If you haven’t had a go on a recent, short travel 29er before then you’re missing out – and here’s one that we can’t wait to spend some time on. This is the latest Process 111 from Kona – '111' because that’s the amount of travel it has at the rear wheel.
Neither a cross-country machine nor a fashionable enduro bike, the orca-coloured Process 111 stands alone amongst three other, longer-travel 650b Process models.
At £3,499 (we expect the US price to be around $4,099; Aus pricing is TBC) this 111 is the cheaper of two specs sold, and yet the price is still high for an alloy-framed bike. To be fair to Kona, the spec sheet is pretty hard to poke holes in. The suspension is proven kit from RockShox, with a 120mm RC version of the Pike up front and a Monarch air can at the rear. SRAM’s X1 transmission brings its usual 1x simplicity and chain security to the Process and slowing the Kona shouldn’t be an issue either thanks to Shimano SLX brakes.
The WTB STs i29 wheelset is particularly generous on internal width and is ready to go tubeless; the same can be said for the Maxxis treads they’re wrapped with. The use of a Maxxis Minion at the front wheel and an Ardent at the rear should make for lurid oversteer, and it’s nice to see Maxxis’ tougher EXO sidewalls too.
The lengthy front triangle of the process comes with enormous standover clearance making it the ideal bike if you're a shorter rider wanting a longer frame
Upon its release, the Process stood out with some of the lengthiest geometry this side of a Mondraker, and it’s still pretty much there. The generous front centre of our XL test bike makes for a 485mm reach figure. Kona doesn’t believe in extra length at the rear however, and so the Process gets stubby 430mm chainstays across all sizes.
If you’re into your geometry tables then the Process also sports a 68 degree head angle and a 74 degree seat angle. The Process without pedals and with inner tubes fitted tipped our scales at 31lbs (14kg).
If there’s one thing the Process frame isn’t short on then it’s standover clearance, making it ideal for those smaller riders who prefer a longer frame. The flipside of this is that taller riders are going to need more exposed seatpost – a genuine problem for our lanky tester, who couldn’t actually get the extension he needs with the bike’s stock KS Lev Integra dropper.
We love how Kona's sense of fun makes it all the way to production bikes
Kona’s own-brand finishing kit includes a short as you can go 35mm stem (again, unless you're riding a Mondraker), and an elbows-out 780mm bar. This particular bike will be staying with our sister publication Mountain Biking UK, where it’ll serve technical writer Seb Stott as a long-term ride – so expect much more info soon.