a Cross Country Rider
from west oz
Date Reviewed: September 30, 2004
Strengths: works really well,light with outstanding cornering.just feels right
Weaknesses: a bit of bob in granny but buggerall
Im over 200 pds and ride 4-5 times a week and this thing still makes me grin from ear to ear.I only do the xc jumps but dont have the most delicate of styles, but the kona keeps coming back for more.Love the handling of it and the low center of gravity.Its getting a bit old now and I might upgrade to a Turner burner ,but really its just to get the SPV rear shock.Ive had over 40-50 bikes and this one is the fave by a mile.Its smooth ,its fast , I Love it
Similar Products Used: lots and lots-I own a mountain bike tour business
Bike Setup: psylo race ,magura louise ,mavic 519,stylo team ,and sram 9.0 running gear
a Weekend Warrior
from Singapore: UK originally
Date Reviewed: September 9, 2004
Strengths: Light, fast. XTR rocks!, geometery (except on steep climbs)
Weaknesses: Paint coming off after less than a year. Suspension is faux bar, strength!
Well the bike is light and all XTR'ed up. It also looks the biz in silver and I got it cheap!
However after a year of using it i've realised that i'm probably too aggressive for the bike.
I'm almost 6' and 76kgs (170lbs for the yanks), so pretty skinny. In SE Asia the trails are short, steep and sometimes a little technical (logs and roots in the jungle, small stepdowns, the odd snake etc.) but nothing serious. A few nocthces up from smooth single track, no drops, hucks or rocks. I guess I ride hard, agressive XC, but the trails here are not by any means "freeride". I've ridden Cypress and Seymour so know the diffrence (on a G-Spot btw, not the Kona)
Despite this i've managed to snap the frame (rear chainstay), bent rims and replaced just about every component on the bike several times over.
I know, I know its a lightweight XC bike, but the bike won't last another year...
The paint is also starting to flake around the headset, the bottle cage screws and other points on the frame. This may be something to do with the humudity here but it looks like the frame wasn't cleaned properly before it was sprayed.
What about the ride? i hear you cry. Well although the geometery feels balanced I find the centre of the bike is a bit difficult to feel when on the trail, (it's farther forward than you think it is). This means the front is really squirrerlly on steep climbs (my wide bars don't help) and you have to move around the bike...a lot. I am a more balanced rider because of it though and the "King" gets up most things...fast.
Rear tyre choice is important as leaning so far forward can mean the back breaks away. This might be down to my ability but having ridden a Truth and Heckler I didn't have this problem. Also my buddy (and wife) have Kikapu's and find the same stuff happens on steep climbs. Maybe their ability as well, don't know...
I also havn't got on with the tubeless tyres. In the first three months of riding I got a flat just about every other ride. I've tried Stans and although its held up in the front I now run a tube and a big volumne tyre in the rear.
The suspension i'm not too sure about. I frequently bottom out the rear shock, even though I have 120lbs - 150lbs in it. If the flow is going and the trail is smooth then it feels like i'm flying. However my mate's Heckler with SPV feels firmer and has 5". I found I could even stand up and jam on his bike, which you definitely cannot do on the King Kik. It's a LOT! faster though....
The bike does bob and im afraid it doesn't feel like a Truth, but it seems to work pretty well. Going down is good and it's easy to move the bike under you when going fast over rough stuff. Cornering is also good but it's not always easy to judge the breakaway point. Probably my choice of tyres, having a larger one on the rear to try and solve my puncture problem (which has worked by the way).
So, I would say that if you only ride non technical XC with no atacking climbs then it's a great bike. However if you like to mix it up a bit then something beefier is needed (or buy a second bike)
Maybe this is obvious: but it wasn't to me when I bought the bike and have now realised that I need another rig. In all fairness to the King it has handled a lot of my abuse. I'll probably still ride the Kona for races and days with the fast boys. I also would have considered another Kona but really wanted a more sophisticated suspension set up.
