If you're the type of rider who burns with the fire to travel deep into the wilds of the world and you need to go down as speedily as you go up, consider the Cadabra, one of the most adaptable dual-suspension bicycles ever made. The Cadabra has up to 160mm of plush rear travel and features new Scandium 6069 tubing, ISCG tabs, cable stops for adjustable seatposts, stiff 142x12 rear axle, and a spec package that strikes the perfect balance between value and performance. Whether you race enduro or love massive mountain epics, the Cadabra is all magic, all the time.
Strengths: Damned quick uphill for such a long travel bike
Very versatile (I have done a 133mile long distance path carrying camping kit over significant climbs and decents as well as bombing downhill courses with the only change being tyres!)
Loves to get air
Not massively easy to get suspension setup correct
Excellent value for money (at the price I paid, 1500GBP, not retail!)
Weaknesses: Most components (e.g. BB Shells) massively over torqued when new; not sure if this was Kona or the bike shop's fault
Suspension bolts have a tendency to loosen up every month or so
Not a fan of the Fox TALAS fork (personal preference)
Butt destroying saddle!
I have had this bike for a year now and have been very pleased. It really is a superbly versatile bike, capable of jumps and downhill tracks, but also able to keep up with hard tails on a long distance (non-technical) bike route when fitted with some fast tyres.
I don't find that I need the travel adjust on the fork, so will be replacing this with a RS Revelation that I have as I find the Fox TALAS doesn't give me full travel and is a bit spongy at first (although small bump damping is superb).
I have fitted ZTR Crest wheels (tubeless) with a Conti Mountain King Mk 2.4 on the front and the stock Ardent (tubeless) on the back. In this configuration, the bike goes blazingly fast such such a capable frame. Although friends (of roughly equal fitness / ability) on hardtails or race full-susers can generally beat me on long grunting climbs, it isn't by much and obviously the Cadabra destroys them on the descents.
One odd thing about the bike is the very (very!) steep seat tube angle. This helps it climb very efficiently, but for me (6'3", 35" inseam) does mean that I have to run a seatpost with quite some layback. This is slightly due to the fact that I got the 20" frame, but the 22" felt slightly less chuck able.
I haven't (touch wood) suffered any problems with the magic link and I have not exactly been kind to this bike!
Similar Products Used: Trek Fuel Ex (130mm version)
Specialized Stuntjumper (briefly)
Bike Setup: Upgrades over stock:
Hope Tech Evo M4 front stoppers with 203mm disks
Shimano XT rear brake (not impressed)
ZTR Crest wheels on Hope Pro 2 hubs front and back running tubeless
Hope ceramic BB
Some old Bontrager saddle I had lying around (anything is better than the stock WTB!)
Bug with a haircut
Date Reviewed: March 28, 2013
Strengths: Rides well uphill before it breaks
Weaknesses: Broken frame ( don't buy SCAMdium)
Broken magic link
Can't put over 2.2 tire on the rear and forget about high volume
Probably more but there was so much going wrong it all started running together
I still can't get over how chintzy this bike was, I'm reviewing this about a year after buying one, breaking just about everything on it, getting it replaced and warrantied after a bunch of hassle and a huge waste of time, then selling it and getting a real bike. Everyone hates on Kona and I thought oh they don't know r they're just haters but seriously this bike was so frail and sketchy riding down hill I'm amazed Kona hasn't been sued for marketing this as an all mountain even light free ride 160mm bike. I really cant believe they'd charge so much for a bike that has had so many problems and warranty issues.The scamdium frame actually cracked above the magic linking traveled several inches up the seat tube after not even 6 months of riding. The magic link also broke in several different areas. I'm getting all pissed of again just thinking about this pile of trash even though I was able to get it fixed and sell it. Seriously beware of this bike I had so many problems with it an I don't free ride or ride crazy downhill trails, people I ride with ride 130 or 140 mm bikes and they're much more solid than this flexy 160mm death trap. If you're really considering buying one of these ridiculous contraptions at least take it on a good test run first I think you'll get a sense of the frailty if its feeble design.
a All Mountain Rider
Date Reviewed: March 14, 2013
Strengths: - great idea of magic link (yes, we heard it before with GT I-drive) while it's not magic but physics - it works. The simple idea gives you nice geometry while both descending and climbing
- it's very sturdy and forgiving - likes abuse :)
- it's stiffer than his predecessors, and mgic link does not induce heavier weight or problems with frame stiffness
- great design: white fork, polished alluminium and bright red frame (2010 model) - reminds of ww2 fighters
- great light and fast maxxis aspen tires, boy are these FAST on tarmac!
