For those of you who feel Santa Cruz’s latest entry into the carbon 29’er hardtail market is too little, too late, perhaps you will be happy to see the Kona prototype we touched on awhile back is now undergoing some real world trail testing around Kona’s Bellingham, WA headquarters.
As expected the prototype 2012 King Kahuna Carbon retains all the tech features that many feel are necessary to be competitive in today’s market such as the 142×12 rear end, tapered headtube, BB30 or PF30 BB, and post mount rear disc mounts. Kona claims that the King Kahuna Proto is very light, weighing a mere 1240 g (2.73 lbs) for the frame only without the rear axle. Obviously, this is the lightest 29’er they have built to date, however Kona claims that it is still one of the strongest as well.
On Kona’s blog, their USA sales manager Kevin Noble was quoted as saying, “Seven more hours on the carbon Kahuna this weekend with great trail conditions. I love our Scandium hardtails but I have to say the ride of this bike is incredible. I’m really not sure how to describe it but I would say compliant without being flexy and snappy when accelerating out of the corners. To put it simply the carbon bike rides like a Kona but way lighter. The bike is plenty stiff in the rear end without being harsh. The geometry is spot on.”
This is from Dale Plant, one of the fastest riders in the company:
“I want to call it the Ali because it floats like a butterfly and stings like a bee (sorry, it just kept coming to mind). Laser Guided Missle was constantly coming up as well. The bike feels incredibly fast (FAST Pat would approve…hmmm, only one letter away from FAT)…anyway, stiff as hell, responsive, accurate, and sexy all in one. This thing is going to kick serious ass when unleashed on race courses.”
At this rate, I wouldn’t be surprised if we see one of these at Sea Otter in a few weeks with Top Secret written in Sharpie on a piece of notebook paper, taped to the handlebar (confused? Check out this post, clearly Kona has a good sense of humor).