Kona Kula XC Hardtail

4.56/5 (18 Reviews)
MSRP : $1299.00


Product Description

The time to shred is upon us. Mountain biking has a handle on you. You're thinking race. You're pondering major mountain epics. Laying the hammer down. Nothing will get you going quicker off-road than the race born Kula. Using Kona's paradigm shifting sloping top tube technology, super light, tight and true riding Kona Race Light 7005 Aluminum Butted frame, dressed with components that won't slow you down, like a Shimano XT rear derailleur and RockShox Recon SL Solo 100mm front fork, but modest enough so there's money for post podium beers.


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Reviews 1 - 15 (18 Reviews Total) | Next 15

User Reviews

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:4
Submitted by P-Tron a Cross Country Rider from Edmonton

Date Reviewed: February 4, 2012

Strengths:    Fairly light bike that's well-suited to my local trails. Components are good throughout. After 1000kms of mostly singletrack & rooty forested trails (which included a half-dozen crashes) nothing on the bike has had any problems. Everything works like the day it was new. It's a quick, fun bike :) I really like having the bar-mounted remote lockout.


Weaknesses:    Nothing that I've found yet. I may try shortening up the cockpit a bit with a stem, but minor fit adjustments hardly speak to the bike in question.
Oh...the brakes squeal like mad if you spill Powerade on the rotors - haha!


Bottom Line:   
A solid bike. While not elite-level stuff, there are no 'garbage' components on this bike. The frame is a fine hardtail platform, especially paired with the nicely-adjustable fork. The 19" seems to be a good fit for my 6 foot, 165-pound frame.

It's all relative though, if you're a casual rider on gentle terrain that would be well-served with an entry-level Kona Blast or Nunu, then the Kula might be a (relatively) more bike than necessary. At any rate, this bike should be great for someone that rides a couple of times per week.

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   1 Year

Price Paid:    $1300.00

Purchased At:   LBS

Bike Setup:   Stock, with Panaracer FireXCPro (rear) and Kenda Nevegal (front)...and a crapload of lights, computer, fenders, pannier rack, seat bag, 2 bottles - there's a lot of stuff bolted on my bike :P

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:4
Submitted by SGexpat a Weekend Warrior from Singapore

Date Reviewed: April 25, 2010

Strengths:    Climbs like a monkey, decent components, fast on the track

Weaknesses:    Water-absorbent paint. That's it!

Bottom Line:   
Great fun on fast or tight single tracks, keep up with almost anything, can be thrown around (this thing carries me up the climbs!). Need to learn to turn in early on this bike but once you get used to Kona specialised single-track geometry nothing else I've tried feels as good.
Local shop has a Kula Primo 2007 in my favourite orange with super light Manitou R7mrd forks .. Feeling upgrade fever coming on as that 23lbs setup is way lighter than my std Kula!
Only downside is matt paintjob seems to absorb rain going patchy when wet - ok once dry but also marks easily. Not sure if gloss paint from 2008 onwards has fixed this issue.
Top bike, would buy again or upgrade to Easton/Scandium frame w same geo.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Bukit,Timah, Pulau Ubin

Duration Product Used:   2 Years

Price Paid:    $1100.00

Purchased At:   Tay Cycle, Tampines

Similar Products Used:   Kona Explosif, Louis Garneau XC Bart, Gary Fisher HooKooEeKoo

Bike Setup:   2007 Stock (Tora318 forks), added Easton Monkeylite SL low-rise bars, Raceface Revolution SL stem, SRP magnesium pedals

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:4
Submitted by coldpack a Weekend Warrior from Santa Rosa, CA. USA

Date Reviewed: November 16, 2009

Strengths:    Light and Stiff. Clean lines, stable at both fast and slow speeds. Way better climbing ability. Will never go back to full suspension.

Weaknesses:    Paint chips easily which led to the rear Salsa Skewer to come out on a hard climb. Need to remember to grind of paint in rear dropout before installing rear wheel!

Bottom Line:   
A nice light build. Next step beyond this would be a Ti frame, but this bike is perfect....for now!

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Ridge/South Burma Annadel

Duration Product Used:   3 months

Price Paid:    $150.00

Purchased At:   Ebay

Similar Products Used:   Leader 515 (19.5), Rocky Mountain ETSX (20.5) (full susp.)

