First Impression: Kona Hei Hei Trail DL 27.5

 

The 140 mm-travel “Trail” variant represents a new 27.5 branch on a Hei Hei family tree that is deeply rooted in cross-country riding. Our $5,999 DL model occupies the middle price point, with the $7,499 Supreme perching on the top rung and the plain old Trail ringing the register at $4,199.


Kona designed the full-carbon frame from the ground up for 140 mm of travel and 27.5-inch wheels. A Boost 12×148 axle improves rear end stiffness, and allows for 16.7-inch chainstays that leave ample clearance for the stock 2.3-inch tires. Internal cable routing helps maintain clean lines.


The Fuse Independent Suspension on the Hei Hei Trail is designed to be as lightweight and efficient as possible. It relies on a small amount of frame flex near the dropout rather than a rear pivot, which saves weight and improves lateral stiffness, according to Kona.

If you believe the old slogan “it’s what’s up front that counts,” then you won’t be disappointed. The Fox Factory 34 Float Air 140 mm is a top-notch “trail bike” fork.

The 11-speed drivetrain features Shimano’s XTR rear derailleur, XT shifter, XT 11-42 cassette and PF92 bottom bracket—and it’s driven by RaceFace Aeffect cranks that feature a 30-tooth narrow/wide chainring.


Carbon fiber WTB Ci31 tubeless-compatible rims rolling on Hope Pro4 hubs produce a wheelset well-suited for trail bikes like this one. The wide rim profile enhances strength and spreads out the tubeless ready Maxxis Tomahawk 27.5×2.3-inch tires into a wide footprint.

Bucking the slacker-lower-plusher trend, Kona produced a nimble, efficient and pedal-y trail bike that’s versatile enough to handle the full spectrum of conditions in which I find myself riding. It’s not what I’d call “extreme” terrain, but it involves a variety of technical challenges in the form of rocks, roots, twists, turns and punchy climbs.

From my very first ride, I felt in sync with the nimble handling that the short chainstays and not-too-slack head angle combined to produce. The Hei Hei Trail DL is a great all-arounder that pedals like a rockstar and has enough swag to bail you out when the going gets rough.


Look for our full review of the Kona Hei Hei Trail DL in the upcoming issue of Dirt Rag magazine. Subscribe now so you don’t miss the review and all the rad stuff we’ve got planned this year, and sign up for our email newsletter to get great content like this delivered directly to your inbox every Tuesday!

6 Comments

  1. looking forward to the full review. Do you think that the 31mm internal width rims are a better way to go than 27.5+?

    • Tough call, and a personal one. I do prefer the wide rims and non-plus tires in most “normal” or “semi-groomed tail conditions, but plus tires shine when the conditions turn sketchier and looser and more primitive.

  2. The new bike sure is nice, but maybe couple shots covered with dirt showing been ridden, every photos covered in dirt like spy shots, can’t see the beauty of the bike, what’s the point!!

  3. Will be interested to hear if the rear end is laterally stiff. The rear triangle looks very compact……not very supportive laterally.

    • Subjectively it felt laterally stiff, but I have no way of quantifying stiffness thereof. I’m gonna trust Kona has it dialed in.

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