2010 Kona Bass Review

Jul 23, 2010 at 12:45
by Reece Wallace  
After five podium finishes in 2009, it is no wonder why Kona continued their support behind slope style assassin Paul Basagoitia in the development and fabrication of their Kona Bass slope style and dirt jump bikes. Paul Basagoitia has proven himself to be one of the top slope style athletes in the world and doing the majority of it on his signature Kona Bass. I had a chance to talk with Paul about his Bass at Teva Mountain Games in Vail, Colorado and he could not have been more stoked on how it turned out either.

Although a new design from the 2009 model, the four inch 2010 Bass still offers some classic Kona features as seen on most of their bikes such as light weight, durable, and responsive 7005 Aluminum, trusted Kona 4-Bar Linkage System, and affordability.

The 2010 Kona Bass frame is manufactured from hydroformed 7005 aluminum tubing yielding a light weight, strong and responsive frame. The Bass is available in three sizes small (15 inch), medium (15.5 inch), and large (17.5 inch). The bike I was riding was a medium. All of Kona’s full suspension bikes incorporate the Walking Beam 4-Bar Linkage suspension system. The 4-Bar Linkage System is based around the principle of having only a few pivots as far away from each other as possible. The engineers and designers at Kona claim that if the pivots are farther away from one another, the bushings, bearings, and shock will be exposed to less lateral side forces and stresses. This design inevitably creates a stiffer rear end; therefore, translating into greater control and responsiveness for the rider. After riding the Kona Bass for a few months, I found that there is virtually no sloppy or slow feeling in the rear end of the bike. The Bass is very quick to respond to every movement and adjustment the rider may make.

Accompanying the 4-Bar Linkage System is one of my favourite shocks, the Marzocchi Roco Air TST R with Piggyback. This is the second bike I have ridden that is stocked with the Roco, and I am even more pleased with its performance. The Roco offers predictability, adjustability, light weight, and an incredibly subtle feeling. However, in contrast with most of full suspension bikes, I prefer to run the rear shock relatively stiff because a firm rear end enables more speed and control while jumping. I run the rear shock at 110 PSI in the main chamber and 180 PSI in the piggyback which enables for about 10% sag opposed to the 20-30% found on most downhill bikes which enables for greater stability and responsiveness. The Kona Bass rear triangle and suspension system is dialed to say the least.

As seen in the video, the low bottom bracket height and high performance of the Roco shock enables me to literally fly out of berms and off lips. I found this extremely useful because it gives me more pop off of lips and more speed out of berms; but also enabled me to stay low in the corners and flat bottoms when needed most. Riding the Roco at high pressures facilitates for a cushion when riders really need it (landing flat or casing) - all other occasions it dishes out firmness and predictability.

The 2010 Bass comes complete with a Marzocchi Dirt Jumper 1 fork set at 100mm. This was my first time riding a Dirt Jumper as I usually ride RockShox Argyles or Pikes on comparable bikes. I was somewhat satisfied with feeling the Marzocchi fork, however, it took me a while to overcome the clunky feeling I got while compressing the travel. After fooling around with the pressure and rebound for quite some time, I found it to be polar opposites of either low pressure and smooth travel or high pressure and a clunky feeling stroke. Although Kona placed the fork on the bike to make it cost effective, I believe an Argyle, Pike, or even Marzocchi 4X would make a better addition to the bike and would make it considerably lighter. On the other hand, I was impressed with the Dirt Jumper 1’s effective rebound system and its newly designed Marzocchi open bath rebound valve.

Brakes are one of the most essential components of a bike, especially when you are shredding with only one of them. Although the Bass comes with front and rear Shimano M575 brakes, I chose to remove the front brake because there is really no need for one on a slope bike. For being a lower end brake I was not looking to be surprised, however, the brakes did offer a shocking amount of stopping power. That being said, the braking power was really on and off with little or no modulation or available adjustments within the lever body. The pad contact was similar to a light switch, on and off.

Just as the guys at Kona assured me when I picked up the bike, the Kona Wah-Wah pedals became my favourite component on the Bass. The long platform allowed for greater surface area and grip while the medium sized pins were the perfect length for moving my feet around on the pedals. The sealed bearing design also creates a longer bearing life and keeps dirt out. Dirt jump and slope style riders are continuously moving and adjusting their feet while jumping, and the Wah-Wah pedals allow for a rider to freely move his feet without being inhibited by deadly long spikes. I would ride these pedals on any of my bikes.

Like all stock bikes, there is always room for improvement. The area in which I found needed the most upgrading is the cockpit. The bike comes with the Kona John Cowan signature bars which have a whopping 63mm (2.5 inch) rise: having a high front end makes cornering, jumping, and pretty much everything on a bike more difficult. Riders nowadays are demanding a low front end for more control, maneuverability and stability. The Kona also comes with a bulky Kona Clump stem. If Kona were to improve upon these two aspects, I know that the bike would benefit greatly from it.

