Bike Test: Kona Minxy

THE WOMEN'S MINXY IS A FREERIDE-LITE DIRT LOVER THAT HAS been tweaked from the layout of her big brother, the Stinky Six, to deliver a ride that anyone can appreciate, regardless of chromosome combinations. The bike's custom graphics are just as sexy as her name, and her subtle but strong femininity made the Minxy a pleasure to ride.

I rode this bike mostly around Flagstaff, Arizona, where the San Francisco Peaks offer trails galore, and, with a little searching, more challenging technical rides and shuttle-able downhill runs. I also rode in Sedona, Arizona, where the bike's big-hit DNA really showed itself on the area's ledgy and steep slickrock faces. The Minxy was obviously in her element on rough, rowdy terrain, urging me to go faster by sucking up the bumps and tracking through corners with spunk. On gentler trails, the Minxy got bored quickly, and protested by dragging her feet and flopping her front end.

From a purely technical standpoint, the Minxy climbed smoothly, rolling over rocks and roots with ease. But this bike was not built for climbing. The sheer physical effort required to get this 38-pounder uphill was a bit much. With its 66-degree headtube angle and considerable weight, the bike is undoubtedly aimed more toward freeriding, lift-accessed parks and downhill shuttle runs. Though the easily adjustable fork and quick-release on the seatpost made a big difference in my position over the bike, sustained climbs still came at great effort. Despite its slack geometry, the bike behaved well, and I even found it easy to wheelie, which was a nice and unexpected surprise, especially for a women's design.

Kona has honorably been using essentially the same four-bar linkage system since it introduced the platform in 1996. These bikes are known for their durability, and the Minxy is no exception. This bike could be lightened significantly by swapping the wheels and upgrading the drivetrain slightly from the standard Deore group. I split my ride time between the stock wheels and a set of custom DT Swiss XR 1450 wheels, which made a considerable difference on rides with more climbing, but the weight savings were still not enough to earn this bike admittance into the all-mountain club.

The Minxy is a solid purchase for a girl wanting to push her limits on a predictable and plush bike. These days it seems harder than ever to pare down the quiver to just one or two bikes, but with this much attitude for this great of a price, the Minxy is certainly one to consider, especially for women who regularly ride DH trails or in bike