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  1. #1
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Nov 2011

    Kona Owner's Blink!

    For those that haven't heard of it, the Blink was a UK specific steel HT. It was part of a 3 bike range in 2010. The Bolt was the start of the range and had a alu frame, then there was the Blink, then the Buffer which were both steel. All were based around certain features that UK riders were asking for, 120mm forks, fully enclosed cables, extra mud clearance (there is loads still aorund my 2.35 Nevegals) and a bigger front disc (180 front and 160 rear was the spec, although mine came with 180's both ends).

    More info here:
    New Bolt, Blink and Buffer hardtails available in the UK. | Kona COG

    Anyway, I picked mine up after returning to mtbing and riding around on a basic Commencal HT which was alu. Nice as it was I wanted something that took me back to my mtbing roots (mid-80s and early 90s).

    Spotting a steel HT like the Blink on such a discount from rrp and I didn't need asking twice!

    Here is my Blink after a recent clean up:

    I have made a few little changes - basically contact points really. My mtb's end up with 2 'must have' items which are Wellgo Mg1 pedals and a Charge Spoon saddle. Both these items on the Blink have orange as the theme - I picked this out of the small 'Kona Steel' logo on the seat tube to add a bit of colour into the bike.

    The grips (I broke the lock on in a crash) are some ODI subliminal's that I had in the spares bin and love them now.

    I found the stock 660mm bars too narrow and so changed them for some Crank Bros in 700mm width, they were on sale and I thought I would try them out until I found the 'right ones' but they have stayed so far, although I think I should have gone for the 720mm version.

    I left the stock 90mm stem on to start with (part of the reason why I went 700mm bars) but was given a 60mm stem from a 2008 Kona Shred by a friend so popped that one and liked the feel.

    Plus points: I love the look (OK, that is a personal thing), the mud clearance is great, the slack HA means it is confidence inspiring to chuck downhill. It is an 'old school' cool charm to it. I like the fact that with a coil fork it is pretty much 'grab and go' so no fussing about when you only have a limited ride time.

    Downsides: mainly the weight, the weight and the weight! It is a 19" frame and all in (as per the pic) it hits the scales at dead on 33lb which is a lot to drag around. (my FS is 5lb lighter for eg)
    The tyres, although grippy, drag like a sulky child going school uniform shopping!
    The Shimano brakes have a more spongy feel than other brands I've tried (Hayes, Tektro, Avid) - perhaps it's just these models though.

    Future plans: Now with a fairly new FS on the fleet, the Blink isn't getting all the ride time but in winter is certainly the 'go to' bike and I won't be parting with it. So, perhaps those 720mm bars at some stage. It would suit a dropper post I think, although adding extra weight isn't ideal.
    I think I could easily lose some weight and rolling resistance with the tyres but will probably end up sticking an old fav Maxxis High Rollers !

    Anyway, thanks for reading!

  2. #2
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    I have a buffer, this was my first decent mtb. Good all rounder.

  3. #3
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    I've got a Blink, first bike since being a kid when I had crappy Apollo.

    It's been fun blasting about on this thing, heavy as hell though for a h/t and the weekly swap of tyres from the Nevegal to some more road friendly Conti DoubleFighter 2's for the commute back and forth to work has become a bit of a drag but the tyres aren't the bikes fault.

    Anyway, it's the bike which has made me feel like a kid again and got me on proper trails for the first time ever and thanks to it I've went out and bought a Commencal Meta 5.5 (2011 full carbon edition) frame to use as my trail bike. Can't wait to get that all built up.

    The Kona though will remain with me forever, it'll last trust me, it'll be my daily commuter and the bike I jump on to blast through the streets to the shop.

    It's gonna grow old and tatty with me.

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