Kona launches aluminium version of its Libre gravel bike

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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.

Squint and you won’t spot the difference

Aluminium

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”.

Aluminium, but otherwise the same

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.

Gravel ready

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.

SRAM Apex helps keep the price down, but is a reliable performer

Full specification

  • 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
Cable brakes might be the weak link, but the Spyres are as good as they get.

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.

The Verso fork is the same full carbon version that is used on the Libre and Libre DL

Comments (1)

    ” a step or two below the reliability of even low-end hydraulic brakes.”

    can you expand on this?

    We had to drop out of a multi stage day race when the master cylinders in the Apex brakes died on my mates bike. the SRAM warranty department admitted they were an unrelibale component that needed regular replacement.

    the cable brakes carried on working fine.

    Do you mean performance?

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