Kona’s 2019 Newcomers Go Big On 29ers

by 1

Kona is 30 years old this year and has many treats in store for you. There are new carbon bikes, new steel hardtails, new drop bar bikes and new e-bikes.

Among them is a limited edition Honzo ST – which has been done for the anniversary and which is limited to 201 bikes, all finished in a sterling silver paint.

Kona Honzo ST

Who is number 17?
Steel Kona fans will have something to cheer about
A 120mm Revelation goes up front
There’s a 170mm dropper for extra radness


It’s in the contract for all Kona employees do this…
Kona’s own oversize cockpit
Sassy head badge

Carbon Operator 29er (or is it?)

From steel hardtails to carbon 29er downhill bikes… The new Operator has already been raced in disguise (well, orange paint…) by Connor Fearon for several months now. The Operator 29 is obviously a 29er DH bike in keeping with how those things are all going, but the bike will also run 27.5in tyres… More on that in a second.

The reach on the bike can be increased by 10mm thanks to a headset insert
A flip-chip in the rocker will allow a slackening of the head tube by a degree.

The Operator has flip chips on the rocker which effectively shorten the seatstays and allow the bike to sit back. Angles on the 29er are apparently a laid back 62°

Chainstays can be lengthened for bigger wheels
The carbon Process 153 is finally here!

Kona Process 153 Carbon

Previously, the carbon Process 153 was only offered in 27.5in, so it was kind of inevitable that the big wheeler version of this 160(ish)mm travel beast would become available. It’s vary similar to the existing 27.5in bike, though Kona has been doing some refining on its moulds in the meantime, with a new hollow carbon rocker and a tweak to some cable ports.

A little more room to breathe here. There’s still a spare mech hanger hidden under this port.
Kona 27.5 Process
This is the 27.5in version by comparison, the cable routing is a little tight…
Some Kona staff run brakes the ‘moto’ or UK way round, so all bikes are cable-ambidextrous


Hard to shoot in an orange tent, but this bike’s ‘bone’ colour is great.


Alloy chainstays are retained for their abuse-taking ability

Kona Big Honzo

The Big Honzo is Kona’s slack but beefy carbon 27.5plus bike. And now it comes in carbon. Thanks to some very clever carbon shaping, there’s room for huge 3in tyres out back.

The Big Honzo. Big, but short in height.


Dropped drive-side chainstay helps with clearance
That is a skinny bit of carbon work
Of course it’s one-by…



Ambidextrous cable routing here too. That’s a 130mm fork by the way.

Kona Electric Ute

Kona’s workhorse stretch e-bike, the Ute, gets some additions, including this great double kickstand so that your bike won’t fall over when it’s being loaded full of shopping (or kids).




The Ute gets Kona’s latest P2 rigid fork
P2. Great to see the name carrying on so long.


The electric Ute with Hand of God…

Remote Control

Kona also showed its prototype full suspension e-bike. With handmade decals and little information available, we can tell you that it features Bosch’s new 500W battery and the Bosch CX Performance motor, which includes an intuitive, variable assistance MTB mode.

The battery will remove from the downtube if you need to swap in a fresh one.
Bosch CX Performance motor with bash-guard
Kona reckons the travel will be 150/135mm on this bike.
The Mondraker-style hump is for increased weld area
The Kona Remote Control…


Kona Libre DL

And finally, something a little different, the Kona Libre DL. An adventure bike that’s been dubbed an ‘Any road’ bike. The Libre (it’s all about freedom, right?) will take big 700 x 45mm tyres, or 650C ballooners… There’ll be two versions – this one with 1 x 11 and all the bells and whistles and a cheaper spec one with a double chainset (yes, those are still a thing).

That’s a big road tyre…
Ambidextrous internal ports here too.
The Libre DL looks a lot of fun…
We’re disappointed to discover that this isn’t a production colour


Singletrack Editor

Chipps wasn’t around for the dawn of mountain biking in the UK, but he likes to claim that he arrived in time for second breakfast (about the time he shows up for work, then…) starting in the bike trade in 1990 and becoming a full time mountain bike journalist at the start of 1994. Over the subsequent quarter century, he has seen mountain bike culture flourish and diversify and bike technology go from rigid steel frames to fully suspended carbon fibre (and sometimes back to rigid steel as well.)

His riding style is best described as ‘medium, wheels on the ground, trail riding’ though he’s been spotted doing everything from endurance downhill racing to 24 hour cross country racing. He favours mid-travel trail bikes and claims to be wheel-size, gear, brake and tyre agnostic. In fact, his garage spans most bicycle flavours, taking in steel hardtails, carbon trail bikes, even a mountain bike tandem, along with road, touring and gravel/cyclocross bikes.

While he’s happy to chat about bikes all day, his real interest is in the people and places that bikes can introduce you to and he talks as fondly about the trails he’s ridden and riders he’s met as the bikes that took him there.

Comments (1)

    Love the Libre! And what do they mean, not a production colour! Grrr

Leave a Reply