Kona drop-bar bikes vary: which mannequin is best for you?
If you happen to’re out there for a gravel bike from a model with severe off-road pedigree, you can do so much, lot worse than Kona Bikes.
Based in 1988 by Dan Gerhard and Jacob Helibron within the Canadian metropolis of Vancouver, the duo honed their bike-building expertise on British Columbia’s thrilling mountain bike scene.
Working with designer Joe Murray, their early efforts targeted on hardtail steel-framed mountain bikes. They progressed to extra radical pursuits designed to match as radical pursuits: freeride machines that would each climb and descent and stay in a single piece. Biking’s first sloping high tube? A Kona creation.
An trade staple, in 1995 they moved throughout the border to Washington State. That they had already launched a street bike to their line-up in 1992, the titanium Haole, nevertheless it was with the launch of the Jake the Snake cyclocross bike that Kona actually introduced themselves as an innovator of drop-bar bikes that flourish off-road.
Right this moment, Kona stays a rider-owned firm with Gerhard and Helibron nonetheless on the helm. The model’s DNA additionally stays intact. In some ways its expanded line of drop-bar bikes resemble its bikes of outdated: constructed to resist the calls for of the true world.
On the street, this implies fashions created to deal with less-than-perfect surfaces; bikes that excel as all-weather commuters and winter street machines. Off-road, the bikes are constructed to enterprise – and carry out – from gravel to cross-racing to bikepacking.
Kona drop bar and gravel bikes
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Kona certainly sees the three-model Libre vary as a light-weight and quick gravel bike to trip and to race. It’s an out-and-out drop-bar journey bike created to excel on lengthy riders throughout various terrain.
Each the Libre DL and the CR embrace a carbon race gentle frameset and the geometry factors to a steady and cozy trip, due to its beneficiant stack peak, slack headtube and long-ish wheelbase. Tyre clearance provides to the Libre’s plush driving credentials.
The CR/DL has 700c x 45mm rubber as normal, whereas the CR opts for 650b x 47mm tires. Kona continues to cowl all bases, providing the CR/DL with a Shimano GRX 1x drivechain and the DL with Shimano’s 2x GRX 600 groupset. New for 2021 the top-of-the-line CR/DL comes with a dropper put up as inventory. To accommodate longer dropper posts Kona have lowered the Libre’s standover peak by 20mm from earlier years.
The Libre AL is the primary aluminum bike within the Libre vary. Outfitted for lengthy days within the saddle, it’s budget-friendly however nonetheless delivers lots of right now’s gravel bike requirements, similar to thru-axles, flat-mount disc brakes and an array of body and fork mounts.
The Rove was first launched in 2013. Positioned as a do-it-all journey bike, the Rove has a far-reaching enchantment, has developed yearly since its 2013 launch, and Kona provide it in 4 choices: three stud, one aluminium.
No matter materials that the bike is constructed round, Rove features a beneficiant tyre clearance to make it off-road prepared. A spread of body and fork mounts place it as each commuter and touring rig.
The highest-of-the-line Rove LTD includes a butted metal body paired with a full carbon fork. Elements embrace Shimano’s GRX 810 groupset and 650b WTB rims and tires. The Rove LTD retails for £2,099/$2,399. Different choices embrace the Rove AL 650, which, unsurprisingly, utilises a 650b wheel dimension, and comes with a budget-friendly 2x 8 velocity drive chain; the Rove DL includes a Sram Rival 1x chainset and the model’s metal Mission two disc fork.
The essence of the Sutra bike hasn’t modified since its emergence a decade in the past: it’s a useful and dependable touring bike. Mudguards, a rear rack, bar-end shifters and a 3×10 drivechain adorn its metal body. All touring staples. There’s even a leather-based Brooks B17 saddle for good measure. Nevertheless, the Sutra isn’t a relic. It options flat mount disc brakes and makes use of the extra clearance to run 40mm tyres. It additionally boasts thru-axles and comes with tubeless suitable rims.
Taking the unique bike’s blueprint and provides extra off-road functionality is the Sutra LTD. It’s nonetheless constructed round a forgiving and sturdy metal body however the triple chainset is changed with a extra gravel-friendly 11-speed SRAM Rival 1 set-up. Its multi-day bikepacking credentials are aided by a set of 700c x 50mm tyres and a slew of body and fork mounts.
Newer nonetheless, the Sutra ULTD, is a drop-bar steel-framed mountain bike. It’s additionally one which challenges conference, that includes 29 x 2.25″ tyres and a dropper put up. Just like the LTD it too opts for a 1x drivechain however this time with a 36t chainring to get you up even the gnarliest of dust ascents.
Kona’s Jake the Snake cyclocross bike first hit the market in 1997, named after the corporate’s founder and Canadian cyclocross champion Jacob Helibron. Winners of nationwide championships and World Cup races, they continue to be a fixture on the CX scene. However additionally they excel as a quick commuter, a rugged winter coach and a gravel grinder. It’s a do-it-all drop bar bike.
The present Jake line-up stays true to this heritage. It options two fashions, the Jake the Snake and the Main Jake. Each are created to be race-ready but equally at dwelling on quiet gravel roads and busy city streets. There are lots that unite the 2 bikes. Each include UCI normal 700 x 33c tyre, and each function hydraulic disc brakes, thru-axles, inside cable routing and commuter-friendly mudguard mounts.
However the variations are noteworthy.
The Main Jake is positioned because the extra full race machine and its carbon frameset makes it the lighter choice of the 2. If you happen to’re seeking to compete on the head of a race this might effectively be a deciding issue.
The Jake the Snake mannequin, whereas nonetheless that includes race-proven geometry, options an aluminum body and carbon fork. It’s extra reasonably priced, which possible makes it a extra commute-friendly choice. Different variations embrace a SRAM Rival 1 gruppo on the dearer Main Jake, whereas the Snake opts for a mix of SRAM’s entry-level 1x groupset, Apex 1, with an FSA chainset and TRP’s HY/RD brakes.