Kona Process 111 vs. Transition Smuggler, I am leaning Kona, speak to me.- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Kona Process 111 vs. Transition Smuggler, I am leaning Kona, speak to me.

    I am in the market to replace my venerable Fisher Sugar 293. Been riding a bunch of bikes. Ruled out the Rip (too long), the Stumpy (also too long and feels too much like the Sugar), the Remedy, the Anthem and Trance, the Tall boy LT, the Element (their sizes fit me weird), and though I looked seriously at the Devinci (see my other thread here http://forums.mtbr.com/29er-bikes/de...ar-963562.html ), I am leaning away from it do to the seat tube looking to be a bit slack if I have the travel I want.

    Yesterday, rode the Kona Process 111 on a full ride, and really, really liked it overall. The thing I liked best is that it is the first bike other than the Devinci Troy that felt like I could toss into turns and have it hook up in the same fashion as I do my skis. On my sugar, I have always been a bit less confident downhill as compared to skiing. The Process 111 seems to want to even that up a bit. My only dislike was when I stood up and humped on the pedals, I got a little bob. But the shock was not set up for me at 185lbs, and was set up for the female owner. I bet that I can adjust some of that out of the rear suspension. And it is a little heavy, but I am no weight weenie.

    After riding the Process, I stopped in Ketchum and rode (just around in town) a Stumpjumper FSR Comp, a Transition Smuggler, and a Trek Remedy 8 (but it was a small size). Though the carbon Stumpy was nice and light, it did not have the modern feel I was looking for and seemed like I would just be getting something that felt like an updated Sugar. The Trek was ok, but nothing wowed me. The Transition felt the closest, but maybe not quite as toss able as the Process. I think I could shorten the stem and widen the bar more and get some of that feel back, but not sure. Also, I would need to add a dropper post, which the Process comes with.

    Anyone know of a place that compares the Smuggler and Process head to head via numbers? And any other thoughts? Thanks!

  2. #2
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    The Banshee Phantom and Evil Following are in the same class of aggressive short travel 29ers. I really like the Process' numbers on paper but the press fit BB steers me away from it. I am thinking I will get a Smuggler 2 complete and switch out frames if necessary.

    The new Chamber and Fuel I guess fits but their head angles suck. Oh and ef trek simply because of boost hub format. I under what it does for wheel strength but they claim it is needed for shorter rear ends too even on their Stache HT. Even though the likes of Canfield, Kona, Transition (TransAm) and even Specialized make sub 17" stays on their bikes. My Honzo has made me really appreciate the importance of short chain stays on a 29er for 26 like handling.

  3. #3
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    yeah, as I said, the Kona gave me the feeling I get when I am skiing and can drive my tips into the next turn with confidence. I think the short chain stay really helped that. No Banshee dealers remotely close to me. Looks like Evil is direct order only from what I can tell, and I do not want to buy a bike until I have ridden it. The numbers can always look good on paper, but for me it is the overall feel that rules the day. I agree on the head angles you mention. The press fit bb on the Kona does not bother me that much. I am going to do some number crunching as between the Smuggler and Process and see what I come up with that way too.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by beer_coffee_water View Post
    The Banshee Phantom and Evil Following are in the same class of aggressive short travel 29ers. I really like the Process' numbers on paper but the press fit BB steers me away from it. I am thinking I will get a Smuggler 2 complete and switch out frames if necessary.

    The new Chamber and Fuel I guess fits but their head angles suck. Oh and ef trek simply because of boost hub format. I under what it does for wheel strength but they claim it is needed for shorter rear ends too even on their Stache HT. Even though the likes of Canfield, Kona, Transition (TransAm) and even Specialized make sub 17" stays on their bikes. My Honzo has made me really appreciate the importance of short chain stays on a 29er for 26 like handling.
    Boost has just a little to do with the tire size on the Stache. It also uses a 50mm wide rim to fit the 3" wide tires. The bike he ride didn't have boost in the rear. Which is only on the Remedy 9 and up and in the rear, No one knows if it is even being added to the front, the HA on the Remedy is the same as the Smuggler even with more travel 140/140 not 130/115, along with a 8mm chain stay difference from the Remedy and Smuggler and 13mm from to the Kona 111

    updated specs from what people have asked may not have been even posted on the New Fuel EX9 due to the 130mm fork over the 120mm fork all the others have

