Leaving Behind the Persistent Illusion of Permanence: a Review of the KONA 2021 Process 153 DL

Modern beings are swimming in a self-destructive bath of distraction and doubt. “What is our usefulness?” we ask. What are we missing out on? Obviously something way better than what’s presently available to us. Is there a possible transaction of labor and capital that will permanently remove our doubts and self-diagnosed shortcomings? Is loving our own being possible? What is the best lifestyle accessory for our feelings of inadequacy? Such is our cruel method of measure, our search for moments of ease. This pernicious dance is as tedious as it is destructive. In this mindset, we will never be enough, never feel whole. It’s a zombie game that eats the possibility for our own contentment and moments of equanimity. This seeking is a cruel grift.

If we can put aside this scraping jittery mind, there is a mode we can engage for relief, a time out of questioning. A space that is neither here nor there. A zone of zero pronouns where the Cartesian trash of discreet beings and “scientific” boundaries fall away. An occurrence of pure action without judgment. We know this place, this plane, this envelope of creation, as the GreenZone.

While there are many ways to access the GreenZone, be it a game of chess, ecstatic dance, throwing a pot at the wheel, a lover’s embrace; the mode we will address here is that of the mountain bike.

Why do we ride mountain bikes? To reaffirm an integration with nature? To place our body and consciousness in the infinite present? To build community and connections through a shared creative act? To seek a glimpse of our own impermanence? Yes!

Surfing a ridge of acceptable and maintainable risk, seeking the uncertainty of marginal traction while riding a mountain bicycle allows us to alter our perception of ourselves, destroying the ego for even just a moment. The act of riding simultaneously demands our attention, tempting corpus destruction, and shows us a mode for not really worrying about it all that much. A trust that allows transcendental doubles and railed turns manifests with comforting ease in the GreenZone.

To fully let go of your fears of inadequate braking technique, misplaced apexes, and maxed out roached treads, is to relax and accept all possible outcomes. Get all the way into that moment of near destruction, snuggle up to it, let the present open up into a gleaming filament to be traversed for eternity. Everything that has been, will be. Just relax. This mindset of acceptance is the salve that’s on offer here. It’s a neat trick.

If you can let go of doubt, merge your visualization with reality, and trust in your equipment, a lot of wild times are possible. It’s like trust in self + creative vision + a modern mountain bike = an opportunity to get out of your own head and get transcendentally loose.

Before we get too far, a very important point we want to make: your skill level does not define or limit your potential for joy. That’s supremacy and we’re not here for that. Truly.

Despite our mistrust of the material world, maybe there is a consumer purchase, the most base unit of our degradation, that thing that we so often resort to for distraction, that can offer us a way to slip out of this self-destructive pattern and be free to love and create a connection.

You could buy a mountain bike. Perhaps even this one.

Engaging a high-quality modern mountain bike OnTrail alters space time. We’ll say it. But what bike to acquire? In the 10s, years ago, this choice would be more fraught. The quality of construction and design of mountain bikes was less consistent. But now… now we live in a golden age of high performance. The human designers of bikes and their computerized counterparts have teamed up to deliver us the gifts of confidence, safety, and risk-taking! The options for a suitable two-wheeled conveyance to alter our perception are everywhere! You might not even need a bike! Just kidding. A mountain bike is the order of the day, obviously. The best part, almost all current mountain bikes are SO GOOD. If you’re lucky enough to acquire one of the current vintages, it’s pretty much a lock that it’s gonna be fun.

But what of this golden-green bicycle we’ve been spending time with?

What we have here slots right into what our industry’s manufacturers of need would call the Trail Bike Category. Some would say it’s too much. A few would deem it too little. The interesting thing is, it’s almost always plenty. Lots of travel in the back and just a bit more in the front. It’s a thing wrought of years and years of incremental product cycles; suitably long, slack, and steep in all the ways that we’re told it should be. And it should be! We’ve spent MANY joyous moments on less advanced designs over the years and they were great! But boy-o-boy, bike designs are really getting there and this one is there for sure. For a unique comparison and in our quest that has brought to this very moment, we spent many hours with the previous alloy version of this bike, and we can say that the subtle geo changes, the small increase in suspension rate progression, and a significantly lighter frame, this bike is has a gentler more precise touch and is eager to break free of the well of gravity while maintaining the predictable composure in hectic moments that the previous version delivered.

Component wise, it’s got all the things of suitable quality that you would expect to get for the luchre you will no doubt have to trade to acquire this package. Everything totally works. Respect to the product managers! The tires and suspension ( the business parts ) are top-notch. The wizard words of 3C MaxxGrip, Lyrik, EXO TR, and Super Deluxe are all there to cast their modern spells that relieve us of doubt. Purposeful and supportive. Inspiring and trustworthy. Well done Kona. Our personal setup has incorporated a set of the current crop of closed foam tire inserts and we can’t recommend this addition enough. The joyously low pressure they allow and the consequent increase in traction has altered our line selection process and made some pretty sketchy choices work out just fine.

At this point, we would like to acknowledge that all of our testing and exploration takes place on trails traversing the stolen ancestral lands of sdukʷalbixʷ (Snoqualmie) Coast Salish people who are still here practicing their ancient culture. This area is unimaginably beautiful and we would like to honor and protect their connection to this valley, its spiritual significance to their history, and our shared future.

But what of feeling and experience? While we firmly believe that no trail is ever the same, no one’s ability is consistent, and no season of loam, scattered leaves and the low-lit sun glinting sorrowfully through pines is forever, this bike right here has a pleasing consistency ( which we know is an illusion because consistency is a false god! ). Change is the constant! However, in our fortnight together, this Process 153 DL has shown itself to be a transparent and honest partner. Its tire contact patches are right where they should be, frame flexion is at the correct level for easily interpreted feedback and ground-hugging embraces, and a potent leverage rate curve joins us together into one dynamic whole. This Kona has delivered a solid message of trustworthiness. It whispers “Let go. We will be here together”. And isn’t that exactly why we ride these? To let go? To lose our ego and stop grasping? To go for that double, casing be damned! To become one with the GreenZone!

Should you seek out this bike? Our musings on impermanence, seeking of materials, and discrete entities aside…. yes you should. We measure our experience carefully with the knowledge that we can never truly convey to you, the reader, our feelings. Indeed, a fixed model of knowledge is borderline useless. What is reality!? It shimmers and mutates from moment to moment. Once measured, it is changed. Our experience is of a quantum nature, affected by observation, and this very act of writing. Does this bike let you get deep into the GreenZone? Yes. Yes it does. And that is all we can hope for.