Readers’ Rides: Matt’s Kona Shonky


Readers’ Rides: Matt’s Kona Shonky

We’ve gotten a number of cruiser, BMX, and DJ bikes submitted to our Readers’ Rides email over the past few weeks and today, we’re pleased to share Matt’s Kona Shonky. Read on below for Matt’s words on this build.

When I was 13 years old I rode a junker BMX bike *everywhere.* It was a heavy, off-brand steel frame with 20″ wheels, or maybe 24″, I can’t remember. For me the only thing that mattered was the freedom the bike gave me to get out of the house and explore surrounding neighborhoods. I’d roll it down the stairs at the local library and ride makeshift jumps built with friends on abandoned lots.

By the time I got to high school, I’d outgrown the bike. School, organized sports and girls became priorities. It wasn’t until I got to college and my dad gifted me a townie hybrid rig to get around campus that I fell back in love with cycling. I trained with the school cycling team a bit before discovering my love of touring and wrenching on bikes for friends. Cycling became a big part of my life, but somewhere along the way I’d lost sight of the unadulterated FUN I had on that crummy BMX bike.

So, last year I decided to build another one. Only this time, more grown up. Or, at least, versatile enough to tackle some of my favorite non-technical mountain bike trails here in the Bay Area, such as Crockett Hills and Tamarancho’s “Endor” flow trail. That meant 26″ wheels and a dropper post (call me old-fashioned, but I prefer sitting when pedaling to my local dirt park!). I initially built the bike ‘dingle-speed,’ with 30/28 chainrings and 15/13t cogs, which I could adjust by loosening the axle bolts and moving the chain manually. It worked fine, but I quickly realized that even at dedicated bike parks like Marin’s Stafford Lake, you gotta CLIMB to get to the good stuff!

My solution: filling the Hope Trials hub with the first six cogs of an mtb cassette and slapping on a rear derailer. I’m sure there are dirt jumper and BMX purists out there who will sneer at this setup. But I can’t help but smile climbing up the steep stuff instead of walking. Sure, riding mountain bike trails is what my mountain bike is for. Slacked out frames with long wheelbases and plus tires are du juor on this website for a reason: they make for wicked capable machines. But the small wheels and super short stature of this Shonky have breathed new life into familiar rides. I often find myself going out of my way to hit small hops and jumps I’d otherwise have steamrolled over on my hardtail. Sometimes, a less capable bike can be more fun.

FRAME Kona Shonky DJ (long-reach)
FORK Rockshox Pike DJ
WHEELS Hope Trials hubs laced to Stans Arch rims
TIRES Maxxis Ikon 26″ X 2.2″ with peanut butter sidewalls
HANDLEBARS Deity Highside with 20mm hidden bar-end extensions (800mm overall width)
STEM Deity Cavity
BRAKES Paul Love Levers (thanks to Blue Lug for coming through with that baby blue!)
TRP Spyke calipers with Shimano IceTech rotors
HEADSET Cane Creek
CRANKSET Shimano XT 165mm with 30t chainring (I recently swapped this out for a 26t)
DRIVETRAIN SRAM GX shifter with the first six cogs from a 10-speed cassette (11-28t)
SEATPOST Rockshox Transfer 200mm (frame custom drilled by Oakland framebuilder Erik Billings)
MOAR: I recently swapped the Rogue Panda Oracle bag for a full frame bag and added a Spurcycle mini bell. I’m still rocking that Verde BMX frame sticker (shout-out to Verde’s free sticker program – send ’em a self-addressed envelope for your own stash!), Mucky Nutz fender and King bottle cage on their ‘universal support’ mounts.

We’d like to thank all of you who have submitted Readers Rides builds to be shared over here. The response has been incredible and we have so many to share over the next few months. Feel free to submit your bike, listing details, components, and other information. You can also include a portrait of yourself with your bike and your Instagram account! Please, shoot landscape-orientation photos, not portrait. Thanks!