Previewed: Kona’s New “Magic Link” Bike

Brian Berthold, the man behind Therapy Components, which makes custom floating brake arm kits for full-suspension bikes, has teamed up with Kona this year to develop the brand new, highly unorthodox "Magic Link" bike.

The platform appears on new CoilAir models and the premise is simple: When climbing or pedaling on flat ground, the bike performs much like a traditional 6-inch-travel CoilAir. It's not until you point the bike downhill, or get into aggressive terrain, that the "magic" happens.

The Magic Link itself is positioned in-line with the lower shock mount, and a secondary spring, tuned to rider weight and riding style, keeps the bike in its 6-inch orientation until more travel is called for. On significant impacts or while the force of the chain is not keeping the link in its neutral position, the magic link rotates backward relative to the shock, allowing the frame to open up into a full 7.4 inches of travel. When activated, the link also slackens the bike's geometry.

So there you have it: a 6-inch travel bike that transforms into a 7.4-inch freeride machine when needed. We only got a quick taste of the new ride, but initial impressions were good. This seems to be one of the better pedaling 7-plus-inch bikes out there, although this is a highly specific bike designed for a highly specific rider. If you're into drops and steep lines, but still find yourself having to climb back up the hill to access the goods, then this bike is worth checking out.

It's a lot to wrap your head around. Click the video window below for a walk-through and quick test-ride of the new rig.

For more on the system, click HERE

And to find a Kona Demo at a shop near you, check HERE

What do you think of Kona’s new design? Leave a comment below.