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: I have the 2011 model still with the old coil auxiliary shock and a 32mm Fox Talas fork. I tend to ride with a stiff setup (high pressure, low sag). It is a bike, not a sofa. ;)
With that setup the Cadabra climbs very well but is also very capable down hill. The MagicLink IMO is a fantastic piece of technology. Just like advertised it is like riding a CC bike but on the downhill you have lots of reserves.
Add the Talas (I personally like adjustable travel forks) and you have a super versatile bike.
Weaknesses: The brake rotors (180mm front, 160mm rear) in the standard setup are too small for heavy riders. You can use up to 185mm brake rotors in the rear, but no bigger rotors. I ride 200mm front, 185mm rear and that is OK for me (ca. 100kg rider weight).
There is not much tire clearance on the 2011 model. I hear that has improved on the 2013 model.
The MagicLink (coil) on my bike sometimes makes some squeaking noises. Spraying Teflon (PTFE) on the elastomer inside the coil helps. (The new Cadabras have an air-shock as auxiliary shock anyway.)
The Cadabra is a perfect “All mountain” or “Enduro” bike!
I hope Kona will produce another bike with MagicLink in the future.
a All Mountain Rider
Date Reviewed: September 9, 2013
Strengths: Plush rear end, travel feels deeper than 6", fairly light, laterally stiff, good climber too...
Weaknesses: Fox 34 clunkiness, hard to get at (ie. clean) magiclink shock, narrow bars, long dong stem, stock wheels are tubeless but tires are not, Kronolog seat post needs a re-build every 50 hours
A sweet over-all bike for the money, bummed they are discontinuing this model for 2014 (I have the 2013) instead of using the Magic-link platform for 27" wheels.
The tweener's are bad ass.
Anybody wanna buy mine?
a All Mountain Rider
Date Reviewed: August 21, 2013
Strengths: -Climbs well, fairly light, hmmm thinking hard to find allot good with it.
Weaknesses: Durability is crap. I had the bike for 9 months before the frame cracked right above the front derailleur. Now they want $1200 for another one due to not purchasing it from a Kona store. In that time I spent $175 on the magic link air shock which also broke and then Kona charged me $30 to get another one from Vancouver. What else, oh the mavic crossride rear wheel broke, so I had to replace that too.
Don't do it. There are other suspension designs (Stumpy's, Reigns etc) that work just aswell without crappy reviews. Oh and Kona has discontinued the model for 2014
Strengths: Suspension like a motorcross bike, climbs well and handles the downhill well. A very fluid machine and it is tough.
Weaknesses: Dialing in the MagicLink system and the constant squeaking when dust gets into the MagicLink spring assembly.
I own a 2011 Cadabra and in the beginning it was a love hate relationship until I figured out how to dial in the rear suspension. The bike climbs extremely well and rails very well on the downhill, I am sad that Kona has decided not to produce it anymore after 2013. I think they can tweak it to make it better. I think it would be a marvelous machine if they put a twin stack fork on it for those of us who like to rail it down the mountains in Colorado. I am jealous that they got rid of the spring assembly and put in a separate shock for the MagicLink assembly which does not squeak and makes dialing in easier.. What I have found out when it comes to the Cadabra is that you hate it or like it there is no in between for this machine.
Date Reviewed: June 13, 2013
Strengths: It's fairly good on the downhills
Weaknesses: The rear suspension system is a total sham. Magic Link is a load of bullcrap. This makes it terrible for climbing. The whole bike feels like it's working against you on the way up. I just really don't like it. The Talas fork is really heavy feeling. It feels super unbalanced.
I just really dislike this bike. I had really high hopes for this bike and it has really let me down. It fairs pretty well on the downhill sections, but is just terrible at climbing. The rear suspension system feels like it's working against you. It's really just has a bad feel to it while you're riding. I have never felt comfortable on it. Will be selling it soon.
a All Mountain Rider
Date Reviewed: April 7, 2013
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.
Seriously. You could win a brand new Kona Cadabra (worth over $3,000) by donating just $10 to help my dear friend, Stephanie, battle a crappy disease (Gastroparesis). For every $10 you donate, you get your name entered once into the raffle. The more you donate, the better chance you have to win. Ple ... Read More »
I was wondering if anyone of you ever weighed a Kona Cadabra 2010 (18"). I got my doubts about its weight, in the store I bought it, it weighed 13.6kg with some crappy flat pedals.
In the meantime I upgraded the brakes to Avid Elixir 9s, which are considerably ligher than the stock De ... Read More »
Anyone own a 2013 Cadabra. Impressions? It sounds like it's being advertised as a "do it all" mountain bike. Very few reviews out there, except for older versions or the higher end "Abra" which has gotten alot of praise. It's too expensive though. My trails are pretty technical and hilly. Tha ... Read More »
So here's the question..
I've got a V1 Rune which has served me very well. Does great going uphill, surprisingly well really, and is even better on the descents. But I think it's 'point anywhere and go' mentality is its main downfall,by that I mean, it's an absolute tank. SE MI just doesn't offer t ... Read More »