Kona are no strangers to the world of budget hardtails, and their history shows it’s something they’re pretty good at. Owning a Kona razz-around bike is almost a rite of passage when it comes to learning essential skills for the harder side of riding. But does the Shred continue this legacy?
Ride & handling: A low BB and Maxxis tyres make a singletrack shredder
Kona’s razzer heritage came out straight away when we got on the Shred. The bars are instantly comfy and were the right height without us having to touch any spacers.
The low bottom bracket height lends itself to thrashing the bike into corners, and the low centre of gravity helped keep us balanced. The Maxxis tyre combo provided loads of grip and a predictable slide when things went a bit too far.
At the trail centre, we were pleasantly surprised by the Kona’s uphill ability. Its light weight and good gearing meant we didn’t have any issues climbing the hills, so we could really give the bike the hard time it deserves (and loves) on the downs.
The RockShox Recon Silver fork does its job fine. There’s no compression damping but it has a rebound damper with a good range of usable adjustment. The lack of compression damping wasn’t a problem at the trail centre, but when we got to the dirt jumps we realised it would have been a nice addition.
The spring in the fork isn’t hard by any means, which results in a plush fork that can easily be pushed through its entire stroke by anyone over 11st in weight. That didn’t affect normal riding but did hamper us when dirt jumping, with a pretty consistent bottom-out almost all the way up each take-off and upon every landing.
The relatively long chainstays helped with stability, meaning the bike was easy to control once in the air. But the extra length was obvious when it came to trying to perform a manual, making the bike harder to pull up.
Dirt jumping was the only part of the test where the Kona wasn’t brilliant. But when it came to technical singletrack, the Shred found itself back in the zone.
The 710mm wide bars and 60mm stem felt just right. The seatpost could come right up to pedalling height too, although the saddle isn’t the most comfortable we’ve ever had to deal with.
Again, the tyre combination is one that we often use ourselves, so grip was easy to find. The Tektro brakes work well too, with enough power to deal with normal situations, although the brake levers aren’t the most ergonomic for one-finger braking.
The bike’s name is pretty appropriate. All you need to do is climb aboard and Shred.
Frame & equipment: A simple setup but excellent spec for the money
The Shred is constructed from Kona’s trademark Clump 7005 aluminium. Gone are the days of the weighty Kona. The dimensions are pretty standard, with an integrated 1.125in head tube, 31.6mm seatpost and quick-release rear end with replaceable hanger.
It has big welds, chunky tubing and a nice overall finish – simple, with no complications. It just looks like a Kona, and that’s no bad thing.
The build kit on the Kona is pretty good for the price tag, arriving with components such as hydraulic disc brakes and a RockShox fork. The hydraulic brakes are from Tektro, and although they aren’t the most powerful, they did prove reliable throughout the test and didn’t need any adjustment after the initial setup.
Shimano’s Altus shifters work without any hassle. The Acera rear mech works fine despite looking cheap and flimsy, and wouldn’t cost much to replace if it did end up coming a cropper. The FSA ISIS cranks are problem-free, and a replacement bottom bracket shouldn’t be too expensive in the long run.
The wheels are pretty standard, but we like the Shimano hubs for longevity and adjustability, and the Alex rims have taken a beating. Both wheels are quick-release, meaning no faffing with spanners to get wheels on and off. We love the choice of tyres – a Maxxis Minion FR on the front and High Roller on the back. We’d have trouble choosing anything better.
The finishing kit is all great too. It’s made up of Kona bars, lock-on grips and a decent length seatpost.