The drive train on the Bass consists of 170mm FSA Gap cranks which I found to be a great crank for the period I rode the bike. The cranks consist of forged 7050 aluminum black arms with a hollow bottom bracket minimizing the total weight. The arms were also shockingly stiff which I was very impressed with. Another nice feature complimenting the cranks is the e*thirteen polycarbonate bash guard. The bash guard is light weight and adds to the clean look of the bike.

The Kona Bass rolls on soft compound Kenda Nevegal tires which I found to perform exceptional in really soft dirt and sandy conditions, but when rolling on hard packed dirt jumps or wooden features they were quite slow. However, if you live in an area like Kamloops where the dirt is parched, these tires would be killer.

The Bass runs on solid white Sun Ringle Equalizer 2.9 SL rims laced to Formula hubs. After shredding the Bass for quite some time, I found the rims to hold up great. I significantly over rated a few spins and had some harsh crashes and cases while riding the bike and the rims surprisingly stayed in perfect true and spoke tension. The Sun Rims are a great addition to the Bass and incorporate quality and value into the complete Bass package.

To touch off the nice white accents and colour scheme of the Bass, Kona has topped it off with a nice WTB Devo HP Comp saddle and a pair of John Cowan signature white grips.

The 2010 Kona Bass is a great slope or dirt jump bike for anyone looking to get into either genre of riding. The Bass has an MSRP of 2300.00 which is extremely affordable for any slope style bike.

Full list of specs:

Frame sizes 15", 15.5", 17.5"
Frame tubing Kona Clump 7005 Aluminum, 4" Travel
Rear Shock Marzocchi Roco Air TST R w/Piggyback (7.875 x 2.0)
Fork Marzocchi Dirt Jumper 1 100mm w/20mm Dropouts
Headset TH w/Top Nut
Crankarms FSA Gap (15=165mm / 15.5-17.5=170mm)
Chainrings 32T
B/B FSA MegaExo
Pedals Kona Wah-Wah
Chain KMC Z-510
Freewheel Formula 13T
Shifters N/A
Handlebar Kona Cowan Signature (25.4mm, 63mm Rise, 710mm Wide)
Stem Kona Clump (0° x 60mm)
Grips Kona Cowan Lock-On
Brakes Shimano M575 Disc 6"
Brake Levers Shimano M575 Disc
Front hub Formula Disc
Rear hub Formula Disc
Spokes Sandvik Stainless 14g
Tires Maxxis Crossmark 26 x 2.25/Kenda Nevegal
Rims Sun EQ 2.9SL
Saddle WTB Devo HP Comp
Seatpost Kona XC/BC
Seat clamp Kona QR
Color Ball Burnished

Video of me shredding the bass:

Views: 20,166    Faves: 70    Comments: 22

Check out www.konaworld.com for more!

