Field Test: Kona Process 153 CR/DL 29

Nov 28, 2018 at 20:40
by Mike Levy  

PINKBIKE FIELD TEST

Kona Process 153 CR/DL 29

"I was in the air and manualing on the Kona more than on any other bike."



Words by Mike Levy, photography by Trevor Lyden



Kona deserves credit for embracing the new-school, long and slack geometry years before most other brands made the jump, but things have moved on since then and so has the Process lineup. Five years removed from that first Process launch and we have the latest version of their enduro bike in for the Pinkbike Field Test, this time in carbon fiber (alloy chainstays) and with 29" wheels.

The rather bland-colored but swoopy-looking Process 153 CR/DL 29 sports 153mm out back, 160mm up front, and a $5,999 USD price tag that gets you a RockShox Super Deluxe RCT shock, Lyrik RC2 fork, and a set of Descendant Carbon cranks.

Process 153 CR/DL 29 Details

Intended use: all-mountain / enduro
Travel: 153mm
Wheel size: 29''
Frame construction: carbon fiber
Head angle: 66-degrees
Chainstay length: 425mm
Sizes: med (tested), lrg, xlrg
Weight: 31.7 lb (w/o pedals)
Price: $5,999 USD
More info: konaworld.com
You don't need to spend that kind of coin to get onto a big-travel, big-wheeled Kona, though, with the aluminum entry point being Process 153 29 that goes for $2,999 USD. Prefer small wheels? The aluminum Process 153 27.5 starts at the same price as the 29er and options go up to $5,999 USD as well.

The Process' suspension is a linkage-driven single pivot layout that’s about as time-proven and gimmick-free as it gets these days, but you know it needs a name regardless. This ‘Beamer’ layout, as Kona calls it, is said to be easily tunable by their designers, and can be made to perform many different ways. Conventional wisdom says that this design isn't as active on the brakes or gas as other systems, but the fact of the matter is that some of the best, most successful bikes in history have used a similar system.

Kona used to have reach numbers that we thought were enormous back in 2013, but a lot can change in five years time, and now other brands are taking things even further. Our medium-sized tester sports a 450mm front-end that’s maybe just a touch compact for my 5'10" height, but the large has a 475mm number that, while working just fine, is a bit too roomy for my preferences. Thing is, the 406mm seat tube length on the medium had the bike looking like a meter of seat post was showing.




Kona Process 153 CR DL 29 photo by Trevor Lyden
Kona Process 153 CR DL 29 photo by Trevor Lyden


Climbing

We're guilty of overusing using that tired ''This enduro bike climbs better than expected!'' trope that seems to apply to basically all the latest machines in this category, but while a lot of them are more than good enough to pass the test, the big Process is a cut above most competitors. The bike's rear suspension stays largely unfussed while you spin the cranks around, and it also feels like it sits nice and high in its travel.

Further helping the Kona's cause are its 29'' wheels and not too relaxed head angle, all of which makes the Process a pretty darn good climber relative to its direct competitors, and I'd go so far as to say that the 153 would be my pick of the litter if I had loads of human-powered ascending in my future.

A lot of enduro types are okay with just getting to the top of the mountain, and that's just fine. But if you're the kind of person who revels in a cleaned climb while also taking all the wild lines on the way back down, the Process is worth adding to the short list.


Kona Process 153 CR DL 29 photo by Trevor Lyden


Descending

The Process spent most of its time in the Whistler being pointed down all sorts of rocky, rooty, and often muddy chutes that are scattered throughout the valley, and the way it deals with that type of terrain is a little different than some other bikes of similar travel. First off, it could be the most solid feeling platform that I've had under me. That in itself might make you think that the Kona is a bit like that giant boulder that chases Indiana Jones through the jungle, but it's anything but a straight-line monster truck of a bike. Instead, it's quite easy to get airborne on the Process, and while its 153mm of travel isn't the deepest feeling out there - even at 35-percent sag - the flipside is that it makes for a bike that's always down for some bonus air or a sneaky manaul on either wheel.

The Kona brand has always had an air of fun-loving whatever-ness, and I think this bike exemplifies precisely that. The Process doesn’t feel like an out-and-out enduro race bike to me, and I mean that as a compliment. While a lot of these types of bikes are morphing into gooey, deep-feeling sleds that do nothing but mute the ground below you, the big Kona gives you all the travel you need without taking away the fun aspects of a bike that provides you with some feedback. It's not the most supple or active system out there, though.

Relatively speaking, it can also feel a bit chattery and rough when those same words could be applied to the trail, which is likely the flip side to those great pedaling manners. That means that I might not choose it as my race bike, but I'd certainly choose it as my fun bike.


Kona Process

Kona Process 153 CR DL 29 photo by Trevor Lyden


Pros

+ Surprisingly adept climber
+ More fun than fast
+ Extremely stiff and solid feeling
Cons

- More fun than fast
- Not a featherweight
- Suspension isn’t as deep or supple feeling as some other bikes



310 Comments

  • + 187
 Looks like a... nice color for the spare bedroom.
  • + 13
 It's the color you bought when you ran out of paint from the rest of your project but still had one more room to do and just said screw it!
  • + 30
 Not a big fan of Kona, but I do like the understated tan.
  • + 33
 @Poulsbojohnny: I'll look at it on Monday and think "OMG, that thing is so gorgeous.'' Then I look at it on Tuesday and think "Ugh, looks like the walls of every apartment in 1995.'' I keep switching back and forth, but maybe that means that I'll still think its gorgeous in a few years time?
  • + 9
 "Builder Beige" the scourge of McMansions everywhere... and now available... on a bike?
  • - 3
 Praise of mediocrity is nothing new, it is nothing bad, it is natural and understandable. 80% of people in each sport are Joeys, why not give them a worn out beige and dress it up as “Desert Eagle”. After all, everything is better than CMYK scale bikes and clothing. Worn out beige has something authentic about it
  • + 3
 @Poulsbojohnny: especially in today's world where it's possible to get shot by a hunter.
  • + 36
 It'll match the hearing aid color Tacoma nicely. They've done their market research.
  • + 9
 I've seen these around and I gotta say it looks damn decent in person. It'd be cool with the red Lyrik on it. It's a nice change of pace from every heavy-metal black bike on the market IMO. FWIW it's definitely _not_ the overdone desert-camo tan that it looks like in these pictures. Much lighter. Tropical beach sand, maybe.
  • + 7
 @islandforlife: Think of it as 'desert tan' and get a matching Tundra, and you can pretend to be an adventurous explorer type. Joking aside - while I hate that color on a house, I actually kind of like it on a car or bike. Looks good with a bit of mud splatter.
  • - 3
 @WAKIdesigns: pretty sure it is Hershey squirt brown, not desert eagle
  • + 6
 Frigin’ Jim Lahey -
  • + 0
 At least the bland colours let you go crazy with any frameskin you want?
  • + 2
 @mattbrown9: what??
  • + 4
 100% sag
  • + 0
 Neutral color that is good for selling or renting a home. Real estate agent 101.
  • + 2
 the color of BONE
  • + 2
 @scary1: I hear ya.
  • + 1
 @mikelevy: Maybe beacuse im from Spain and apartment walls in the 90´s were a dfferent colour I´m going to say that I like these beige colours that we are seeing lately a lot. The nomad, the commencal, they look pretty cool, and I bet durability wise they do ok...?
  • + 1
 This bike looks coil, the commencal bikes look decent, the tundra with black wheels looks sick AF, but the nomad looks gash to me.
  • + 2
 @mikelevy: Personally I think this colour will age as well as the 1990s IBMs that inspired it. In the here and now they kind of work, as a used bike...
  • + 3
 @mikelevy: Nothing about that colour says "gorgeous." You can call it anything you want, deep dirty yellow, manly tan, desert sand, whatever, but it's still beige. Say the word "beige." Beige. It's like your mouth is full of an unpleasant food you're about to spit out. Beige. yuk.
  • + 1
 stickers....ill put some. trek and kona...nice colab.
  • + 1
 @metong: hahahha
  • + 2
 @thesharkman: Aside from that poor guy in the Alps, how many mountain bikers have been shot by hunters? Your more likely to be mistaken for an animal just walking in the woods than riding.
  • + 89
 The "More fun than fast" is exactly what I'm looking for in a bike. And for some reason the bikes I've ridden from Kona always seem to tick that box for me--love my Honzo, and had a grin from ear to ear on the Process 111.

