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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello,
All you Kona owners I'm new to the sport and was thinking about getting a Kona Kikapu and was wondering about the travel of the suspension. If the manufacture says it's a 4" frame does that mean that's the max of travel or can you install longer shocks and forks?

P.S. Please don't laugh at the question.

thanks,
mtnbnewbie
 

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You can install longer travel components but it will void the frame warranty. You don't want to do that. What type of riding are you into? Most XC race oriented bikes don't have more than 4" front and back. Describe what you want to do with a bike and we can recommend the best compromize.
 

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I railed it like Kong
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The problem is if you run a longer stroke shock your rear tire will hit your seattube and rub. If you are looking at a kikapu, 4" is enough travel for the intended riding of that specific bike. Did you find a great deal on a kikapu frame but really wanted more travel than that? The dawg would be the more versatile 5" bike to look at if you want more.

It is a good question by the way. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
LeopardDog,
I appreciate the help I'm just getting into mountain biking I live in SoCal and I've just found the website GeoLadder and didn't realize how many trails there are. Couple of my buddies just bought a Kona Dawg and a Specialized. I know both bikes are at least 5" or more of travel. To tell you the truth I don't plan on doing any free riding just mainly trail riding and xc. I kinda have my eye on the Kikapu Series by Kona.

Thanks again.

mtnbnewbie.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
rkonindustry,
I guess the question is do I need 5" or more travel for riding trails and doing xc? I'm sure 4" of travel can handle small jumps on trails right?

Thanks,

mtnbnewbie
 

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The short answer is no, you don't need 5" plus of travel for trail riding. You'll be just fine on 4". Less than 2 yrs ago you would have been laughed at for wanting 5" for a trail ride.

Now here is where it gets interesting. Ride a Kikapu and then ride a Dawg. They feel different. The longer travel bikes can be set up softer so slow speed riding is more comfy. And descending technical stuff will feel less twitchy. The 4" Kikapu is going to feel stiffer, and be more efficient when climbing. It's a little give and take. If this is your first FS bike than knowing your FS preferences up front is a bit of guess work.

The Kikapu is a little more XC and the dawg is a little more trail or all-mountain style.

Hope that helped a bit.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
rkonindustry,
What would you do if you where first starting out and wanted a FS bike and would be mainly riding trails would you get a 4" or 5" of travel?

Thanks again,

mtnbnewbie
 

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Oooh. I know what i would do. The real question is what's better for you. Hahaha

But to answer you're question: I would pick the Dawg. But not because is has an inch more travel than the Kikapu. I like the geometry of the Dawg better. The head angle is slacker by a half degree, longer top tube, and a higher bottom bracket.

Also the components are better. I'm comparing base dawg vs base kikapu since you haven't said what your budget is. I've ridden both, the kikapu was in a parking lot and the dawg was on a trail. The Dawg fit me better- my body was comfortable moving around on the bike.

I think if your intention is to stick to simple buff trails and you're not too concerned with progressing skills like drops (1-3 ft) or technical sections, going on mtn bike vacations, etc.. the Kikapu will serve you well. It's a solid xc machine. It's capable of all those things but, with you starting out (i don't know if your 16 or 60) a bike like the Dawg is more versatile. Lots of guys start out saying they don't want to ride 'crazy downhill, freeride trails.' Only to find their idea of 'crazy' when they started is not the same after 6 months. Now they are underbiked for what they really enjoy. See how complicated this can get?
 

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Travel is not the whole story.....

MTNBNewbie said:
rkonindustry,
What would you do if you where first starting out and wanted a FS bike and would be mainly riding trails would you get a 4" or 5" of travel?

Thanks again,

mtnbnewbie
Both bikes (and travel) are good for trail riding but there are other differences. Most important is geometry or riding position. Normally on 5" bikes the rider will be more upright due to the shorter distance between the saddle and the handlebar which means generally more control and confidence on rough terrain and going down at the "price" of less efficient climbing and more effort going fast on flat level ground. On 4" bikes it's the other direction of this trade-off. You should decide which way you want to go.
 

