a Weekend Warrior
from Mid MO
Date Reviewed: June 10, 2011
Strengths: Very strong, very stiff. Held up well to a pounding.
Weaknesses: Heavy, but then so am I. Price you pay to know the bike will not crumble below you.
Original saddle is weak.
This Bike has seen some punishment. I started on this bike at 320lbs. I am below 250 now and it is still going strong. It can take some punishment. I went over the bars a few times at the 320 mark and not even an untrue rim. I am cranked HARD on the pedals without problems. I have bombed downhills and off drops. It doesn't phase this bike at all. I have taken a few 3-5 hour trail rides on it and it just keeps coming back for more. I put some upgraded brakes on it because I like to know I can stop. I have been on too many bikes where I was going down hill and would wounder if I could stop if I needed to. I went through a few saddles on it until I found the SDG ibeam. Good upgrade too.
Good bike for the big guy go go ride and have fun. Not good for racing.
Bike Setup: 2008 Kona Hoss. Stock except for the brakes. I upgraded the front rotor to a 203 right after I got it and just upgraded the brakes to hayes stroker ace. The stock were good but I like really grabby brakes.
Put a SDG ibeam on it. Best I found for us big guys who are not afraid to pound it a bit.
Similar Products Used: Trek 6500, Cannondale F4, Rockhopper SL.
Bike Setup: Marz DJ 2, Shimano M575 Disc Brakes, Deore Shifters and Front DR., XT Rear DR., FSA Step Up Cranks, Sun Black Eye Rims, Maxxis Ignitor Tires, Shimano M525 Rear Hub, Formula DH Front Hub, Sandvik Stainless Spokes, and RPM ISIS DH BB.
a Weekend Warrior
from Ile-Aux-Noix, QC
Date Reviewed: July 19, 2009
Strengths: Awesome frame, super stiff and looks great. Can take a beating. Most of the components are more than adequate for XC riding.
Weaknesses: Some of the components are under-spec'ed for this application. The wheels were especially lame. The original pedals that came on mine (2006 Hoss) were beyond weak.
I originally bought a base 20" Kona Hoss on special back in 2006. That bike served me exceedingly well for years. It was my first new bike since my teenage years, and I learned how to ride all over again with it. While none of the original components were especially impressive (mostly base Shimano Deore drivetrain and cable disc brakes), they functioned well and lasted for the life of the bike.
The only real let-down was the wheelset, which suffered some serious damage on rather tame trails. They kept bending, I kept getting them trued, and then they'd bend again. Spokes would snap frequently. Overall, I'll never be going anywhere near Alex Rims DM24's again.
The frame was especially impressive. I'm 6'1" and I started out weighing 325 pounds when I bought the bike. It never complained about my bulk. It was always super-stiff and strong, with no give whatsoever. I now weigh 260 pounds (and dropping), and I owe most of that to this bike.
Unfortunately, there was an accident recently and the bike had to be replaced. I decided to just order a new bare Hoss frame and outfit it with the components I've always wanted. I also decided on a 22" frame this time, since I always felt a little cramped on the 20" one. The 2008 frame looks gorgeous in bright metallic blue, and the 22" size is perfect for me. There have been some minor updates to the frame, like revised cable routing for the rear brakes and derailleur.
This new bike feels amazing. It gives me the confidence to tackle obstacles I never would've considered before. The frame is still incredibly stiff, but the 22" size has given me tons more flexibility to adjust my riding position any way I want. By comparison, my step-dad's Jamis XC 2.0 feels soft and squishy, and my girlfriend's Kona Blast is unresponsive and boring.
Unfortunately, Kona got rid of the low-end Hoss model and only offers the more expensive one (which is no longer dubbed "Deluxe"). I know for a fact that I never would've bought mine 3 years ago if it had cost $1199. But anyone can order a bare frame through their Kona dealer and build it to their own specs like I did, so budget Hoss builds are still possible.
I wouldn't call mine "budget" though... the MSRP of all the combined components I picked is $2800, before any taxes!!! Hurray for eBay!
Value: 5 flaming chilies for the original price of $699 of my 2006 Hoss. I would give less if I were rating the current $1199 Hoss.
Overall: 5 flaming chilies for an overall awesome bike, with a truly spectacular frame at a dirt-cheap price.