    Quote Originally Posted by sunvalleylaw View Post
    yeah, as I said, the Kona gave me the feeling I get when I am skiing and can drive my tips into the next turn with confidence. I think the short chain stay really helped that. No Banshee dealers remotely close to me. Looks like Evil is direct order only from what I can tell, and I do not want to buy a bike until I have ridden it. The numbers can always look good on paper, but for me it is the overall feel that rules the day. I agree on the head angles you mention. The press fit bb on the Kona does not bother me that much. I am going to do some number crunching as between the Smuggler and Process and see what I come up with that way too.
    You will sit more "center" on the Kona over the Smuggler, after looking at numbers on paper. it may feel a little more nimble but yu get 10mm more travel on the front and 4mm more in the rear on the smuggle out of the box. Front you can fix.. Have you check out the Kona Process 134?

    both are great bikes. We are going to go look at a few Kona's for my GF 134 SE in a XS and maybe one for me.

    It's gonna come down to which bike feels best and which you can get a good deal on
    Too Many .

  5. #5
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    I had a Process 111. The geometry was the best of any bike I have ever owned, but I could not get along with the suspension. Too many years of multi-link bikes must have spoiled me. I have Canfield Riot on order. It has a shorter chainstay, similar reach, and hopefully a better suspension (although bb is taller). I was also tempted by the smuggler.
    Evil Following
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by brent701 View Post
    Boost has just a little to do with the tire size on the Stache. It also uses a 50mm wide rim to fit the 3" wide tires. The bike he ride didn't have boost in the rear. Which is only on the Remedy 9 and up and in the rear, No one knows if it is even being added to the front, the HA on the Remedy is the same as the Smuggler even with more travel 140/140 not 130/115, along with a 8mm chain stay difference from the Remedy and Smuggler and 13mm from to the Kona 111

    updated specs from what people have asked may not have been even posted on the New Fuel EX9 due to the 130mm fork over the 120mm fork all the others have



    You will sit more "center" on the Kona over the Smuggler, after looking at numbers on paper. it may feel a little more nimble but yu get 10mm more travel on the front and 4mm more in the rear on the smuggle out of the box. Front you can fix.. Have you check out the Kona Process 134?

    both are great bikes. We are going to go look at a few Kona's for my GF 134 SE in a XS and maybe one for me.

    It's gonna come down to which bike feels best and which you can get a good deal on
    Thanks for the input. What do you mean by sitting more "center" on the Kona over the Smuggler? Curious about that.

    I did not get a full ride on the Smugger, but I felt further back on the bike if that makes sense. Also, the bar was stacked high on spacers. I would think I would change that, along with the bar as I would want a bigger one. And I would have to add a dropper bar. And the Kona comes one by, and the Transition is two by. (The jury may still be out on which of those I prefer.) Those are changes I would not have to make on the Kona. My riding is predominantly in the Sun Valley area, and is best described as aggressive cross country/trailriding. Climbing is a big part of riding over here too. I am not thinking I will need a ton of more travel than the Kona has for what I primarily ride.

    I also agree that whichever I can get a decent deal on and feels best will be the ticket. Right now, out of the box, it feels like the Kona. But as I said, may have to do a little number crunching to see if I could make the Transition feel more like the Kona, though if the Kona feels more natural out of the box, that could be a better starting place.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by tortfeasor View Post
    I had a Process 111. The geometry was the best of any bike I have ever owned, but I could not get along with the suspension. Too many years of multi-link bikes must have spoiled me. I have Canfield Riot on order. It has a shorter chainstay, similar reach, and hopefully a better suspension (although bb is taller). I was also tempted by the smuggler.

    Give some feedback on that Frame.. I almost ordered one. Still thinking about it though
    Too Many .

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by sunvalleylaw View Post
    Thanks for the input. What do you mean by sitting more "center" on the Kona over the Smuggler? Curious about that.

    I did not get a full ride on the Smugger, but I felt further back on the bike if that makes sense. Also, the bar was stacked high on spacers. I would think I would change that, along with the bar as I would want a bigger one. And I would have to add a dropper bar. And the Kona comes one by, and the Transition is two by. (The jury may still be out on which of those I prefer.) Those are changes I would not have to make on the Kona. My riding is predominantly in the Sun Valley area, and is best described as aggressive cross country/trailriding. Climbing is a big part of riding over here too. I am not thinking I will need a ton of more travel than the Kona has for what I primarily ride.