Bike Setup:   Fox Talus RL Fork, Raceface XC Crank, XTR Derailers, Avid Juicy 5 brakes, Sun/Ringle Disco wheelset, Thompson stem and post, Raceface Carbon Bars, WTB Tyres and Seat.

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Thomas a Cross Country Rider from Rochester MN

Date Reviewed: February 18, 2008

Strengths:    Very nimble and fast as hell! Shifts clean, climbs smooth and quick. I used to ride a GF Opie and killed the front fork, bent the wheels, trashed the bottom bracket, and then got hit by a car, all in 10 months. So I found a friend selling his 2006 Kona for 500! so he could make rent. I trail the kula and ride it to class, it loves to take a beating and look look all sexy while my Fisher lays in pieces. O yeah, and she is a snap to pro tune.

Weaknesses:    Like people before me said, the tires are soft. This does not make them bad tires, they are very sticky, it's built to race. Also, I have heard of people not riding their kula's enough and they often attack you while you sleep.

Bottom Line:   
Bottom line... Very good single track/trail bike. Quick and nimble, with the added bonus of being able to zip the streets too.

( This makes me want to ride it, but it's -20 out)

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Seven Mile

Duration Product Used:   2 Years

Price Paid:    $500.00

Purchased At:   University Cycle

Similar Products Used:   Specialized stump jumper.

Bike Setup:   Chopped a bit of the handle bars off (kept bumpin um on cars). Tossed on the Specialized mag platform pedels. Two cups of milk. Chain slap guard. Then added a bit of me, and rode.

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Brian Young a Weekend Warrior from Bowmanville, Canada

Date Reviewed: October 24, 2007

Strengths:    Excellent in tight single track, climbs very well, light compared to my (very!) old bike. Looks great.

Weaknesses:    None so far! To early to tell.

Bottom Line:   
I rode alot this summer on my 14 year old Mongoose and decided its time for a new bike. A friend helped me choose this bike and I love it. It handles so well and is totaly predictable. The brakes work very well. It is very easy to ride and is smooth. I think it is a great bike for the money. I can't wait to get out there next summer.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Ganaraska Forest

Duration Product Used:   Less than 1 month

Price Paid:    $900.00

Purchased At:   Toronto Bike Show

Similar Products Used:   Gary fisher can't remember which one.

Bike Setup:   Stock 07 Kula

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Shawn MacNeil a Weekend Warrior from Pickering, Ontario, Canada

Date Reviewed: October 8, 2007

Strengths:    Good climber, good down hills, great in tight single track trails, and good braking.

Weaknesses:    A little heavy for my liking, but for the price thats what you get.

Bottom Line:   
l just got back into mountain biking(out of it for ten years) tried a lot of bikes in this price range found that this was the best deal for me, Im 6ft 1, so l got a 19inch frame and love the geometry of this bike, l keep doing up grades to the bike hoping to make it lighter, l have had the bike for a weak now and put on 75 km so far l just can't get enough l love it, i am so hooked on riding again and it's all because of my KONA KULA.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Seaton (for now)

Duration Product Used:   Less than 1 month

Price Paid:    $999.00

Purchased At:   Northern Cycle

Similar Products Used:   Treck 6700,Roacky Mountain Vortex 10.

Bike Setup:   Stock, except for tires, Panracer Speedblaser RL's(to make it lighter) also Easton Carbonfibre Monky Lite XC handle bars(also to lighten up the bike).

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:4
Submitted by Mark E a Weekend Warrior from Preston, Lancashire

Date Reviewed: March 12, 2007

Strengths:    As a long-term retro Kona rider - pleased to "feel at home" with this classic geometry - great climber. Amazing Hayes 9 brakes. Strong wheels. I have the 2006 model with Marzocchi Gran Fondo 1s, they have had bad press but I am really pleased with them - good plush all rounders.
Very confident and "chuckable" at speed.


Weaknesses:    Feels a bit twitchy at low speed (I must swap back to original rider bars!) Tyres are great for dry trails but lethal on wet rock - swap 'em asap. Although XT rear mech - the cheaper Deore front mech tends to require tuning regularly. Standard SPD pedals are pretty poor.
No major weaknesses.


