Kona Bikes  

After more than a decade of watching Connor Fearon rip it up on the World stage for Kona, the time has come to say goodbye to the Aussie shredder. We set out to make Connor a short farewell video, but trying to cram ten years of flat pedal madness into four minutes was never going to happen, so here are ten minutes of Connor doing what he does best. Thanks for 10 years Connor. We can't wait to see you continue to tear it up.

Connor Fearon x Kona
Connor Fearon x Kona

It’s been an enormous pleasure for all of us at Kona to have been part of Connor’s career. He’s embodied everything that we love about mountain biking as he’s been an amazing representative for our brand. We’ll miss his riding prowess and outstanding style that has made Kona and our bikes stand out among the best. We part as friends, so naturally, we wish Connor and team manager and mechanic Mathieu Dupelle great success in their future endeavors and look forward to cheering Connor on in the 2022 World Cup season. – Jake Heilbron, Kona Co-Founder

Connor Fearon x Kona

It was a dream come true when the Australian Kona distributor got me lined up with the Kona Factory team and I was invited to come and race the two North American world cups in 2011. Mont St Anne was my first ever world cup as a 17-year-old first year junior. It was a rough weekend for me. I had never ridden anything like that track before and it was a steep learning curve that’s for sure. I qualified 44th, which looking back on it now was a pretty good achievement. Although I crashed in finals, that weekend was hugely positive and the start of a great relationship for me and Kona.

The years seemed to tick by and year after year my results at the World Cups were on an upward trajectory. My list of goals was steadily getting crossed off—Top 20 and Top 10 positions were finally under my belt. In 2015 something clicked for me, and I was riding faster than ever but also crashing. I was sure I was going to break a long-standing life goal of getting onto a world cup podium this year. There became a trend of qualifying in the top 10 or top 5 but crashing in the race run, but finally at Leogang that year I broke the curse and backed up a 2nd place qualifying run with a 2nd place finals run just .04 off the win. That was the best day of my life and the feeling of relief and excitement I’ll never forget. That same day Andy Crimmins who was a junior on the Kona Factory Team won the Junior race, so it was an amazing weekend for Kona.

Connor Fearon x Kona

As well as allowing me to live out my dream of racing at the highest level, some of the best memories with Kona were outside of the tape. I went to epic bike launches over the years which was awesome hanging out with media, bike shops and Kona employees. I also was lucky enough to film for a few bike launch edits in epic locations like Retallack Lodge, BC and down in Tasmania here in Australia. There was always something different about being on the Kona Team—pretty much everything was really fun and exciting. The great group of people working there became good friends of mine and were part of what kept drawing me back year after year.

Some other highlights from my decade riding for Kona would have to include a 2nd place podium finish at EWS Derby onboard the then new Process 153. It was awesome to get a podium in front of a huge home crowd and also have a world series podium in two cycling disciplines. In 2016 I finished fifth overall in the world cup series. Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought I could ever achieve this. Getting a segment in the downhill movie, Gamble, was also amazing for me. I grew up watching NWD and all of Clay Porter’s movies so to be part of a movie of this prestige was another life goal achieved. None of this would have been possible without Kona’s support.

The end of 2021 will mark the close of this chapter of my career with Kona. It’s been nothing but great times and countless achievements that have been made possible by the great people at the Kona Bicycle Company. Thanks for the good times and I'll see you out on the trails! – Connor Fearon

Connor Fearon x Kona
Connor Fearon x Kona

Connor Fearon x Kona

Connor Fearon x Kona
Connor Fearon x Kona

It's been a big journey with Connor over the past 10 years that we've been with Kona and I’ll never forget the opportunities we were given. Lifelong friendships were made and some so strong they feel like family. I was introduced to Connor in 2011, two weeks prior to the Mont-Sainte-Anne world cup. Since then, we've gone to every race we could. Connor has landed on many podiums and made many memorable videos. We're sad to be leaving after making so many true friends, but we know they will be rooting for us to win and know that we're following our hearts racing around the world. Thank you for everything Kona! - Mathieu Dupelle, Team Manager / Mechanic

