Kona has revealed its 2015 bike lineup – and it's the largest in the company's 28-year history.
Major changes include a downsized Process 134, a new budget downhill bike and an equally price-conscious road bike series. Many other models will continue with just minor refinements.
Kona 2015 road bikes
The Esatto name might sound familiar – it was first used last year, for Kona’s Lynskey-made titanium endurance road frame. For 2015, Esatto has become a model series in its own right; the titanium frame has been joined by three affordable scandium aluminium bikes.
With 28c rubber, relaxed geometry, disc brakes (mostly) and compact gearing, the Esatto is a versatile road bike capable of all-day exploring, gran fondos, commuting or long training rides.
Despite an aluminium construction, the Esatto's thin seatstays should help soothe the ride
Kona is one of the few brands to use scandium enriched aluminium, and the Esatto uses Kona’s ‘race light scandium 69’ blend. Scandium is added to the aluminium to refine the material grain, increasing strength and meaning that less material can be used.
The basic £799 / US$999 Esatto has an alloy tapered steerer carbon fork and rim brakes. The £1,199 / US$1,399 Esatto D (Disc) and £1,599 / US$1,799 Esatto DDL (Disc Deluxe) will feature mechanical disc brakes and full carbon tapered forks.
Kona’s Zone carbon road bikes will continue for 2015.
Kona 2015 mountain bikes
The Process was one of the hits of 2014 with its aggressive trail geometry working across different travel and wheel sizes. The stand-out models for 2015 are the 29in Process 111 and the 26in 167.
The Process 111 is a 29er with 111mm of rear travel and 120mm at the front. Don’t let the relatively short travel trick you into thinking this is an XC race bike – the long and slack geometry means it’s ripe for hitting steeper, more technical trails.
The frame has a 634mm effective top tube length, and is designed for use with a 40mm stem. The 430mm seat stays are short for a full sus 29er, meaning the bike is single-ring specific – Kona is speccing a SRAM X1 drivetrain. Up front, a 120mm RockShox Pike is an upgrade from last year’s Revelation. Other improvements include a tubeless-ready wheel and tyre setup.
The Process 167 is a new hard-hitting downhill/freeride bike. The 167 is built around 26in wheels – unlike the Process 153 DL we reviewed recently. Kona claims that fitting 27.5in wheels to the 167 would have ruined its geometry, reasoning that smaller wheels are better for park applications – whips, backflips and so on.
The 167mm rear wheel travel is controlled by a RockShox Vivid Air RC2 shock, matched to the 170mm RockShox Lyrik DH RC2DH Solo Air front at the fork. It also has a 150mm KS Lev Integra dropper and SRAM Guide brakes.
Kona says: “If you wanted to call this bike the new Stinky, we’d be okay with that.”
Kona team rider Graham Agassiz will likely grab the new Process 167 for his fast-paced spins and flips
Elsewhere in the Process range, the new Process 134 SE aims to offer enduro capability at a lighter weight with a lower standover height. Offered down to a XS frame size, for riders of 5ft 4in and under, this 140mm travel, 27.5in-wheeled bike will feature SRAM’s new X1 groupset. Pricing is £TBA / US$3,999.
The new Process 134 SE is effectively a downsized and lightened Process 134
The Precept model range gives riders with a lower budget the ability to get the ride and feel of the pricier models.
The entry-level Precept gives 120mm of rear travel, controlled by a Fastrax AF-1 shock, matched by a 120mm RockShox XC 30 fork. The Shimano drivetrain is a mix of Alivio, Deore and SLX .
The DL version comes with higher spec and more travel – 130mm at the back and 140 at the front, taken care of by a Monarch R shock and Sektor Silver TK Solo Air fork respectively. The groupset is largely SLX and Deore groupset (with Altus shifters).
The Precept 200 downhill bike is aimed at the speed-seeking gravity crowed. It'll sit alongside Kona’s budget-orientated Precept trail bikes and will retail for £2,399 / US$2,999. The geometry of the 26in wheeled Precept 200 has been inspired by Kona's pro-level Operator downhill bike.
It has an aluminium frame and linkage-driven single-pivot suspension design, and the basic spec includes Avid Code R brakes and Sun Ringlé MTX33 rims.
The Kona Precept 200 is a downhill-focused machine for those on a budget
The other bike we were excited about is the Honzo, Kona’s hardcore 29er hardtail. The geometry of the Honzo is based on that of the longer-travel Processes – 635mm effective top tupe length (in large), 415mm chainstays and a 65mm bottom bracket drop (distance below a line between the axles) and 68-degree head angle to add stability.
Up front a RockShox Revelation RL Solo Air provides 120mm of travel while the Deore drivetrain is complemented by a RaceFace Evolve crankset and narrow/wide ring. Shimano’s excellent SLX brakes bring everything to a halt.
The full line-up can be seen on Kona’s website.