It’s hard to write an objective review of a bike when you’ve come from a 15 year old GT Aggressor mountain bike, but I’ll do my best to illustrate what I was looking for and why I went for the Kona.
There wasn’t anything particularly bad about the GT, a little old, clunky, heavy – but like me really, but the opportunity presented itself through Cycle2Work so I thought “why not?”
Initially I had narrowed my search down to the Orbea Carpe, a lovely looking bike, with carbon forks, disks etc. I’m not big on the technical detail of the components, they had to be better than the GT right?! A long lead time from Tredz meant that I was looking at February 2019 before delivery. After chatting to some people on the /r/bikecommuting sub-Reddit I decided to change tack.
The general opinion from people who are more familiar with bikes than I, was that the Orbea was simply their road bike, the model of which escapes me, with slightly wider tyres and a drop-handle bar, now this, on its own, is not a deal breaker, many commuter bikes are similarly specced this way, but my commute is short, I have some rough ground to cover and comfort is key.
The search resumed.
It was by chance I came across the Kona, whilst perusing bike reviews on YouTube I came a cross a video about one of their ambassadors, after a review about Kona bikes and the one he was riding, the video trailed a piece on Kona’s history. Starting in America a few decades ago, attention to detail, hand-built and, this was really interesting to me, a lovely charity move to send traded bikes to Africa, right up my alley.
So with the Kona in mind, I returned to the Tredz website and there she was, in all her glory – the Kona Dew Plus. In a lovely pale green (I hate harsh colour bikes!) with large beige side-wall tyres. She didn’t have carbon forks, which I had been keen on, but the large tyres apparently compensated for this. She was ordered!
A mere 10 days later, here she was:
Straight out of the packaging (no pedals!)
I set to work straight away, some Shimano SPD pedals – a gift from the kids for Christmas, some Chromaplastic fenders (mud guards) and a Specialized Pizza Rack for my waterproof bag.
She was finished and what a beauty I’m sure you will agree:
So what is she like?
Perfect is the simple answer. I’ve been using her for the last two months for commuting to work (5 miles each way), the ride in comparison to my old GT is astonishing. The riding position is more elevated and upright, making it more comfortable. Though she lacks shocks and carbon forks, the big 47c tyres do indeed swallow up the bumps quite nicely.
The gear changes are snappy and the range is perfect from my commute.
So, as stated, I’m not big on technical detail – you can reach out to Kona and look at the technical specifications for this bike for those, but as a real world user of the bike, I can highly recommend it.
If you want to know anything specific about the bike, please put a comment below and I’ll endeavour to answer as soon as I can.