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Bike vs Bike: Connor Fearon’s 2007 Kona Stab Deluxe vs 2020 Operator

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Bike vs Bike: Connor Fearon’s 2007 Kona Stab Deluxe vs 2020 Operator

Connor Fearon had large plans this yr, and hoped to double up on EWS and World Cup duties to show his third place at EWS Derby was no fluke. Sadly, as with so many different issues this yr, COVID-19 obtained in the best way and journey restrictions meant he was pressured to remain at residence for the race season in Europe. He is been capable of maintain himself busy in one other method although – build up and racing a 2007 Kona Stab Deluxe.

He discovered the body and wheels on eBay and constructed it up by delving deep into his elements bin and sourcing some bits from buddies too. The toughest half to tug collectively was apparently the Boxxer, however Connor’s pal Lindsay Klein managed to discover a pair in his shed that had been sitting there for the final decade.

Connor unveiled the bike on the Inside Line Mountain Bike Membership race at Eagle Mountain Bike Park and completed second to Troy Brosnan by solely 6 seconds. Apparently the most important distinction between the 2 bikes comes right down to dimension, with the medium Stab developing method too small for him. He additionally observed fatigue was a problem. He says, “I obtained far more drained using the outdated bike, I feel that comes down to suit and suspension. As compared, you simply stand in the course of a modern-day DH bike and let it do many of the work!”

It is secure to say there have been a good few adjustments in downhill bike tech up to now 13 years so to see simply how far issues had come we obtained each bikes aspect by aspect to match greater than a decade of progress.

Concerning the rider

Connor Fearon


What a distinction 13 years makes. Whereas the 4-bar linkage nonetheless stays king for Kona’s downhill bikes, the body surrounding it’s utterly completely different. Kona now makes use of a carbon entrance triangle and the entire bundle appears lots cleaner than the traditional design. There has additionally been a lower in journey from 8″ (203mm) on the Stab to 195mm on the Operator. The ultimate large change comes from the wheelsize the place Connor at present runs 29″ entrance and rear on his Operator, however 26″ entrance and rear on his Stab, which is from an period when the larger wheels have been nothing greater than punchlines.

Connor runs a medium body on the Stab though he is actively in search of a bigger one as it’s a bit too small. If the place he can discover one, get in contact!


The Boxxer is a reputation that has been round in mountain biking since 1998 so it is no shock to see it on the entrance of each bikes right here. It is a 200mm mannequin on the Stab however solely 190mm on the Operator.

A Charger damper and Debonair spring substitute the Movement Management and Solo Air Spring of the sooner fork. With the brand new tech comes extra tuning choices as properly and excessive and low pace compression can now be set on the Boxxer and bottomless tokens will be added.


With the appearance of metric sizing in 2016, Rockshox swapped over from Vivid shocks to Tremendous Deluxe for downhill. The shock on the Stab is shorter eye to eye than inventory, so it has slackened the top angle to a bit lower than 64° and makes the cockpit really feel much more cramped. Connor is trying to discover a common sized one if he can.


26″ performs 29″ in terms of the wheels for Connor’s bikes. The Stab continues to be arrange utilizing interior tubes so Connor has to run them at increased pressures to keep away from pinch flats, though it apparently hasn’t been totally profitable to date. Tubeless and Cushcore enable him to go right down to 24psi entrance and 27psi rear with punctures a lot much less frequent these days.

The wheels on the Stab are clad with a traditional Excessive Curler entrance and Minion DHF with the tremendous sticky Gradual Reezaay 40 compound from an period when tire sizzling patches have been a bit much less boring. Connor runs a Minion DHR II entrance and rear on the trendy race bike.

Contact Factors

Connor has allowed himself fashionable elements in terms of his contact factors. Which means a Deity cockpit and saddle, HT flat pedals and ODI grips on each bikes.


It is SRAM DH gearing on each bikes however the product line has positively moved on a bit within the hole between these two bikes. The SRAM X0 Connor is working is a bit newer than the Stab body however it’s a ten pace cassette with 12-26t on the cassette. The fashionable Operator has the same vary on its 10-24 cassette however it does it with simply seven speeds due to the XG-795 mini block cassette on the X01 DH groupset.

Brakes are additionally SRAM and it is Code RSC brakes on the Operator however Avid X0 Path brakes (from 2012) on the Stab.


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