Kona Bikes House of the Big Wheel Launch – Part 1

Tacky Arizona dirt, plus bikes made of Carbon, Titanium and Scandium.

By: Ryan LaBar

Kona brought mountain bike journalists from around the world to Tucson, Arizona, to show off its line of 29er bikes and have us participate in the 24 Hours of Old Pueblo event.

Here is an initial look at most of the bikes they showed us (details on the Big Unit and the Honzo to come in a later post):

Kona’s Hei Hei features a Scanduim frame, 100 millimeters of travel front and back, a 142×12 rear through-axle, a 15-millimeter front through axle, 70-degree headtube angle and 18-inch long chainstays.

Kona’s all-mountain 29er, the Satori, offers 130 millimeters of travel front and back, a slack 68-degree headtube angle, a low 13.3-inch high bottom bracket, short 17.3-inch chainstays, ISCG tabs, a 142×12 rear through-axle, a 20-millimeter front through-axle and Easton Vice wheels with a 23-millimeter inner rim width.

Detail shot of the Satori’s once-piece upper link.

Details shot of the Satori’s beefy pivots and rear through-axle.

Kona’s carbon hardtail 29er race bike: the King Kahuna.

The only metal in its frame is the through-axle receiver, the brake-bolt receivers and the bottle-cage-bolt receivers.

The King Kahuna uses a Press-Fit style bottom bracket.

Kona is bringing Titanium back to its mountain bike line with the Raijin. The frame is built by Lynskey Performance Designs. Only 250 frames are being made in the first production run. The frame will retail for about $1,900. The Raijin also uses a Press-Fit style bottom bracket.

The Raijin will use sliding dropouts for those who want to run it as a singlespeed. The bike will come with both singlespeed and derailleur-compatible dropouts.

Our first full day at the Kona House of the Bike Wheel product launch had us riding some damp “Arizona hero dirt,” as our guide described it. I spent the 26-or-so-mile ride on the Kona Hei Hie (my initial thoughts on the bike to come in a later post).

Thankfully no one collided with one of these.

Kona has the journalists here racing its new 29ers in the 24 Hours of Old Pueblo event on Saturday and Sunday (February 17 and 18).

I’m looking forward to more good singletrack, dodging cacti and enjoying some tasty beverages between laps.

Stay tuned for more details and initial impressions on the bikes, plus some race and ride reports from the launch.