Also, thanks PB for doing this series. Two bikes in amd really digging the reviews!
  • - 29
flag jclnv (Dec 3, 2018 at 11:08) (Below Threshold)
 Evil Following MB. Nothing is as much fun as that thing.
  • + 1
 How much sag do you run on your 111 ?
  • - 16
flag VTwintips (Dec 3, 2018 at 11:18) (Below Threshold)
 @jclnv: Wreckoning LB was pretty insane.
  • + 10
 @konabigshed: correct answer: 30% with debonair upgrade.
  • + 5
 @REDMAN4: Seems like a lot but I'll give it a try, thanks man
  • + 5
 @konabigshed: Give that a try. I've been running my 111 between 30 and 33% sag, and it's worked out well for me. At 25%, it's just nasty harsh and not much fun; at 35% it's wallowy and vague and bottoms out way too easily, but man, 30-33 seems to be the sweet spot for me.
  • + 3
 @konabigshed: add enough bands in the debonair can so the shock is progressive enough not to bottom out. I stress you need the debonair upgrade.
  • + 5
 Then I think there's a follow up question to ask for those of us who want fun over fast but haven't ridden a 29er in any meaningful way: is there a fun-vs-fast trade-off between 27.5 and 29" wheels?
  • + 3
 @mikealive - I hear you on the 111 - it's just so damn fun on all sorts of trails. I've been forcing myself not to demo anything for a while - don't want to get into the whole budget-busting new bike lust cycle and all that; this one, though, seems like a worthy candidate. When it first came out, I thought it would be too much bike, and I'd be looking at a Smuggler instead when the time came. But everyone who rides one keeps telling me the new 153 is sort of the spiritual successor of the 111, just a little bigger but without losing a whole lot on the ups or on playful, not scary-steep terrain.
  • + 2
 @big-red: Hmmm.. maybe? But it depends on the bike, and where you ride. For absolutely sloggin' it I prefer a 27.5 with 160mm+ travel and some beefy rubber. But for the more sane days, and just having fun riding a bike (my modus operandi as I am getting older), I seem to enjoy the 120-140mm range in a 29r. I run Flows and 2.3 Minions and really the wheels are plenty light and I can put the front end where I want with ease. I do enjoy a good pedal now and then, and the 29 seems to fit me well in that department too. I'm 5'10" and ride the Hightower in Large. My Honzo is a Medium. Can't say either one makes me wish I was on smaller wheels, I really have no complaints.

@g-42 The 111 was just ...an anomaly. That short back end that wanted to pop off of every little rise in the trail, and felt like hanging on to a bucking horse at times--yet (mine) was a heavy tank of a bike. Nothing about it really made 'sense' at the time, but the smile-per-mile on the 111 probably ranks the highest out of any bike I've ever ridden. I should have had the good sense to just hang onto it! I haven't ridden the 153 since they introduced it in 29. I know people who traded in their Hightower for the HTLT and swear it feels just like the same bike just with extra travel when you need it. We are living in a golden era of suspension, ha. If you ever get some trail time on the 153 29r shoot me a message, would love to hear about it man. This review hear makes me reeeeally curious.
  • + 0
 @big-red: watch Kendall-Weed on a 29er, there are no trade-offs on a modern 29er.
  • + 2
 So it's more fun because it is a little more like a hardtail than a squishy monster truck. I can buy that.
  • + 3
 @mikelevy & others who have ridden both the 111 and process 153 2018: How do the two different approaches to a fun, playful bike (small travel and low anti squat on the 111 vs big travel and high anti squat on the new 153) compare in feel? Which one do you prefer, and why?
Thanks!
  • + 1
 @REDMAN4: I'll look into it, the bike is new so I'm going to get a feel for how it comes out the box first so i can appreciate the difference .
So far i love the bike just a shame the Weather has turned to shit !!
  • + 55
 Please do an 5 hour edit of just the slow-mo huck to flat shots from all the bikes, preferably with some suitably sleazy synth in the background. Filthy stuff!
  • + 1
 Head over to vital for that, they have a few videos
  • + 22
 In the works, but you'll have to loop it yourself for 5 hours.
  • + 28
 @brianpark: Can you guys and gals just do huck to flat recordings for 5 hours and see which bike breaks first?
  • + 2
 Huck to flat FTW!
  • + 29
 Those 'to flat' photos are awesome and cringeworthy at the same time. More of this please!
  • + 20
 Unofficial paint name: "Granny bra taupe"
  • + 19
 "Proe-cess" or "Prah-cess" ?
  • + 17
 F-in Canadians!!! Hooozers Dooon't you Knoow!
  • + 22
 Pröcéss.
  • + 9
 Not sure why, but "Proe-cess" made me think of Edgar Allan Proe-cess... I'm thinking a gloss white frame covered in matte black ravens and hearts.

There would be a noise machine using the rear wheel to make creepy crow sounds.
  • + 4
 @jcc0042: It's because Proe rhymes with Poe
  • + 6
 @sjflow: no, that's not it....
  • + 3
 @jcc0042: personally, I got with "prah" because it rhymes with bra. Or because I'm not Canadian. Not sure.
  • + 2
 Pro-cess
  • + 1
 PRO Sass.
  • + 2
 @sjflow: Kona Hoesess?
  • + 1
 ‘You all’ or ‘Yaaaaaaallll’ Wink
  • - 1
 @woofer2609: Pro's ass.
  • + 4
 Brocess.
  • + 3
 @maxtodamax: Actually, if this bike is a "Proe - cess", then I think the Bronson should actually be a "Bro-nson", no?
  • + 3
 @pinhead907: nah man that's the Pronson
  • + 15
 Used to own one 2012 Abra Cadabra and two Process 153 DLs (2014 and 2017). Currently riding a 2018 Process 153 CR DL and a 2017 Shonky AL. Kona bikes are always fun to ride, and fun to deal with, just like the staff I used to hang out with a couple of years ago in Bellingham. Love the attitude they have towards life and cycling and everything.
  • - 11
flag IntoTheEverflow (Dec 3, 2018 at 11:17) (Below Threshold)
 It is "life the universe and everything", but whatever floats your bicycle, I don't even like the book.
  • + 0
 We miss you too. When will you guys come ride with us again in Canada?
  • + 1
 @davieangel: Haha, not sure yet. But maybe will go to Whistler next summer.
  • + 14
 You know what I want? Proper dust/dirt seals/caps covering the pivot bearings. It is ridiculous how poorly pivot bearings wear in wet, muddy conditions which are common for PNW/BC riders, and UK/Scotland riders. It might be the main thing I look for on the next bike I buy, yet we never hear about how easy a bike is to work on/maintain during any of these reviews.
  • + 10
 Fair point! We can't go as deep as we'd like into durability on short-term testing. That's what our long term tests are for.
  • + 10
 I've got the 2018 Process 153 CR and I can say the bearings are massively oversized and very durable. Its not a light bike, but it's been through two muddy 6 day enduro races, the Whistler enduro and a heap of riding in BC, NZ and Australia and the bearings are still mint.
  • + 3
 @brianpark: For sure, but you could pop the pivots apart and see how well the design + hardware covers the bearings. And it might not even take that - the last couple bikes I've owned, you can clearly see the main pivot bearing seal if you look in behind the main pivot. It's just asking for fine wet dirt to find its way inside.
  • + 4
 @mrtoodles: Good to know, thanks!
  • + 11
 Is there a reason you guys tested a medium size here while you tested a few larges on the other bikes (Spartan / Remedy for example)? Isnt this a factor to count in on comparing the bikes, as a bigger/longer bike is more stable at high speeds? This might be one of the reasons, the Kona wasnt as stable as some of the other bikes. Thanks
  • + 25
 For the trail/enduro bikes we tried to get close-ish to 455mm reach so multiple test riders could validate their thoughts, and various brands call their reach #s different sizes. The Process is 450mm in Medium, and compares nicely to the 445mm Large Stumpjumper, the 460mm Medium SB150, the 455 Large Bronson, etc.
  • + 4
 @brianpark: Is it possible that a rider would prefer different reach numbers when comparing bikes from different manufacturers/designs? Or the bike’s designs (geo, stay length, stem, offset fork...) are similar enough that the same reach numbers is still the most accurate way to compare?
  • + 6
 @RollinFoSho: yep, a ton of factors (wheelbase/stays, suspension kinematics, wheel size/trail, etc.) can influence each rider's preferred reach. Like with all things, it's a compromise and we did our best to match up the sizing with the testers' general preferences. No test can ever replace throwing a leg over a bike yourself.
  • + 10
 @brianpark: But again, why match Reach numbers? That is definitely not how each bike was designed. It definitely would have been more representative of the philosophy of each bike to match the bike each company wanted a rider of a given height to ride. If you're going to ride a large of one bike you need to compare it to a large of another.

For example, comparing a size large Bronson with a 455mm reach to a medium Process with 450mm of reach is crazy! The wheelbase of the large Bronson is 1215 and the wheelbase of the medium Process is just 1190... but if you look at the large Process, it's wheelbase is 1219 with a reach of 475 vs Bronson's 455. So, very similar wheelbases but quite different reach numbers... That's what I want compared... c'mon!!

