The trail bike category is getting ever more competitive, with help from the likes of Kona’s old Process 111 29er, which made waves when it launched some years ago.
Its latest Process 134 aims to hit that shorter-travel trail bike sweet spot with a ride that’s easy going on the climbs but still rips on the descents.
Kona Process 134 CR/DL 29 frame and kit
The Process 134’s smooth carbon lines and subtle-yet-striking paintjob turned heads on the trail.
Kona’s Beamer suspension platform – a linkage-driven single-pivot setup – uses a meaty carbon rocker link to drive a trunnion-mounted RockShox Super Deluxe Ultimate shock and delivers 134mm of rear wheel travel.
Cables are routed internally, with some of the neatest entry/exit ports I’ve seen, and there’s rubberised frame protection to prevent damage from chain slap or flying debris.
On the medium size I tested, a 450mm reach is matched to short 428mm chainstays (and these don’t grow on larger frames, which may not please taller riders). I measured the head angle at a smidge over 66 degrees and the effective seat-tube angle at 76.5 degrees. The bottom bracket sits 340mm off the ground and 33mm below the axles, to help give that feel of sitting ‘in’ the bike.
|Seat angle (degrees)||76.5||76.5||76.3||76.2|
|Head angle (degrees)||66||66||66||66|
|Seat tube (cm)||38.5||41||45||48.5|
|Top tube (cm)||56.9||59.6||62.5||66.4|
|Head tube (cm)||9.3||9.8||10.9||12|
|Fork offset (cm)||5.1||5.1||5.1||5.1|
|Bottom bracket drop (cm)||3.3||3.3||3.3||3.3|
|Bottom bracket height (cm)||34.2||34.2||34.2||34.2|
An impressive 140mm-travel RockShox Pike Ultimate fork sits up front on the CR/DL and matches the shock really well, in terms of feel at least.
SRAM’s G2 RSC brakes take care of slowing the bike down, and the US brand also supplies its slick-shifting X01 Eagle transmission with the latest 10-52t wide-range cassette.
Kona Process 134 CR/DL 29 ride impressions
Progress uphill is rapid enough, and at no point did I feel like the 13.9kg Process 134 was holding me back. Over the occasional steep pitch on smoother trails, I did flick the low-speed compression lever to firm up the shock and maximise efficiency. The seated position feels just about roomy enough to keep things comfy on long drags, too.
Plunge into some downhill singletrack and you soon appreciate the bike’s lithe, agile ride. While the frame and wheels aren’t super-stiff when pushed hard, the 134 still feels reactive and nimble when skipping from obstacle to obstacle. That liveliness is bolstered by the compact back end, which makes it a breeze to lift the front wheel.
The good suspension balance adds confidence and responsiveness when tackling fast consecutive turns. Get into rougher terrain and you soon forget this little bike only has 134mm of travel as it hammers through the chunder, muting smaller bumps impressively.
On bigger hits, it had just the right amount of progression at the rear, without me having to add any extra volume spacers.
That eagerness to be ridden fast does make you wonder whether it’d benefit from some bigger brakes or a burlier fork, although those might chip away at its lively character. As it is, it’s a blast to ride, but doesn’t come cheap.
|Price||AUD $8999.00GBP £6399.00USD $6199.00|
|Weight||13.9kg (M) – without pedals|
|Available sizes||S, M, L, XL|
|Brakes||SRAM G2 RSC|
|Cassette||SRAM X01 Eagle, 10-52t|
|Cranks||SRAM GX carbon|
|Fork||RockShox Pike Ultimate, 140mm (5.5in) travel|
|Frame||Carbon fibre, 134mm (5.3in) travel|
|Handlebar||Kona XC/BC 35, 800mm|
|Rear derailleur||SRAM X01 Eagle|
|Seatpost||RockShox Reverb 150mm dropper|
|Shifter||SRAM X01 Eagle|
|Stem||Kona XC/BC 35, 40mm|
|Tyres||Maxxis Minion DHF 3C MaxxTerra EXO 29x2.5in WT (f) and Maxxis Dissector 3C MaxxTerra 29x2.4in WT (r)|
|Wheels||WTB KOM Light i30 TCS rims on DT Swiss 350 hubs|