Long Termers: Dave’s Kona Kilauea

Kona Kilauea

So I’ve been putting in some miles on the Kilauea and they’ve tended to be uphill ones.

So I’ve been putting in some miles on the Kilauea and they’ve tended to be uphill ones.

Kona Kilauea

More plastic than a valley girl

Not that the bike isn’t capable of descending but with the lack of weight uphill is where it really shines. After the inital “getting to know” rides where I kept breaking myself due to an over enthusiasm for keeping it in the big ring, the short and stiff chainstays of the frame make acceleration far too addictive and it’s easy to keep on top of a gear until your stamina gives out.  A more measured approach to pedalling has allowed for long rides of a distinctly sawtooth profile; winch up, drop down, repeat.

So what’s new?

Syncros FL carbon wheels

Well the arrival of a pair of Syncros FL carbon wheels gave the opportunity to remove more metal and weight from the bike and swap from the Maxxis Crossmark/Ardent summer tyre combo to a set of 2.25 Maxxis Advantage that should cope better with the slop whilst still being fast rolling (compared to the usual Calderdale stick-E usuals).

The Syncros FL carbon wheelset, weighing in at 1488g, is aimed at XC/Marathon use so I’ll probably swap them between the Cannondale Rush and Kilauea. They came out of the box dead true and have stayed bob on too despite some thrutchy rides on rock hard frozen ground and regularly bouncing them down a couple of local rocky descents on my local loop. For a light pair of wheels they feel stiff with seemingly little deflection. It’s going to be interesting to see how they stand up over the test period.

XX drivetrain is coping just fine

Autumn is usually the time my bikes get the most abuse thanks to the return of gloop and thursday night rides where the bike usually gets left unwashed until after the following weekends riding. The XX drivetrain has been faultless throughout with no missed shifts or problems of any kind.

So I ended the last update with the following sentence:

“Test wise I’m aiming to keep this as a proper “saddle up” bike and seeing as I’m mainly using it for quick sub three hour rides the next step is to play with 1×10.”

Sharp eyed readers will already have spotted the scratches on the seatpost that give away the fact that I’ve been taking the bike down trails that benefit from a lower saddle. I know that XC pro’s don’t bother with a half mast post and for the first month I stuck with the saddle high ethos but with the saddle down the Kilauea is like a bmx on steroids, very chuckable and a joy in tight and twisty situations thanks I think partly to the tight backend.

I’m still wavering over 1×10, with the light weight of the XX parts I’m struggling to justify losing gears for so little gain.


Syncros FL carbon wheelset: Front: £679.99 Rear: £749.99

Available from: Jungle

Kona Kilauea carbon frame: £900

Available from: Paligap

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Long Termers