A large Process with the 1219 wheelbase would definitely have felt more stable at speed. I'm not trying to defend the Kona, I just bought a different bike... I'm just worried about the consistency of your results. I love the format, but maybe next year compare the same sizes.

When you look at Santa Cruz's and Kona's sizing charts, they're basically the same.
  • + 7
 @brianpark: that is really weird. No offense and I really appreciate your efforts and free content but I think to really compare bikes, they should be tested at the same size... I mean if a bike feels a bit less stable, I can just size up and solve that problem (if long enough dropper still fits).
  • + 18
 Amazing how many of you complain about a test. If you really want to do a test with your own "perfect" parameters, then go do your own God Damn tests.
You're like the people who get free shi* then complain that it is not the color you like...
  • + 2
 @Three6ty: Exactly! Thi is sweet test series!

Clearly these guys don't compare geo numbers on there own. All of these bikes are designed around short stems and the manufactures listed sizes do not matter. For bikes with similar stack such as these reach is a great way to compare. For example the Evils 2018 bikes vs Yeti's 2019 bikes are about a size apart until the Offering was released and they stretched the geo out.
  • - 2
 @Three6ty: I did, it's called demo'ing. Then I bought a bike. But honestly, I wasn't stupid enough to try a Large size of one bike, then a Medium of another just because the reach numbers matched... that would not have been a good comparison of the bikes, nor a good way to buy a bike.

I also tried not to be too much of a complainer... it's still great content, complimented them on the format... but unfortunately the fact is that the reviews are invalidated somewhat by guys riding the wrong size bikes. If I was Kona who probably built an awesome and stable at high speed bike, when you're riding the right size... I'd be pissed off. You know how may people read and watch these reviews, then go out and buy bikes based on them? Lots.
  • - 1
 @birdman2447: No, I test rode and compared geo numbers from a myriad of bikes before I bought mine. The companies build their geo's as well as the bikes design philosophy around a size of rider. If you're buying a bike based on how long the reach is between each bike instead of the size you should be riding, you're doing it wrong.
  • + 2
 @islandforlife: I dont see a problem in up- or downsizing the bikes, it just doesnt seem the right way to COMPARE bikes this way.
If I want a racebike, I size up (as long dropper stil fits). If I want a bike to play around, I size down.
  • + 10
 @brianpark: @mikelevy It would rad if you guys updated the original Field Test article to have the testers heights in there. That way we can all get a feel for sizing too...
  • + 33
 @islandforlife, that's not true at all. Reach is a fixed number that can be very useful in determining which size will work best. The recommended size charts provided by manufacturers are just that - recommendations.

Now that seat tube lengths are getting shorter, I'd say it's better to look at reach numbers before locking yourself into a certain size.

And @michaeldorian, that's a great suggestion. I'll add that info in.
  • + 7
 I’d much prefer to see bikes of the same reach tested. It’s a solid constant that allows me to gauge what would work for my height. Like if a tester that is “x” tall is preferring bikes in this range then I have a rough idea what will work for my height etc.
  • - 6
flag RollinFoSho (Dec 3, 2018 at 14:00) (Below Threshold)
 It seems like a comparison between each company’s Size Mediums would be the best way to go. Then if you wanted to add to the test by going off reach numbers, add that after in test. Otherwise, it feels like the tests are flawed.
  • + 25
 @RollinFoSho, we're going to have to agree to disagree here. Comparing bikes with similar reach number certainly doesn't count as a flawed test in my book. Don't forget, there was also a range of tester heights, and two different wheel sizes as well.

The goal of these videos is to give a general overview of the bike in order for readers to get an idea of how it rides, and its pros and cons. Whether we tried a large or medium isn't going to change that outcome - the handling difference wouldn't have been that drastic.

A test ride of your own is obviously the way to go if you're seriously considering a bike.
  • + 17
 @RollinFoSho: are you the same size in every clothes store from every country? I know for a fact I'm am XS in the states and a S in UK, possibly even a M in Italian cycling clothes. I shouldn't be defined by what fits, the designers obviously had a particular way of wearing it in mind.... (even if it makes me look like a bunch of sausages squashed in the jersey)
  • + 1
 At Pinkbike staff. Do most of these companies all follow the same sizing guidelines and/or standard? ie: they all use the same measurements for the person that they are designing a certain size to fit?
  • + 1
 @islandforlife: reach numbers are the best we have as Mike Levy has pointed out. The best thing you could have is compare the contact points, but that is more complex. For example I ride a large Evil Wrecking and a XL V1 Following both bikes have nearly identical reach numbers. I run taller bars and 10mm spacers under the stem of the Following and they feel nearly identical.

As long as the reach of similar stack bikes are compared it does work! You can not use reach to compare say how a Epic will compare to a Enduro because the stack will be off by multiple inches.
  • - 2
 @RollinFoSho: as an engineer I disagree!
  • - 3
 @blitz66: That’s my point, shouldn’t we be comparing the same size that the designer intended? Then if someone wants to tweak it. they can. Again, with so many variables such as where you are balanced on the bike and how that changes through the suspension’s stroke, geo, head angle, seat angle, trail, b.b. height, wheelbase, chain stay length, stem length vs top tube.... on and on.
  • - 10
flag RollinFoSho (Dec 3, 2018 at 14:30) (Below Threshold)
 Or maybe what is missing in the bike world is a International (full suspension, trail bike) Bike Size standard. Personally, I’d like to be able to know that if I’m a size Large from one brand, I’m a size Large in almost every brand. Sure there could be some super subtle differences but not all over the place. Also, the sizes should be universal: Size XS, Small, Medium, Large, X-Large. Then there should be a (general) recommended sizes provided for Long upper/short legs and Short upper/long legs. If you don’t make Size XS or size XL the so be it.

There’s an article for Pinkbike that you could ask us to vote on!
  • - 5
flag RollinFoSho (Dec 3, 2018 at 15:18) (Below Threshold)
 Pinkbike article could be titled something like this:

Pinkbike Readers - Do we need a better Bike Sizing Standard?

Are you happy with the current bike sizing confusion between brands?
Yes or No?

Would you like to see all brands adhere to the same human measurements to base each size on so that size recommendations are universal?
Yes or No?

Would you like to see the industry adopt a International Bike Sizing standard so that a size from one brand (generally) fits the same as one from the other brands?
Yes or No?

Would you like all brands state their sizes accordingly XS, Small, Medium, Large, X-Large, XX-Large (even if they don’t make XS, X-Large, or XX-Large...)?
Yes or No?
  • + 7
 @mikekazimer: I'll have to agree to disagree on that front. Maybe I'm wrong, but I believe if you asked the bike's designer (you'd have better access then I)... I'd say he/she would would look at your height and say, "I designed this bike based on "this" philosophy and for you be riding "this" size in order to fully experience what I designed."

Again the direct comparison of the Process and Bronson. A 5'11" person is directed to the large bike by both manufacturers... (Yes the Kona chart does say "medium/large" but their chart is much more general for the whole line of bikes. More telling is the fact that they only make the process 153 29r in Medium, Large and Xlarge. To me that says the Process Medium is meant for smaller riders, the Large for most people and the XLarge for big riders.) Both bikes in large have almost identical wheelbases, yet 475 and 460 reach numbers and 425 and 430 chainstays.

To me, this points to a divergence in philosophy from a design standpoint, not that you should up or downsize because of it. Kona wants a person of the same size that would ride a large Bronson to have their weight more forward or stretched out, which would make the shorter chainstays make more sense... vs the Bronson with a shorter reach and longer chainstays, designed their bike with the rider a little further back. The designer is placing a certain sized rider in a certain position on the bike to experience their design. Changing sizes to get a reach you like messes with this.

Yes as a consumer, you might demo various sizes and like a bike better at a certain size. But that's not what you're trying to achieve here. You're trying to give the public a review and comparison of bikes "like to like". You ride the Process a size down and call it fun and poppy, but less stable at high speed. You could have done the same thing with the Bronson, moving to medium gives you again the same wheelbase as the Process at a medium... I'll be that bike would have felt more fun and poppy and less stable at high speeds.

Anyway, it's still great content and very interesting... you guys do awesome work... thanks you for it and keep it coming!!
  • + 7
 @islandforlife, I've ridden the Bronson and Process in a size large, and the same sentiments are still true - the Process' short chainstays are a large part of why it feels playful. If anything, as the reach grows the Process begins to feel less stable - you end up with a really long front center and stubby rear center.