Connor Fearon x Kona

Connor Fearon x Kona
Connor Fearon x Kona

Connor Fearon x Kona

Connor Fearon x Kona
Connor Fearon x Kona

Connor Fearon x Kona

Connor Fearon x Kona

Connor Fearon x Kona
Connor Fearon x Kona

Connor Fearon x Kona

Connor Fearon x Kona

Connor Fearon x Kona

Connor Fearon x Kona

Connor Fearon x Kona

Connor Fearon x Kona

Photos: Sven Martin, Boris Beyer, John Gibson, Caleb Smith, and Duncan Philpott

Author Info:
konaworld avatar

Member since Nov 18, 2008
137 articles

69 Comments
  • 145 0
 Pretty classy sendoff. It will be weird to see Connor on anything other than a Kona.
  • 32 0
 agreed, such a relaxed, humble and talented guy, seemed like the perfect fit for Kona
  • 8 0
 Yep, this dude IS Kona. Racing, anyway.
  • 1 1
 @TheR: Nah bro Miranda Miller
  • 4 0
 @michaelbozof: Yeah her, too. The two of them are their marquee pros. If Miranda goes, then Kona’s really folding up shop.
  • 1 0
 @TheR: They gotta sign some younger prospects
  • 1 0
 @michaelbozof: No doubt.
  • 63 0
 Because there's always a good reason to dig this @mindspark nug back up:

