Is it just me or is it rad that cross country mountain biking is getting rowdier? In pursuit of podiums, Kona just gave their carbon Hei Hei XC race bike a complete overhaul. The 2020 carbon Hei Hei boasts an all new CR platform featuring 20mm’s of additional rear travel, updated geometry and a revised frame design that places the rear shock horizontally under the top tube.
Kona’s carbon and aluminum Hei Hei’s have been brought up to rougher XC standards with slacker steering, steeper seating, plus longer and lower front ends. They’re also fitted with shorter stems; S/M frames have gone from 60mm stems to 50mm, and L/XL’s drop from 70mm to 60mm. The aluminum Hei Hei has seen geometry updates for 2020, but this frame has not yet received the new shock placement or increased travel seen on the carbon models.
The 2020 Hei Hei will be available in two complete carbon models, one aluminum model and a carbon frame only option. Check out all the updates for 2020 and build specs on the new Hei Hei lineup below.
Kona Hei Hei carbon frame updates:
All the new Hei Hei CRs are made from Kona’s ‘Race Light’ carbon, with high-modulus material in areas that require stiffness and low-modulus carbon where some degree of flex was desired. The most obvious update to the frame is the horizontally positioned rear shock: Moving the shock to a compact upper link mounted on the top tube opened up enough room to carry two water bottles on the new frames – One on the seat mast and one atop the down tube.
The updated carbon frames got a boost in suspension travel, and now offer 120mm’s of squish from Kona’s Fuse Independent suspension platform (matched to 120mm forks). The Fuse rear ends have done away with pivots, and rely on their tuned seatstays to flex as you ride. This pivotless design allows for lighter, stiffer rear ends that require less maintenance, and the flexy seat stays also offer a bit of extra cushion when you bottom the bike out harshly.
Kona’s linkage rotates on beefy, locking hardware – There’s a 20mm axle in the lower pivot and the upper link swings on two 15mm pivots. Inside those pivots are double-sealed bearings.
Previous generation Hei Heis were very linear, yet had a high leverage rate that made them immediately progressive. To improve the bike’s small bump sensitivity, the new Hei Hei’s start off with an almost flat curve for the first third of travel, but become quite progressive when you hit the last two thirds. This design also helps the shock rebound back into a low-leverage position following a large impact, allowing it to smooth over chattery terrain.
The new Hei Hei’s anti-squat is tuned to provide solid climbing prowess, but not to an extreme that will sacrifice small bump compliance or big hit capability.
The 2020 Hei Heis ride on 29” wheels and have clearance for 2.5” tires. Key fitments include a PF92 bottom bracket, 148x12mm Boost rear axle, and 160mm post-mounts. Other finishing details include a rubber chainstay protector and protective anti-chain-suck plate, and no front derailleur mount.
Aluminum frame updates:
The 2020 aluminum Hei Hei did not get the same revisions as the carbon frame: While the geometry has been updated, it retains its vertically-oriented rear shock with 100mm’s of travel. The aluminum bikes run 120mm forks, Boost-spaced axles, PF92 bottom brackets, offer external cable routing, and they’re still front derailleur compatible.
Kona says the Hei Hei’s geometry was updated to provide a more comfortable ride, and crunching the numbers we can see some typical trends; The 2020 Hei Hei’s have longer and lower front ends, longer wheelbases, slacker steering angles and steeper seat masts. All Hei Hei models come in S/M/L/XL frame sizes, and there are slight differences between the aluminum and carbon frames.
For 2020, the carbon Hei Hei’s head tube angle has been slacked out by half a degree to 67.5°, and the seat tube angle got one degree steeper at 75°. Reach is now 19-24mms longer depending on size, and stack heights are lower than last year’s frames. While their 430mm chainstay length hasn’t changed, the new carbon Hei Hei’s wheelbase has grown by 25-27mm’s. The carbon frames’ standover height is the same for all sizes at 741 mm.
The 2020 aluminum Hei Hei now has a 67.5° head tube angle, but the seat masts have only marginally steepened to 74.2° (except the XL at 74.1°). The aluminum frames have grown in reach to match the carbon frames’ numbers, and their stack heights have also come down by a few mm’s. Chainstay length remains at 430mm, but wheelbase has increased by 25-31mms.
2020 Hei Hei Lineup:
Check out the build specs for all the Hei Hei models in the charts below; Something you won’t see in the charts is that the Hei Hei CR’s come with 125mm travel dropper posts in Small frames, 150mm in Mediums and 175mm in Large and XL frames. The CR/DLs come with the same lengths except the XL, which gets a 200mm post.
Hei Hei CR DL – $5999
Hei Hei CR- $4499
Hei Hei CR Race Frame- $3099
Hei Hei – $2599
Due to the Coronovirus situation, Kona allowed a few USA dealers to start selling the new Hei Hei CR’s as of late March, so you may be able to see one in the flesh at a Kona dealer near you. The 2020 Hei Hei’s official availability date is yet to be determined.