With its dependable three-speed gearing and reliable – albeit quirky – back-pedal brake, the Bike (yes folks, that really is what it’s called) is a great value round-town bike.
It continues a growing trend within Kona’s range towards more urban and multi-purpose utility bikes. In addition to seven ‘Road’ bikes, three ‘Cyclo-cross’ bikes and eight ‘Asphalt Commuters’ it now has seven ‘SimpliCITY’ bikes, with everything from a single-geared cruiser and the Bike, to heavy-duty haulage and electric bikes.
Ride & handling: nice old-school feel compromised only by the back-pedal brake
In terms of fit, comfort and general ride characteristics the Bike reminds us of Kona’s old-school rigid-forked mountain bikes, but with one big exception: the back-pedal brake.
For those who are not accustomed to a back-pedal brake (or coaster brake, as it’s also known), it takes a while to get used to. It also limits the bike’s use in an off-road environment: trail riding often involves changing your pedal position, turning the cranks backwards for cornering and/or obstacle hopping. Even simple kerb hops in urban settings can be a problem on coaster brakes.
The plus side of a coaster brake is that, as an integral part of the three-speed hub gear, it’s a durable maintenance-free option. But a rear cantilever brake would be more practical in terms of all-round use, opening up more trail riding possibilities that the Bike is otherwise suitable for.
Equipment: functional simplicity for those who want to hop on and go
The three Shimano Nexus gears are twist-grip controlled, and offer two easy cruising gears and a climbing gear that, standing up, will get you up all but the steepest hills. Hub gears allow you to shift gear while standing still too, useful for hill starts.
The tyres on the Bike are tough but fast rolling, in their element on rough roads but with limited traction on muddy trails.
A chainguard on the crankset, luggage rack mounts and full-length mudguard will all be welcomed by riders looking for pure, everyday utilitarian practicality.
The functional simplicity of the Bike will appeal to those who want a bike they can get on and ride, in all but demanding off-road scenarios, without having to conform to a marketing tag.
Want more beginner tips? Then make sure you pick up On Your Bike! Your Complete Beginner’s Guide to Cycling http://www.myfavouritemagazines.co.uk/beginners-guide-to-cycling/