www.pinkbike.com/news/video-in-the-know-featuring-connor-fearon-2015.html
  • 14 0
 GOAT level edit.
  • 9 0
 One of the best edits ever
  • 3 0
 @krystianj: AGREE...WOW
  • 1 0
 Up there with Carver and Brannigan- if you know you know , post below
  • 3 0
 yup had to go watch it again. probably my most watched bike edit. the music, sound of tires absolutely ripping corners, incredible speed and flow. whats not to love.
  • 18 0
 Can't wait to see where Connor goes next! He is super down to earth - only last weekend he was running a shuttle day alongside Troy for our club, rewarding all of our fastest juniors from the 2021 season with a free shuttle day. Its not often that the young ones can say they get to ride with the best in the world for a day! Bring on the 22 season!
  • 15 0
 Its awesome to see guys such as Troy and Connor give back to the clubs/riding spots where they cut their teeth. I know a lot of riders do this behind the scenes and dont ask for much press for it unlike other sports here in Oz. It shows that they actually care and want to see the sport continue to grow.
  • 6 0
 Best ish I've heard in awhile. I need to stop watching the news.... Thanks for sharing this story.
  • 16 0
 As long as he stays on flats he'll be good wherever he goes!
  • 14 0
 One of the last flat-pedal riders in DH.
  • 5 0
 In Elite DH that is!
  • 1 0
 @pen9-wy: I'm not sure anyone really cares what the Cat 3 riders at your local track ride. As far as the DH riders were know/watch/care about, he's over of the few or there that still races flats.
  • 11 1
 He deserved the win in Leogang in 2015 so much, but Gwin's chainless ride was of course one for the history books! His style on the bike is top!
  • 9 0
 Sad to see Connor go. He’s one of the reasons I rode a Kona. I hope he finds a good spot with whatever team he joins. His style will be an asset anywhere. Kona is going to have a hard time filling his shoes.
  • 5 0
 Definitely gonna miss seeing him around the Kona crew, such a good rider and totally perfect fit for that brand. Hope he stays true to his style with whoever he ends up with next, he doesn't deserve to wash up as the b team rider on some big name group, his unique style needs a bike to compliment it. Cheers to 10 years though!
  • 8 0
 Seems like a perfect recruit for the multi discipline Pivot Factory Team or GT with Maes out?
  • 12 8
 Kona every year seems to be losing a little more relevance. The Company as a whole feels a little lost and this departure doesn't feel all that surprising, but it should. -- Either way no skin off my back, stoked to see him make some tires scream aboard a new bike. Ye Conna!
  • 5 2
 I love Kona, but totally agree. They've been doing some cool stuff and definitely have some recent hits (Process X, Honzo ESD, Process 134), but I really don't see people riding them too much in CO. Honestly, they're just a bit behind the curve geo-wise on most of their lineup and their prices are just a bit high and specs a bit low compared to the competition, which I think is hurting.
  • 1 2
 Kona has not been relevant for a few years now, I never see kona's either!
  • 1 0
 @rowdyhonzo: It sucks, I've always seen them as this smaller company that's forward thinking. Like these guys are the ones that started the longer/lower/slacker trend with the first Honzo, and the whole downcountry thing with the Process 111. Can't this innovation be rewarded with some bigtime sales?
  • 7 1
 Is kona still gonna sell a dowhill bike?
  • 4 0
 i heard (probably false) that they are discontinuing the operator
  • 5 0
 @hamishvance: operator is indeed dead for the 2022 season at least. Rumours circulating about a version of the Process X setup as a DH rig but I guess we'll see...
  • 4 0
 I'm not sure there's another rider on the planet that looks 'as one' with the bike as Connor in full flow. Can't wait to see what's next!
  • 5 0
 Connon’s scene in Gamble at Retallack was straight up nasty. Going to be weird seeing him on anything but Kona.
  • 2 0
 one of the best scenes ever done!
  • 4 1
 Man, with the rumor that Kona won't be backing Miranda Miller for the next EWS season looks like Kona may not be racing at all anymore
  • 1 0
 I don’t know, Miranda seems sort of voluntarily taking a break. End of summer and all winter she’s basically only been gravel riding. No focus on any racing.
  • 1 0
 @Keegansamonster: I kind of assumed she was going to rocky mountain.
  • 3 1
 He could definitely take the spot left by Luca at the Syndicate team, good fit I reckon. I’ve thought for a long time though he’d do well in EWS with his obvious talent.
  • 3 1
 Man, with the rumor that Kona won't be backing Miranda Miller for the next EWS season looks like Kona may not be racing at all anymore
  • 4 0
 Connor Fearon -> Corners Fearhim. Coincidence? Hardly.
  • 2 0
 Connor is a ripper!! Always capable of a winning run. I think a new bike will re-charge him.
  • 3 0
 One of my favourite riders to watch. Always on (or over) the edge.
  • 2 0
 what an incredible tribute to a man that goes hand in hand with Kona. Excited to see what's in store for Connor and Kona!
  • 4 0
 He's prime for the EWS !
  • 4 1
 Would looove to see this man on a faster bike.
  • 1 0
 It would be great to see him on EWS. Either alongside Sam Hill or Jesse Melamed. He certainly has everything to be at the top of this discipline. Good luck Connor.
  • 2 0
 I've been at my job eight years. Wonder what my send off video will be like.
  • 1 0
 Wow, what a tribute to what must be one of the most likable pros our sport has ever produced. His riding is pure class and watching him ride is an absolute joy. Best of luck!
  • 2 1
 Well he defo wont be going to YT… leaving the game!

youtu.be/WNQ5L4NBiro
  • 2 4
 Honestly I think this will be a good move for him. I hope he can get on a better bike and get some better results as such. I like kona's but i struggle to see how they haven't hampered his results as their bikes aren't exactly the pinnacle of engineering.
  • 1 0
 I was literally thinking the same thing and was suprised no one said anything. I dont know why you're getting down voted.
  • 3 0
 Flat pedals win medals!
  • 2 0
 After that video i think you should reconsider parting away…..
  • 2 0
 Next headline: Greg Minnaar parts ways with Santa Cruz after 13 Years
  • 2 0
 One of my favourite riders. Sooo class to watch, best of luck.
  • 2 1
 *Checks calendar*
Hmmm. Definitely December.
  • 1 0
 an absolute legend in the corners!
  • 1 0
 No one can corner like Connor Fearon. He's amazing to watch.
  • 1 0
 Looking forward to seeing him racing for VR46
  • 1 1
 I stop Kathy in the background. Syndicate it is.
  • 1 0
 Bradley step on up...
  • 1 3
 Honda. This is your chance to bring back the DH gearbox bike
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