Weaknesses: - the stock brakes (M575 in 2010 model): rattling, squealing with less than average modulation and stopping power. Change them immediately
- if you like fast XC trails only it is heavy
- if you like drops and jumping only it is too light
- a damper with lockout (remote lever too) would be more than appropriate
- mavic crossride wheels are rather on the lighter/faster side and in sharp turns you can feel them flexing
This bike is a perfect example of Mr Jeckyll and Mr Hide - if you want a great climber ie. plan going uphill in rough terrain - cadabra is for you. If you also like fast descents, nice suspension and dont want a 20kg+ pig in the mountains - it's for you.
Of course it is not a 100% DH bike and eventually you're gonna break it. Of course it is not a 100% XC speeding 10 kg machine - you gonan hate it for the weight. It's one and another - perfect for people who seek diversity in biking, who like KONA's design. It's worth the price however the stock brakes suck and I recommend tossing them right at the shop! Also more demanding users should upgrade the shifters as a minimum. Dont thik it is worth to buy Abra Cadabra - plain cadabra with upgrades would be better and adjusted to your nees.
Would I buy it once again? Sure, but I hope it will serve well for years as my old stolen Kikapu.
Bike Setup: 2011 Cadabra, Magura Louise brakes, full XTR drivetrain, egg beaters.
a All Mountain Rider
Date Reviewed: January 29, 2013
Strengths: Suspension is super plush. Frame is amazingly strong ( I weigh 230 lbs). The bike is pleasing to the eyes and is a blast to ride.
Weaknesses: The fox talas 32 is a great fork....just too flexy for this bike. The wheels are also a bit weak for all mountain type riding. I swapped the fork for a rs lyrik 160mm solo air and some wtb stryker hoops. The bike now feels like it should and its a rocket!!
Great bike but stronger wheels and a more enduro friendly fork have taken this bike to another level!!
Bike Setup: Full xt 2x10, mrp 2x guide, wtb stryker wheels/moto 2.3 tires, Rochshox lyric solo air 170mm travel
a Weekend Warrior
Date Reviewed: January 14, 2013
Strengths: (2011 Kona Cadabra) Looks great. Lightweight for bike of this travel (13.3kg with pedals straight from the shop in size 19'). Great performance uphill, the magic link works very well here and turning propedal on improves it even more with no noticeable bob. Flies downhill and gives so much confidence. Good spec for the money I paid (£1350 pounds). Lifetime warranty on frame.
Weaknesses: The bolts on the magic link were slightly loose when I checked after a few good rides so needed to use stronger thread-lock. They havent come loose since but probably worth checking now and then. Rear avid brakes required bleeding a few times to get right. Didn't get on with the maxis ardent on the front so changed to a maxis minion and feels much better.
I deliberated over buying this bike for a good while before buying as I thought the magic link (I have the 2011 model with the coil auxilary spring) may just need messing with and require too much maintenance. However when my local bike shop reduced the price to half of the RRP I had a quick test in the shop and had to have it. I have no regrets, the magic link requires very little maintenance and set up is alot simpler than I thought. For some reason the internet is full of people giving the magic link negative comments without even riding one let alone one set up correctly.
I use this bike on my local trails which are mostly steep rocky, rooty downhill runs and although its no downhill bike, it handles them no problem. The ups are long and steep but the travel adjust fork helps on the very steep parts and has lock out.
I also use the bike on my local tow-path trails which includes some road sections and it feels fine. I blow the tyres up hard for less drag and the Pro-pedal combined with the magic link and no bob at all, feels like my old hard tail but alot more comfortable.
The fox fork is good, it has the 15QR axle which I wanted but does not have the latest FIT cartridge- if I paid full price for the bike I would have been disappointed but the Open bath is grand. I also find the travel adjust useful.
The gears and drivetrain haven't missed a beat and I got an 11-36 cassette with mine which was a bonus. I'd like to maybe fit a chain tensioner and swap outer ring for a bash guard.
