We loved the Kona Libre and Libre DL when it was launched last year. The carbon-framed bike remains one of our favourite do-it-all gravel bikes that we’ve tested. Capable over technical ground that goes beyond the classic gravel bike remit, but light enough and nippy enough to not be a slog on tarmac and smooth gravel.
Perhaps the only downside of the Libre is that it isn’t cheap. £3,699 is a stretch too far for many. Sure – you can spend a lot more on a gravel bike, but the carbon frame means that it was never going to be a low cost option. So, for this year, Kona is introducing an aluminium version. It keeps exactly the same geometry, same full carbon fork, same remit of “gravel workhorse”.
The component spec isn’t quite as high-end as the carbon versions of the bike either, but no less functional. SRAM Apex1 is a solid 1x option and in our experience only really sacrifices a bit of weight and a tiny bit of refinement in comparison to SRAM’s more expensive offerings.
In another nod to keeping the price point low, the bike uses TRP Spyre cable-operated disc brakes. In our experience, these are as good as cable disc-brakes get, but are still a step or two below the reliability of even low-end hydraulic brakes.
- Frame: Kona 6061 aluminum butted
- Fork:Kona Verso full carbon flat mount disc
- Wheels: WTB KOM Light Team i25 TCS 700c
- Crankset: SRAM Apex
- Drivetrain: SRAM 11spd
- Brakes: TRP Spyre C 160mm front/160mm rear rotor
- Seat Post: Kona Thumb
- Cockpit:Kona Road Bar/Kona Road Stem
- Tyres: WTB RiddlerTCS 700x45c
- Saddle: WTB Volt Comp
All in, the Libre AL looks like a sorted package. It will be available – in Europe only – from August. We are checking UK pricing and will report back.