-Reece Wallace


  • + 26
 I completely disagree about your statement with all riders prefering and riding low bars. Some of the best riders in the world ride tall because they offer superior maneuverability of the bike when doing tricks.
  • + 9
 When cornering, spinning, and even riding for that matter it's much more difficult to maneuver your bike when your handle bars are up super high.
  • + 22
 My thoughts on this are as follows,
Maybe when your stack height is super high yes, but if you have a low stack height there is no reason you cant run high rise bars. What about look backs and turn downs? You would pinch your leg between the top tube and the bars if they are to low. I agree that when spinning and cornering low stack height is a for sure a benefit to an extent, but low rise bars are just another way of getting your stack height lower IMO
  • + 8
 well said
  • + 4
 To each his own right? I guess I don't do enough turn downs haha. A lower stack stem and headset would greatly benefit the bars on this bike. Otherwise, bike is dope!
  • + 36
 at the end of the day, it's rider preference I suppose, no point ridin a bike if you don't enjoy it
  • + 9
 I wish they would stop making the chisel headset, loose ball, it falls apart real quick and it's a pain to get out 'cos the cups are so thin. Stop using it please, I know it's cheap and keeps the price down/profit up but the headset and bb should be the most important details.
  • + 0
 Low stack stem and headset with low rise wide bars is the greatest creation in the cockpit of a bike. High rise bars and high stacks are just so awkward to ride and as Reece said"makes cornering, jumping, and pretty much everything on a bike more difficult" as I see it is the truest testimony to riding high rise front ends. atleast that is my opinion, other than that nice review.
  • - 23
flag norcoed (Jul 29, 2010 at 0:54) (Below Threshold)
 low rise bars for the win. And turn downs are for bmx!
  • + 6
 'whopping' 2.5" rise? haha, only in the Northwest.
Yeah it's a bit excsessive for that bike.. But look at all the jump/slope riders overseas with amazing bike control that run 50mm plus bars. Actually you dont have to look that far, Mccaul and his bikes are a good example. It's all clearance over the toptube ehhh
  • + 6
 2.5" rise isnt that much. maybe for a full sus, but 2.5" is pretty much a standard for a dj hardtail
  • + 8
 the fact of the matter is, low rise bars work well on DH/FR rigs with large AtoC heights, but on dirt jump bikes where the norm is 100mm travel, the AtoC is much lower, so in theory, higher rise should be used.. i run 50mm (2") rise on my jackal and would go any lower, i feel far to over the front otherwise.
  • + 4
 Just to get this out, high-rise bars Are made for taller riders on smaller bikes, but aren't good for everyone it's mostly preference for rider, me I like lower bars to keep the front end low for better control in certain situations and so I have more room for my massive bunny hops, j-hops etc.. Fairely decent build could have chosen dieffent bars and stem but hey it's stock and was made to be affordable.
  • + 7
 i've got a NS subby 24 and im running the NS district riser bars, there 3.5inch rise! i took out all but one headset spacer and i love it, i find it much easier to jump, spin and maneuver now, when i had quite a low front end it was harder for me, i found when it came to street it was very hard to do what i wanted to do with low rise bars, with the high rise, everything is easier even with the higher weight.. but thats just my opinion Smile
  • + 4
 i cant do anything on my bike with the bars low. i like them nice and high
  • + 0
 If you look at most of the riders who have high rise bars, they are quite tall. I'm sure that a 6'2" guy running 3" bars and a 5'8" guy running 1" bars would feel the same to each of them. But then some riders like high rise even though they're short, but like Reece said, to each their own. This is one component that is personal preference and Kona really shouldn't have stocked 2.5" bars on the Bass. If the fork was at 80mm it would have been okay.
  • + 1
 well i like high rise bars, some people hate them, its rider preference, dipends on what kind of riding ur doing, its all reletive like how i like high rise bars to some extent (3inches) but i cant speak for everyone so whatever helps you better is what you should ride Smile
  • + 1
 lol i dont get why they put high bars on, but then put the steerer tube spacers on top of the stem?
  • + 3
 yep! i definitely agree with you guys! when i was racing the sea otter, i originally set up my bike so that there were no spacers between the stem and headset cup and in my first day of practice i was constantly having the sensation of going over the bars and felt that although it put me in a good position for turning, descending and sprinting, it sucked for jumping. i raised it a good inch and i had wayyyyyyyy more control in the air and transferring etc.
  • + 0
 You know, I think really the main point here is, whether High rise bars are good or not.
  • - 3
 how much do you think kona is gonna pay pinkbike to make this vod?
  • + 1
 Nothing! Doesn`t work that way at all, and if it did, I would be the one getting paid! And I can assure you, that`s not happening haha.
  • + 1
 I'm 6'1" and run NS district 3.5" rise bars on my DJ bike. The front end is still lower than my DH bike (sunline direct mount boxxer stem and 19mm rise bars). That's how I like it. Some people like it lower than that. Doesn't bother me. I usually change stuff like the controls and contact points on a new bike anyway until I get it how I want it.
  • + 1
 That stem is very ugly though!
  • + 9
 honestly i am impressed with my Bass everytime i ride it, and ive had mine since mid 2008. who cares about sterotype of branding, KONA nailed it with this bike.
  • + 3
 I totally agree
  • + 8
 I kinda want this, but i don't know if I can bring myself to buy a kona
  • - 4
flag Tom-Ryde (Jul 29, 2010 at 2:24) (Below Threshold)
 Banshee - Wildcard:

Have to admit none of them look quite as fresh as the Bass, it just seems to be a dj bike that has a rear shock, Big Grin
  • + 12
 Black Market Killswitch...Beer
  • + 9
 whys everyone hating on kona?
  • + 1
 How could i have forgotten the good old Dobermann Pink? Smile lol
  • + 2
 the yt just looks awesome, and for that price you really can't beat it!!
  • + 1
 Y would they make the kona bass in a 17inch frame like honestly how r u supose to tail whip that?
  • + 1
 NS soda
  • + 1
 What happened to the NS Soda, is it in production because i havent seen anything of it over here in the UK?
  • + 2
 Niether have I. I mean anywhere... not even in polish webshops. I guess it was only a prototype and they decided not to start mass producing.
  • + 1
 Oh, and that would be the only aluminum frame produced by NS bikes.
  • + 3
 Its really about preferance when it comes to bar height. Im not even sure why we need to debate this. I rode 2" rise bars on my downhill bike up untill the beginning of this season. I loved those bars, and I love my new ones.....after some getting used to. Its all what feels good to you, there is no specific bar height that will make you a good rider. As far as Konas go, thet make some good bikes. Every company that sells alot of bikes at all price points suffer the stigma that comes from selling low end bikes. But you know what? Im glad we have companies like them offering really good rigs at affordable prices it makes it possible for more people to get into the sport. People need to quit being snobs, get out and ride.
  • + 3
 "The 4-Bar Linkage System is based around the principle of having only a few pivots as far away from each other as possible. The engineers and designers at Kona claim that if the pivots are farther away from one another, the bushings, bearings, and shock will be exposed to less lateral side forces and stresses."