    I also agree that whichever I can get a decent deal on and feels best will be the ticket. Right now, out of the box, it feels like the Kona. But as I said, may have to do a little number crunching to see if I could make the Transition feel more like the Kona, though if the Kona feels more natural out of the box, that could be a better starting place.
    center as on Middle of the bike weight wise where your body postion is at,
    You said you felt more back on the Smuggler. So the Kona you may feel more "centered" when riding it. Easier to get into the attack position, Not to far forward, weight over the front wheel and not too far back, weight over the rear wheel.

    I had a Trek slash and fought body position for over a year with it. Before learning all this fancy stuff. Ended up having a too small of frame.

    good luck.
    Too Many .

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by brent701 View Post
    center as on Middle of the bike weight wise where your body postion is at,
    You said you felt more back on the Smuggler. So the Kona you may feel more "centered" when riding it. Easier to get into the attack position, Not to far forward, weight over the front wheel and not too far back, weight over the rear wheel.

    I had a Trek slash and fought body position for over a year with it. Before learning all this fancy stuff. Ended up having a too small of frame.

    good luck.
    gotcha. That is what I thought but wanted to be sure. That is why the Kona naturally felt like I was in a modern off piste skiing position ready to drive the tips of my skis through the turn knowing it was going to hold. I did not feel like I was hanging off the back like on my Sugar. and I did feel a bit less centered on the Transition. Also interested in this Canfield, as long as I am checking them out. I may have a decent line on a Kona so may just pull the trigger though.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by brent701 View Post
    Have you check out the Kona Process 134?

    both are great bikes. We are going to go look at a few Kona's for my GF 134 SE in a XS and maybe one for me.

    It's gonna come down to which bike feels best and which you can get a good deal on
    Oh, and regarding the 134, I tried my buddy's Davinci Troy and loved the feel, but then getting back on a 29'er realized that my alpine skier's body chasing a bunch of guys with cyclist bodies benefitted from the fast rolling wheels on the 29'ers particularly in the early, more spinny parts of the ride. That is how I came up with wanting something that felt like the Troy, but rolled like a 29er. I am sure the 134 is also sweet. But as I said . . .

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by sunvalleylaw View Post
    Oh, and regarding the 134, I tried my buddy's Davinci Troy and loved the feel, but then getting back on a 29'er realized that my alpine skier's body chasing a bunch of guys with cyclist bodies benefitted from the fast rolling wheels on the 29'ers particularly in the early, more spinny parts of the ride. That is how I came up with wanting something that felt like the Troy, but rolled like a 29er. I am sure the 134 is also sweet. But as I said . . .
    If you could let me know which you went with and a ride report.
    My 2016 Fuel EX 9 should be here Tuesday and We are looking at a 134 SE for the GF and a new 650b bike for me. need more of a frame though.. have all the parts off my Slash
    Too Many .

  12. #12
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    Sure, will let you know.

  13. #13
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    Kona has the geo dialed.
    Kona has playful dialed.
    Kona can be had for good price new or previously-loved.
    Kona has awesome standover.
    Kona won't make you cry when you crash like with carbon.
    Kona headbadge is art.

    Evil looks evil though.
    And Transition has a bit more travel.

    But I came from a hardtail so the Kona is a nice change and suits well.

    #kona is easier to type after your rad instagram adventure posts

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by sunvalleylaw View Post
    And the Kona comes one by, and the Transition is two by.
    The Smuggler is 1x and has no front derailleur mount. If what you rode was 2x, it may have been a Bandit.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by car_nut View Post
    The Smuggler is 1x and has no front derailleur mount. If what you rode was 2x, it may have been a Bandit.
    I will double check today as the shop is right by work but I believe it was the Smuggler 2, which had Shimano 2x.

  16. #16
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    I have not ridden the smuggler, but I will say that having ridden a buddy's 111, I don't think you can go wrong with it. I had an absolute blast on it.

    I know it doesn't fit the 'short stays/long front' geo specifically, but the Intense Spider29 is definitely in the mix with the process 111 in terms of playful and fun 29ers. They ride similarly, and in my exceedingly humble opinion and mine only, I'll take the longer cs length in exchange for the feel and performance of vpp. It just works for me...

