2014 Bible of Bike Tests Roundtable Reels: Kona Process 134 DL

Kona's affordable all-mountain bike sweeps our testers off their feet


Kona has thrown down the gauntlet with its Process 134 DL—a bike that our testers agree signals a necessary shift in thinking about mountain-bike geometry. Making our test bike’s beautiful curves even more appealing is its $3,600 price tag—much lower than many bikes that it literally blew off the trail. Watch this video to find out why you need to know more about this bike.

Price: $3,600
Contact: konaworld.com
Direct Link: www.konaworld.com/process_134_dl.cfm

Final Take: A forward-thinking and thoughtful package for the modern mountain biker.

Kona Process 134 DL

Kona Process 134 DL

The subtle geometry choices in Kona’s new range of Process bikes mark a tipping point for mountain-bike fit and sizing. Despite being very different than road cycling, mountain bikes are still often designed around the supposition that sizing can be appointed by static fit—one built around a seated rider riding on a fixed plane. The slightly longer front end of the Process provides stability to the bike and inspires confidence at speed, while the short. 40-millimeter stem allows for quick, accurate steering. The incredibly low standover leaves room to move the bike underneath you and a short rear end gives sensitivity and responsiveness. These traits also create incredible traction and comfort while climbing.

Most of our testers came back raving about how the Process made them feel more proficient on our tricky test loop. Kona has produced a bike that doesn’t just favor the upper percentile of bike handlers, but will improve the performance of a wide range of riders.

The frame, although not clad in shimmering, sexy carbon, is extremely stiff and feels surprisingly lightweight. Big pivot bearings, sensible hardware and durable construction make this a bike for all seasons. The Rocker suspension has a refreshingly straightforward leverage rate curve, which, when paired with an air shock, provides a progressive, predictable, stable feel. There are no areas where the suspension feels dead or peculiar.

This isn’t a dream build, but on a frame like this at a price like that, it is a treasure. Shimano SLX brakes, wide profile tubeless-ready WTB ST i23 rims, and the KS SuperNatural-R dropper post are all thinking man’s parts. While we see the madness in calling the Process a bargain, considering that the frame outperforms many of the more futuristic, yet less evolved competition, it does seem like the sale of the century. –SEB KEMP

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  • nvr2old

    First of all love the Bible tests, honest and not biased IMHO which can only further improvement in bikes. I am looking for my likely last bike given I am “older”. Have been pouring over reviews and tests of many bikes and need some advice regarding the purchase. Have narrowed it down to an AM design. Would like to spend about 3500 tops and 27.5 tires. Not too concerned about bike weight (as Vernon says I’d stop driniking if that made a difference and I recently lost 25# so I am already ahead). Specific bikes: Santa Cruz Heckler ($3000), Kona Process 134 or 153 ($3600ish) and Breezer Repack Team (can get 2014 with full XT group for $2800 new so thats the draw on this one and a good friend has one that he raves about). Have done parking lot tests of Hecler and Kona for whatever it’s worth but can’t find Breezer in my size to ride locally. Any advice would be appreciated.

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