Pandemic life means a lot of the normal, day-to-day coverage we cherished has gotten put on hold. One of which are Shop Visits. While I’ve been sticking local to Santa Fe over the past twelve months, my friend Nick was able to submit a Shop Visit to his local digs, Two Wheel Drive down in Albuquerque. Read on for Nick’s photos and words by Zach, Two Wheel Drive’s manager…
Follow bikepacking guide Timo Veijalainen as he takes Kona Ambassador Erkki Punttila and former Kona Factory DH team rider Antti-Pekka Laiho on a wintery two-wheeled adventure through the magical landscape of Kiilopää in Finland Lapland’s Urho Kekkonen National Park.
Today’s Readers’ Rides coincides with John’s review of the Kona Sutra ULTD. This build was done for the owner, Jason, of Back Alley Bikes in Carrboro, North Carolina. This build was documented by Jared Harber, so you know it’s going to be good! Let’s jump right in!
I’m going to nerd out here. Fair warning. When I see a bike like the Kona Sutra ULTD hit the internet, I feel mixed emotions. Part of that has to do with my love of the now-dead “adventure” category Specialized launched a few years back, beginning with the AWOL. I had some good memories on that bike and it feels like eons ago. If you remember, this was around the time people started calling bicycle touring “bikepacking”.
The AWOL was a touring bike in the sense that it had rack mounts, clearances for, at the time, big tires and it came specced in both its Poler and Trans-Continental limited-edition build kits with racks and panniers. Sounds like a touring bike to me! While this isn’t an article about the AWOL, I can’t help but see the face-value similarities between it and the Sutra Unlimited, or ULTD for short.
Now, the AWOL came out in 2014, and in these past six years, a lot has changed in the touring or bikepacking world for me but one thing remains constant: I love fat tire tourers, and the Sutra ULTD really impressed me. It pulled at all the heartstrings…
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.
The story of this bike starts before it entered my life. It starts with a place, a center of creativity and bike culture. It starts with Citizens warehouse. In 2007 my sister Cailin joined a newly formed youth cycling club called El Grupo through her high school. The club centered around a DIY ethic and she built herself a bike at a then 18-year-old bike collective called BICAS. BICAS lived in the basement of a haggard old warehouse called The Citizens Transfer Warehouse affectionately known as Citizens. Cailin quickly fell in love with cycling and being my best friend she built me a single-speed road bike and encouraged me to come to see what El Grupo and BICAS were all about.
Each year I like to look at our content in its entirety and reflect back on bikes that took you, the readers of this website, by storm. Back in the mid to late 2000’s it was all fixed gears, then came the gravel bikes, the tourers, the MTBs, and the kooky, eccentric builds you’ve come to enjoy checking out in full-res detail. We’ve got some incredibly talented individuals contributing to this site and their hard work is something I cannot express my gratitude for enough. Going back through the 2020 content here at the Radavist, I am amazed at what we were able to accomplish all things considered.
For this year’s Top Beautiful Bicycles of 2020, we have compiled a great list of ten bikes, ranging from rim brakes to fixed gears, basket bikes, and more. This list is based on web traffic, commentary, and social media chatter, and each of these builds really brought something unique to our content. We omitted bike reviews here but included production bikes. Oh and I hope you like baskets!
Let’s jump right in!
Kona Ambassador Henry Cruickshank created this beautiful short animation:
“It’s all too easy to be disheartened by not having anything to look forward to, no events or races or group rides. But maybe we need to look to our canine friends, who need no reason to be fit and will run for the sheer love of it. We worry about our fitness, our training or lack of it, our pacing… dogs don’t care what size or shape they are, never worry about keeping up with their faster friends and will attack every hill with gusto, not caring if they have enough energy to make to the top.
Dogs are always ready: a simple play bow is all the invitation they need to race around.
Be more dog.”
A little while back, our friends at Swift Industries worked with Kona to create a collaboration Rove ST Special Edition touring bike. If you recall this project’s release, it looked really appealing for those wanting a classic touring bike package with bags and everything, ready to hit the road.
My bud Kyle Klain picked one of these up from the Broken Spoke here in Santa Fe when they first dropped. It’s been his bikefishing mobile and commuter before upgrading a few crucial components this year. To test out my new camera setup (more on that later) I met up with Kyle at his office and took his bike for a quick shoot…
Sometimes a bike is worth more than the sum of its parts. You know, that feeling of home that isn’t just about having your favourite bars and saddle in the right place. My Kona Unit began life as a $999 single speed complete – a heck of a good value, and a bike I never knew I’d come to love so much.
Yep. You read that right! The team at Kona is looking to expand their brand ambassadors for 2021 and all ya gotta do is:
“To apply, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and answer the following questions:
-Where do you live and what kind of bikes do you ride?