Don't forget that you're comparing a 29er to a 27.5" bike here. I'd be willing to bet that the reason there's no small Process 29 is because there wouldn't be enough rear wheel clearance, and most smaller riders would be better suited by a 27.5" bike anyways.
  • - 6
flag RollinFoSho (Dec 3, 2018 at 17:28) (Below Threshold)
 @mikekazimer: And really, it’s not like i’m asking for a new standard, we already look at bike sizes as a standard. The problem is that it’s a bs standard that needs cleaning up. ie: some brands make XS, SM, M, L, XL, XXL and others only make S, M, LG. Looking at all the geo numbers will work for some but it wouldn’t hurt if more brands used the same sizing criteria. The industry should help make it easier for the consumer, not more complicated. Also, try to test all the sizes you want, with all the different bikes, good luck. Shops don’t typically inventory that much, they can’t afford to. I’m sure that i’m not the only one who’d like to see this simplified.

maybe another approach: PB could design an online bike fit calculator, with all the different makes and models to get you in the ballpark. Mike, check out the Projector Calculator Pro on Projector Central’s website to see a great example of what i mean. People could measure torso, femur, legs, arms... enter in riding style, level... then
  • + 2
 @islandforlife: I'd say it's far more likely they design a frame with the characteristics that they want to achieve, then base the sizing's around a generic height range, compare that to other brands to see if they're in the ballpark (unless they are making a long, low, slack statement) - and call it good.
  • + 3
 @islandforlife: Totally agree with this. Trying to match reach numbers will make all the bikes feel far more similar than they might actually be.
  • + 9
 @districtbikeco, shouldn't that be the point? Once that variable is eliminated it becomes a lot easier to compare things like chainstay length, seat tube angle, head angle, etc..
  • - 2
 @mikekazimer: Exactly, if reach is the determining factor, then different brands should call it the same size !
  • + 3
 @RollinFoSho: Sizing based on reach (+/- 10?) would make sense.
  • + 2
 @Clarkeh: That would make sense but then you have builders like Pole so there sizes would be XXXL, and on ward.

I don’t get why people are giving them so much crap for testing bikes based on reach. It just works!

To anyone talking crap go get a professional bike fit(by someone who knows MTB). They will tell you where your saddle and grips should be located. Reach is prettt much this exact number as swat tube angle don’t vary much anymore.
  • + 3
 @birdman2447: You would have to add a bunch of sizes, but trying to tell some one a L Pole is like an XXXL Specialized is just as confusing.
  • + 1
 @RollinFoSho "The problem is that it’s a bs standard that needs cleaning up. ie: some brands make XS, SM, M, L, XL, XXL and others only make S, M, LG."

that is why comparing reach is best. The label associated with a size doesn't really mean anything. It's the numbers that matter.
  • + 1
 @birdman2447: reach numbers are the best we have

Having recently demoed several bikes, I have to say that bikes with the same reach can vary in fit dramatically depending on the seat angle and comparing the distance between saddle and bars (i.e. effective top tube) is the best indication of what will fit correctly.
  • + 3
 hahahaha... you know what I like about mtb, what a simple and easy going sport it is.
  • + 3
 @mikekazimer: Birdman2447 brings up the other point, what size Pole or Nicolai would you test to compare with this year bikes? Would you still go off reach numbers? Those brands would definitely disagree with that approach.
  • + 2
 @mikekazimer:

To me the long reach and therefore longer wheelbase gives me the opposite feeling. Very stable and confidence inspiring. At 5'10'' I ride the process 29 in large and would not think a second of downsizing. (I came from a Nomad 3 in large and it is a game changer I never expected).

Otherwise, the field test itself is great. Thanks for that!
  • + 5
 @mikekazimer:

First of all, great job and I enjoy reading/watching your tests.

But I'll have to agree with the critique in this thread.

It's as simple as that: Kona designed the process to be exceptionally long for a given height of rider in line with the current geometry trends and creating a long, stable bike (with a short rear end). It was meant to be longer in reach than other 'L' sized bikes not to fit someone taller, but to suit the same height riders with different preferences.

Now you've downsized the bike and Mike Levy is telling the world that the Kona is a short, twitchy bike with a conservative reach number compared to competitors. Which is wildly inaccurate. Someone will read this and think that if they want a long bike they should get the Bronson and if they want a short one, Process is for them, when it is 100% the other way around.

Look at the wheelbase numbers and the comparison becomes just ridiculous (plus Mike complaining about the length of seatpost sticking out), the bike is plainly too small. Mike should have ridden the right size for him even if it meant saying "I don't like bikes this long, but it is what it is and if you do, like e.g. Paul Aston, you'll love it". Him downsizing to his preference is something one would do in a shop, not in a group test (or rather while renting and forced to choose the one too small, because in a shop one would choose a better suited make and model).

I get all the arguments about choosing the bike *for you* based on reach *if you already have a preferred number*, but a test like this should give readers an idea what each brand thinks is better, longer or shorter for a given size, and how it works on the trail. Not PB telling people "if you're this tall you need this reach number regardless of bike model, size and preferences". Seriously, by this logic people of certain heights wouldn't be able to buy from certain brands or would be forced into the wrong sizes. Not how it works.
  • + 8
 @bananowy, I'm stepping out of the conversation after this, but Levy doesn't say that the bike is too short and twitchy. It is a little quicker handling than other bikes in this category, but that has more to do with the 66-degree head angle and 425mm chainstays.

It basically comes down to the fact that he's between sizes, a fairly common scenario for riders in the 5'10" to 5'11" range.The bike was also ridden by Daniel Sapp, who's 5'9", and the bike was a good fit for him.

As for having a preferred reach number being the wrong way to go about things, I'd disagree. How is that any worse than telling someone that they always need to buy the same size bike? It's not.
  • + 6
 I've recently got the XL (reach 510mm) of this bike, I'm 6'4. Everything stated in this review about playfulness and uphill prowess is most definitely spot on. However I'd say that the lack of stability described in this video is not the case on my XL. If anything the long front center took some getting used to turning tight corners and a little more body language especially at slower speeds. However at high speeds its extremely stable and quite happy to plow a straight line. Agree with it being a have fun bike more than a race bike. The rear end isn't as plush as the Bronson or Evil platform. In general awesome review, but agree with critique on how a geometry and sizing of a bike is a package that is different from brand to brand therefore to fully appreciate how different brands ride you need to try the advised sizing recommendation provided by the company. If that doesn't work then try different sizes.
  • + 11
 I hate to say it, but Kona is on my shit list. I spent 3 months arguing with them over cracked frame. Spent another 1 month returning 3 blemished frames they tried to pawn off on me.

Have had 3 other friends get denied warranty frames due to cracks. Kona just doesn't want to stand behind their product. What makes this worse is that their BBB (Better Business Bureau) rating is a D-. There are numerous complaints filed and recorded, but no one seems to care.

My LBS have hinted to ditching them as a supplier and i hope that happens. Would be happy to see more locals riding bikes, then sitting around arguing with the manufacture.
  • + 6
 @eddycheever - maybe it's because I live in Bellingham and got my bike at the Kona store, but that's very different from my experience. I bought a 2015 111. When I bought it, they told me that the main pivot bearing was shite and would probably crap the bed, but they'd get me the nice new beefed up one when I came in for a first checkup. The followed through on that. The Novatec hub that came with my bike didn't last long; they got me a replacement, and lent me a rear wheel from their demo fleet to keep me out riding while we were waiting for it. The replacement Novatec hub failed as well (turns out, I seem to be hard on hubs...) - so they chewed out their Novatec rep on the phone for a bit, then got me one of the high-end Novatec Factor hubs as a replacement (and again set me up with a loaner wheel while we waited for the new hub).

Haven't cracked a frame, so I don't know what they'd do then. The frame must be pretty damn solid, given that I'm 230# and not shy about taking my bike to the park once in a while, and am far from cat like when descending.
  • + 7
 your post will get downvoted by fanboys, but wow just looked that up and you're right, insane that a reputed bike manufacturer is that close to an F rating, most businesses that get that end up being frauds. they had a reputation for poor quality and bad customer service for years, but I thought that was in the past.
  • + 23
 Hi @eddycheever -
As a company that builds our bikes with reliability and durability in mind, we take customer service very seriously and are sorry to hear that you’ve had a negative experience. We definitely always try to ensure we provide fair and efficient service to all of our customers. We’d like to hear more about your individual experience. Please shoot us an email at tech@konaworld.com so we can help get things sorted out for you. Thank you!
  • + 6
 @konaworld: way to recover the failure hahahaha. Textbook stuff right here. ratings are ratings though, no way around that, just trying to keep it from coming up.

