The Kula has been a singletrack favourite for years, and for 2011 it gets a carbon cousin, the Kula Watt. Built using Prepreg carbon technology – a mix of carbon, glass and aramid – Kona say the new frame offers the ultimate balance of stiffness, light weight, and ride quality.
Nanopowder resin is used to fill the tiny gaps between the carbon fibres, reducing potential weak points and making the ride more comfortable. Kona claim the frame has a fatigue limit that's 30 percent higher than standard carbon monocoque frames.
Weighing in at a claimed 1,090g (18in size), the frame has an integrated headset and BB30 bottom bracket. It'll be available as a complete bike for £2,500, with an Easton carbon bar and stem, SRAM X0/X9 drivetrain, Avid Elixir CR brakes and RockShox SID RL RMT fork.
Kona have jumped on the long-travel hardtail bandwagon with their new Steely steel (obviously) hardtail. Built from butted chromoly tubing, this £900 bike comes with a RockShox Tora 289 U-Turn fork (85-130mm), Shimano Deore shifting, Avid Juicy 3 brakes and a Sun Estate wheelset. A 67.5-degree head angle and ISCG tabs make this a versatile beast for trail or even Alpine abuse.
Kona have been busy in the full-suspension department too, working on their Tanuki, 2+2 and Operator bikes. The Tanuki (named after a Japanese raccoon-type creature, traditionally depicted with massive testicles) is a blend of Kona’s Dawg and One20 bikes (which are no more), with 130mm of front and rear travel.
The standard Tanuki, pictured below, costs £1,000 and comes with a RockShox Tora 302 Solo Air fork, Avid Juicy 3 brakes and Shimano Deore shifting. For an extra £450 you get the Tanuki Deluxe with a RockShox Sektor Solo Air fork, Avid Elixir 5 brakes, Shimano XT rear mech and FSA Alphadrive cranks. The top-end Tanuki Supreme will set you back £2,500.
For 2011 Kona are introducing a shorter-travel partner to the 160mm Cadabra, the 2+2, which uses the same Magic Link suspension system. This switches travel from 50-100mm when you head downhill, as well as slackening the bike's geometry.
Spec highlights on the £2,500 2+2, pictured below, include a RockShox Reba RL fork, Fox Float RP2 shock, Shimano SLX groupset, Avid Elixir 5 brakes and Easton EA70 XC wheelset.
Upgrades on the £3,200 2+2 DL are a Fox 32 F-FIT fork with 15mm through-axle, Shimano XT groupset, Fox Float RP23 rear shock, Easton EA90 wheelset and Avid Elixir R brakes.
Hei Hei 2-9
For 29er fans, the scandium-framed Hei Hei 2-9 has been reworked for 2011 with increased standover height, smaller rockers and a tapered head tube. Component highlights on the £3,000 machine are a 10-speed SRAM drivetrain, Avid Elixir CR brakes, Easton EA70 XC 29er wheelset with 15mm through-axle, and a Fox 32 F29 RLC fork.
The Operator DH downhill bike is apparently lighter, stiffer and easier to work on than it’s predecessors, the Stab and Stinky. It’s got a 64-degree head angle, 1.5in zero stack, tapered, internal head tube, and humungous main pivots. At £2,100 it comes with a RockShox Boxxer Race fork, Fox Van RC rear shock, SRAM X7 shifting, Avid Code R brakes and Sun MTX 33 rims on Formula disc hubs.
An upgraded Supreme Operator, pictured below, will cost you £4,700 and boasts a RockShox Boxxer World Cup fork, Fox DHX RC4 rear shock, Shimano Saint groupset and Mavic EX 729 wheels.
Kona have made improvements to their popular Jake and Jake the Snake cyclo-cross bikes too, including the addition of an all-carbon Major Jake. This is Kona’s first full-carbon cyclo-cross bike and features a zero stack tapered head tube and BB30 bottom bracket for improved stiffness. It’s light too, with a claimed 2.2lb frame and 1.1lb fork weight.
Component highlights include 10-speed Shimano Ultegra shifters, Maxxis Mud Wrestler tyres and an FSA cockpit. A full bike will cost you £2,200. The aluminium bikes get new tapered head tubes and stiffer bottom bracket shells, and are priced at £870 (Jake) and £1,250 (Jake the Snake, pictured below).
Jake the Snake