Kona needs to hire new engineers. If the pivots are farther away from each other, there is a larger moment arm. This results in increased forces on the pivots
  • + 1
 its called the "Bass"? i remember a Bianchi bike named the "Bass" as well. ive seen this before and some lawsuits followed. actually, its a "Bad Ass Single Speed" but check it out: www.flickr.com/photos/_lyle_/404676090
  • + 1
 haha oldskool
  • + 1
 Reese Wallace, how much do you weight? I'm tring to dial my suspension settings on my bass. I also have been liking it on the stiffer side of things, it's like a really forgiving hardtail. What did you end up the fork at as well?
  • + 1
 I weight about 160 lbs, it's really just a matter of playing around with the pressures and settings until you find what's right for you. A suggestion - take a shock pump to your local spot and play around with the pressures until you find what works. As for the fork, I can't really remember haha.
  • + 1
 Ya, I'll give that a try. I rode it super stiff at first, then a buddy convinced me to soften it up. I find the bass really likes to think it's a hardtail. Thanks for the reply.
  • + 1
 That all said, I love my Bass, it is like having a bmx again
  • + 1
 One thing I did upgrade was to 180mm rotors, I found the M575 brakes didnt cut it.
  • + 1
 Kona should go with the trend and have more bmx components. Pivotal saddle/post, 3piece cranks and a decent stem. Also cut the white to a minimum and get a 32/13 ratio like on the cowan or 28/11 with bmx sprocket.
  • + 1
 check out the bass for 2011. you'll be stoked.
  • + 1
 why would you cut the white out ???? White FTW!!
  • + 1
 Where can I see what it looks like?
  • + 1
 I'd be intersdted too..
  • + 1
 Just saw a picture on chirosangaku blog, raw, silver and white... bmx cranks with one of those vinyl like sprockets(lame!) . Headtube looks tappered so some changes have been made to the frame.. but not sure.
  • + 1
 Thanks man. Well I think it definitely looks better than this year's model, but that's just my personal opinion. Looks more clean and tidy.

Here's a link for the others: chirosangaku.blog109.fc2.com/blog-entry-1299.html
  • + 1
 Got a flair here, its 6" abit more travel than most SS/DJ bikes. The shine just won best new brand bike in Munich: 2.8kg with shock: it and the blk market killswitch have the market.
  • + 2
 yeah,shine is so friggin dope that U can not maximally lower your seat...
the title of "best new brand" doesn't mean "best quality brand".
  • + 1
 Isn't the name BASS because of Paul Bas? Every rider helps with the build of a certain frame. I thought he was the brains behind the operation.
  • + 2
 Sick review. I'm stoked on my '09 Bass.
  • + 1
 Thanks man, yeah they are pretty nice bikes.
  • + 1
 those cranks are shocking they bend so bad i bent a set within a week of buying a set
  • + 1
 I ride a transition double but , I will admit I think the 2010 bass actually feels pretty nice riding my friends around .
  • + 1
 I really like my Bass! I have a 2008 and I would love to get the new one! Stoked on the color
  • + 2
 This is the only KONA I ever liked.
  • - 1
 +1, it's quite nice.
  • + 1
 Sorry for my rude comment, Kona lovers. Peace
  • + 1
 whoever chose lucero for the song in this vid is the freakin man
  • + 1
 Those 'S'-es look like SS runes on the frame. (In the end of word 'BASS')
  • + 1
 You're absolutely right. They're strikingly similar to the Nazi SS rune. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schutzstaffel
  • + 1
 the band KISS also use the font for their band names :O
it's a conspiracy!! the nazis are back! Mel Gibson will be pleased to hear this!!

I mean come on guys, what does this have to do with anything??
  • + 1
 It doesn't. You're reading too much into what we said. I don't think Kona is perpetrating a Neo-Nazi agenda on DJers. It's just an observation.
  • + 1
 umm.. did I say that I see a neo-nazi conspiracy behind this? It's just that I noticed the similarity and I pointed it out. That's it.
  • + 1
 Yes it's named after Paul Bass
  • + 1
 Just picked one up. :-) It's going to be a long winter. :-/
  • - 1
 "cough cough" i smell bullshit!
  • - 1
 I don't like the stem/bars combo

Looks ugly ...
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