Kona really know how to get the best from their riders, in frame development as well as results. The Stab Supreme has been guided to many a victory by Tracy Moseley and double World Champ Fabien Barel, both of whom have had a lot of input to the 2007 model. This bike has been designed to tackle the best descents in the world and the result is a rig with a refined frame and an impressive spec.
The 2007 frame is crafted from AL-7 aluminium and built to take on the world. A simpler design than last year's improves the aesthetics and sheds the weight, but she is still quite a beast.
The all-important rear end is looked after by a Marzocchi Roco shock which boasts good control and simple tuning. Newly positioned link plates provide 210mm of plush suspension action and this alteration also improves the compression characteristics, producing an improved rising rate and giving, at times, a somewhat bottomless feel. The lower shock mount offers two positions, enabling the head angle and bottom bracket height to be altered. A braking arm comes as standard and helps keep the suspension continuously active under braking and eliminate brake jack effectively.
Initially, it takes an unexpected amount of effort to get the Stab Supreme moving because it's not the world's most efficient pedalling machine. Once up to speed though, it hits its comfort zone, becoming more agile and stable and carrying its momentum extremely well. The bike seems to fire you forwards and feels like it doesn't want to slow down. The front and rear suspension systems are well balanced and they track the ground well.
However, it's hard not to notice the high front end. This isn't a massive problem at speed, but when things slow down and get tight, it really does feel like the majority of the weight is perched too high up, making for less confident cornering. Essentially, the Stab Supreme is built for the big, fast downhill courses and it works well on them, operating with stealth-like silence.
The Stab Supreme's arsenal includes an awesome Shimano Saint groupset. The gear shifting is smooth and controlled by the no-frills Rapidfire shifters, and the Saint brakes are phenomenal, providing effortless stopping and unbelievable control. The only downsides to the drivetrain are the small chainring and huge block, which make your legs spin a bit too much at speed. There's also a light and effective e.thirteen LG1 chainguide. While dependable, it can bend under a single impact, unlike some of its competitors.
RaceFace deliver, as always, with a good, natural feeling bar and stem combo. The wheels are strong and love abuse, though they're a little on the weighty side. Kona chose well by picking Maxxis Minion tyres - they're ultra grippy under most conditions and fast rolling.
Up front is a Marzocchi 888: a plush and supple fork that performs superbly. It's fairly long though, so it does jack the front of the bike up a little.