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I just ordered the Dawg Deluxe. When I was comparing the Dawg to the Kikapu the LBS said the Kikapu leaned more toward a 3" travel bike. So, if that is accurate get the Dawg, unless you plan to race.
 

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I ride a pretty tricked out 20" '05 Kikapu, but would buy a 22" 2007 Hei Hei (3" front and 2.5" rear travel) if I could afford it. But I've been hit by the XC racing bug pretty hard. My current bike still suits my needs wonderfully though. It's all a matter of what you'll be using it for.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
rkonindustry,
Thanks again appreciate all the input. It's just a pain trying to figure out what bike to go with as far as manufacture there so many to choose from. I'm 34 and just getting started I'm hoping not to spend more than 1200.00 or so for a bike. I'll most likely go with the 5" of travel. I've been looking at Konas, Jamis, Ibex, Mongoose Teocali, KHS and etc.

Thanks again,

mtnbnewbie
 

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I went through the same thing in 2004. I couldn't decide if I should get a Kona or a Marin. It's hard when you don't really know what type of riding you enjoy. One of my friends had a Marin Mount Vision and he could ride the wheels off of it. I bought the Kona, a Dawg Deelux and thought I had made a mistake for the first 2 or 3 months. The more I rode the bike and the more I got used to it and saw that it could handle anything I could the more I liked it and was happy I bought it. I still own it and ride it often. I have made a lot of changes to it, but even if I do buy another mountain bike, I would like to keep the Dawg. It is one of those bikes that isn't great at anythng, but is good at everything. I'm a trail rider and on this bike I am able to ride where ever I want.
 

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i sort of had the same dilema,coming from mostly trail and xc background,i looked at the dawg primo 05 but thought about that im not a bad rider and that it would suit my needs perfectley,so i bought a coiler instead.

the thing im trying to get across is like said above yes this is your first full sus but in a couple of months time you may wish you had bought the dawg.

buy the dawg and if budget allows later on upgrade the parts either to make it lighter or burlier,but either way you will have a very capable bike
 

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When I was in the market for a bike earlier last year I was upgrading an entry level hardtail (specialized hardrock) to get my first duallie. Travel, how much travel? That was one of the big points. I ended up comparing the likes of Norco Fluid, Kona Dawg, Kona Kikapu, Specialized Stumpjumper 120, Specialized FSR XC, Giant Reign, Giant Trance, and some others that never really made to the shortlist. Generally between 4 & 6 inches of travel.

I settled with the trance & have turned it into a more trail worthy bike. Four inches seems to be plenty in the rear and the front has 5 inches now (130mm). As per your original question I thought changing the travel up front (forks) didn't void warranty in most cases unless you put a dual crown on a bike that should have single crown forks?

If I ended up with a Kona it probably would have been the Dawg rather than the Kikapu, the Dawg just seems more of a trail bike than the Kikapu, I'm not racing XC and just love getting out and riding so purebred XC type machines tended to turn me off a bit. The Trance may be worth a look - it's actually 4.2inches of travel in the rear, otherwise go the Dawg!
 

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Here's my advice:
You've received so much information and that's probably confusing. Take the advice given in all posts in this thread but don't forget that functionality is not the only thing. Narrow your choices to a few models that are right for you and then pick the one that you think is the coolest. A while ago I bought a very good bike but got rid of it after only a few weeks because I grew to hate the way it looked. Functionally it was perfect for me (so I was convinced).
 

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ntha said:
Narrow your choices to a few models that are right for you and then pick the one that you think is the coolest.
Ahhh, I don't know about that. When you have your choices narrowed down, make your decision based on fit and comfort. A "cool" looking bike that doesn't fit isn't going to make you want to ride it more.
 
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