Kona mountain bikes will have a new suspension system for 2008, that promises more supple and better-controlled action than their current single-pivot design - and automatic geometry adjustment.
Suspension bikes from Canadian mountain bike company Kona have long been based on the bedrock of their rocker-activated single pivot design. But now Kona are refining the action of a system that is susceptible to rear end bob when pedalling, and open to brake jack during hard braking. Half the problem was solved by Kona's collaboration with Brake Therapy in developing their DOPE braking arm system, but now Kona have debuted their next step, again with Brake Therapy - enter the Magic Link.
It's an on-the-fly geometry adjustment that negates pedalling influence on the suspension action. Instead of mounting the chainstays to a pivot point on the frame, they now project further forward and under the bottom bracket shell to mount to a short linkage bar called the Magic Link. Its other end is attached to the shock, and becomes the lower shock-mount.
An auxiliary spring wrapped around an adjustable rod keeps it all in trim, and ties the Magic Link bar to the seat tube. By setting up the spring for your weight and ride style, the Magic Link system should take care of the rest.
Kona say that the pedalling forces around the bottom bracket and the auxiliary spring encourage the Magic Link to move forward into an upright position, negating any bobbing and steepening bike geometry (making it better for the uphill slog).
Once into a descent, the first bump moves the Magic Link in a rearward direction, where it pushes against the auxiliary spring. The whole bike slinks downwards, slackening off the geometry again and lowering the bottom bracket and centre of gravity. The Magic Link remains active in the descent due to the pedalling and bump forces on the bottom bracket.
It's certainly sounds like a novel approach but we can't really talk about how well it works it yet as it's still in the prototyping stage. Kona say the new design will be introduced on the Coilair series for 2008, and the new Magic Link 6+1in travel frames will start at £1,200 for the Coilair, £1,899 for the Coilair Deluxe and a remortgage-the-house-for-it £3,100 for the Coilair Supreme.
All three use the same Clump frame and employ air shocks to keep the overall weight down.