Kona have used the basic Turner four-bar link design/ shape to great effect over the years, creating everything from super light XC race rigs through to North Shore huckers and World Championship winning downhill monsters. Some say Kona should do something new, but if something this good isn't broken, why fix it? The '06 Stinky Deluxe has the same basic design as before, and we took it to our secret test track for some West Country lovin'.
The Stinky Deluxe is built like a brick shit house with an oak door. Even our diminutive 15.5in model was heavier than most people small enough to need a 15in frame could easily manage. The top and down tubes run from round to square at the head tube end (à la Easton RAD), made of Kona Clump alu and best described as 'burly'.
Because the 15.5in is small, it uses an extra little tube to brace the seat tube extension without ruining the excellent standover height. The long rocker arms are heavily machined to reduce heft, but with careful attention to detail Kona have maintained a stiff link to the rear end. The seatstays and chainstays feature large diameter and heavily ovalised profiles to produce a back end that will take sustained slams and abuse without worry.
Although the 'Deluxe' part of the name might be questionable, the bike is still covered in good parts. There's a Marzocchi 888 VF fork up front, as capable and reliable as big forks get. This is matched to a Fox DHX 4.0 rear shock to give 178mm (7in) of travel. Truvativ supply the Hussefelt Howitzer cranks, BB, oversized bar, XR seatpost and oversized stem, none of which will give you any cause for concern. The rest of the drive system is Shimano LX with an XT rear mech.
The supplied Kona Jack Shit Primo pedals are grippy and will last a while if you look after them. Brakes are an area where spec can fall, but the Hayes HFX-9 stoppers with 180mm discs are surefire winners, with superb stopping and modulation right from the box. The wheels are Sun MTX-S rims laced to a Shimano 525 rear hub and Kona 20mm through-axle front hub, with excellent Maxxis Minion 2.5in tyres.
Our Stinky Deluxe was delivered with an over-sprung rear shock. Even with the preload wound off and no platform added, we felt the fork was working much too hard to make up for the huck-ready rear end. Having a lighter spring fitted might sort it, but this is something Kona should see to prior to delivery.
Balance issues aside, this is a great bike to attack North Shore and tech trails with because it has all the usual Kona poise providing a stable and predictable response to rider and trail input.
The double ring set-up is handy for the grind back to the top too, though we'd put the bike on a diet to help. Although the Stinky Deluxe is from Kona's 'Out of Bounds' freeride series, you could also easily race it in downhill events, even without a chain device.