So value for me was spot on, with XTR and the light weight it was a bargain. Overall though it gets a 3. This is because of the paint, the swingarm breaking and the fact it doesn't have a sticker on it saying..."do not ride hard"...
Similar Products Used: Ellsworth Truth, Santa Cruz Heckler, Cove G-Spot. Giant Carbon roadie...
Bike Setup: Stock, except for EA70 bar, Gobi saddle, Chris King Headset. Hutch Python 2 and 2.35 Cinder cone
from MIDVALE, UT USA
Date Reviewed: August 6, 2004
Strengths: SUPER FAST, EXCELLENT GEOMETRY FOR CLIMBING AND DESCENDING.
Weaknesses: NONE YET
THIS REVIEW IS ACTUALLY FOR THE 'KONA KING', THE ELITE KONA XC RACE BIKE. THE BEST RACE BIKE I HAVE EVER OWNED. WOULD COMPETE WITH THIS BIKE AGAINST ANY OTHER BIKE EVER MADE. WEIGHS 23.5 POUNDS WITH PEDALS AND IS FAST. THE 3.5 REAR TRAVEL IS ALL YOU NEED, I CAME FROM 5" ON THE ENDURO. I PLAN RACING THIS BIKE TILL IT HAS LOST ITS STRUCTURAL INTEGRITY OR MY SPONSORS GIVE ME A NEW ONE.
Similar Products Used: 2003 SPECIALIZED STUMPJUMPER, 2003 S-WORKS ENDURO
Bike Setup: 19". THOMSON POST AND STEM, 2004 SHIMANO XT WHEELS, HUTCHINSON PYTHONS, FOX TALAS RLC FORK, EASTON XC HANDLEBARS, FULL XTR COMPONENTS WITH DISC BRAKES.
a Cross Country Rider
from Bath, UK
Date Reviewed: July 29, 2003
Strengths: Exceptionally well balanced and weighted - love the ability to lock-out all the suspension when cycling on the smooth. A staggeringly fast cross country bike my fitness has had to move up a peg or two in order to get the most out of the bike; it's very rare I use the smallest cog at the moment don't have the strength! XTR brakes are the best I have ever experienced nothing will slow you with more confidence when you're approaching the bottom of steep descents - I puposely leave breaking later as I have that much faith in them stoppping me, the pads have also lasted well.
Weaknesses: My biggest gripe has to be the pedals I don't see the point in having clips on a Cross Country bike they're more dangerous than they are useful and restrict control on technical trails. If you don't use them then you're left to try and balance on the smallest pedals imaginable that offer no grip.
XTR is what makes this bike once you have mastered how to shift gears with the break lever you know it makes sense and will become standard in a couple of years time. Very well finished bike still not sure it's worth the money if you take away the XTR but still wanted a Kona in the end because it was the best all rounder. Still haven't stopped riding it my girlfriend has become a mountain bike widow - :)
Similar Products Used: Marin Mount Vision, Cannondale Scalpel
Bike Setup: Standard except XTR chain was replaced with a stronger nickel based one, wide Easton bars replaced with smaller cross country specific Easton and pedals replaced with DMR V12s
from Huntsville, Utah
Date Reviewed: April 24, 2003
Strengths: Light, Great Component Spec, Clean Looks (Disc Only Frame),Kona Reliability, 4 bar suspension design.
Weaknesses: The cheap Easton bar, stem, and seatpost. Also the Aheadset is the biggest piece of junk ever.
The bottom line on this bike is that it is a race machine. The new XTR is fabulous(read my review on it). Kona has put a lot of thought into the design of this bike. The pivots are positioned in such a way to create the most efficient FS ride possible also eliminating brake jack by positioning the lower pivot above the rear hub. The frame is very light sub 5lbs. w/shock. My bike is weighing in a 23.7lbs. The suspension outperforms anything I have ridden and is plush unlike the Fuel and Sugar. The Truth is a great bike, but you definently notice the extra travel and its a heavier bike. Did I mention how fast this bike is? If I didn't its extremely fast. Oh and you don't have to pay near as much for it as you would for a new fuel or sugar or truth or scalpel with equal component spec.