This is a 2007 model, since then I have changed some of the problem components. The old hayes sole brakes were horrible, leaked,failed, the wtb seat bent within 6 months,I`m about 220 Lbs and ride XC. the isis crank arms bent and the rear free wheel seized up. they have all been replaced with different comp, kona warranty wasn`t good for anything. They attibuted it to crash damage. Give me a break. My next bike won`t be a kona because of the poor warranty support. It seems they don`t stand behind there product. Maybe if you bought a $5000.00 bike. I can`t say, I won`t be buying one. I`ll probably go giant next, my friend has one and the warranty support has been excellent
Strengths: Awesomely stiff & strong frame, great geometry. For the price I'm surprised how well most of the original parts held up.
Weaknesses: Originally had an 07 DJ 4 fork on it which was pretty crappy, although functional enough. The hayes sole brakes were a bit weak.
This is the best bang for buck hardtail bike I ever had, even better now that I've switched the front fork & brake. The 09 Hoss looks like an even better deal I suggest any heavy riders out there to seriously consider this bike.
Bike Setup: 07 Hoss with 09 DJ 2, juicy 5 front brake & Kona primo pedals
a Weekend Warrior
from Lincoln, NE, USA
Date Reviewed: April 18, 2009
Strengths: Excellent geometry, wanted a smaller frame for hardtail freeride, I am 6'2" and used an 18" and still have plenty of room to move about. Bike was trashed when I purchased off ebay, came free with fork I had bought, $60 khaki powder coat good as new.
Weaknesses: None so far.
I love this bike, I build it as something to jump on and beat up, and it has grown into my favorite. I see no need to sell the bike as it gets scratched or chipped from use, being aluminum its cheap and easy and possible to pick nearly any color, to have powder coated and looking as new or better as the day you bought it. Fine a frame you love, everything else is an easy fix.
Similar Products Used: Kona Lava Dome, Airborne Lucky Strike
Bike Setup: Marzocchi Drop-Off Triple, Hayes 9 Brakes, e.13 STS, Sram x.7 rear shift/dur/casset9sp. Race Face Atlas Freeride cranks, DTS onyx hubs, white sun rims, cane creek headset, richey stem, hellbent bars.
Date Reviewed: February 10, 2009
Strengths: very strong frame forks are bullet proof
Weaknesses: mechanical discs are a pain to keep adjusted wish it had more front end tavel
I have put this bike through hell and back multiple times riding through trails that should only be ridden by downhill bikes and the hoss was asking for more so far this is the most durable bike i have ever ridden
a fantastic bike iwould reccomend it to anyone ive never had any problems with mine i thaught i would be needing a new crank because i ride approx 8 miles a day and its nearly 2 years old now and this is still fantastic. This bike is more for the heavier rider but im not saying a weedy guy cant buy this. i will probably never buy a new bike to replace it i will just simply umpgrade parts gradually untill irs worth about 3000$
a Cross Country Rider
from East Anglia, UK
Date Reviewed: July 29, 2008
Strengths: Everything. I am a big lad and so far all has stood up well. I absolutely love this bike and I am now a dedicated Kona man.
Weaknesses: Not a weakness but I changed the straight seatpost for one with an offset to give me more room in the cockpit. I may also change the stem to one which has a steeper angle and slightly longer if poss
This bike is the mutts nuts. Everything is sturdy and well put together. A real pleasure to use and abuse
Similar Products Used: Tried Specialized, Giant, GT
Bike Setup: Standard except for above.
a Cross Country Rider
from Tampa, Florida
Date Reviewed: July 25, 2008
Strengths: Bullet proof frame
Weaknesses: The original fork left something to be desired
When I bought this bike, I was a much heavier guy. I needed something that wouldn't break all of the time. I have had the best experience possible with this bike. As I got lighter, it just got faster. The geometry is just right. I would recommend this bike to anyone. I like it so much, that even though I have made the decision to move to the dark side and buy a full suspension bike, I have decided to keep this bike. The new bike, by the way is a Kona! This will be my final review on this bike, as my ride time will not be nearly enough to warrant an update, but this frame has almost 9000 miles hard miles on it, without a hint of fatigue.
