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Kona Ouroboros Is Built Around MTB Components for Hardcore Adventuring

Kona Ouroboros supreme
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Is it gravel? Adventure or ATB? Old school XC? The internet is full of opinions on the fast-growing segment many simply refer to as Gravel. For those interested in “surviving an eternal existence of limbo between gravel and mountain,” Kona is introducing the all-new Ouroboros.

The Ouroboros is an all-new platform of gravel bikes from the unbound minds at Kona. Whether you’re a gravel-loving mountain biker or a mountain-bike-loving gravel biker, the Ouroboros is the lure to catch the attention of both. Pack it expertly for the long haul, nimbly explore the edges of singletrack, or complete multiple days of the most wonderfully weird and delightfully chaotic of events – the Ouroboros is intentionally designed around the rowdy stuff.

Kona Bikes

Calling it a bike for “hardcore adventuring,” Kona also points out that while some bikes tolerate mountain bike components, the Ouroboros was designed around them. Instead of typically weight-conscious components, you’ll find details like 180mm rotors, frame clearance for up to 2.1″ MTB tires, front suspension, and SRAM Transmission on the Supreme model. As such, our 50cm sample tips the scales at 23.15lbs – heavy for a gravel bike, but light for a mountain bike.

Tire clearance is limited to 700c x 50mm on the Fox or RockShox suspension forks, but the rigid carbon fork can fit up to a 29 x 2.5″ tire!

The carbon frame also includes geometry somewhere between gravel and MTB with a 69.5º head tube angle and a 74º seat tube angle for a 52cm.

Another MTB-influenced spec? The 31.6mm seat post. Instead of the typical 27.2mm post found on most gravel bikes for added compliance, the Ouroboros uses a 31.6mm post for increased dropper post durability. I love it when brands provide detailed spec sheets like the one above for the Ouroboros. It leaves no questions about specs like the BB86 bottom bracket, chainline, headset, or even axle thread pitch.

Depending on the spec and your build ambitions, the Ouroboros can be loaded up with anything from fenders, to racks, and tons of bags and accessory mounts. The inside of the front triangle has enough mounts that custom bags can be added without the need for straps. You’ll also find a front derailleur mount if you’d prefer to run a 2x or 3x drivetrain.

Complete bikes will be offered in 1x or 2x, and will start at the Ouroboros CR with a Fox TC32 40mm suspension fork. Then the Ouroboros CR/DL moves to fully rigid with a 2×12 SRAM Rival eTap AXS drivetrain for more classic gravel adventures. Finally, the Ouroboros Supreme features a wide build complete with a RockShox Rudy Ultimate XPLR fork, SRAM Force eTap AXS/X0 Eagle Transmission, Reverb AXS dropper post, and even the Zipp 101 XPLR carbon wheels.

First Impressions

I had hoped to get some time on the Ouroboros before the launch (and leaving for Sea Otter), but I haven’t quite gotten there yet – partially because I’m still figuring out the fit. Without being able to try the bike first, I based my size request on the last Kona gravel bike I rode, the Libre DL. On that frame, I rode a 49cm which seemed to fit bigger than the number indicated. Since the 50cm Ouroboros had a slightly longer reach number than the 49cm Libre DL and only a 1º difference in STA, I requested the 50cm.

Upon getting it out of the box, it was clear that the Ouroboros has a much different fit, and the 50cm feels tiny. It also comes with a very short 40mm stem, so I’m in the process of figuring out a longer stem to make the fit work. Because of that, I’d say if you’re on the fence about sizing, go with the larger size – if you’re going off the sizing from a past Kona gravel bike, my advice would be go by the top tube length rather than the reach. I know now that I should at least be on the 52cm frame.

I should have more to report after Sea Otter.

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25 Comments
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jon thomas
jon thomas
1 month ago

These monster cross bikes are fun but not the machine for tech trails.
I tried the John Tomac thing in 1992 and have had a few drop bar mtb’s over the years but prefer the leverage of normal mtb bars for anything aggressive. I have 750mmm ridefar superwide bars & fox34 on my beast and can negotiate the blue trails but it get’s in trouble on the black diamonds. Good bike if you ride 80% gravel and 20% mellow singletrack,

nooner
nooner
1 month ago
Reply to  jon thomas

“I tried the John Tomac thing in 1992 and have had a few drop bar mtb’s” Well, to be fair your initials are JT. Good job KONA, this bike ticks a lot of boxes.

