If the heat wasn’t a solid indicator that summer was here, the wave of new model year 2016 product launches should be. While many brands are content to merely introduce new color ways, Kona is “going deeper.”
With that theme in mind, the traditionally mountain oriented brand has expanded its line of road bikes, redesigned its cross country models, and updated several other MTB models to better meet new and growing riding segments.
Up first is the new Roadhouse, which is a classic steel road frame built with Reynolds 853 tubing, modern touches like disc brakes, a tapered headset, and 12×142 thru axle dropouts…
With a price tag of $2,399 USD for a complete, the Roadhouse offers the a similar look to a hand built custom frame, but at a price us mere mortals can afford.
The Roadhouse will be available in six different sizes.
Also new for 2016 is the Private Jake, which is a cyclocross inspired aluminum frame that can easily be converted to a single speed. Designed to be something of a play bike, the frame has a relatively low BB, slack head angle, front and rear thru axles, and can accommodate up to 40mm tires.
There is no provision for a front derailleur, which allowed Kona to shorten the chain stays for maximum shralpage. The complete will retail for $1,999, although a frame & fork kit is available for $749.
Over on the knobby side of the line up, the entire XC line up has been redesigned using the brand new Fuse Independent Suspension system.
This suspension platform is similar to a traditional single pivot system, but relies on frame flex, rather than a pivot at the seat and chain stay junction. According to Kona, the “result is an efficient, laterally stiff suspension system that takes weight savings to a new level—Fuse is 240 grams lighter than its Beamer predecessor.”
The Hei Hei pictured above (which we spied this bike in prototype form at some early season races) utilizes the new Fuse suspension platform and will be available in two configurations – Trail (with a 120mm fork) and race (with a 100mm fork). The Trail complete will retail for $2,499 USD, while the Race model runs $3,299 USD. You can also purchase the 29er frame separately (w/ Fox Float shock and SRAM Maxle) for $1,699 USD.
The Kahuna model is a race oriented 29er priced between $1,299 and $1,999, which received major geometry updates for this model year – including a slacker head tube angle, lower BB, and shorter chainstays.
The frames are also now available in four different sizes (S, M, L, & XL), which should provide riders who were previously between sizes with better fit options.
Last but not least, the new Operator 27.5. Australian Connor Fearon has been spotted aboard a prototype of this model for several months and rumor has it a carbon version will follow shortly.
This new aluminum Operator is claimed to be as light as the previous 26″ carbon model, but has a longer reach, slacker head tube, and longer wheel base. It also utilizes a 12×142 rear thru axle and 73mm BB for a narrower profile, which is claimed to reduce pedal clipping issues without compromising wheel stiffness.
Want more? Head over to Kona for the full story, and stay tuned for a more in depth look when we visit Kona in a couple weeks!