by Dave Anderson
April 18, 2011
I’ve been riding the Kona a lot recently, mainly due to my Cannondale Rush finally needing a bit of TLC after two winters of pretty solid use. Similar to my experience with Sram’s 10 speed XX groupset on the Rush, the gears and shifting on the Kona have performed flawlessly. Despite initial fears that to […]
I’ve been riding the Kona a lot recently, mainly due to my Cannondale Rush finally needing a bit of TLC after two winters of pretty solid use. Similar to my experience with Sram’s 10 speed XX groupset on the Rush, the gears and shifting on the Kona have performed flawlessly. Despite initial fears that to get the best out of it would require constant tweaking, the truth is the stuff’s been pretty much fit and forget which suits my maintainence routine or lack of it.
So the big addition to the Kilaeua has been the pair of Syncros FL carbon wheels that turned up courtesy of Jungle Products. Weighing in at 798g for a rear and 690g for a front wheel they cost £749.99 and £679.99 respectively.
I have to admit to being somewhat sceptical of the application of carbon in something you’d expect to take a decent amount of impact and torsional forces so the first ride on them was somewhat tentative. But after that first ride I just kind of forgot about the materials involved and made the most of the stiffness of the front wheel in particular to make the front end go exactly where I wanted it to.
The feel of the wheels has really complemented the Kona’s stiff back end and it’s willingness to convert every ounce of power you’re prepaed to put in into forward motion. The bike has been a joy to climb on but hasn’t disappointed when ridden downhill, I’ve come to think of it as an overgrown and very chuckable bmx. To sum up in one word. Fast.
3 months use later and the carbon rims have hardly a scratch on them despite many a ride threading through local gritstone which goes a good job of gouging anything it gets the chance to. Hubs have maintained a reliable and quick pick up from the freehub whilst the bearings feel as smooth as the day they were fitted altough it’s reassuring to know that they’re user serviceable when the time comes.
The price tag of these wheels for a 60’ish gram saving over XTR (by my reckoning) isn’t going to make sense to a lot of riders. But for serious XC and Marathon racers out there who are determined to minimise rotational weight without compromising handling these wheels might just be the answer they’re looking for.