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by sunvalleylaw View Post
    I will double check today as the shop is right by work but I believe it was the Smuggler 2, which had Shimano 2x.
    Definitely not a Smuggler then, unless the shop somehow found a way to add it. I'd be quite surprised if the frame had clearance for a FD. From Transition's site:

    No Front Derailleur Support
    ACCESSORIES Hive Extended Range 42t Cog

  18. #18
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    if i was going to replace my camber, i would do it with a 111, smuggler or new camber. unless i missed something, sounds like you already got a good feel for the 111. i would go with that feel, and not the numbers so much. you can compare numbers till your blue in the face. and any kind of "review" is going to consist of a fully equiped, highest end model, with the summery of " does better than expected climbing, point it downhill and it really shines" . your lucky you have acess to those brands. all you get localy here is trek, giant and specialized. awesome bikes but there are so many others that i would love to try out.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by car_nut View Post
    Definitely not a Smuggler then, unless the shop somehow found a way to add it. I'd be quite surprised if the frame had clearance for a FD. From Transition's site:
    Yeah, I went back in and think I was on the wrong bike. DOH! In any case, I rode the Smuggler around a bit and it is a nice bike too, though I did not necessarily immediately feel that it was superior to the Kona for what I do. I did not go out and really use the suspension though. I really liked the fit and the feel of the Kona as I have said above, and it might come down to where I can get the better deal as well.

  20. #20
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    Considering the pricing and geometry usually being what dictates whether a purchase makes sense, Kona's 111 is going to be incredibly hard to beat.

  21. #21
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    I recently built a Process 111 and the geometry really shines. In the past i would build a bike and almost instantly start thinking about anglesets, different fork travels, cockpit changes etc. The Process, out of the gate, has dialed geometry. The rear suspension is active but has plenty of progression to control bottomout. I do a lot of smooth seated climbing so the RT3 in pedal mode is fine. If i were going to con the process i'd admit the frame is deffintly heavy, my XL weighed 8.25lb on my digital scale.

  22. #22
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    I'm just biding my time until a carbon process 111 comes out... then I will force them to take all of my money.

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    Quote Originally Posted by golfduke View Post
    I'm just biding my time until a carbon process 111 comes out... then I will force them to take all of my money.
    I'm wondering which will come first - a Precept-111 or a Carbon Process...

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by brent701 View Post
    Boost has just a little to do with the tire size on the Stache. It also uses a 50mm wide rim to fit the 3" wide tires. The bike he ride didn't have boost in the rear. Which is only on the Remedy 9 and up and in the rear, No one knows if it is even being added to the front, the HA on the Remedy is the same as the Smuggler even with more travel 140/140 not 130/115, along with a 8mm chain stay difference from the Remedy and Smuggler and 13mm from to the Kona 111
    Boost helped Trek solve it's problems with short stays. That is one of the reasons why they developed their new hub standard. I referenced the Stache+ because it actually has short stays for a Trek hardtail. I guess they caught up to the other AM HT brands out there, sort of. And at the same head angle the Remedy has 10mm more chain stay than the Smuggler. Nearly half an inch makes a big difference in the rear.

    Also I compared the Fuel and Camber because the travel is closer 120mm vs 111 & 115. Really the Remedy is in the same category as the Riot but we don't need to discuss the awesome that bike will be. Again, I say ef Trek for boosting hubs.

  25. #25
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    Yeah, I do not think the LBS has a Fuel. I will check to see if I can spin one around just to be thorough. But more and more, I am thinking I will just call it the Kona and call it good.

    EDIT: yep, no Fuel available at the LBS to try.
    Last edited by sunvalleylaw; 07-13-2015 at 04:09 PM.

  26. #26
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    I don't know what you are waiting for? From what I'm reading your heart has decided, so why are you waiting for someone to talk you out of it. When you ride the bike that feels "RIGHT" you go for it.
    Saddle up, Effendi. We ride.

  27. #27
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    I own a E29. When I was deciding what bike to get I got to ride my buddies 111 and like many have said it is a great bike. Kinda nailed the geometry for me at least. it was hard for me not to buy that bike but I wanted more travel, and I don't regret my decision but I just rode the 111 the other day after having my bike for 2 months and instantly it felt like putting on a pair of my favorite old shoes. If there was any way they can make that bike perform similar with adding long travel to it I would be on that bike in a instant.

