Kona’s designer Chris Mandell knew it was time to hit hard with a newly designed frame and fresh approach towards pinning the downhill and cruising the climbs, especially with the current boom in gravity enduro riding. After his impressive work on the Kona Operator, we couldn’t wait to get our grubby mitts on the Process.
Ride & handling: Fast and stable downhill machine
The Process climbed extremely well for a bike that feels so capable on the downs, with minimal shock movement even with it was left fully open. The top tube length offers enough room to remain comfy when getting the power down, but the slack head angle and high front end can make it tricky to keep the front wheel on the ground when the ups get steep – this is when the DPA adjustment on the fork comes into play, although we tended not to use it that much.
The downhills are where the Process really comes into its own, though. The slack head angle and long front centre make for an extremely stable ride – we felt much more in control in a given situation on the Process than on many other similar bikes.
The cockpit has enough room to move around in comfortably, with the Process performing best with a slightly front-end-heavy, aggressive riding stance. The rear end of the Process is massively confidence inspiring – it feels as though it’s packing more travel than its 150mm (5.9in).
Even in the most unforgiving, hard-hitting terrain, the Process stays stable and predictable, with a serious amount of traction even in chattery flat turns and rocky chutes. Carving turns is a massive amount of fun too, with predictable sliding and no funny business from the suspension. We’re yet to find the limit of this one.
Frame & equipment: DH geometry with a super spec
Built from Kona’s 6069 Race Light butted aluminium, the Process puts out 150mm (5.9in) of rear travel through Kona’s distinctive Walking Beam four-bar Linkage system. The measurements certainly hint that the Process is built for serious high-speed shredding.
Our 18in (medium) test bike sports a 1,170mm wheelbase, 66-degree head angle and 345mm bottom bracket height – long, slack and low. Other notable features include a PF92 press-fit bottom bracket, ISCG 05 tabs, tapered head tube, 12x142mm rear end, and routing for a dropper post.
Our top-end test bike has a spec that hits the spot. RockShox bring the suspension, with the Monarch Plus shock and Lyrik DPA fork featuring the RC2 DH damper. Gearing all comes courtesy of SRAM’s X0, as do the brakes, though these are the new Trail version.
A Stan’s wheelset keeps the weight down and adds tubeless compatibility, and it’s wrapped in Maxxis High Roller 2 tyres, which happen to be some of our favourite rubber. The RockShox Reverb Stealth seatpost tops it off for us – it offers neat routing and no hose to get in the way.