-What makes you unique in the biking world?
-What is it about Kona that you love and want to share with others?
-What kind of content are you able to create on your own? Any samples we can see?
-As a member of the Kona Ambassadors, what kind of support would you like from Kona?
-Who is a cyclist you admire most, and why?
-What is your dream Kona bike setup?
We’d also like you to scroll through some of the ambassador projects we’ve featured and let us know which project(s) resonate most with you and why.
Really, we’re looking for what makes YOU unique and what you’ve done to create a cool little niche in your biking world. So tell us anything you think we need to know about you and what makes you awesome.”
See more at Kona!
It’s amazing what a single night in the woods with friends can do for one’s psyche… This new video from Kona has all the vibes from a S24O.
There seems to exist a set of truisms in mountain biking: your next bike will always be better than your last, my local trails are harder than your local trails, and the fastest local rider isn’t on Strava and humbly rides a singlespeed. Then there’s the local legend, a misfit rider, the slightly anachronistic character that emerges on the trail mid-group-ride on a hardcore hardtail who rides loose and fast and with reckless disregard.
When Kona announced the Honzo ESD earlier this year it came as a great surprise. The original Honzo has remained relatively unchanged since 2012 and this new version looked like a poolhall brawler by comparison. Dominated by modern geometry, BMX inspired frame lines, and a build kit suitable for Bender himself, it was clear this was going to be no ordinary Honzo…
With the Libre being a relatively new addition to the Kona drop-bar lineup, it was surprising to see a complete geometry revamp this morning when the new model was announced. The best news is, while these changes apply to the higher end build kits, the lower end Libre model packs all these updates, at an unbeatable pricepoint of just $1799. The aluminum Libre features flat mount discs, Apex build kit, and a revamped geo, nesting it inside the Libre lineup quite well. Head to Kona to see more.
Jake Hood takes the Honzo ESD out for a casual rip around his local trails in the latest video from Kona.
Finally! Kona hinted to us that a “new Honzo” was on its way a little while ago but this is not what we were expecting. The Honzo ESD hit the internet today with a 150mm fork, a 63º head angle and a 77.5º seat angle with 62.5mm bottom bracket drop and 417mm seat stays, the Honzo ESD looks to be a very modern hardtail. The complete will set you back $2699 and the frame just $665, one dollar off from really raising hell.
-Frame Material: Kona Cromoly Butted
-Wheels: Race Face AR 30 on Shimano SLX Hubs
-Front Suspension: 150mm
-Fork: Marzocchi Bomber Z1 Grip Damper 150mm
-Crankset: Race Face Aeffect R
-Drivetrain: Shimano XT/SLX 12spd
-Brakes: Shimano Deore with 203mm front/180mm rear rotor
-Seat Post: Trans-X Dropper +RAD Internal w/ Shimano Lever 31.6mm
-Cockpit: Race Face Aeffect R 35 Bar & Stem with Kona Lock-on Key Grip
-Front Tire: Maxxis Assegai EXO TR 3C 29×2.5″ WT
-Rear tire: Maxxis Minion DHR II EXO TR 3C 29×2.4″ WT
-Saddle: WTB Volt
See more at Kona.
Remember that funky Sutra ULTD we teased a few weeks ago? Well, Kona has all the details on this drop bar touring bike up on their site now, including pricing and build spec. To start, if you just wanted to build one of these up yourself, the frame will set you back $599. Or a complete would run you $2399 with the specs below. The Sutra ULTD will fit a 29×2.25″ tire, comes with a Trans-X +RAD dropper installed and ready, as well as SRAM Rival 1 flat mount disc brakes. It dons a 69.5º head angle, a long wheelbase for added stability, and either a 74mm or 72mm BB drop depending on the size. All in all, the Sutra ULTD looks to be a very funky, yet highly functional touring bike from a brand that knows how to put together rad bikes. See more at Kona.
Frame Material: Kona Cromoly Butted
Fork: Kona Project Two Cromoly Disc Touring
Wheels: WTB KOM Light Team i27 TCS 2.0 29”
Crankset: SRAM NX
Drivetrain: SRAM Rival 1 11spd
Brakes: SRAM Rival 1 with 160mm front/160mm rear rotor
Seat Post: Trans-X Dropper +RAD Internal 31.6mm
Cockpit: Kona Road Bar/Kona Road Deluxe Stem
Front Tire: Maxxis Recon Race EXO TR 29×2.25″
Rear tire: Maxxis Recon Race EXO TR 29×2.25″
Saddle: WTB Volt
… and it brought back the Rove LTD, which features GRX 810, the Rove Verso flat-mount carbon fork, butted tubing and more. The whole Rove lineup has a breakdown at Kona, so head on over to check it out.