The 2012 and 2013 models have had a few minor geometry tweeks to the head angle and BB height and it now comes with an air auxilary shock and bolt through rear axle. This is bound to help the bike but i'm more than happy with my model.
Would I buy again? At full price no, I think the price of all bikes now are crazy but with a good deal definitely yes.
Bike Setup: Changed the following from stock - Front tyre changed to a soft compound maxis minion. Changed the stem to a 60mm to keep in with the crowd (wouldn't use any longer now). Flat pedals.
Date Reviewed: January 11, 2013
Strengths: good looks, nice name and a very nice trick pulled out by Kona
Weaknesses: The trick is to fool you and make you believe you're buying something worth of such amount of money
Have you ever checked on picks of broken MTBs? most are Kona... probably that's why you don't see any around... and forget about costumer care, is non existent. Be wise, if no one rides one is because of a reason (and unless you were tricked by Kona as I was), and you really don't want to find why (not to your wallet's and safety expense)
Date Reviewed: June 6, 2012
Strengths: While honeymoon lasts it'll probably be the best bike you've ever had
Weaknesses: Durability and customer service: if I divide the cost of the bike by the miles I was able to use it it becomes (mile by mile), more expensive than a brand new Ferrari... and still, customer service is worst than any other I have ever had the need to contact before: broken bike and no response!
Don't even go there... there's a reason why you don't find that many Kona's around and I learn it the hard way: short lasted love afair with this bike ended up in a big waist of money
Weaknesses: The Magic Link takes a while to set up, and feels a little weird at first.
Climbs better than any bike I've ever ridden, especially on technical chunky terrain its a real moto machine. Descending the magic link felt awkward at first but after a couple of sessions I got the feel for it and now it's a blast to ride. It handles whatever I throw at it, sucks up chatter and big rocks, and 4 to 5 foot drops have never bottomed it out. I haven't had any creaking problem after 6 months of riding even after going through creeks and wet winter riding. Kona also warranties the frame for life wich is awesome and hard to find from any other manufacturer. Also you can't beat the deal for this type of build.
Date Reviewed: April 24, 2012
Strengths: beautiful looking bike and it does what it says: magic
Weaknesses: the magic lasted for very little time: at 3rd month magic link bacame a magic donkey (every pedal meant a donkey like noise), at 6th month magic link broke and believe me I'm far from being a wild jumper (a 3ft drop off is my top challenge), what is Kona gonna do still don't know but even if they replace the whole bike all they will do is improve customer service to my eyes... my hope is this was only an isolated defect which will not be present in the next bike
There are plenty of good all mountain bikes around: Tomac, Cube, Trek, Scott, Santa Cruz, with a much simpler system and a far more reliable track.... my mistake choosing this one
a Cross Country Rider
Date Reviewed: December 1, 2011
Strengths: Very light, love the geometry, brakes and suspension
are very easy to tunes. Menuverable. It controls very well down hill. The active geometry actually changes the bike from an XC uphill to a DH downhill
Weaknesses: Brakes screech, too light to have the best menuverability downhill
Very nice bike goes up nice comes down nice. Only problem is the screeching.
Buy this bIke if you like to be able to go up and down very well.
Strengths: Climbs like a lightweigth frame and goes down like a downhiller!!! the change in the geometry of the bike is amazing feels at home on every track.even if it isn't a downhill bike i have thrown allot of abusive jumps at it and it did just fine
Weaknesses: The shimano m575 brakes just don't cut it and the mavic crossride's are weak they have to much flex in them causing your brakes to make noise (shin shin shin noise) i have changed those and the noise was gone but still changed the brakes afterwards
great bike no complaints love it won't change it for anything else(maybe newer model) and great costumer support at the bike shop knows everthing about their product,lifetime warranty on the frame!!!!
Similar Products Used: specialized lefty,giant,cube.
Bike Setup: Hope m4 brakes hope hubs with dt swiss spokes and dt swiss hoops noby nic tires
a Weekend Warrior
from South Wales .. U.K
Date Reviewed: April 14, 2011
Strengths: Great climber brilliant descender , very stiff and plush.
Weaknesses: takes a little longer to set up suspension.
