Gotta say, we didn’t see that coming.
Kona has been a strong supporter of 27.5 wheels for a few years now, and we thought we had seen the last of the new 26-inch bikes from major brands. But today we got a sneak peek at the 2015 lineup and there are two new bikes with the classic wheel size.
The Process range is expanded to include the new 167 model (pictured above), a bike park/freeride/hardcore enduro platform that offers (naturally) 167mm of rear wheel travel paired to a 170mm RockShox Lyric fork. Kona is never willing to sacrifice it’s geometry requirements to cram in a wheel size (thus the unusual travel numbers) and says the 167 was designed to be as low and tight as possible. With a RockShox Vivid Air RC2 shock, SRAM X1 11-speed kit, KS Integra dropper post and Maxxis DH casing tires it will retail for $4,999.
The Precept line of trail bikes also expands to fill the needs of the up-and-coming gravity rider with the Precept 200. It also has 26-inch wheels and uses a coil-shock version of the Kona Swing Link suspension. Its geometry matches up closely with the more expensive Operator cousin, and comes equipped with a RockShox Domain dual crown fork, SRAM Code R brakes and Maxxis Minion DHF tires for $2,999.
Other tweaks in the lineup include the Process 111 dropping from two models to one (check out our review in Issue #178) and the Process 134 adds a third spec level, the 134 SE, pictured here ($3,999)
Beyond mountain bikes, watch for a disc-brake endurance “road” bike, the Esatto DDL ($1,799) with a Scandium frame, Shimano 11-speed drivetrain and mechanical TRP Sprye road disc brakes.
We reviewed the Rove last year in our sister magazine, Bicycle Times, and loved it. For 2015 Kona will offer it in a less-expensive aluminum version ($899), as well as what looks like a super-fun flat-bar Big Rove variant with 2.0 Schwalbe Big Apple tires ($1,199).
The Wo fat bike ($1,899) returns for 2015 with a new spec and sheds a whopping four pounds off the 2014 edition. It is now equipped with 190mm sliding dropouts too to clear the 26×4.5 Vee Rubber Snowshoe tires.
Another fun bike is the return of the Humuhumu, a 29-inch wheeled retro BMX-style cruiser. It’s got disc brakes, two color options and tons of rack mounts. For $899 this could be a super-rad city bike.
Finally, we’ll see the return of the Minute, a city and cargo bike that has the attributes of a long-tail design but in a shorter, less cumbersome package ($1,399). The full-size Ute long-tail is retired.
Watch for more details of the 2015 Kona lineup on its website next week.