The New Kona Rove LTD is 650B and Reynolds 853 Aug 16, 2017

Morgan just sent through some photos of his new Kona Rove LTD. Reynolds 853 tubing, carbon ‘cross fork, WTB KOMs with 47c Horizons, Force 1 hydraulic… this thing looks great. Can’t wait to see what you get up to with it, Morgan!

  • Matt M

    Good changes except for the new fork. If the Rove is their adventure model, why no rack or cage mounts?

    • Yeah, I agree but none of my carbon forks have mounts and I still use them for touring / bikepacking. I’d love to see brands like Whisky, 3T and ENVE make rack mounts like the Rodeo Labs fork.

      • Ultra_Orange

        The world needs more touring fork options, pickins are slim for sure.

        • It’s hard to engineer a carbon fork to take mounts and still pass consumer safety impact testing. From what I’ve been told anyway…

          • Ultra_Orange

            Right, we’ve been hearing that for some time now. But Salsa, Niner, Specialized and Rodeo have them and didn’t Enve produce one for Speedvagen as well?

            Salsa failed when they offer the Firestarter Carbon Fork with mid mounts on the Fargo 27.5 but not on the stand alone fork. And even the Vaya GX has mid mounts but isn’t offered stand alone. They are out there and they exist but rarely are they sold without being attached to the bike.

          • ENVE didn’t produce it for SV – SV got Rukkus to make them.

          • Locke Hassett

            You can find them from distributors from time to time, but they are quite expensive for a relatively heavy carbon fork. Best bet is waiting for a take-off from a Fargo. Luckily, those Fargo headtubes are short and leave plenty of steertuve leftoever!

          • DominicBruysPorter

            Hell specialized and a few other big mainstream brands have had carbon touring forks with huge clearance, disc, and lowrider mounts for nearly a decade, but of course, only on the complete bike, and never aftermarket.

          • Ultra_Orange

            That’s what I’m on about, the forks are out there and capable. Even the New 1120 is running a boost version of the Boone rigid carbon fork that was on the Stache 5 and it has triple boss mounts. it’s time to #gettheforkout !

          • Ryanisinallofus

            That’s why you just put water bottle / anything cage bosses on them. You get all that frame pack room which makes up for not being able to run a low rider.

      • Chris Kyle

        I run the new Salsa Cutthroat fork on my bikepacking bike and it’s an awesome fork. It weighs less than the ENVE XC fork too.

    • Ultra_Orange

      Sutra – Adventure Touring
      Jake – Cross
      Rove – Gravel/Jack of all trades

      The LTD is facing stiff competition thought against bikes at the same price point that weight pounds less(Stigmata) and bikes a grand less(Cosmic Stallion) I’m not sold that Force 1 is enough of a value argument in it’s favor.

      Also to consider if you are interested in this then the Cosmic Stallion should be stiff competition since All City Claims it’s ACE tubing weights less. So the money saved could easily be flipped into a second lighter wheelset.

  • Ultra_Orange

    I personally think the price point on this is the killer. I want to see this weighted and compared to the Cosmic Stallion. If anything this just made my decision down to the Rove ST or the Sutra LTD if I’m forking over this kinda cash I might as well get something much lighter or fully outfitted for all road touring.

    • Savoldelli

      $3600 also gets you in the price range of a Rock Lobster, depending on what kind of parts /wheels you want on there.
      Went that route last year it was one of the best (bike) decisions I ever made…!

    • There are some pretty drastic differences in spec between this and the CS. Rims and hubs, shift levers and brakes, carbon vs aluminum crank to start. Whether those things are of value to you isn’t something I can comment on, but they are definitely things I appreciate having spent a lot of time on Rival bikes that I feel compelled to swap nicer wheels onto.

      • Ultra_Orange

        Sure they are different bikes but seem squarely aimed at the same goal. The weight is an issue, it weights about 5 pounds more than a stigmata that is 3 sizes bigger. And until we get a CS on a scale(ACE is supposed to be lighter than 853) and cram some 650b wheels on one we may never know. But if you think about it that way you could end up with a CS with both a 700c and 650b setups and still come in under on price and weight. Could always do the the off eBay swap and end up with CX1 and those wheels and still come in under.

        • The frame/fork platforms themselves and intended/ideal use are not that much different; the spec is drastically different. Perceived value of spec choice is highly subjective and personal… it looks like you prefer an upgradeable lower spec – and that’s fair.

  • scott

    I’d be curious to get people’s thoughts on why companies stick a carbon cross fork on these adventure/allroad/gravel bikes. I can see the benefits of a super stiff cross fork for racing cross. But for bikes like the Rove, Stallion, Warbird, etc wouldn’t you be better off with a nice supple steel fork or perhaps a non-cross carbon fork thats designed more for suppleness than stiffness? Obviously a steel fork is heavier but steel is also typically cheaper.

    • Matt

      I’ve always thought that the primary benefits of a stiffer carbon fork are better steering control and reduced flex under braking (in addition to being less weight). It’s worth noting that Kona uses both steel and aluminum forks in the bottom half of the Rove range. Given the other spec differences between these models, I’m curious whether the properties of the fork could be isolated and compared?

      • DominicBruysPorter

        Could always try swapping the fork out on the same frame? But, the main thing is the weight difference. You get a smoother ride out of a stiff carbon fork than a stiff steel fork, because the steel one is necessarily heavier and thicker wall, until somebody starts making thin wall steel fork blades.

        • I have a spare steel ‘cross fork that I could try, but it’s got an IS brake mount, not a flat mount. As far as I know there is not adapter for this. If I can get hold of a post mount Force caliper to swap on, I may give it a go. There are, in fact, flat mount frame/fork to post mount brake adapters, so I could still use the stock fork with a post mount caliper. So confusing!

