Sea Otter 20 Ten: Abra Cadabra

Kona = a quality bike company that conjures up images of coffee, my other favorite hobby.

Kona was represented at Sea Otter 2010 in a small way via a booth, not a big diesel rig and huge bike display with a lounge for the employees and guests to hang out. Kona came to Sea Otter allowing their bikes to speak for themselves. What I heard calling my name was a 24.75 lb Kona Abra Cadabra, a 6” travel all mountain trail bike, wait a minute, 24.75 lbs, are you kidding me?..for a 6” travel bike?

Standing still, it is not meant to be...Yoda, supreme Jedi and MTBer
This bike was a custom build by one of the Kona employees to showcase just how versatile a frame the Abra Cadabra can be. He told us it was available for a demo so I quickly scheduled a time. The bike features Kona Magic Link suspension design, FSA SLK components, a Sram XX 1×10 drive-train, (that’s right a 1×10), Sram XX brakes and a Stans Podium MMX wheelset. The drive-train was the new SRAM XX with only a 35 tooth chain ring up front. The paint scheme was beautiful with a polished/grey look and a solid clear-coat.

When we hit the trailhead I noticed how easily this burly bike pedaled and how comfortable it was. When I say burly, I am comparing it to my 4.7” Trek Fuel EX that just crosses the line from XC race to all mountain, the Kona is definitely closer to the downhill side of business than my Trek. The Magic Link works as advertised. Climbing puts the shock in a near vertical position with less travel and a more efficient pedaling experience. Going down hill puts the shock in a more relaxed position and allows for more travel via the extra spring in the magic link. For a video of the Magic Link in use and an explanation of the design theory, please click here.

The Magic of the Magic link

I ended up riding this bike behind a fellow SO goer who was proudly riding an older hardtail Trek. What a huge difference there was when the bikes were pointed downhill, I caught up to him so fast that I caught myself braking just to avoid a crash. Braking was easily handled with Sram’s XX brakes and the rear suspension made sure the rear wheel kept in rotaional contact with the dirt. I’m the type of rider that likes to brake as late as possible (which goes for Grand Turismo as well). I definetely felt confident in my braking decisions.

The purpose of this bike is to be the “one” bike for someone who does not have the pockets for several bikes. This bike proves it can be done. Are there there other manufactures that make a bike in this category? Of course, but this bikes deserves to be at the top of the short list. The frame weighing it at around 6.75 lbs is neither lite nor is it too heavy but is versatile enough for several MTB categories. I was a bit surpised at the frame weight, just looking at it I would have guessed north of 7 lbs. Kona uses their Scandium tubing which is both light, strong and stiff.

I’m a fan of buying a frame only and then selecting the parts that work best for the intended purpose. This frame would be a great starting point for either a freeride oriented all mountain bike or built up closer to xc. If you needed something designed for either category, then you might need to look to the Coilair or the Hei Hei. I really need to get more time on the Abra to get a long term take on it but based on my short ride, it definetely looks like a great bike.

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