Sevo
Sevo
1 month ago
Reply to  jon thomas

You can ride more than “mellow” singletrack on such….if you have the skills. Been riding road bikes off road since 1990 and various cyclocross bikes and gravel bikes on all sorts of trails I’ve been told “you can’t ride that there”.

Throw a proper dirt drop purpose built for ridin off road vs a road/gravel bar and you’ll get even further faster on such. Throw a dropper post on and things open up even more. suspension? Haven’t felt the need. But can’t hurt.

Go give Drop Bars & Knobbies a follow on IG and Monstercross News a follow on FB. Both have been covering such for over a decade.

jakk
jakk
1 month ago

Finally, Kona release a new bike.. I was wondering if this brand was still alive

kevin
kevin
1 month ago
Reply to  jakk

well. They are not…:-(

packfill
packfill
1 month ago

We’ve had these bikes for ages. They’re actually called hardtails.

cooper
cooper
1 month ago

Interesting. I sized down for my NSMB review bike, and am happy with the decision.

Emo
Emo
1 month ago

Personally I don’t have a use for this bike in the quiver, but it definitely makes me love Kona even more. The fact that they consistently put out niche and interesting product (often at a competitive pricepoint) is great for the industry.

seraph
1 month ago

Man, they had every chance to make these use BSA bottom brackets but missed the mark.

Grillis
Grillis
1 month ago

The name is appropriate.

Bumscag
Bumscag
1 month ago

Kinda like a Chamois Hagar dialed back to 7

Brad
Brad
1 month ago

Definitely one of the ugliest bikes I’ve ever seen in my life. I had to cover up the photos with my hand to read the copy.

mud
mud
1 month ago

Man, that thing look hideous. Not a road bike, not a mountain bike, just a bastard child. Mtbs have evolved into the perfect vehicle for trail riding, so just make one with a bit shorter reach and put drops on it.

mud
mud
1 month ago

Why make a bike for rowdy trails and limit it to 2.1″ tires? and even less for the gravel fork? 120mm fork is the way to go.

Sevo
Sevo
1 month ago
Reply to  mud

I road singletrack on 33s and 43 for ages on rigid cross bikes. No problem. 2.1s full rigid you’d be surprised what you can do. Not everyone is pretending to be an enduro brah.

John Jon the Leprechaun
John Jon the Leprechaun
1 month ago

Some bikes are made to drive interest and attention to a brand and are in part an extension of their marketing departments. “Hardcore adventuring” clues us in on this idea and sums it up. While bikes like this don’t typically resonate with me aesthetically…ie, overtly carbon shapes…the design of the headtube reminds me of older generation FTW hard tails. That was a good move and very much adds some personality to the bike. Such a niche audience for this bike but I can think of plenty of rides where a machine like this would have been the sharpest tool for the task at hand. But I only find opportunities to ride these areas a few times a year. Otherwise a more dedicated mtb or road bike is better suited for the types of “hardcore” adventures I find myself doing.

Doc Sarvis
Doc Sarvis
1 month ago

Timing. Kona maybe gone in the coming days.

Sevo
Sevo
1 month ago
Reply to  Doc Sarvis

Kona isn’t going anywhere.

NegativeYoda
NegativeYoda
1 month ago
Reply to  Sevo

this comment didn’t age well

King County
King County
1 month ago

For long, bumpy, but non technical (non-‘hardcore mtb’) routes, this seems to be useful. I like the snake head logo. If that was around long, I am just noticing it.

nooner
nooner
1 month ago
kevin
kevin
1 month ago

Very ugly.

Ouroboros CR/DL is $4,799 for non mainstream gravel geometry and alloy rims.

Good Luck with that.

Dr.Tobbogan
Dr.Tobbogan
1 month ago
Reply to  kevin

Their pricing is insane. A full suspension carbon mtb could be had for less.

mud
mud
1 month ago

Crazy that Kona pulled out of Sea Otter before it even began, and when they are introducing this new model to the public. Such a stupid decision that only a private investor group would make. The original Kona crew must be aghast.

Hoe Jamilton
Hoe Jamilton
1 month ago
Reply to  mud

that model came out last year, and it’s one more in a long line of terrible results from overreaches in experimentation from the brand.

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