As part of the London Bike Show, the crew at Kona Bikes turned up with a typically Hawaiian-themed booth to show off a sampling of its 2017 model range. With a bunch of Process, Operator, Honzo and Hei Hei models for us to ogle over, we setup the video cameras to provide you with a virtual tour of the 2017 Kona stand – scroll down for the full video below.
In July of last year, Kona pulled the wraps off its new carbon fibre Honzo hardtail. You might recall that the original Honzo debuted back in 2011 as a steel-framed hardtail 29er built with proper trail geometry. As one of the first trail-oriented 29ers to hit the market, the Kona Honzo paved the way for the latest crop of 29in hardtail mountain bikes that draw on the short-chainstay-slack-head-angle school of thought.
Since then, Kona has reimagined the Honzo in a variety of versions, including an alloy model, the Honzo Ti that we recently reviewed, and then this lighter and sleeker carbon option too;
The geometry ethos stays the same, with the Honzo Carbon getting a stubby 415mm rear centre length and a 68° head angle. While many other brands rely on those kind of numbers for longer travel trail bikes, Kona considers the Honzo Carbon as being an XC race bike, where the short back end and stiff carbon frame are useful for power transfer and snappy handling.
A slight curve in the seat tube allows the rear wheel to get REALLY close to the bottom bracket. A drivetrain offset with Boost spacing also allows for more clearance around the chain stays, so you can fit in decent width rubber while keeping everything compact out back. We also dig the stealth dropper post routing, which exits the base of the downtube before re-entering the frame above the bottom bracket. That means the cable doesn’t have to deal with the bottom bracket area, which can be a pain to route around.
Also on show at the Kona booth was the alloy Honzo. Also known as the Honzo AL. Cryptic. Like the carbon Honzo, the alloy version is built around 120mm travel forks and 29in wheels, and it’s dropper post ready.
Geometry remains the same through the Honzo range, so you’re getting the same handling package regardless of material or price point. The Honzo AL comes in four different sizes, from Small through to X-Large.
The Kona Process range continues on into 2017, but the whole line has had an update with a few changes to geometry and the frame tubing. The same handling and suspension theme remains, but Kona has taken the geometry to the next level to make the new Process models even longer and slacker than before. James enjoyed the heck out of the 2016 Kona Process 153 he finished testing a little while ago, so all signs point towards good things for the new version.
This is the Process 153, which is exactly what it says on the tin; a 153mm travel version of the popular Process platform. It’s rolling on 27.5in hoops and rocks a 160mm fork up front. The head angle on this baby now sits at 65.5°, and the seat angle has been steepened to 75°.
The Process 111 goes bigger in the wheelsize, but smaller in travel. There’s 111mm of travel out back that pairs to a 130mm travel RockShox Pike fork up front, while the wheels sit at a 29in diameter. In the case of this Process 111, Maxxis supplies rubber in the form of a Minion 2.3in & Ardent 2.25in combo – both with EXO reinforced sidewalls for those riders who need a little more chunk in the wheel/tyre department.
And sitting in the middle of the Process range is the Process 134. With (no points for this one!) 134mm of rear wheel travel, the Process 134 is designed as a more versatile all-round trail bike. It’s got 27.5in wheels and is one of the most popular full suspension trail bikes that Kona offers. This one on show is the ‘DL’ model, which is rocking a 140mm travel RockShox Pike fork up front, with a Shimano SLX 1×11 drivetrain.
On the lighter and racier side of things, the Kona Hei Hei line received a pretty decent update for 2017, with a few new models joining the range. There’s this gorgeous Hei Hei Supreme, which is dripping with top-end gear including a RockShox RS-1 fork and SRAM Eagle 1×12 gearing. Note the beefy WTB Ci31 carbon fibre rims too.
The RS-1 fork is running 120mm of travel to give a little more length compared to the 100mm of rear wheel travel. Also worth noting are features such as the internally-routed dropper post, 2.25in tyres and the modern RaceFace Turbine/Next cockpit – all spec choices that are a little burlier than what you’d expect from other company’s XC race bikes.
And while the Hei Hei Supreme recently made it into our list of Top 25 Bikes For Billionaires, there are many models below that carbon superbike that offer a more accessible price point, such as this Hei Hei Race model. Looking rather striking in a gloss red finish, this model is built upon a hydroformed alloy frame, while using the same single-pivot Fuse suspension design. There’s 100mm travel front & rear, 29in wheels, and a neat 1×11 drivetrain to lay down the power.
For a further look at the 2017 Kona range, sit back, relax, and enjoy this video tour of the Kona booth at the London Bikes Show.