Written by Matt Hersey Tuesday, 22 September 2020 00:00
Sometimes a new bike feels great out of the box, and sometimes you have to fiddle with things to get it right. That was definitely the case with this new bike. The bars were too wide, the top tube and wheelbase too long, and the gearing way too low. I couldn’t get comfortable on the bike, and wasn’t even sure if I would keep it. So I kept my old bike – a 2013 Hei Hei - and rode that a lot.
I’m old school. I did a lot of xc racing in the 1990s on hardtail bikes. My ideas and standards for what a bike should be are way off. And now, every time I buy a new mountain bike, I say to myself, “Oh my God, this is just a plush downhill bike. This can’t be fast”. And I’m always wrong.
So I sucked it up one day. I cut a few inches off the handlebars on my new Kona. And I jammed the seat all the way forward. And it actually felt great. I took the bike to my favorite strava segments and found that it was faster – on downhills and uphills. Using those low gears helped me maintain a high cadence and faster times on climbs.
I really like the rear suspension design on this bike. It feels like it arcs forward over bumps, rather than moves straight up and down. And the lockout on the rear shock comes in handy for steep climbs where traction is not an issue. My only complaint is that RockShox does not make a remote lever for this shock. That could come in handy.
I love the super wide WTB i27 rims. They help to provide a stable, cushy wheel. The tubeless tires mounted up easily with a floor pump.
Everything on this bike is wider and stronger. The clamp area on the handlebars has a larger diameter. Same with the Rock Shox Revelation fork. Both work great.
The only new generation thing I refused was the dropper post. I don’t see the need. But who knows, maybe I’ll come around eventually.