Scott Belshaw is the UK sales manager for iconic Canadian brand Kona Bikes. Based in the North West, not too far from Singletrack HQ, Scott swung by last week to collect a test bike and we spotted his personal bike of choice lurking in the back of his Monaco plated van – a brand spanking new 2019 Kona Process 153 CR/DL 29 – so we thought we’d have a look and see how Kona’s Northern Monkey (that’s his name for himself!) sets up his personal ride.
The Process name has been in the Kona range since way back in 2013, but it was when they changed the suspension platform (and wheel size to 27.5″) in 2014 that the bike really got noticed. The 2014 model received amazing reviews due to it’s sorted suspension and downhill capability. Fast forward to 2018 and Kona again changed the suspension platform to the ‘Beamer’ design seen on this model.
Billed as ‘The Gold Standard of Enduro Bikes’ the Process 153 has been Kona’s top-level rowdy trail/enduro bike since its inception. With the advent of the new suspension platform for the 2018 models, came the addition of the bigger wheeled, long travel Process 29 (Kona had produced a shorter travel Process 111 on the previous suspension platform) to cater for the growing market of long travel 29ers. For 2019, this carbon model has been added to join the carbon 27.5 version.
Kona was one of the first major brands to up their geometry game, and although a lot of brands are now on the ‘bigger, longer, slacker’ bandwagon, the Process geometry is still pretty progressive. Scott’s bike is a large frame with a reach of 475mm, a ‘slack enough’ 66° degree head angle and a 75.8° seat angle for helping you winch up hills. Other numbers of note are a nice short 450mm seat tube length for maximum dropper action and mega short, 425mm, chainstays for getting your manual on.
“CR” in the 153 CR/DL model name, obviously stands for ‘Carbon’. Kona uses its own DH carbon for the for the front end and seat stays, while the chainstays are 6061 aluminium, with the two triangles being mated together via the big old carbon ‘Beamer’ rocker link. For those of you wondering, ‘DL’ is short for ‘Deluxe’.
Cable routing is nice and neat with full internal routing for all hoses and nice, neat, bolt-on port covers/guides to keep the dirt out, and stop the hoses rattling and knocking around.
Up front is a 2019 RockShox Lyrik RC2 giving 160mm of composed trail taming bounce paired with an equally impressive RockShox Super Deluxe RCT Debonair delivering 153mm of rear-end squish.
If you bought a Process 153 CR/DL 29 from your local Kona dealer you would get a fork with black lowers, but Scott wanted something a little different and swapped to these ‘factory’ red versions.
Wheels have also been changed from stock and are a set of custom Hope Pro 4 hubs laced to stealth Race Face Arc 30 rims with a 30mm internal width.
Keeping things going in the right direction is a Maxxis Shorty 29 x 2.5 to give confidence on steep natural trails and plenty of bite in the autumn slop, with a Rock Guardz front guard for crap collecting duties.
Another step away from the stock spec are the brakes that have been upgraded to Shimano’s top end DH Saint stoppers. 4 pot calipers and big rotors give plenty of power and control for reigning it in when things get rowdy.
The handlebar and stem are Kona own brand with a 780mm wide Kona XC/BC35 alloy handlebar and matching stubby 35mm stem.
Preferring a thinner profile grip, Scott’s cockpit is finished off with a set of ODI AG-1 grips, that just happen to match the rest of his bike!
One thing that hasn’t changed from the stock bike is the drivetrain. Scott has stuck with the full SRAM X0-1-Eagle 12-speed drivetrain with a 10-50 cassette.
Combined with a set of SRAM Descendant carbon cranks for stiffness when getting the power down, and a 32 tooth chainring for winching back up to the top.
Other components that have stayed as stock are the WTB Volt Pro saddle with colour matched graphics and the RockShox Reverb with 1x remote.
Finishing off Scotts custom build are set of ‘new for this year’ Kona Wah Wah 2 pedals, again in matching red. The Wah Wah was the benchmark of flat pedals for a long time, and Kona has gone back to the drawing board to bring them up to date.
Available in both composite and alloy versions, the new Wah Wah 2 has a nice slim profile with heavily chamfered edges for fending off rock strikes. The alloy pedals seen here are available in a choice of five colours and retail for £104.55.
So that’s Mr. Kona UK’s custom Process 153 CR/DL. Let us know your thoughts in the comments below and if you’ve got any questions we’ll try and get those answered for you.