Bike Setup: Completely custom, '05 Hoss,Brontrager Earl wheels, LX Cranks, Race Face Rings, Race Face Evolve AM stem, Hayes HFX9 brakes,Bontrager xxxlite Carbon Bar, Truvativ Carbon Team Seat post, XTR Front and Rear derailuers,XT shifters, Oury Lock Ons,Reba Race Fork, Salsa Skewers, Panaracer XC fire pros (japanese) with Stan's notube,Time Atac XS pedals, WTB pure V ti seat. XT Cassette.
a Weekend Warrior
from London, Ontario, Canada
Date Reviewed: June 26, 2008
Strengths: Feel and fit for large rider, plush ride, predictable handling, snappy drivetrain. Nice component mix on 2008 model, with thoughtful upgrades over previous years.
Weaknesses: None that I can see.
The Hoss might not be the absolute value leader at its price point in terms of component mix, but it's the perfect compromise for larger riders. I'm a true Clyde at 6' 3" and 240lb, and it's a tremendous relief to ride a bike designed from the ground up for riders my size- no more flexy forks and crowded cockpits.
I've got a long torso for my height, and the 20" frame is an excellent match for my build. Aside from simply feeling "right", the Hoss was the only bike I tested that didn't feel like it was about to break when I did stoppies. With the tucked-in XT rear derailleur and husky build quality, it should prove bulletproof for my mix of commuting, urban play riding and light trail use. IMHO, if a Hoss isn't strong enough for you, you're either extraordinarily clumsy, or attacking terrain that's too tough for a mid-priced trail bike.
The Marzocchi Dirt Jumper 2 fork felt perfect out of the box at 1 click off max rebound and zero psi. As a first-time disc user, I still find the Hayes Stroker Trail dual-piston brakes a little hard to modulate, but they are quiet and very powerful.
The hubs, spokes and eyeletted Sun Black Eye rims are very stout. The 2.35 Maxxis Ignitors turned out to be pretty good all-rounders, rolling and riding faster and better than expected at 65psi. Still, for an ex-roadie like me, they seemed like overkill. The bike is much quicker and smoother with a 1.75 Michelin Country Rock on the rear. It still rides well and rails the local trails in dry and mildly damp conditions, so I will probably put another one on the front, for a further drag reduction.
With the nose adjusted slightly downward, the WTB Speed V was surprisingly comfortable for an OEM saddle, but it didn't measure up on longer road rides. Despite the maintenance hassles of a leather saddle, I just indulged myself by ordering a Brooks B-17 to replace it. That will probably be my last upgrade for this year.
Favorite Trail: Commuting, bike paths, Fanshawe Conservation Area
Duration Product Used: Less than 1 month
Purchased At: Cycle Path
Similar Products Used: Older Yakota and Trek rigid MTB's, various road bikes.
Bike Setup: Cheap platform pedals for commuting convenience, narrower rear tire, waiting for Brooks B-17 saddle.
a Cross Country Rider
from Penfield, New York, USA
Date Reviewed: May 26, 2008
Strengths: Bulletproof frame. Wheels can take a huge beating, tires rock, and great cranks.
Weaknesses: Crappy fork for XC, I bought a manitou nixon elite & that works great. Great bike for cross country, freeride, DJ, and downhill. I'm 5'3' 115 pounds. This bike can take a hell of a beating.
Great bike for anything you can dish out. I use it as a cross country and then drop the seat down for jumping. Just upgrade the fork
Favorite Trail: local XC park & hitting drops and jumps in my backyard
Duration Product Used: 1 Year
Purchased At: Trailblazers Bike and Sport
Similar Products Used: Kona cindercone
Bike Setup: Manitou nixon elite, stock cranks, deore xt derailers, kona wah-wah pedals
a Weekend Warrior
Date Reviewed: May 1, 2008
Weaknesses: cheap components for the price. why have kona switched from the hayes hfx9 to the solo
had a 2004 model before some low life nicked it. now have the 2006 model. forks have a better paint job, but why have they switched from hayes hfx9 brakes to the solo brakes. I cycle about 60 miles a week, and the hoss has been solid. You can buy some bike out there 3 times the price and only get a couple of seasons out of them.
a Cross Country Rider
from Eagle, CO, USA
Date Reviewed: April 24, 2008
Strengths: I'm 6'4" 260 and an ex BMXer in my younger days. The frame is tough and i can't brake it. Made for the big guys.
Weaknesses: Would be nice if it came with a lockout fork.
My friend bought a Haro before talking to me. We switched just to see the difference and I saw the look of disapointment on his face when he felt how mine road knowing that he made the wrong decision buying a skinny guys bike. Nothing against Haro's they are just not made for 6'4" 260lb dudes. If your smaller go with a lighter bike.