@eddycheever I haven´t had any experience with kona, but I have with other brands, and it seems that many, many are bullshit at customer service.
  • + 4
 Opposite experience for me.
2 Honzo frames & 1 Entourage chainstay sent/warrantied in 10+/- days each time.
  • + 3
 @jmrbauer: The two complaints on record with the BBB USA have to do with the rock shox spec. suspension... Not the frame itself. I am not saying this is right or wrong... Maybe the problem is with a mid size brand trying to meet price points while maintaining margin and is therfore forced / enticed to spec. the big bad RS almost exclusively... but that is an entirely different topic...
  • + 8
 Instead of second guessing the manufacturers design choices and choosing the bike size they consider too small for the test riders, you should just choose the size large in every brand.

The longer reach of the size L Kona is intentional and part of the overall design and handling of the bike and is critical to making it perform as Kona intended.

Otherwise might as well test a size Small Pole Machine and call it a super nimble XC rig. See the problem here?
  • + 8
 Yes!! I don't really get why they tried to match reach numbers across the bikes... that is definitely not how each bike was designed. It definitely would have been more representative of the philosophy of each bike to match the bike each company wanted a rider of a given height to ride. For example, comparing a size large Bronson with a 455mm reach to a medium Process with 450mm of reach is crazy! the wheelbase of the large Bronson is 1215 and the wheelbase of the medium Process is just 1190... but if you look at the large Process, it's wheelbase is 1219 with a reach of 475 vs Bronson's 455. That's what I want compared... c'mon!! A large Process with the 1219 wheelbase would definitely have felt more stable at speed. When you look at Santa Cruz's and Kona's sizing charts, they're basically the same.
  • + 3
 @islandforlife: this so much!
  • + 12
 @SunsPSD, if you look at Kona's sizing chart, it lists the recommended size for riders between 5'9" to 6'0" as being medium / large. As I commented above, reach is a fixed number, and in reality is a better figure to consider when it comes to bike size over what the manufacturer suggests.
  • + 11
 @islandforlife: Reach is a sizing metric. The fact that a company calls it a medium or a large is irrelevant, the numbers are what dictates what size bike you'll buy. Unless you're clueless. The other numbers are geometry and that's rear centre, BB drop, and head angle etc and they can affect wheelbase etc independently of reach. Ultimately once you've worked out your optimum reach it'll never change from bike to bike unless you can't match stack between the bikes.
  • - 4
flag RollinFoSho (Dec 3, 2018 at 15:28) (Below Threshold)
 Pinkbike could write an article to debate this, then could do one of their surveys, could be titled something like this:

Pinkbike Readers - Do we need a better Bike Sizing Standard?

Are you happy with the current bike sizing confusion between brands?
Yes or No?

Would you like to see all brands adhere to the same human measurements to base each size on so that size recommendations are universal?
Yes or No?

Would you like to see the industry adopt a International Bike Sizing standard so that a size from one brand (generally) fits the same as one from the other brands?
Yes or No?

Would you like all brands state their sizes accordingly XS, Small, Medium, Large, X-Large, XX-Large (even if they don’t make XS, X-Large, or XX-Large...)?
Yes or No?
  • + 14
 @RollinFoSho, hate to say it, but it seems like you're overthinking things. And do you really want to advocate for another 'standard"?

The fact that not all bikes fit the same isn't really that big of an issue, because not all people are the same. Variety is the spice of life, or however that saying goes...

Look at the geometry numbers and go on a few test rides and it shouldn't be too hard to figure out what works best for you.
  • - 5
flag RollinFoSho (Dec 3, 2018 at 15:44) (Below Threshold)
 @mikekazimer: I think if there was one standard that’s needed, it’s bike sizing. Tweaks can be made, not like it limits the variety of ways it can be setup and adjusted.
  • - 5
flag RollinFoSho (Dec 3, 2018 at 16:10) (Below Threshold)
 @mikekazimer: And really, it wouldn’t be a new standard, we already look at bike sizes as a standard. The problem is that it’s a bs standard. Looking at all the geo numbers will work for some but it wouldn’t hurt if more brands used the same sizing criteria. The industry should help make it easier for the consumer, not more complicated. Also, try to test all the sizes you want, with all the different bikes, good luck. Shops don’t typically inventory that much, they can’t afford to. I’m sure that i’m not the only one who’d like to see this simplified.
  • + 1
 @RollinFoSho: You have somewhat of a point, but you couldn't make brands adhere to a sizing while there are multiple suspension designs being used. Also the XS sizing's would not work what so ever between brands.
Then you get into different types of bikes - your Hardtail XC race bike with steep ST and HA in Medium is not going to be anywhere near - in almost any measurement - to the Medium 180mm Enduro bike that's slacker than a DH bike, with a wheelbase as big as a bus.
At the moment reach is the "best" standard measurement to look at - though that does mean finding it for yourself first.
  • + 4
 @jclnv: that’s not really true is it? It’s very relevant whenever it’s been called a medium or large because it shows who it’s been designed for. Medium pole machine 480mm reach, medium nuke proof mega 435mm reach both aimed at the same size rider. Sizing is way more important than reach numbers.
  • + 4
 @thenotoriousmic: Different ideas and interpretations but don't let that get in the way of hard facts, like your height!
  • + 3
 @jclnv: I’ve got a 485mm reach on one bike and a 440 on the other both feel awesome. Can’t go off reach alone. You need to take on board what the designers had in mind.
  • + 0
 @thenotoriousmic: Strange. I have a 450mm reach bike and a 430mm. The later feels too short.

What do you think the designers had in mind? You can either move your weight around enough, to change the weight distribution on the wheels, or you can't.
  • + 1
 @jclnv: yeah exactly. As long as it feels right it doesn’t really matter what the reach is.
  • + 12
 waiting for the firebird 29 review!
  • + 12
 Incoming
  • + 4
 I demoed one on the frontside of Mt. Wilson if you are familiar with that long, rocky descent consisting of 4 longish trails. While it plowed through the rocks like a champ, it was more than a handful on the numerous switchbacks. So, I wouldn't go for that as an all rounder. It is really purpose-built to point downward and it's not too playful either. But that makes it solid feeling as the trail gets rowdy. It climbs as well as a mini-DH ever should though, so you will always be able to get to the top of your favorite trail.
  • + 13
 Cons: It's not 27.5
  • + 3
 Read again...they state there is a 27.5 AL version too. I won't buy any 29 either
  • + 0
 Could still fit it with 27.5, but 27.5 frame will not it 29er wheel
  • + 4
 I have the 27.5 AL version, upgraded the wheels and bar to carbonny and mother fucker its a fun bike and I don't need to worry about shuttle damaging the carbon frame caue ALUMINUM.. fantastic bike
  • + 8
 I got one, hands down the best and funniest bike I’ve had, have been beating all my pb’s that I had on my 2018 slash, so in my opinion it’s faster, I’m 6”4 on the xl with the long reach it’s the best fitting bike I’ve had and with the short cs’s it’s one of the shortest wheelbases I’ve rode, that combo is dynamite!w
  • + 7
 So you downsized to medium, that's why it's playful. To downsize is a good choice for a short chainstay bike. Plenty of non-racers downsize for ease of control. However, the on-going trend of shortening the seat tube works against us in this case.
  • + 3
 @fanatyk-bb - except now you can fit a longer dropper...
  • + 7
 Kona has a weird habit of spec'ing their top end bikes with hideous paint jobs and the lesser models get the better paint. Look at the 2019 Process 153 29; Sweet-as!
(Before you flame me, I own a Kona.)
  • + 6
 I have the aluminum version. It is a bit heavy but doesn't ride "heavy" in fact its one of the best climbing bikes I've owned.
Glad to see it getting some positive press. I'm biased though because my bro in law is the engineer behind this design.
  • + 8
 Ahhh . . . The bro-in-law deal.
  • + 6
 Ive been on the Al 29 153 sfor a year now

really, really like it, & agree with the review, stiff silent and fun, climbs waaay better than my old 153 mkI did. Its also getting me down steeper stuff than before, it feels like cheating.

Stock the bike was limited by heavy wheels & a crap damper in the Yari, but they were 2 easy fixes and its great, Ive been caught out a couple of times on jumps, so much pop & speed carried through berms found myself getting air way above my skill level allows me to land!
  • + 6
 Nice to finally see some more of these group reviews, but some more specificity and comparison would be a welcomed addition! @mikelevy

When you say the Process is a better climber than MOST competitors, which competitors are the top climbers?

Similarly, when you say the suspension doesn't feel as supple or deep as other bikes.....which bikes?

