"Priest, sorcerer, magician, wizard, minister, expert in any profession." That's how the Hawaiians define "Kahuna." Our Kahuna is the same-master of all. Made of high-grade 7005 Aluminum Butted tubing, the Kahuna comes with a lifetime warranty on the frame and a blend of smooth functioning components. This fantastic 29-inch-wheel hardtail mountain bike is designed specifically for those looking to add a dash of speed to their wilderness wanderings.
Strengths: Smooth rollin'-- well built and extremely solid
Weaknesses: Rock Shox xc32 is a bit under performing and sluggish
Some components can use some upgrading
I was looking for a 29er HT as an all around bike- some mountain, some commuting, and some cruising around with my son in town. This was the perfect fit! the bike fit great, looks great, has very smooth shifting and is just super fun. My LBS gave me a great deal and now i'm sold on Kona.
Similar Products Used: 2012 Stumpy fsr (not so similar)
a All Mountain Rider
Date Reviewed: February 21, 2013
Strengths: Solid overall. Great geometry. Good fork. Tires. Brakes.
Weaknesses: Seat. Pedals.
I would recommend this bike to anyone getting started in mountain biking, anyone who needs an all purpose or cross country bike, anyone interested in a 29er, or anyone with a BMX background (frame geometry feels much more responsive then my old 26 hardtail and therefor more like a 20inch)
Good bike overall. Definitely most bang for you buck in the price range. Only HT 29er in my arena with wheels not made by the company who makes the frame. (id rather ride WTB wheels then specialized or giant wheels). Very comfortable and solid. People are hating on the forks, but they work great for the price range. Derailers both work flawlessly in all conditions, so do the brakes.. Haven't had to touch them. Tires are outstanding, haven't let me down once in off-road conditions. Amazing traction.
The bad things are definitely the seat and the pedals. For me personally the seat was horrible. Where I live you spend about half your ride or more with your butt on the saddle climbing til your legs burn, for a XC rider or someone who lives somewhere that is a little more flat the seat might be fine. The pedals are cheap, not even platform or studded. They look just like the ones on a target special. But considering some people clip in, others like large platforms, some people dont, I guess I can understand not adding more price for pedals since they are likely to get swapped out anyway. Kona markets the smaller "rear triangle". This makes the bike very rigid over bumps, but the trade off is more stability and traction in the rear as well as a more responsive bike overall. If your sitting down over bumps in the first place, your doing it wrong, but just something to think about.
If you are considering this bike, do yourself a favor and buy it. Its great. I tested every other bike in the price range and this one blew them all away. Very satisfied customer here.
Strengths: At this price point this big give you a lot of bike just like Kona has always done. The frame is the star attraction of this bike, very stiff and responsive. Brakes are good but nothing fancy, and the fork although not great performs really well especially if you do the reba upgrade.
Weaknesses: Weakness has to be the wheels, extremely heavy and slow. I recently lightened mine up with some Rovals and it really woke the bike up.
Great bike for someone that wants a solid performer or something that needs a good platform to build upon. Not the flashiest bikes but not everyone wants a neon colored bike to go tear up the trails. You won't be disappointed with this beast!
a Weekend Warrior
from Wellington, NZ
Date Reviewed: May 17, 2011
Strengths: Super stable, overall good components, strong enough for a clyde.
Weaknesses: Low-end fork, basic pedals
As soon as I took this 29er out for a test ride around the car park, I was hooked. I have the '09 model which is essentially the same spec as the '10 model but for some slight variations in the frame design.
I'm 6'2" and got an 18" which I thought might be too small, but it has worked out just right for me. I bought a longer seat post so I had a bit more "meat" in the frame to carry my clydesdale-sized body.
Speaking of being a clydesdale, the brakes and wheels have held up admirably to my weight. I don't jump the bike, but they sure take a beating when the bike hits the rough stuff.
The cockpit is a nice mix of Kona-branded parts with a roomy 660mm riser bar and 90mm stem. Being a bit old-school, I have moved the controls and grip in a bit and added some stubby bar-ends.
I got mine in a 40% off sale so it was too good an offer to pass up.
If I were to upgrade anything on this bike it would be the pedals to SPDs and the forks to anything else. The forks are Rock Shox Dart 3's which are OK, but they won't set the world on fire. They come with the stock medium spring which is a bit too lightweight for me. I would probably recommend upgrading at the time of purchase.
Bike Setup: Stock except for a 400mm Ritchey seat post
a Weekend Warrior
from Kent Washington
Date Reviewed: March 4, 2011
Strengths: 2011 Kona Kahuna. Great compenent specs compared to other bikes in the same price range. 2011 model upgraded to Rockshox Tora fork over the past model using the Dart 3.
Weaknesses: Only comes in one color.
I was set on buying the Specialized Rockhopper Comp 29 until I looked at the Kahuna. It had a Rockshox Tora fork instead of the Suntour and came equipped with a Deore/Alivio package instead of an all Alivio package. The bike lists for $1050, but the dealer (Cycle Therapy) gave me an awesome deal. They also include lifetime tune-ups with their bikes. I dealt with the owners of the store which were very helpful and answered all my questions. I have had several Specialized bikes over the years and I think they make a great product. This was the first time I ventured away from the big name brands and I am glad I did so. I think I got more bang for my buck. Great 1st 29er bike.
a Weekend Warrior
Date Reviewed: December 29, 2010
Strengths: The Kona Kahuna has a very good frame made out of AL 7005. You can see the quality of the build in the neat welds and overall finish of the bike. The Kahuna comes with pretty good parts for the money. I am reviewing the 2009 model who had a different frame than the current production model but the same basic geometry
Weaknesses: Quite a heavy bike, my 18 inch weighs a solid 14,2 kg, The Rock Shox Dart 3 fork has to much flex and it dose not inspire too much confidence. A bit of a harsh ride in the back because of the geometry.