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by YetiBear View Post
    I don't know what you are waiting for? From what I'm reading your heart has decided, so why are you waiting for someone to talk you out of it. When you ride the bike that feels "RIGHT" you go for it.
    Nah, I am in. The Smuggler was the only one that came close, and if my price points were similar it might require more research between those two. I did not really get a good test ride on the Smuggler. But given price point and the fact that I did not find the Smuggler to be a lot superior, no need to wait. Just finding my purchase now. Will report back after the deal is done.

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by hobdog31 View Post
    I own a E29. When I was deciding what bike to get I got to ride my buddies 111 and like many have said it is a great bike. Kinda nailed the geometry for me at least. it was hard for me not to buy that bike but I wanted more travel, and I don't regret my decision but I just rode the 111 the other day after having my bike for 2 months and instantly it felt like putting on a pair of my favorite old shoes. If there was any way they can make that bike perform similar with adding long travel to it I would be on that bike in a instant.
    Canfield Brothers Riot is the answer to 111 with more travel. its 140 rear.

  30. #30
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    dont want to highjack the thread, but what is a Riot going to run? am i correct in that they only sell the frame? i checked it out on their site and it looks pretty cool. i know the 111 goes for like 4k. is the Riot around that price? just curious.

  31. #31
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    the riot retails for $2155 shipped to the continental US, with a CC DB inline rear shock, just FYI.

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by wideawakejake View Post
    dont want to highjack the thread, but what is a Riot going to run? am i correct in that they only sell the frame? i checked it out on their site and it looks pretty cool. i know the 111 goes for like 4k. is the Riot around that price? just curious.
    goldduke beat me to is, it will end up being more than a Process 111 for equal build but if you were going to get a new wheelset on the process nad say change the fork/shock anyways then it might just be better to buy a Riot frame and build it up.

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by BushwackerinPA View Post
    goldduke beat me to is, it will end up being more than a Process 111 for equal build but if you were going to get a new wheelset on the process nad say change the fork/shock anyways then it might just be better to buy a Riot frame and build it up.
    No such changes for me. I think the stock WTB wheelset is just fine for my purposes, and I don't plan on changing the fork or rear can. I may mod the fork to 130mm after reading the 111 thread in the manufacturer forum, but that remains to be seen. That looks to be under a hundred bucks and time.

    And other than that and going tubeless, I really don't see anything that I will change on the bike at all, other than maybe the saddle if I don't bond with the stock one. But it did not seem bad on the test ride I did.

  34. #34
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    10-4, thanks for the heads up on the Riot. looks like a really nice creation. i dig it. probably never see one here in FL though.

  35. #35
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    I purchased the '15 111 this spring and couldn't be happier. I went from an Intense Tracer and the 111 could do circles around it, though it weighed more. For the price and component specs, how could you go wrong? I kept stock, went tubeless, added one bottomless token to the Pike, but changed the front ring to 30t. I now like the fact that I can ride OVER rocks I had to maneuver around before. BTW, I am close to 2 bills in weight and the suspension is fine.

  36. #36
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    I was waiting for that report back on the Smuggler. I have a Transition, a Honzo, tested and had real world time in the base and high trim 111s. I ended up with a 2016 Remedy 9. They're all great bikes but already having Honzo I actually liked a little more chain stay with the Remedy for climbing.

    I'd be happy with anything discussed here but what really took me over the edge is Trek's Penske/Reaktiv shock. It's got plush like a Horst-type yet firm when pedaling and it's pumpable. I totally get that ski feel as described (My Honzo) but the Remedy has that with what I wanted for epic long rides.

    So many great bikes out there. Years ago so much of the suspension and design stuff had compromises or was just crap. I'm glad I'm not so old that I can't still enjoy all this!

    The Smuggler was high on my list for components and because I already have that Kona geometry in another bike. I share rides with my wife and the Honzo remains a keeper.

    The 2016 Remedy 8 should be considered over a 2015 if it's not too late because it has the new SRAM 11 sp and new Fox front and rear.

  37. #37
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    worst spelling in any thread ever.

  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by bitflogger View Post
    The 2016 Remedy 8 should be considered over a 2015 if it's not too late because it has the new SRAM 11 sp and new Fox front and rear.
    And if you pick the 29er
    Boost front and rear, fox 34 and EVOL rear shock

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