2012 Kona bikes – Sneak peek

Latest mountain, cyclo-cross and urban models

While some manufacturers host extravagant press launches or leak ‘spy shots’ to select journos, Kona have gone about the launch of their 2012 bikes in a more subtle way, gradually drip-feeding information via their Kona Cog blog. We featured the new Entourage freeride bike earlier this year. Here’s a round-up of the other models you may have missed…



The Satori is a 130mm-travel 29er aimed at aggressive all-mountain riders. Named after a Japanese Buddhist term for enlightenment, it uses a four-bar Swing Link suspension design instead of Kona’s usual Walking Beam configuration for improved standover height with the big wheels. According to Kona, their aim was to create a nimble bike that provides plush suspension in a simple, light, stiff and aesthetically pleasing package.

Kona satori:

The Honzo

To complement the Satori, there’s a new 29er trail hardtail, The Honzo. Another Zen name? Erm, no – it’s named after an alcoholic, chain-smoking chimpanzee. Described as a “wildly agile, trail-abusive chromoly hardtail 29er”, the Honzo has short chainstays ( 415mm/16.3in), a 68° head angle, room for 2.4in tyres and plenty of mud clearance.

There’s no front derailleur mount so it’ll come with a 1×9 transmission and The Hive LS1+ chain guide. Features include ISCG 05 tabs, an integrated headset, cable routing for a height-adjustable seatpost, and sliding dropouts so it can be run singlespeed. It’ll come with a RockShox Revelation RL Dual Air fork and should be available from the end of October.

Kona honzo:

Carbon King Kahuna

For those after something with more of a cross-country bent, there’s the new Carbon King Kahuna, Kona’s first carbon fibre 29er hardtail. This has short chainstays, a low bottom bracket, tapered head tube, stiff 142×12 rear axle and a race-ready spec including a RockShox Reba RL fork (with tapered steerer and 15mm through-axle), Avid Elixir 5 brakes, SRAM X9 gearing and Easton wheels. Claimed frame weight is just 1,240g.

According to Kona USA sales manager Kevin Noble: “The ride of this bike is incredible. I’m really not sure how to describe it but I’d say compliant without being flexy and snappy when accelerating out of the corners. To put it simply, the carbon bike rides like a Kona but way lighter. The bike is plenty stiff in the rear end without being harsh. The geometry is spot-on.”

Kona carbon king kahuna:

The Operator

The Operator downhill bike was launched last year. For 2012, the chainstays have been shortened and the geometry can be tweaked via new shock mount options. It’ll come with a Fox Racing Shox Van RC rear shock and RockShox Boxxer Race fork, a SRAM drivetrain and Avid Code R brakes.

Kona the operator:

Jake series

Kona’s top-end cyclo-cross bike, the carbon fibre Major Jake, retains the same frame for 2012 but gets some component upgrades, including Avid Shorty Ultimate brakes and Shimano Ultegra wheels. The frameset is also available on its own.

Jake The Snake is now a bit racier, with the same frame features and geometry as its carbon brother but replicated in butted 7005 aluminium. The spec includes a 10-speed Shimano Tiagra/105 drivetrain, FSA Gossamer Compact BB30 press-fit cranks, Avid Shorty 6 brakes and Maxxis Mud Wrestler tyres.

Kona jake the snake: kona jake the snake

Finally, the entry-level Jake gains internal rear brake cable routing and moves from a nine-speed to a 10-speed drivetrain (Tiagra/105) but looks otherwise unchanged. The spec includes Kona own-brand cockpit kit and Maxxis Mud Wrestler tires.


The Kona Ute cargo bike will be joined by a shorter, more versatile cousin in 2012 – the MinUte. A substantially shorter wheelbase means this should be easier to store, manoeuvre and park. It still has an upright riding position, swept back HandPlant handlebar, disc brakes and low, 16-speed gearing, and comes with a set of panniers. Rated to carry up to 100lb (not including rider), it’ll cost $799 in North America; UK pricing is still to be determined.

Kona minute: kona minute


Last but not least, the Roundabout is a retro-looking commuter. It features a “classic steel Mixte frame, with a clean, streamlined aesthetic”, according to Kona’s Mark Matson. There’s a Kona HandPlant handlebar up front and a low-maintenance 1×9 drivetrain. The Roundabout is available in just two sizes – small and medium – and is aimed at women riders.

Kona roundabout: kona roundabout

We’ll bring you more on these bikes as and when we get it, including pricing. For now, check out our image gallery and the Kona Cog blog.