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  1. #1
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    Thoughts on 2017 Kona Raijin Geo

    Hey all,

    I am looking at possibly building up a new single speed and am looking at the new Raijin. I am looking for a well balanced bike for climbing and descending with the potential for a bikepacking rig as well. It is lower and slacker than the traditional old school XC geo of the past but not too dramatic either. Any thoughts or first-hand experience with this frame?

  2. #2
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    A link to Geo might be helpful

    Looks good to me

    KONA BIKES | MTB | MTB HARDTAIL | Raijin

  3. #3
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    My personal opinion is- geometry differences are overrated for general-use HT frames. Middle of the road is popular for a reason, it does a lot well.
    I definitely understand how small geometry changes are important for enduro rigs, or XC weapons where HTA,STA, reach/stack and such are important. They are purpose-built to minimize/maximize characteristics and jack of all trades is not a good thing.
    For regular 'everyday, do-it-all' bikes, middle of the road is good, and small differences like 2-5mm of CS length difference, or 1/2 degree of HTA are intangible.
    The Rajin geo is actually quite similar to my Vassago geometry- half a degree here, a mm or two there, but overall very close in most respects. I've been exceedingly happy with how my bike climbs and descends in all situations. The only time I haven't been is when riding stuff that I *knew* I had no business riding on a HT (black diamond trails in Sedona on a rigid SS? I'm dumb)

    I've had mine set up with SS and 1x10, 480mm rigid fork, as well as 100 and 120mm suspension fork. I've loved it in every configuration, for different reasons.


    Without being snarky: I bet you're gonna be very pleased with that bike. The geo is proven, and Ti rides like a dream. If you decide you're not happy with it, it's not likely the bike's geometry; it's probably that you're on the wrong kind of bike for that trail.
    Donít modify the trail to match your skills, modify your skills to match the trails.

  4. #4
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    Looks fairly spot on to my ROS9 geo, my favorite all around SS.
    ROS9+ SS
    ROS9 SS
    GT Peace 9R SS

  5. #5
    eri
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    I'm very happy with my 2012 20" raijin with 120mm fork and dropper. The sliding dropouts work well. I ride big climbs and descend steps, only ss.

    Things i'd change on my dear raijin:
    Ability to run even shorter stays (like on the ti honzo). I ride with raijin stays slammed and would probably run shorter if I could. Would at least allow better tire seatpost clearance, right now I have less than a cm.
    Better standover (like the ti honzo) because who doesn't want more standover?

    If I bought again i'd look hard at the ti honzo.
    the truth is always a gift because it offers the recipient of that information the chance to change the outcome - Grace Choi

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by eri View Post
    I'm very happy with my 2012 20" raijin with 120mm fork and dropper. The sliding dropouts work well. I ride big climbs and descend steps, only ss.

    Things i'd change on my dear raijin:
    Ability to run even shorter stays (like on the ti honzo). I ride with raijin stays slammed and would probably run shorter if I could. Would at least allow better tire seatpost clearance, right now I have less than a cm.
    Better standover (like the ti honzo) because who doesn't want more standover?

    If I bought again i'd look hard at the ti honzo.
    CS length (IMO) is a personal preference on how short is short enough. I'm perfectly happy in the 430-440 range. I actually didn't like the Canfield Nimble (CS 415?) I rode because the rear end felt under me all the time, which was unnerving in the fast, loose, rough, non-twisty, blown-up trails we have in AZ; but people are allowed to like different things, so rock on if thats how you roll. There's certainly many folks on both ends of the spectrum.

    The bolded part is the only thing I'd actually disagree with outright. OP specifically said "Bikebacking" in the post; Which is something I've been flirting with getting into during the AZ winter "riding season", so I've done research on gear and packing. A low standover directly means a small area in the front triangle, which means low volume for a frame bag, inarguably the best place to carry weight on a bike.
    It's not just the frame bag volume, though. This is my biggest complaint with my small Jabberwocky (ETT 600mm). The top tube slopes so severely that the back bottle cage can only fit a "shorty" bottle, and a big bottle up front has to be side-load. It's a giant hassle. I'm actually thinking about massaging my bike budget to "up-size" to a medium (12mm longer ETT, with 2" longer seat tube) so I have more room.
    Donít modify the trail to match your skills, modify your skills to match the trails.