Similar Products Used: Trek Fuel 100, Ellsworth Truth, Gary Fisher Sugar
Bike Setup: I have the bike set up stock except for I replaced the bar,stem, seatpost, and head set. Thomson stem and seatpost, carbon bar and a blue King HS. Oh and a new Saddle.Selle San Marco ERA pro.
from steamboat springs
Date Reviewed: April 9, 2003
does anyone have an approximate stock weight on this bike?
Strengths: High end components. Light. Plush but race worthy suspension. The new Fox RLT is just plain incredible. It's smooth, stiff and very adjustable
Weaknesses: No tubeless, but that's not necessarily a weakness depending on your preference. And a riser bar (though slight) on a race bike doesn't make too much sense to me.
There are several reasons why I bought this bike. I wanted a race rig w/ a decent amount of travel. Though I race a lot, most of my riding is not on a race course. I considered a scalpel or a Fuel, but the travel wasn't quite what I wanted. If I was going to spend this much $$$ to upgrade from my hard-tail, I wanted to feel a difference. Also, a buddy of mine has broken several different frames (around 4-6) in the past few years, but hasn't had ANY problems w/ his King Kikapu. So not only is the bike light, it's also durable.
I thought this bike would be a bit slower-turning than my racing hard-tail and have some pedal bob, but I was wrong on both. This bike is comfortable yet EXTREMELY agile. And I can't say enough good things about the new FOX RLT fork, so I won't even get started. The new XTR stuff is great, especially the disc brakes. It's also nice having a bike that's disc-specific, w/ no holes or posts in the frame and fork for V-brakes. I had never heard of the Tioga Red Phoenix tires, but so far I'm extremely pleased w/ the way they grip. I'll probably put another set on when these wear out.
Kona says they haven't jumped on the new suspension crazes that have come out lately, sticking w/ the proven 4-bar design, and I'm glad. This bike is comfortable enough for all-day riding and quick enough for winning races. The only changes I've made is an Easton EA70 flat bar and Oury grips.
Bike Setup: Stock except Easton EA70 flat bar and Oury grips. Full new XTR, baby!
from victoria, bc
Date Reviewed: March 6, 2003
Strengths: LIGHT AND HAS THE BEST OF EVERYTHING.
Weaknesses: ONE $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ AND NO UTS
THIS IS MY FIRST FULL SUSPENSION AND SO FAR SO GOOD. FOX PRODUCTS ARE VERY GOOD AND SOLID. THE XTR DISC ARE SO GOOD THAT IT REMOUVES THE THINKING IN THE STOPPING DEPARMENT; UNLIKE V BREAKS, YOU KNOW THAT YOU'LL STOP WHEN YOU WANT. I WILL UPDATE IN A FEW MONTHS BUT I WAITED MANY YEARS FOR THE BEST SETUP AND I THINK THIS IS IT.
I have a King Kikapu frame that needs a shock rebuild and new mounting hardware. If I rebuild it, I thought it might be fun to try the 650b thing with it. Stab in the dark, has anyone here tried that yet?Read More »
I found a 2007 Kona King Kikapu at a local pawn shop. They want $550 for it. It appears to be all original equipment including the tires. Is this a good deal? Since it was never upgraded and the tires haven't worn out, I was thinking that it may not have been ridden much. I'm going to test ride ... Read More »
I have a King Kikapu for sale. I has an Chris King Head Set, Race Face Deus xc Crank, Candy egg beaters, Sram x-7 rear and front Derailleurs and x-5 Shifters. Avid bb 5 brakes, Rhino light rims with xt hubs. I would like to get $800 For it. If you want it shipped i will figure the shipping out per y ... Read More »
Sorry for this new thread - I haven't been able to get into the big [URL="http://forums.mtbr.com/showthread.php?t=158959"]1x9 thread[/URL] for a few days for some reason.
I've been doing a lot of reading about other folks' conversions to 1x9 and I think I have an idea of what I want to do, but I ... Read More »