Pro bike: Cory Wallace’s Kona King Kahuna 29

Canadian XCM champion and endurance machine

Cory Wallace, from Jasper in Alberta, Canada, is an unassuming figure in endurance mountain biking. But when the races get painfully long and hard, he tends to shine. As an endurance specialist, Wallace travels the globe competing in the world’s toughest mountain bike stage races, single day marathon (XCM) and even the occasional Olympic discipline (XCO) race – such as the upcoming World Cup round in Cairns.

While Wallace was staying in Sydney, BikeRadarwas able to take a look at his 2013 race bike. Wallace says the machine has over 70 days of racing in it, and judging by it's appearance we're inclined to believe him!

The bike was ridden in 2013 to overall first place finishes at the Mongolia Bike Challenge and Canadian national marathon championships; and second place finishes at the Crocodile Trophy and TransRockies. Wallace says his 2014 bike – sitting safety at home in Canada – is basically the same but with a Stan’s No Tubes wheelset.  

As part of the Kona team, Wallace has access to both carbon hardtails and dual suspension bikes. Even though he tends to be on his bike for hours on end, a hardtail is the usual choice because of its all-out reliability and the fact that many marathon races end in sprint finishes.

The kona king kahuna 29 - a lightweight carbon frame with all the latest trends including a 142 x 12mm rear axle, tapered steerer and press-fit bottom bracket : the kona king kahuna 29 - a lightweight carbon frame with all the latest trends including a 142 x 12mm rear axle, tapered steerer and press-fit bottom bracket

Wallace picks the King Kahuna for most races. He uses this carbon 29er with large 2.2" tubeless tyres to help soothe the miles

Wallace admits a dual-suspension is the more comfortable option, especially for events such as solo 24-hour races, but between the carbon frame and large volume 2.2” 29ertyres, there’s still enough to take the sting away.  

Wallace doesn’t travel with a mechanic and so the bike needs to be as servicing-free as possible: at 9.7kg (21.34lb), his setup sits on the obvious side of reliability.

It features a near-full SRAM XX1 drivetrain and, Wallace tells BikeRadar, “you couldn’t pay me to ride anything else. The single ring setup with a wide range cassette is perfect for everything I do and the reliability is by far and away the biggest selling point”. At the time of photographing, Wallace was riding with an XO1 rear derailleur – according to him, “a rock stole my XX1.”

A 36t sram xx1 chainring is used - impressive considering wallace often see's extremely steep and long climbs: a 36t sram xx1 chainring is used - impressive considering wallace often see's extremely steep and long climbs

Imagine riding more than 850km, with 14,000m of climbing in just seven stages. Now imagine doing all that with just a 36T chainring. That's exactly what Wallace did to win the Mongolia Bike Challenge in 2013

Matching up with the 10-42T 11-speed rear cassette, Wallace pushes a rather large 36T front chainring – something he claims is well suited to the longer road and open sections found in most marathon races.

This Kona has thru-axles both front and rear – something that's quickly becoming a standard of even the lightest hardtails – with RockShox’s Maxle system making an appearance at either end.

Wallace's nickname 'wally' is engraved into the lockrings of these odi ruffian mx grips: wallace's nickname 'wally' is engraved into the lockrings of these odi ruffian mx grips

Wallace's nickname 'Wally' is engraved into his grip lockrings

A few other pieces standout to add some character to this borderline-abused Kona, including some custom engraved ODI lock-on grips, which feature Wallace's nickname ‘Wally’ and a WTB Silverado saddle that is begging for retirement.

Wallace’s upright bike setup features a handlebar height higher than his seat; something he chooses for both XCO and multi-day stage racing.

Cory wallace had an amazing 2013 season and he's hungry for an even better 2014 season: cory wallace had an amazing 2013 season and he's hungry for an even better 2014 season

Compared with many of his elite competitors, Wallace's setup is very upright

While some riders may change setup and even bikes depending on the style of race, Wallace told us that his bike setup doesn’t change one bit – except for an additional bottle cage in races such as the Crocodile Trophy.

“Making sure your bike is set up efficiently is seriously important: I see the guys at Balance Point Racing at least once a year. When you’re spending lots of time on the bike, you need to be confident your position is exact.”

Complete bike specifications

  • Frame: Kona King Kahuna 29 – size 18”    
  • Fork:  RockShox SID XX World Cup 29, remote lockout – 80mm
  • Headset: FSA sealed
  • Stem: Truvativ Stylo T40, 100mm
  • Handlebar: Truvativ Noir T40 low-riser, 720mm width
  • Grips: ODI Ruffian MX – custom engraved lockrings
  • Front brake: Avid XX, 160mm rotor
  • Rear brake: Avid XX, 160mm rotor
  • Brake levers: Avid XX
  • Front derailleur: N/A
  • Rear derailleur: SRAM XO1
  • Shift levers: SRAM XX1 trigger
  • Cassette: SRAM XX1 10-42T
  • Chain: SRAM XX1
  • Crankset: SRAM XX1, 175mm, 36T
  • Bottom bracket: press-fit
  • Pedals: Crank Brothers Candy 3
  • Wheelset: Easton EC90 XC 29”
  • Front tyre: Maxxis Ikon 3C EXO TR 29 x 2.2” – 22psi
  • Rear tyre: Maxxis Ikon 3C EXO TR 29 x 2.2” – 24psi
  • Saddle: WTB Silverado Team
  • Seatpost: Truvative Noir Carbon zero-offset
  • Bottle cages: Blackburn Carbon (1)
  • Computer: Garmin Edge 500

Critical measurements

  • Rider's height: 1.75m (5’9”)
  • Rider's weight: 70.4kg (155lb)
  • Saddle height from BB, c-t: 700mm
  • Saddle setback: 8mm
  • Seat tube length (c-c): 457mm
  • Tip of saddle to center of bar: 520mm
  • Saddle-to-bar drop: Positive 35mm
  • Head tube length: 120mm
  • Top tube length (effective): 597mm
  • Total bicycle weight: 9.7kg (21.34lb) (includes one bottle cage, no computer)

For a closer look at Cory Wallace's bike, see our image gallery top right. Check out the world's largest resource of Pro bike features here.

David Rome

Editor, Australia
Having worked full-time within the cycling industry since 2006, Dave is our Australian editor based in Sydney. Riding and racing mountain, road and 'cross for over a decade, Dave's passion lies in the sport's technical aspects, and his tool collection is a true sign of that.
  • Discipline: Mountain, road and cyclocross
  • Preferred Terrain: Fast and flowing singletrack with the occasional air is the dream. Also happy chasing tarmac bends.
  • Current Bikes: Trek Fuel EX 27.5, SwiftCarbon Detritovore, Salsa Chilli Con Crosso
  • Dream Bike: Custom Independent Fabrications titanium, SRAM Etap and Enve wheels/cockpit
  • Beer of Choice: Gin & tonic
  • Location: Sydney, Australia

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