An occasional reference point when speaking about certain riding characteristics would go a long way to helping people make meaningful decisions on which bikes might suit them best
  • + 7
 For sure, that makes sense. While the Bronson does pedal well, the Kona just sits higher up in its stroke and also handles the mega-tech climbs better. Id' say the difference is really only noticeable on the extreme end of the scale, though. Same goes for the suspension comparison; it doesn't feel quite as deep as the Bronson, Yeti, etc, but I still prefer the Kona's action.
  • + 3
 @mikelevy as @rory mentioned... direct comparisons to the other bikes in the category would be extremely helpful. As most will never get a chance to demo these bikes all at once on the same terrain. Festivals sometimes have demos but we all know the demo loops never have the terrain these bikes were meant for. Direct comparisons of its different attributes I find are the most helpful part of a review. Im currently searching for my next enduro race/ Fun bike park bike so having those comparisons is key. The chatter on rough terrain kindof turns me off to the kona as thats not what Im looking for as a racer
  • + 3
 I have the 2018 AL/DL model (Large) and I’m often surprised by how well it climbs. Especially for a 33lb bike. Ive cleaned technical climbs on the process that I can’t always make on my Tallboy v3. The geo strikes a very good balance. At 5’10” I find the large to be a bit more stable vs playful. But for a large bike, it can still dodge and weave.
  • + 5
 @mikelevy: Instead of comparing the Kona to the Bronson, can you compare it to two other bikes that are closer competitors that you have reviewed, the Ripmo and the Rallon? I think these are the 3 bikes I have in my sights right now...

www.pinkbike.com/news/orbea-rallon-m-ltd-review.html

www.pinkbike.com/news/review-ibis-ripmo.html

Excellent content, and great work!
  • + 5
 As much as I love this series, I really don't get the 'matching of the reach numbers' thingy... Bike manufacturers build their bikes around a certain philosophy, and these past years the reach numbers have one of THE places where this philosophy shines through. KONA is a very good example of this, as you state yourself: they were among the first to go for 'really long' reach numbers. So especially when reviewing a KONA, it's really not giving the company credit for a DECISION they made when you deliberately size down to match reach numbers. If you feel like you need to size down when chosing a KONA, then the conclusion of the review should be that KONA has gone overboard on the reach numbers.
  • + 3
 I'm 5'10", on the cusp, have a Med '16 134 (435mm reach) and tested a Lg '19 153 29er AL/DL (475mm reach). I initially felt like I was atop a tank. After riding for a few hours, I felt right at home on a Lg and appreciated the extra space to move around. Especially with the seat slammed to the top tube and out of the way, I could position my hips/body much easier on the 153. Some of that is attributed to longer dropper, some to reach, stack, standover, etc.. Another bonus is on switchback climbs my knees aren't hitting the bars. Sure a Lg is heavier, but it also comes with extra stability on the downs from the longer wheelbase.

Oddly enough, a Large Altitude (452mm reach) felt uncomfortably large for me, despite having a shorter reach. I think that may have been in my head, due to the abusurdly low standover of the Process (818mm vs . 720mm resp.).

ALSO, I have to say that having a reasonable BB height (346mm) on the Process is a godsend for hamfisted people like me. I had no pedal strikes while riding the 153 29er, while on the Lg Orbea Rallon (343/336mm w/ flip chip) I had half a dozen or more. Maybe some of that is sag, but having a 10mm higher BB is better for people like me. Partially why I still run a 160mm fork on my 134.
  • + 5
 NOW you tell us that "a lot of these types of bikes are morphing into gooey, deep-feeling sleds that do nothing but mute the ground below you." Because in *those* reviews all I remember is what surprisingly above-average climbers they all were.
  • + 13
 Two different things. As for the climbing, the large majority of these bikes climb way better than they should, but I think we need to be harsher on them when it comes to that stuff. Geo tricks and good rubber get these bikes up stuff that XC bikes sometimes can't, but none of them climb as well as a trail bike. The gooey, deep-feeling comment is about descending, and the Kona ain't that. The Bronson and Yeti are more that, though.
  • + 1
 @mikelevy: Thanks for your reply. Yes, I know it's two different things. There's a tendency to put each bike in its best light in its review, and to talk frankly about its weaknesses only after the fact when singing the praises of a different bike. Readers believing you're a straight shooter who's on their side, not the marketing guys' side, is everything.
  • + 2
 And I do think you're a straight shooter who's on the readers' side, to be clear. Just giving you a little grief.
  • + 10
 @mikelevy: At this point, shouldn't we expect these AM sleds to pedal pretty well? That's my expectation if I'm going to be pedaling anyways.

With this new expected standard for pedaling efficiency, maybe going with the new average, we can have about half of the 140-160mm rear travel bikes as below average pedaling bikes, and about half above average.
Cause the way I read the reviews, they are ALL above average, which is statistically impossible!
  • + 2
 @Phillyenduro: For sure, I love me some grief. That's how we get better!
  • + 4
 @SunsPSD: Yup, exactly as you said. We'll be more clear in future reviews, too. Also, I know that I care about climbing a lot more than some other reviewers do.
  • + 6
 @SunsPSD: It's Lake Climbbegone, where all the bikes climb better than average...
  • + 3
 @g-42: Must be right next to that road that is downhill both directions lol
  • + 4
 @mikelevy: You could make a "Benchmark" climb, that you've done on a XC race bike at your local, then try smash the Enduro bikes up it and just say - 1:32s slower than my XC bike, don't need to mention a direct comparison with bike X with Y either, the comment section will do that for you.
  • + 1
 @mikelevy: so if climbing is your thing why you even looking (or riding) this bike? I can think of a half a dozen bike I would pick before this!
  • + 1
 @Clarkeh: this is a great idea!
  • + 2
 @MX298: I love a good climb but it's not why I ride. I also love riding the lifts at Whistler, spending time inside on Zwift, and farting around with some trials moves on a picknick table. I spend most of my time on 150mm-ish bikes, though, and I want them to climb better Smile
  • + 6
 I am riding this bike in Large size and I used to ride a specialized Enduro before, trust me this bike is as fast as the other one but the difference is that your enjoy the trail from the start to the end !
  • + 1
 The Enduro is hardly a long/low/slack bike is it? Compare a Stumpy Evo with it instead. That is by far the fastest and most boring bike I've ridden.
  • + 3
 I didn’t ride the stumpy, I had a Enduro Sworks in 29. It was nice but not as good as the Kona, the bike feel so light when you ride it, can change your line most of the time, honestly it’s a top bike even if Kona had a bad reputation on the last past year, this one is by far one of the best in 2018/19.

And it’s also a race bike Wink .
  • + 4
 I demoed the 27.5 and the 29er Gen2 Process and found they rode completely different. The 27.5 was like a magic carpet ride down the mountain, and still playful as well. Probably the best bike I've ever ridden. The 29er was harsh AF. Rattled my bones... I didn't have a whole lot of time to play with suspension settings, so that could have contributed. SAG pretty close for both though.
  • + 7
 35% sag seems like a bit much, no?
  • + 9
 Pros: I’m a little tea pot
  • + 4
 Definitely. I find my process 29 rides best at 25%. On another note, I've got a large at 5'10" and love every inch of reach.
  • + 4
 It's on the far end of the sag scale, but there are a ton of all-mountain-ish bike that work best at 35-percent. I also rode the Kona with 30-percent, which is the more common number.
  • + 5
 @Hiderspider: Hell yea... At 5'10" myself my 470mm reach size large is perfect.
  • + 1
 @iqbal-achieve: Cons: Short and stout
look at my sag, hucking bottom out.
  • + 3
 Demoed and rented a whole bunch of bikes over the summer of 2018. I was the most tired and exhausted after riding the Kona Process up a mountain. But coming down the trails, especially for the first time, just ripping. Definitely not the fasted bike out there.
  • + 6
 I've got an alu 2.75 one on order. I absolutely cannot wait for it to arrive.
  • + 8
 We've had 26, 27.5 and 29. Please don't tell me the bike industry is coming with 2.75 as a new standard...
  • + 5
 @doggparadox: He is measuring in deca-inches... duh!
  • + 2
 @iantmcg: Haha. It's also boost 14.8
  • + 3
 So, bronson vs process. which would you take? I feel like the kona suits my style more. My brother has one and it is everything they say, even at the lower group set packages. It actually rides really similar to RM Altitude.
I personally haven't ridden the new bronson. Have any of you?
  • + 3
 For what it’s worth I’ve recently changed to a 2018 153 CR size large having ridden a medium Bronson cc for the last four years.
The differences? The process is heavier by about 2lb but It rides better , rear end sits higher in the stroke , is so much more stable and confident to ride than the Bronson ever was , on average I rode the Bronson twice a week maybe more for four years from Surrey to Scotland and Wales, it had a ton of use but was twitchy and unstable even with a topaz and lyrik fitted
and 30mm rims and 2.4 tyres.
To be honest I would not go back to a SC, the process climbs better and descends miles better , I’ve fitted a scre together hope bb for reliability and carbon bars and cranks but when riding the weight difference feeling is marginal, if anything the Bronson felt too light if that makes sense, feel free to ask any questions!
  • + 4
 Let me get this straight: you compare a medium size 2014 bike to a large size 2018 bike?
  • + 3
 @Foxy87: yep the Bronson always felt to short , 2015 actually
  • + 3
 It's cool that the 76* effective STA feels steep in a size M, but you can see that the actual STA is close to parallel with the head tube. So, for guys with longer legs, who ride with much higher saddles, the STA at ride height gets much, much slacker on this bike...To the point where the pedalling position on this bike really doesn't compare to other bikes with "new-school" geo.