Bottom Line:   
Good solid-feeling but also racy hard tail.
If you got the skills, this bike can deliver.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   black run - Coed Llandegla

Duration Product Used:   6 months

Price Paid:    $900.00

Similar Products Used:   Kona Cindercone / Explosif / Kilauea (love steel hardtails!)


Bike Setup:   As normal but with lower stem and flat bars - may explain twitching at low speeds.

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Jeff a Cross Country Rider from Mito, Japan

Date Reviewed: January 19, 2007

Strengths:    Light weight, but durable frame and components.
Reliable fork (2005 model Fox Vanilla R). Stable on the climbs and smooth on the downhill with no brake shimers
Reasonable price range (40% off near the end of the season)


Weaknesses:    Tires. I'd have to agree with other reviews. Tioga tires had very soft sidwalls and tended to flex when cornering and snakebite easily on rocks.
My seatpost bent from riding with a pack on.
Brake rotors warped easily ( I can't remember what make they were).


Bottom Line:   
If you are not riding overly rocky trails, this bike can handle almost anything in terms of endurance and all mountain riding. The trails where I live in Japan are clay and as a result they are smooth and fast. I've ridden this bike on downhill trails as well as all mountain conditions. Even riding on Lava rock was not a problem. However, for endurance riding the Rocky Mountains, I think I would prefer a softail.
The one thousand dollars I paid was money well spent. It got me into endurance racing and has been my sole means of transportation for 2 years. I think I have ridden it almost every day. Its light enough to carry on the train so I can explore new trails and still get home before dark.
The new Kula has been downgraded to make room for the Kula Dulux and Supreme. After looking at the components I am a little dissapointed they moved away from the Fox fork as that was one of the main selling points for me. The Reba on the Kula Dulux might be alright (I've never ridde it), but I am not impressed with the Kula's new fork it doesnt feel the same.
Overall Kona has put a nice package together. I would like to see them make the bike a little lighter in the future with a better wheelset and carbon frame.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Izu Oshima

Duration Product Used:   2 Years

Price Paid:    $1000.00

Purchased At:   Japan

Similar Products Used:   Rocky Mountain Blizzard, Schwynn Mesa

Bike Setup:   offroad: Mavic Crossmax wheels, Specialized Roll-x tubeless tires, spd pedals for racing. Onroad: slick tires, flat pedals, original wheelset.

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Kev a Cross Country Rider from Perth, Western Australia

Date Reviewed: January 4, 2007

Strengths:    I have a 2005 model.
Looks good, strong brakes, quality components. I bought this to replace my Giant Rainier as I wanted a lighter, less common bike than a Giant, and I was very unimpressed with the Ranier's cable disc brakes. Konas are quite rare in Australia, Giants are everywhere! Tried an Avanti but it lacked character. The Kula instantly felt nicer to ride.
Nothing has broken and all I've had to change is a chain and cassette.


Weaknesses:    Not as light as I thought, after trying a Giant XTC1, brake pads worn out after 6000km (or is that normal?). I'm selling it to pay for a new Ibis Mojo - my old backside needs a smoother ride!

Bottom Line:   
A good bike, but possibly a little heavy compared to the cometition. I've gone off hardtails and am going for comfort - not a criticism of the bike, just my old age! Has done over 6000km of commuting and the occasional trail without complaint.

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   2 Years

Price Paid:    $1500.00

Purchased At:   Hi-Way Cycles

Similar Products Used:   Giant XTC1, Giant Ranier, Avanti

Bike Setup:   Slick Conti tyres, bar ends, Specialized BG saddle.

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:4
Submitted by Timmy a Weekend Warrior from Sydney, Australia

Date Reviewed: May 5, 2006

Strengths:    This bike is really light. First impressions are great brakes are strong, the geometry makes it soo much easier to climb those unbelevibly steep hills, when i mean easier i mean... really easy. The forks are pretty much the lowest spec in the fox range but work great.