I bought this bike because it was on sale and because I wanted to try a 29R. I ride mostly road bikes and I commute to work so I am used with larger wheels. Sold my hardtail 26r and paid a little extra for the Kahuna.
The bike rides great. It is everything you could expect from a 29R. Climbs really well, altough because of the extra weight and not so light rims you do have to put some muscle into it.
The first felling I had when I first rode this bike was that I was on a steamroller capable of just riding over everything. The big wheels do make a lot of difference.
But not everyting is rosy in the land of Kona. The rear end is very stiff because of the small triangle and altough this makes for an efficient power trasfer, the fact is the bike transmits every bump to the rider. It is at times a pretty harsh ride and I find myself out of the saddle quite often. Riding with the tires on very low pressure does smooth out the ride and the big wheels help too.
The Kona comes with pretty decent spec for the money. Everything is functional and should last at least a couple of seasons of intense riding, but the fact is they are all on the heavy side. The drive train is mostly Deore with an Slx rear mech and performs very well, altough that Shimano Deore cassette weighs a ton. The Shimano brakes are decent enough and they gave me no reason to replace them. Kona branded seatpost,stem and handelbar are good quality parts and altough I replaced them with some lighter Truvativ Team components, I kept them for a future build.
The Rock Shox Dart 3 fork is unfortunatly the first thing you should consider upgrading (that or the heavy wheels). Altough a very decent fork, the Dart 3 has alot of flex and it is not really suited to 29R use. You do get all the lockouts, rebounds and compression knobs that more expensive forks have and they do work. I think you should just use it until it dies and buy something better afterwards.
Handlig is good altough you have to get used to it, and the fork has only 80 mm of travel, I guess a longer 100 mm fork might slacken the angle and give a better feel. Also you might consider a longer stem if you stay with the 80 mm fork, Kahuna comes with a 90 mm stem and that makes things a little cramped.
The bottomline is the Kona Kahuna is a pretty decent bike to enter in the 29r world.
Bike Setup: upgraded crank set shimano xt,shifters x.0,x.9 rear deraileur,easton carbon bar and seat post
a Weekend Warrior
from Long Island NY
Date Reviewed: July 14, 2009
Strengths: Super solid bike built up by a great company. Part Spec is great for the money couldn't have found a better setup for the cash.
Weaknesses: The headset was not too great, the fork worries me but it's slowly making me a believer. The stock Handle bar was not to my liking and being 30.9 ended up getting a new stem too. Never used or liked a 90mm for an XC bike. FSA does not impress me, the headset is horrible and the cranks had a bad bolt that worked itself loose form the factory
What can I say here, another great bike built by Kona. This isn't my first bike from them and it won't be my last. Kona gives you the most bang for your buck, hands down. Super impressed with parts and setup of this bike. Some parts were swapped out but not because they failed to perform, it was my tastes when it came to comfort and performance.
Handle bar was swapped from a 30.9 low rise to a standard rider, now using a a RaceFace Deus. Got a great deal on the stem and swapped out the 90mm 30.9 clamp for a standard RaceFace Deus 110mm. Stock saddle was good but was looking for more of a performance saddle so now using a WTB Rocket SLT and a Thomson seat post due to reliability. Absolutely hated the stock grips and went over to WTB Dual Compound for added hand comfort.
Two slight problems and this bike would be perfect. I'm not a fan of FSA anything, never had good luck with em. Stock crank came with a bad bolt that caused me to bend my middle ring on a short climb. LBS took care of it but I was hours into my second ride on it. Headset will not stop rattling and yes it is tight, I've had it checked twice. Just a horrible headset and cheap too, no sealed bearings either. will be swapped when it dies for a King.
Other little issues are the fork for one. As of yet no troubles but I don't trust Rockshox much. Bad experiences in the past. Strictly a Fox and Marzzochi fan here. Giving it the benefit of the doubt and letting it do it's thing. So far no complaints. Stock rims worry me too but so far not a peep. Even the cheap Shimano hubs are holding up fine too. Only time will tell but this is my XC bike and not my DH/FR or my Trail-Bike either so I don't expect them being abused much.
Great bike, very happy with it. Kona is a great company that gives you a lot for very little. If you're looking for a well built 29'er for a good price look no further.
Similar Products Used: This happens to be my first Hard tail in quite a few years. Very happy with it. My other bikes are a custom built Giant Reign, and built up Kona Stinky
Bike Setup: Mostly stock with a few added parts to round it out to my likings see below for the parts and reasons.
a Cross Country Rider
from asheville north carolina
Date Reviewed: May 19, 2009
Strengths: the bike rolls, built well and goes everywhere. decent components come with the bike. Like the lower center of gravity. Bike feels more stable.
Weaknesses: the fork not the best but not the worst, and of course you could get the big kahuna if you didn't like it. left crank arm came off during an uphill assault, that's a factory problem. bike lbs fixed no problem..
the bottom line is that this is one fine machine. If you are looking for a fast xc 29er for under a grand this is it. good components great frame. Just buy locally though.