For example, my seat clamp is about 3" further forward on my hardtail (with a 75* STA), than it would be on this bike!! It's disappointing for tall people that this is so often the case.
  • + 3
 Yep, I've got the 27.5 and the STA is kind of stupid as the departure angle is so extreme that once you put the seat up to climbing height you're over the back axle. Frustrating.
  • + 4
 Damnnnn I was really on the fence about picking one of these up, ended up with a banshee prime and can't help but wonder if this would have been the better way to go... Tough times in the bike industry I guess...
  • + 2
 I've had 2 new bikes since my last Banshee and I still look back at my Spitfire and Rune with the most fondness and still a few of the fastest times. No regrets with Banshee period!
  • + 1
 @map-guy: Oh no regrets for sure, it's truly amazing, riding it this fall has been some of the best times on the trails. Just gotta wonder ya know?
  • + 1
 @rclugnut: I hear ya, I wonder all the time and it's expensive lol
  • + 5
 When do we get to see Pinkbike's take on the Process 165? Freeride ain't dead! Get on it!
  • + 5
 I’m loving my 165!
  • + 2
 @tyoj: Hell yeah man, my165 rocks!
  • + 4
 Anyone else notice the insane amount of flex on the huck to flat shot? Wow! Could be on all bikes but I just noticed it in this one.
  • + 0
 No. Where is the flex that you see?
  • + 7
 There's always a surprising amount in the CSU area. Crazy to see it in slo-mo.
  • + 1
 @mikelevy: Ah, yes in the Lyric. Clear as can be.
  • + 2
 someone else pointed it out in the intro video, for a bike with a Fox 36. I'm impressed by both clips--flexy! Now I want to see what a 34 and Pike look like in the same scenario.
  • + 1
 @SunsPSD: The fork is what I am referring to. Seems to happen for all the bikes so far. Just crazy to see.
  • + 2
 Actually great, great review. Kona screw their reputation dur to broken frames in the past and also kind of simple farmer tool look. However those new look totally awesome.
And they say it is stiff. I have SC Nomad and totally love it and i was looking for 29 and bought Giant Trance 29 and Key me tell you it rides so so. Suspension ok but lack of stiffness is very visible on turns. I even said to myself never Giant again. Maybe Kona ????. I kind of waiting for Nomad 29 but Kona is fun ????
  • + 7
 The last five years' (or so) Konas have been pretty bomber. I THRASHED my 2012 Satori and it never gave out. My 6'7", gear-demolishing buddy put a massive dent in the down tube of his 111 and rode it for another couple years. I don't know anybody who's broken one recently. The guy who runs the Kona shop is an absolute unit and he stomps gnarly stuff on a carbon Honzo with no fear.

Full disclosure: I live in Bellingham, know a lot of Kona folks, and might be a bit of a homer. But I really think it's worth giving them a second look.
  • + 1
 @patryka You really surprised that a 115mm trail bike isn't a stiff as a Nomad?
  • + 1
 @PhillipJ: no, i am very surpriced comparing to other bikes like Spec Epic, Trek Camber and Kona Hei Hei. Those were the 3 i could test. I got great discount from Giant though.
  • + 3
 It looks less composed than the Bronson. Bike moves a lot, and it seems less stable especially on the onboard footage. They say it's stiff, maybe the Bronson is more compliant.
  • + 1
 Yup, entirely true.
  • + 3
 @mikelevy: Or perhaps it would have acted differently if you'd taken Kona at their word, gotten the size L they intended for someone y'all's size, and benefited from the longer wheelbase/front triangle?
  • + 1
 @g-42: Sorry, but I wouldn't buy the large-sized Process for my height. But I would like the medium to be 5-10mm longer.
  • + 1
 @mikelevy: 5-10mm In the chain stays? Wink

I was looking at the Process 153 but it came up short for my liking.
  • + 2
 @mikelevy: What I'd like to know is how you got through The Smash (also size medium) review barely mentioning seat tube angles. There's about zero footage of seated climbing in the vid above. Forced to own, based on fit, which would it be?

www.pinkbike.com/buysell/2480875
  • + 2
 When the new 153 27.5 carbon bikes came in earlier this year we weighed one vs. the low end aluminum framed version that had the hold over frame from the previous gen. It was just under 32 lbs for the carbon, and just over 30 for the alloy.
  • + 2
 Where is the weight number ? Can't really believe the 32 lbs without pedals. My 2016 Process 153 is just below 30 lbs with pedals.
However the G2 sounds as fun as my G1 + climbing has improved signifcant.
I really love my 2015 G1, but it climbs like a tank..thanks to kinematik designed for 22t chainrings..

Good review.. Can't wait to get my G2 27.5 frame which is just shipped above the big pot :-)
  • + 3
 Whoops, the # is in there now. 31.7lb without pedals for a size M.
  • + 4
 @brianpark: THX :-)

So I hope I will be the first one creating the 30 lbs build with a G2 153 frame during the coming winter month..
  • + 4
 I have a 2015 process 153 and love it. How much better-er is the 2018?
Not interested in the componentry but the difference in 3 yrs worth of frame changes.
  • + 3
 I had the 2017 process 153 and i'm now on the 2018 153 cr dl in 27.5. The new bike feels more refined, climbs better, is silent and the carbon really makes it feel super stuff. Both excellent bikes!
  • + 3
 I had a 2015 before my 2018. Really the only thing you gain with the 18 is the much better climbing manors. The 2015 bike was every bit as good at descending.
  • + 1
 Best climbing Process I have tried to date , but also the least confident inspiring bike on the down. 6:25 mark in the video , my pretty much exact thoughts for it descending. My 29' Django with a 150/120 set-up is more point and aim on the down.