Weaknesses:    The paint job as said chips very easily i recommend that you should cover it in clear tape to preserve the frame. Tyres are absolutly usless. Change them immediatly. The easton riser bars are way... to wide for me ( i am planning to cut them )but the riser in the bars is great dispite the rather wide width. Downhills are done definatly out of the saddle. In rough rocky sections the hardtale design seems transfere all the bumps 99% through the bike and into your body.

Bottom Line:   
This is definatly a bike for cross country ers.. 101% pedal efficency. Great on steep long before seemed unacheivable climbs.

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   Less than 1 month

Price Paid:    $1400.00

Purchased At:   ABC bikes

Similar Products Used:   Giant youkon (lasted me 3 years suprsingly)


Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Lee a Weekend Warrior from Moorhead Minnesota USA

Date Reviewed: September 18, 2005

Strengths:    This bike is very light weight for a disc-brake hardtail. It climbs like a mountain goat, and the Fox Vanilla-R fork is very capable and smooth. Oh, did I mention that this is one sexy bicycle?

Weaknesses:    Other reviewers have noted that the paint finish chips very easily, and I may have to concur with this assessment: On my first off-road ride -a 70 miler on the North Country Scenic Trail- I noticed a paint chip. But fear not, fellow hyper-sensitive and metrosexual cyclists, the paint chip in no way affects the Kula's ride quality.

Bottom Line:   
This bicycle is simply resplendent: the Kula will serve well as a daily commuter, while keeping up (nicely) with much more expensive bikes on the trail. The frame is one of the most beautifully crafted ones that I've seen for the price range (and I'm used to beautifully crafted frames as my road bike is a Klein Quantum). The equipment mix is just smart, and the seat is sleek and very comfortable too. Kona's love of mountain biking culture really shines through this finely crafted bicycle.
I would recommend this bicycle for the serious weekend warrior and/or the daily commuter like myself. But hey, don't take my word for it; try the Kula for yourself.

Prosper & Be In Health

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   North Country Scenic Trail, MN

Duration Product Used:   Less than 1 month

Price Paid:    $1100.00

Purchased At:   Paramount Sports

Similar Products Used:   Kona Cinder Cone; Specialized Stumpjumper; Trek Fuel.

Bike Setup:   Stock: XT Rear, LX Front, with the sagaciously executed Fox Vanilla-R fork.

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:4
Submitted by Stott Meister a Cross Country Rider from Southampton

Date Reviewed: September 14, 2005

Strengths:    Frame - the eastlight tubes are stiff and light, feels like one component - paintjob is excellent (lots of comments =))
Forks - the Vanilla R's are smoooth and complement the frame in terms of weight and damping
Brakes - the Hayes 9's are great brakes - they need a small amount of setting up, but once you've done that, they are solid, smooth and really confidence inspiring. They don't complain in the wet and have nice progression.
Drive-train - XT/RACEFACE/LX mix is superb - solid, reliable shifting
Climbs and handles very well indeed


Weaknesses:    Assembly quality - The muppets ate Kona threaded the bottom-bracket when assembled - spotted +/- 3mm play in cranks when cleaning - had to be returned to shop for fixing - 2 weeks =(
Seatpost - useless - moves all the time and requires constant adjustment
Tyres - absoloutely useless - very skittish on loose stuff and puncture very easliy - they WEAR like nothing I've ever seen...


Bottom Line:   
A fine bike for XC. Just completed Douth DOwns Way in a day on this bike and (other than my VERY sore bum), I didn't tire and the bike felt responsive right the way through the ride. INspires confidence downhill and climbs very well. For a die-hard hardtail fan like myself, I couldn't wish for anything better for the sub £1k I spent (great discount...) - I do think that £1250SRP is a little high for some of the components (agreed on fork upgrade AT THAT PRICE) but then KONA aren't known for value. Swop the tyres out straight away (at point of sale) and sort the seatpost out and you will have a fine bike.

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   3 months

Price Paid:    $950.00

Purchased At:   The Hub Cycleworks, Soouthampton

Similar Products Used:   GT Avalanche, KONA Caldera, Spech R'hopper, Marin Nail Trail

Bike Setup:   Stock other than slightly higher rise bar (6'1" on a 19" frame) and XT BB after Knona threaded the RACE FACE one.

