Kona Dew Drop £649.99

Tough and versatile

BikeRadar score3.5/5

The first question that pops to mind with Kona’s Dew Drop is, erm, what kind of bike is it? The frame and disc brakes look mountain bike-esque, but the drop bar is definitely road, plus it’s got rugged tyres so it must be a cyclo-cross bike. But then there’s the weight and those discs again and rack mounts… ooh it’s confusing.

The Dew Drop is a bit of a mash-up, and that’s both a strength and a weakness. At £650 there’s a lot to be said for buying a bike that can do more than one thing – who wouldn’t want an unburstable hardcore commuter that can cope with some light offroading but also haul a decent amount of luggage across a country or two? If Kona pull this off with the Dew Drop then they're onto a winner. So does it? Well … sort of.

  • Frame: Smart-looking, mountain bike-inspired and built to be bombproof. Feels heavy though and transmits bumps (6/10)
  • Handling: Safe as houses, but not especially responsive. A bike for cruising not caning (7/10)
  • Equipment: Disc brakes could perhaps do with more power; entry-level Shimano shifters do the job; Deore rear mech is well proven (7/10)
  • Wheels: Basic but sturdy, roll well and stand up to plenty of abuse (7/10)

We’ll get the first obvious point out of the way. The Dew Drop is not a lightweight bike. The all-in weight of 12.3kg feels substantial compared to a road bike, though it won’t faze you if you’re used to riding mountain bikes. On the move it means that the Dew Drop isn’t a bike for whizzing up to speed quickly – it takes effort.

On the plus side the Drop is a strong old boy – you’ll really have to do something special to bust the frame, and if you get a disc-specific rear rack then you’ll be able to load it up nicely. If you’re after an urban commuting battle cruiser that can double up for a bit of light touring then the Drop could be the answer.

The sturdiness comes from a butted 7005 aluminium frame which is paired with an old school straight chromoly steel fork. Soft isn’t how we’d describe the ride – there's definite buzz to be felt through the frame and the fork when on the road, and we found ourselves avoiding potholes we might not on other, smoother bikes.

Despite its all-in weight, the Dew Drop actually climbs well – the FSA triple chainset and 11-34 cassette give you a 24in granny gear that lets you spin sedately and comfortably up most climbs. On the way down, though, we did find the Avid BB7 mechanical disc brakes took a bit of time to bed in. They’re reliable and long lasting but for the Dew Drop we’d prefer something with a bit more stopping power.

At first glance you might think the Dew Drop is one of the new breed of disc-shod ’cross bikes, but it isn’t. The handling is predictable and precise, but it isn’t a responsive point-and-shoot machine and the Continental Country Ride tyres are fine for mild towpath or fire road duties – and the Dew Drop is a lot of fun here – but they aren’t designed for slick mud.

The riding position is good – the mountain bike geometry means that with your hands on the swept back tops you’ll find yourself pretty upright. Good for the back and sensible for the commute. The padded saddle also offers all-day comfort for even the boniest of backsides.

After riding the Dew Drop we’re less confused – it is a versatile machine, but probably best suited to the urban environment. As a tough, knock-taking commuting cruiser – that can lend itself to a bit of out-of-hours fun – the Dew Drop is worth a look. And if you don’t want a drop bar then the Dew Deluxe at £599.99 or Dr Dew at £799.99 are both flat-barred. Try them first, though, as the ride just might not be to your liking.

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