Be fun to see how the 165 version would feel with a 29" wheel combo . Any idea if the 27.5 and 29 frames are the same with different pivot bushings ?? @mikelevy
  • + 1
 Somebody may have already mentioned this, but I wonder how this bike would have performed with Fox's comparable suspension. I like the feel of the fox suspension I've ridden over Rockshox, more supple at top of the stroke, better all the way through. I think I'd really dig this bike with Fox stuff instead.
  • + 1
 I've tested this bike this fall and can confirm the suspension is far not the most supple out there. I had '17 Enduro 29 (with '18 linkage) and that thing was by far more supple and fun to me. Although the Process was feeling fast and stable it was way less playful and flickable comparing to E29, IMO because of the suspension design but could be also in part by the long wheelbase/geo. Best I can describe it is the bike was skipping over the uneven terrain and muting the feedback from the trail.
  • + 4
 That was a good reveiw!, a carbon bike weighing 32lb should be bomb proof strong!
  • + 1
 Wonder how this thing would feel with a Float X2 or a coil? Might iron out some of the "negatives" to the suspension feel. Also notable that most reviews of the 27.5 say it's super supple off the top and does a great job absorbing trail chatter and small hits.
  • + 5
 Sounds like this is the best bike out there!
  • + 2
 I like the new format for reviews please have a cornering section. Does it corner like a Cadillac or more like rav4? Something to get us out of the descends like climbs like.
  • + 2
 I would be interested to see what the real seat angle is at ride height. That kink in the seat tube makes it look like it will slacken out loads as the saddle rises
  • + 0
 Yep it does. On mine, I'm perched right on the tip of the saddle on climbs, even with the seat pushed all the way forward on the rails. The slack departure angle is crap and ruins a great starting effective seat angle.
  • + 2
 I always thought Aluminum chainstays were a good idea lending themselves to a truly stiff rear end while reaping all the benefits of the carbon frame.
  • + 2
 and they are far more durable--seems like a good approach to me.
  • + 0
 @phile99: I can only disagree with that statement from Levy and you that aluminium chainstays are more reliable. I have seen or read a lot of reliability issue on aluminium chainstays breaking at the welding. I think I know of only one brand that had this issue on carbon chainstays, and that was early in their life and it was their first carbon frame...
  • + 3
 @EnduroManiac: The notorious Yeti 575 Carbon chainstays?
  • + 2
 @EnduroManiac: transitions gen1 Scout, Patrol etc all had snappy rear ends. Both carbon and ally.
I’d still rather have real metal back there myself.
  • + 0
 @signallessthanone: Trek? Specialized ? Lapierre?
@iqbal-achieve: pretty sure the cabon frames had aluminium chainstays
  • + 1
 @signallessthanone: The Aluminum 575 swingarms break too. Ask me how I know...
  • + 2
 @EnduroManiac: Have seen a lot of carbon vvp front ends for sale, also a lot of people looking for back ends so carbon back ends do have problems!
  • + 1
 @EnduroManiac: Nah Mate, my Trek chainstay is Carbon with Welds in it ))
  • + 1
 @EnduroManiac: I have twice damaged and self-repaired the carbon seatstays on my 2017 Kona Hei Hei Trail, so please add that to your database.
  • + 1
 @aljoburr: I've never said they don't!?
  • + 3
 “Heavy is good, heavy is reliable. It it does not work you can always hit them with it.”
  • + 4
 How do I get calfs like in the bottom out pic?
  • + 15
 Higenamine.
  • + 1
 smok cr4ack, understand?
  • + 4
 My Kona has a an increadible... Loud and creaky press fit bottom bracket.
  • + 5
 @Dlakusta - probably my biggest complaint about my Kona. I ended up getting a Wheels Manufacturing retro-fit threaded BB kit, though, and that solved the problem (and made bearing changes cheap and easy). I had initially sworn never to have another PF BB bike; I've since decided that as long as it's PF92 (so you can use the beefy retro-fit BB), I'm OK with that.
  • + 3
 this thing still hauls ass. don't think a 6" travel 29er on the market is slow.
  • + 3
 It's that perfectly-legal time-alternating devil's lettuce they got up there. Everything feels slow, you can also hear your heartbeat through your fingertips, but that's besides the point.
  • + 2
 Looking forward to seeing how the remedy compares to the bronson & process
  • + 1
 Not as pretty as the unusual previous shape, with the link rocker behind the seat tube. Just any other bike now. Dat squash photo tho! Ooof!
  • + 3
 Looks like a rad bike for the heavier and harder charging riders
  • + 3
 Been lusting over this bike for a while and this isn't helping....
  • + 3
 Do it. I've ridden it. It is amazing. Even the cheap models are great.
  • + 1
 OK, not as if I'm "in the know", but I've never heard anyone pronounce it PROsess before. Always PRAcess. Is that an up North thing...? Smile
  • + 1
 I bought it this fall for the colour, oh ya it manuals pretty good out nof corners too....
www.pinkbike.com/photo/16333602
  • + 3
 The routine of these reviews coming every day is really helping my OCD.
  • + 2
 Kona should host a demo day at the Huffman peak/souixon creek loop in Washington
  • + 3
 @mikelevy with the best riding expressions in the biz
  • + 6
 Dickface for days Frown
  • + 1
 Pros: "extremely Stiff & solid feeling"

Me: I got to this link from an Instagram video showing those forks flop like spaghetti

Anyone else?
  • - 1
 The stiffness of the fork shouldn't be held against the bike. These reviews are mostly about how the frame rides and not the components. How well Rockshox builds their forks doesn't matter here.
  • + 1
 Loving the video comparisons, thanks for listening and delivering Pinkbike!

The Kona though, nice but can get the same/better bike a lot cheaper elsewhere.
  • + 2
 Hey Mike, I imagined you to be more Jeremy Clarkson like when on the bike. Skids and schlarps for miles.
  • + 1
 Soon we'll learn they all got drunk and Levy punched a camera guy in the face over a sandwich. RC is definitely James May.
You guys at PB ever take a moment to make the comparison?
  • + 2
 @taletotell: I do f*cking love sandwiches...
  • + 1
 @taletotell: funny. The guys at gmbn have been trying their hand at top gear this week with the £100 bike test.
  • + 1
 @iqbal-achieve: too bad gmbn is trash
  • + 1
 @spaceofades: and yet here we are on Pinkbike
  • + 1
 @iqbal-achieve: I saw that. It was actually pretty great.
  • + 2
 @taletotell: I thought so too, wish they’d gone a little further with it tbh. I agree with @spaceofades to an extent but their content is broadly aimed more at newbs and people who spend some of their time thinking about things that aren’t bikes. I’m not a huge fan of gmbn but I’ll still watch all their content because it’s bikes. I like bikes, no need to be too fussy or snobby about it. I also enjoy shouting at Doddy because I am a better mechanic than he is Razz
  • + 1
 Was about to rant about how overpriced this $6k bike is but it’s not a Santa Cruz, so...
  • + 7
 Well, it's a Kona, so expect the $3k price point to be an absolute boat anchor with the lowest spec components available.
  • + 1
 @Poulsbojohnny: I've ridden it. No too bad. For the money you get a far better bike than what $3000 could have got you 10 years ago, even if the spec is ranked lower. The yari rides better than the old lyrik in a side by side. (I know. I ahve a lyrik on an old yeti 575 and it isn't as nice as the yari)
And remember, it used to be the lowest spec on most bikes was a 32mm fork with 150mm travel that felt like a noodle, a set of garabage Hayes brakes, some ditchwitch foldable rims, and a 3x9 that you had to spend $30 to put a bash guard on.
I love the current crop of low end rigs. So much better than anything we ever had before. Too bad they cost $1000 more than the old low end.
  • + 1
 @mikelevy Mine has the non-piggy back RS deluxe shock, worth upgrading to the Super Deluxe or a DPX2?

cheers
  • + 5
 Nope, don't bother.
  • + 2
 I'd have to ride this bike in a large, so what would the weigh, 34 lb.s?
  • + 3
 I own this bike in an XL, after it's tubeless with pedals and tube strapped to it it weighs just over 33
  • + 0
 35 lbs if you fill up the water bottle & 40+ when dirty?
  • + 1
 Booo kona hopefully it holds its head tube on unike way too many of its older brothers and sisters!!!
  • + 2
 Really enjoying these video reviews. Big thanks to all involved.
  • + 2
 Not 150mm but 153mm because that extra 3mm is a game changer.
  • + 1
 Lets see an Esker Elkat next!
  • + 1
 this bike obviously just needs a coil shock
  • + 2
 It does seem like it, but having ridden the lower end version I can't say I'd be willing to mess with the suspension. It sits high when you want it to, but feels pretty plush too.
  • + 3
 @taletotell: ha, I run a ttx 22 coil on mine and its butter
  • + 1
 @richsoffar: glad to hear it. I love what I've got, but the fact that I can modify it and still have good results is good to know.
  • + 1
 As soon as possible gonna process it.
  • + 2
 But isn't faster funner?
  • + 1
 That forked flexed so much in the slow motion shot. My god.
  • + 1
 Sick. This may be my next bike in a year or two.
  • + 0
 Is there no market for higher end stock builds on aluminum frames?
  • + 0
 Never go 100% sag, bro.
  • + 0
 Is it 29+ compatible?
  • - 2
 Would it be possible to add the weight in kilograms? Nice move since I havent to check google to tell me
  • - 3
 RIP Carbon Fibre
  • - 3
 Are you going to Test the Transition Sentinal?????
  • + 4
 PB tested the alu Sentinel last year. I rode this bike and the carbon Sentinel on back to back days in Moab a couple months ago and thought the Sentinel was a better climber and all rounder. I liked it better both up and down. The Kona was fun though. Burly AF and the turquoise frame color looks amazing. A good option if you want a little more rear travel than the Sentinel and value a bike that feels bombproof.
  • + 2
 @mikelevy: Cheers Mike, read all that. Do you feel the Sentinel is not very play full? Looking at a 29" but want to retain the fun of a 27.5 and also love flat-out tanking down DH trails on the little travel bike.
  • + 4
 @theriches09: Paging @mikekazimer for that one.
  • + 2
 @mikelevy: I totally recognize why you aren't testing the Sentinel again, but it seemed like a bit of an "ahead of its time" bike, so I think that is why people keep asking for comparisons to the most recent generation of similar class bikes.
  • + 1
 @MarcusBrody: 140 rear, 160 front, 64 deg head and 29" sounds like best of both worlds but is it fun enough or just a straight line beast.
  • + 5
 @theriches09, I wouldn't really call the Sentinel playful - the Smuggler falls more into that category, or a bike like the Ibis Ripmo. The Sentinel will still get off the ground whenever you want, but it does better in steeper terrain, and can definitely handle "tanking down DH trails."
  • + 3
 @mikekazimer: Maybe 27.5 is the way for playful still, not many people saying they have found that all round 29" yet. Slap berms, jumps, flat out speed....
  • + 1
 @theriches09: Yeti SB130...
  • - 1
 *ACTUAL seat angle, lol.

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