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Dave a Racer from England

Date Reviewed: September 5, 2005

Strengths:    Fantastic when it gets technical, pretty good climber, all parts are solid and durable. Love the paint job! The frame itself is a work of art.

Weaknesses:    Slightly weighty. This may be down to the fact that Kona have speced a very strange fork for the intended use. Why a Vanilla when you can have an FRL or a Float? I replaced the tyres immediately.

Bottom Line:   
Solid performer. Bought it because of the price, got it for £1000, very good compared to what the opposition had to offer, it is a very solid performer, i race on it and love it. When it gets technical it is truely a fantastic machine, its just a bit weighty. I immidiately replaced the tyres for something lighter and better, then i added a flat bar and bar ends.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Lots

Duration Product Used:   Less than 1 month

Price Paid:    $1100.00

Purchased At:   Winstanleys


Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Jason a Racer from Dartmouth

Date Reviewed: October 17, 2004

Strengths:    This bike is awesome, I managed to try out a few different sizes and felt teh 17" although small for riding anywheres in teh trails has teh exact right wheel base to be ultra fast in the woods for me. Awesome bike for teh money

Weaknesses:    the lock out is garbage and keeps moving as I pedal...I'll be in teh woods and it will brush up against a branch...and whoops there goes the 100mmm, the paint job is killer but man it is beat after very little ridding and these nokian tires SUCK, three months and I'm riding slicks now...

Bottom Line:   
great deal period for me. this bike has more flex in the frame then I'm used to but then it is much lighter then my previous bikes as well. great value if you pay LESS then full retail and can be an awesome race bike once teh kinks are worked out. the brakes are great and one-two finger brakeing is possible. I really love the fact that they don't just hang a bunch of shimano parts on the bike and call it a day and teh company itself is pretty good to deal with for sure!!!

Kona has more then just dirt jump and downhill bikes boys and girls...lol

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   3 months

Price Paid:    $1000.00

Purchased At:   Local shop

Similar Products Used:   Specialized rockhopper, cinder cone, G.fish tass,

Bike Setup:   only thing i changed ut was the worthless pedals to a nice set of pd540 and they are nice

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Rob Oakes a Cross Country Rider from Hoddesdon, England

Date Reviewed: August 22, 2004

Strengths:    Extremely light Easton frame, great Hayes HFX9 hydraulics, Mazz Bomber comp fork with ETA, paintjob looks the nuts and gets admiring comments !

Weaknesses:    Did not like the flat Easton bar so got dealer to stick on an Easton riser that looks and rides better for me on the 18" frame. I got mine a bit cheaper than retail but still paid way more than they pay in the US(not a product weakness just a moan!).

Bottom Line:   
If you're after a high performance hardtail with great spec as standard you can't go far wrong with the Kula. My previous bike was a £250 Halfords Carrera Vulcan, heavy, no sus, really basic. I brought the Kula only yesterday and rode the furthest I've ever ridden (combo of road/off road). I couldn't believe how easy and also how un-tired I was at the end of it. Okay, today my rear end is numb so I may get a sus seatpost but still this bike is a dream!
Never underestimate the difference a good lightweight, well specced bike can make to your enjoyment factor and confidence.

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   Less than 1 month

Purchased At:   Cycadelia

Similar Products Used:   CinderCone, Caldera

Bike Setup:   Stock apart from the riser. Will be getting some Goodridge hydralic hoses.

Reviews 1 - 15 (18 Reviews Total) | Next 15

Review Options:  Sorted by Latest Review | Sort by Best Rating


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Hi All :) I'm in a dilemma, i'm am thinking of upgrading my old seldom used hardtail Kona Kula 2005 for my brother and the intent of the bike will be for light XC/singletrack. What i have upgraded since purchase is a thompson stem & seatpost, all else are stock. Would it be practical to upgrade s ... Read More »

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Paid Spam-Kona Kula 2-9r

Bike sets up great SS or geared (present build). Can sell as is, built SS. Going back to 650 wheels. [url=http://classifieds.mtbr.com/showproduct.php?product=75988&title=kona-kula-2-9r-scandium&cat=38]Kona Kula 2-9r Scandium - Buy and Sell and Review Mountain Bikes and Accessories[/url]Read More »

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