I have been looking to buy a new bike for a while and took quite a few out on demo`s EG Orange 5 commencal meta santa cruz nickel and blur, mondc giraker foxy all nice bikes and all had good and bad points . Never really considered a Kona cadabra as Kona has not realy got a good following over here in the U.K . After seeing price in local bike shop decided to try as it looked a steal. And I was very surprised how well it climbed and it descended like a down hill bike. the magic link works like a dream and after 3 months of use loving it more and more . highly recommend
a Cross Country Rider
Date Reviewed: September 25, 2010
Strengths: The red and polished metal Cadabra frame. Suspension is amazing. Set it up in one afternoon and thats it. Propedal on 1, fork locked for goin up. Fork unlocked in the twisties. Propedal off, goin down. Couldn't be easier. Herein lies the magic: It feels four pounds lighter than it weighs going uphill and six pounds heavier than it is going down. The control due to front end stiffness is incredible. This is a hardtail holdouts dream come true. I will NEVER go back to sketchy punishment.
Weaknesses: Waited till it was on closeout leaving only two months to ride up high before winter, It doesnt fit in the hatchback as easily as the hardtail. Can't find anything to blame the bike for when I screw up. Gotta be something else? Can't think of it right now. ..
Cadabra does everything I need it to. Not just well, but very well. Any extra time spent climbing is more than offset by the ease at which this lets me fly back down the mountain. Thus the magic of abracadabra. I skeptically listened to the same reaction from a podium level DH and also an XC racer who rode it extensively. So I took it out and tried it. Being a lightweight climber, I've finally found the perfect tool. I'm strong enough to power 27lbs to the top of Super D, then the bike gets my unskilled ass to the bottom in one piece with ear to ear grin intact. It compensates for weak descending perfectly, Hell, its even a blast to crash on this thing. This is the closest I've ridden to an affordable all mountain, do it all bike.
Similar Products Used: Finally after 30 plus years of ho hum, I own a mountain bike.
Theres not much to compare this to for less than twice the price. Next year maybe. .
Bike Setup: Cadabra frame, Fox 32 RL 150 fork. Shimano 575 brakes. 2x10 drivetrain with FSA KFL 42-29 crank, Shimano XT shifters, M773-GS rear derailleur. 11-36 cassette. Speed Dream White Industries M-16 hubs with ZTR355/ZTR arch wheelset. Mutano 2.4 rear and Nevegal front tires. Thomson elite X4 stem and post, Monkeylite xc hi riser bar. WTB silverado saddle. <27.5lbs
a Weekend Warrior
from Madrid, Madrid, Spain
Date Reviewed: June 15, 2010
Strengths: Rigidity, infinity travel feeling, comfortable, seems lighter than it is, attractive looking
Weaknesses: Not available until june. Needs a components upgrade. Maxxis Aspen tires are weak in loose rocky terrain
After waiting more than 9 months, I am very satisfied with its behaviour. Front ridigity is impressive with tappered headset and 15 QR. Initially seems taller but once you are riding on it is stable and ease to use.
Uphill is similar to my old friend Kona Dawg 2004 with 100mm rear susp (good). Downhill, crossfire road (very good), twisted rocky trail with telescopic seatpost (outstanding).
Two bikes at the same time, Dr. Jekill and Mr. Hyde
Bike Setup: I have changed original Mavic Crossride Wheelset by XM 819 UST mavic rims and Shimano XT hubs (FH 778 in front) and also I have changed to Shimano SLX brakes instead of Deore units.
Seatpost Gravity dropper classic with remote control.
The rest of equipment is exactly equal original specifications.
a Weekend Warrior
Date Reviewed: June 14, 2010
Strengths: Price, fork, shock, crank, fun factor, scandium frame
Weaknesses: brakes,bar too narrow
This is a great fun bike. I own a Turner DW Spot, the fabled, best bike in the world, and I am really enjoying Kona's approach to the suspension. It handles great and climbs better than my Turner...honest! You have to try it out. It descends really well too. Considering the complete bike was less than my Turner frame, it is a great bargain. For some reason, probably marketing and crap people spew on the web, Kona's get little respect around here. It is easy to fall into the if is a Dw link, Maestro, FSR, blah, blah blah... it can't be good. I was very pleasantly surprised!