Open Letter to KONA!

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To Kona,
I’m DIGGING it! Two very sweet Kona 29ers came out on your Kona World blog. First is the Satori, A 130mm travel Full Suspension 29er and the second bike is the Honzo, a slack angle 120mm 29er Hard Tail. I love what you’re doing at Kona.

Kona Satori. 130mm of 29er travel. I really dig the RAW finish.

Why am I loving it? Because you’ve decided not to follow the 29er trends but to create your own and for that, I APPLAUD you. When many in the bike manufacturing world decided to come out with “me too” 29ers, you decided to push the envelope and develop a 130mm full suspension 29er and a slack steel HT.

A departure from Kona’s walking beam linkage, the swinging link gives Kona the ability to go 130mm

I know – but then again I don’t know – that designing a full suspension 29er is tough. I get that the bigger wheels take up more space, change the handling characteristics and, in general, have to be accounted for in every little design element. I like that you have the capable Hei-Hei 29er with 100mm of travel. Its a great bike and one I’ve recommended to a few people.

But, I am happy that you decided not to rest on your laurels and have pushed the envelope in developing the Satori. Changing from your traditional walking beam linkage to a swinging link design was BOLD. This shows out of the box thinking on your part, recognizing that there is more than one way to skin a cat. Going to 130mm is… WOW. With only two other production 29ers with 130mm of travel or more, this is really a great step to get in on the ground floor of where 29ers are going.

The Honzo. A slack steel 29er hardtail

The Honzo, though, is what really got my appetite going. When I saw it, my mouth dropped… lower than when I saw the Satori. And yes, the Honzo is what prompted me to write to you. The Honzo is VERY cool. Other companies have danced around the idea and a couple of small manufacturers have gone out and done slack 29er Hardtails, but Kona, you’re the first biggie to get behind the idea and announce it. The key features of the Honzo that caught my eyes are steel, ISCG tabs, short chainstays, SLIDING dropouts and room for 2.4″ tires on wide rims. I have already talked to a couple of friends who own nothing but boutique bikes and they are drooling over the Honzo.

Could that be a 2.4″ Maxxis Ardent?

Kona, you’ve done well. You are pushing and leading the way (raise for the PM’s?). As a 29er fan and advocate, I applaud you and wish you the best of luck with these new bikes… with all of your bikes.

Jeremy, 29er rider

P.S. I really like that you showed the Honzo all dirty. GREAT touch.

6 thoughts on “Open Letter to KONA!

  1. The Satori will no doubt have too-long chainstays and turn with all the grace of a freight train, just like its little brother the Hei Hei 2-9.

    The Honzo is pretty cool, but they will probably skimp on the steel as seems to be the trend with Kona the last couple of years. Lower quality tubing to maintain their price points, instead of lower-end components.

    My cup appears to be half empty today, but really not drinking the Kona kool-aid the past couple of years.

  2. Actually I think they have some of the shortest 29er chainstays on the market. The specs have been posted around. Kona steel is pretty legit…we have heard no complaints at our shop!

  3. Yikes! How long is too-long? The stays are 17.5″. After riding it, i found it to be quite agile.

    I haven’t ridden the Honzo yet myself, but i was trying to keep up with Chris down a trail a couple weeks ago, and he was hitting jumps and rocks on the Honzo that worried me on a 6+ inch travel duallie.

  4. Cory, 17.5″ is great, if that’s the case and the BB is at least 13″ off the deck (Kona seems to have bucked the industry-wide trend of BB heights most suitable for flat land bikes on the Hei Hei 29, but their hardtails are too low..) then the Satori could be a real winner. The 18″ stays on the Hei Hei 2-9 are definitely too long for the bike and its handling suffers for it.

    Tom, Dedacciai and True Temper (The True Temper OX bikes of old rode like BUTTER, much better than my 2007 Dedacciai Unit 2-9) have disappeared from the Kona line-up. Scandium seems to be quickly disappearing as well.

  5. TrueTemper went out of business. I loved my Truetemper bikes, But the warranty rate was high.
    I gave a deda and a Kona tuned Paddy Wagon (I’m strange) and they ride identically. We definitely still do tons of Scandium, and are even adding more scandium models next year. Carbon cuts in to that a bit, but not much.

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