what's wrong with churning out the same bike each year with slightly different spec if it performs well. Show's they got it right first time.
Nothing if you like riding bike. Everything if you just like buying them and taking a picture in front of your house.
i've ridden a few faux-bar konas, and the brake jack is horrific.
I was going to comment on riding skills but I won't. However one word for that: D.O.P.E. (you can even be pedantic and point out it's not a word).
Problem is, to me, is in the spec when bought new, off the peg so to speak. They do seem to compromise on cheaper components than some other brands. However, I'm now in the process of combining 2 bikes into one and when I've sold the surplus I'll be in the market for another Kona. I love 'em.
Yes as said kona are designed for people who ride bike. As much as it hurts to admit it, while riding component get used/broken/trashed and so.
So yes you'll only have a LX rear mech rather than a XT one (and I am willing to bet a waxing of my crack that no one on here will be able to tell the difference in shifting during a blind test) which lets face it, it's going to make a hell lot of difference when you're going to bash it on a bit rock.
My gf's bike have some old 7 speed sram shifters and a deore rear mech, and lets face it, it shifts very well, actually it might even shift as well as my LX/xtr rapid rise combo.
Once again the "lower spec" argument is all about being a ponce. I'll be the first to admit I like nice and shiny kit. But if I had to buy a bike off the peg, how I feel when I sit on it will be my first choice. And you just cna't beat kona for that.