Meet the latest e-MTB from Kona; the Kona Remote 160, an electric evolution of Kona’s successful Process enduro whip. Easy on the eye, this is one of the more aesthetically pleasing e-MTBs around, with the 504 Wh battery integrated into a semi-cylindrical downtube. Unlike the shorter travel Kona Remote CTRL, which features the BOSCH Performance Line CX, the burlier Remote 160 is the first in the Kona e-MTB line-up to be driven by the intuitive and natural-feeling Shimano STePS E8000 motor. We headed out to Madrid to ride rocky, sandy, Spanish singletrack aboard the Remote 160 for the first ride review. But first, let’s allow Trevor Porter, the designer of the Remote 160 and a former masters World Cup Downhill Champion, to walk us through the bike.
Kona Remote 160 enduro 27.5″+ e-MTB
Though modelled on the Process 153, the Remote 160 is by no means its geometrical twin. However, Kona have tried to replicate the ride characteristics offered by the 27.5″ Process while taking into account the e-MTB’s heft, the huge increase in the sprung:unsprung mass ratio, and the need for additional tyre clearance. Offered in a full Small to XL size range, the geometry of the Remote 160 is fixed with a short chainstay length of 435mm and a head tube angle of 65°, just 1° steeper than the Process. The steeper head tube angle removed the necessity to use downtube bumpers or headset stoppers which, during Kona’s initial testing, didn’t work really well.
The seat tube angle starts at 75.9° for the Small frame, slackening off ever so slightly to 75.6° on the XL frame. The reach figures are identical to those of the Process, at 425mm on the Small, increasing in 25mm increments up the size range to Large, with the XL stretching out to 510mm.
The BB sits 10mm lower than the Process BB at 345mm which, with the added weight especially, makes the bike feel super planted. In an attempt to reduce the likelihood of pedal strikes, Kona spec the Remote 160 with 165mm crank arms. Again, the reduced efficiency that comes with shorter cranks is more than accounted for by the motor.
The Kona Remote 160, with 160mm of front and rear wheel travel, is currently only offered in the 27.5″+ wheel size, providing plenty of tyre clearance for up to a 2.8″ WT on 35mm internal width rims. However, Kona say that the 157×12 DH Super Boost spacing of the freehub combined with 435mm chainstays do allow enough clearance for a 29″ wheel with a 2.5″ WT. So yeah, you could swap out your 27.5″ fork for a 29er version if you felt the need for faster rolling wheels. You probably won’t though, this bike already feels like a truck (in the best way possible).
The Kona Remote 160 uses Kona’s tried and tested Beamer Suspension platform, a single-pivot suspension design which uses a linkage actuated shock. The widely spaced pivots and oversized bearings featured on all Kona full suspension mountain bikes should help to increase the lifetime of these moving parts.
Shimano STePS E8000 E-MTB motor
Kona avoid talking about the range offered by the Remote 160 paired with the Shimano STePS E8000 motor, not because they’re trying to pull the wool over our eyes but because so many factors will affect range, including roughness of terrain, rider effort, gear selection, rider weight, outside temperature… the list goes on. But for example, when we headed out to Madrid to test the bike we covered around 45 km with over 1000m of ascent. 60 kg me completed the ride with 2/5 battery bars left, having used Eco mode for around 60% of the ride, Trail for 30%, and Boost for 10%.
The semi-cylindrical downtube houses a 504 Wh capacity Li-ion battery removable with the use of a 4mm hex key. Ball-park charging times are 2.5 hours to 80%, and 6 hours to 100%.
Pricing & Availability
The Kona Remote 160 is available now in sizes Small through to XL, servicing riders from 5ft to 6ft 5″. The two colorways available include the Gloss Charcoal with Crimson decals, and the Indigo with Dark Seafoam decals, only available in Europe. For a cracking spec list including a RS Lyrik Select fork, a Super Deluxe Select shock, SRAM Code R 4-pot brakes on 200mm rotors, and a SRAM NX Eagle 12s Drivetrain with NX single click shifters, pick up the Remote 160 for $5999.