    • I’m not sure if you can provide a supple, nice steel fork when you’re a large manufacturer, given all the safety regulations and whatnot. It’s jut not feasible.

  • multisportscott

    This looks great, Morgan if you are monitoring this, can you confirm the maximum tyre clearance, like I know you like to check these things out. How does it compare with your Sulta LTD?? Thanks

    • The Sutra LTD is a completely different bike. The Rove LTD is more closely related to a ‘cross bike, something like John’s Crema or Kyle’s Stinner: fast and playful, with the tire volume to make things even more fun. The Sutra is definitely a mountain bike at its heart, and is best suited to a 29×2.1 tire. It’s not as quick, but it’s more rugged, and really shreds the rough stuff.

      I’m swapping some Byways onto the Rove this week. While I’m at it I’ll check what else might fit.

      • multisportscott

        The Crema and Stinner are exactly what I’m trying to emulate! (Well if I’m honest it’s the OPEN UP or 3T Explore but they’re outside my budget ;-) ) Currently have my eye on a Bombtrack Hook EXT, but everything I read about them is how heavy they are. I think the Sultra LTD is too MTBish for my current desires……Sooo well a 650b x 2.1 fit in there? Nano’s perhaps???

        • I did some tire testing before landing on Resolutes in advance of a ‘cross clinic we did this week. Keep in mind the rims are KOM i25s, so on the wide side, but…

          The stock Horizons obviously fit fine. The outside knobs on Byways do not protrude beyond the casing on these rims, so there’s plenty of clearance for them as well. Both Horizons and Byways measure just over 47mm here.

          I tried a Nano 2.1 and it was indeed too close. The wheel spins, and I’m willing to run my tires a lot closer to the chainstays than most people, and I won’t run this. They measure about 53mm There *might* be enough room on narrower rims, but the narrowest wheelset we have in the house is 21 internal, and I don’t think that’ll gain enough clearance.

          Interestingly, the 650×42 Resolute measures out at 44mm on these rims, 42.5mm on the i23s on Stephanie’s Straggler. They’re both set up tubeless and feel stable at ~25 psi.

          • David Day

            I’m looking at the Rove LTD – had a test ride which was great but surprised by their choice of the Horizon as standard tire. Interested in more comment of your experience with the Byways

          • When this bike was being spec’d out, Byways weren’t an option for OEM spec. So that answers that. Would they get spec’d for the next bike? Possibly. Depends on dealer/consumer feedback.

            I put the Byways on last week, rode some gravel, some singletrack, and a 200 km rando. Honestly, I see no downsides to using Byways over Horizons for my needs. John’s review of the Byways here on the Radavist is spot on, and I’ve said a bit more in a recent Instagram post.

  • I’ve already begun the process of swapping my fit parts over from my old Rove. So far I’ve pulled the Easton 20mm offset post and C15 Cambium, a 110mm stem, next will be the Easton EA70 AX bar. And Byways (or maybe Resolutes?), since we’re doing a ‘cross clinic this weekend.

    https://www.instagram.com/p/BX4gmssALUC/

    • Raymond Yuen

      Hey Morgan, what frame size is yours Rove LTD?

      • It’s a 56, which fits a bit bigger than that because of the sloping top tube.

        • Raymond Yuen

          Thanks Morgan. Obviously proper fit dictates the stem length, but I think yours look better with 110mm stem now.

  • Hrvoje

    Morgan, can you please share some riding experience? I have 2016 Sutra LTD with Specialized sawtooth tires and wonder if there is any sense to add Rove LTD to my stable. I am interested in fork comparison (steel/carbon), and frame stiffnes. I do not understand why has Kona gone with 31,8 seat post in 2018 bikes, especially since Sutra is 27,2. How about ride feel? Is the rear part of the bike much stiffer than Sutra LTD? Many thanks in advance, looking forward to another great review

    • The Sutra and the Rove, as platforms, are actually very different. You have a Sutra LTD so you’re aware of the off-roadability and capability of the Sutra platform. It’s made of thicker gauge tubing than even the Rove ST, so it can handle being loaded up and remain stable.

      The Rove is more closely related to a ‘cross bike, but something many might market as a gravel bike. A lot of people use these as commuters as they’re really more suited to average drop bar commuting needs than ‘cross bikes. Comparing the Rove LTD to either of the above bikes, you have to acknowledge the refinement and precision of the 853 frame and carbon fork. It’s skewed more toward light loads and going quick.

      The Rove ST kinda sits in a middle ground. The Sutra is very much a mountain bike. For my own touring needs, a steel ‘cross-like-bike like the Rove ST actually suits very well, the Sutra is arguably overkill. I plan to go forward with the Rove LTD and Unit as my “fast” and “touring” bikes, and sell the Rove ST and Sutra LTD.

      Also, The Rove LTD does have a 27.2 post, that’s being corrected on the website.

      • Hrvoje

        Many thanks for quick answer – I agree with everything that you said. Sutra LTD is really great and stable for loaded riding, and I expect Rove to be much more agile ride. I also really like Rove ST, but I want bike with hydraulics.
        Great info about the 27,2 post, it looked skinny on the pictures but I assumed that the info is correct.
        Do you notice difference in Force groupset compared to Rival on Sutra? Is there any difference in braking?
        Thanks again!

        • It’ll be difficult to judge before the Force brakes are properly bedded in, but they work really well out of the box. The Force stuff does have a nicer feel to it with the carbon lever blades and more positive shifter engagement, though Rival hydro is already a step above Rival mechanical in that way.