  7. #7
    eri
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    Quote Originally Posted by ARandomBiker View Post
    CS length (IMO) is a personal preference on how short is short enough. I'm perfectly happy in the 430-440 range. I actually didn't like the Canfield Nimble (CS 415?) I rode because the rear end felt under me all the time, which was unnerving in the fast, loose, rough, non-twisty, blown-up trails we have in AZ; but people are allowed to like different things, so rock on if thats how you roll. There's certainly many folks on both ends of the spectrum.

    The bolded part is the only thing I'd actually disagree with outright. OP specifically said "Bikebacking" in the post; Which is something I've been flirting with getting into during the AZ winter "riding season", so I've done research on gear and packing. A low standover directly means a small area in the front triangle, which means low volume for a frame bag, inarguably the best place to carry weight on a bike.
    It's not just the frame bag volume, though. This is my biggest complaint with my small Jabberwocky (ETT 600mm). The top tube slopes so severely that the back bottle cage can only fit a "shorty" bottle, and a big bottle up front has to be side-load. It's a giant hassle. I'm actually thinking about massaging my bike budget to "up-size" to a medium (12mm longer ETT, with 2" longer seat tube) so I have more room.
    Standover and bikepacking: Is a good point. I guess it depends on frame size and what sort of bag you carry. My large raijin has too much standover. Yeah lots of room in the front triangle but I'd rather not have the top tube hit my leg in corners, and my nards when I stop in the wrong place. The high top tube also means I can't bring the bars any lower.

    Personally I'd optimize for most riding I do/love most. Bikepacking is the compromise and I'm sure there's some way to make a honzo work - if you want to.

    Despite the honzo advocacy on my part, I'll also say I've not liked the 'feel' of any of the honzos I've tried, steel, carbon, ti. They were all built with 140-150 fox 36 and wide rims and big rubber and I thought they all drove like tugboats. The ti honzo didn't glow with ti-goodness like my raijin, little/no ti feel, again probably masked by the wheels and the weight. I'm just saying consider honzo even though I'm not looking to sell my raijin. I'd love to try a honzo with smaller fork and lighter wheels and tires...

    Today on my raijin I have the rear sliders slammed as far forward as possible (~422), and the bars dropped as far as possible. I'm not sure I want shorter stays and lower bars, but I'd at least like the option. I'm 6' on a 20" frame, reach is great for me with -6 degree 60mm stem.

    For the riding I do the shorter stays were night and day improvement. And not intuitive to me I played with the sliders and 5 mm of csl makes a big difference both for climbing traction and for nimble descending. The sliders mean you can choose your csl. I'd like the option of shorter stays, you have >= 1" of range and you get better tire/seat tube clearance. I wouldn't necessarily slam the sliders on the honzo, but I might.
    the truth is always a gift because it offers the recipient of that information the chance to change the outcome - Grace Choi

  8. #8
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    I think it is a fantastic geometry, and I'm a huge fan of Konas. It is definitely not as modern/progressive as some frames, but I think that is a good thing for bikepacking if you plan on spending any time on roads and gravel.

  9. #9
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    This thread makes me miss my Raijin real bad When it was stolen I decided to go economical and got a Soma Juice instead. I did love the Raijin geo, as it seemed XC enough and fun/trail worthy at the same time (I was running a 120 Tower Pro on it). Standover was probably the one thing I would've changed on mine too, though I also understand the need for front triangle space if backpacking is in the mix.

  10. #10
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    I am currently on an aluminum Honzo (120mm fork and 26.5 lbs) so it is pretty conservative compared to how aggressive a Honzo can be built. It is a supper fun bike on the descents but still way more than what I am looking for as an all-arounder. Even with the conservative setup, it is capable of black diamond and even a few double black diamond trails. And, with its descending capabilities, it sacrifices climbing agility.

    My other bike has a short top tub, 110mm stem, and a 70.5 degree head angle--the old school XC weapon setup. So the new Raijin Geo represents a pretty significant difference from my current bikes and seems to fit the do-it-all middle of the road Geo that I want. Really looking to see if the new Raijin Geo is the middle of the road since I don't have any experience with a bike like this. Essentially trying to find out if it exemplifies more climbing or downhill oriented characteristics. it is a lot of money to spend without being able to test ride one first to see for myself.

  11. #11
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    I should mention that my Raijin was a 2012 and was a size 18, which was on the bigger side for me at 5'8.5". The newer Raijins lowered the standover a bit as I recall, and they also offered a 17, which would have lowered it even further.

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