Is Kona's suspension progression completely dependent on rear suspension design?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Is Kona's suspension progression completely dependent on rear suspension design?

    is four bar really dead? as compared to dw link, split pivot, giant/trek, etc? or is the price a/o weight trade-off worth suspension inefficiency?

    imo, kona really ****ed the pooch, in terms of brand uniqueness...they washed the whole vibe away...no ti, no "getya" steel, just fake plastic trees...
    Last edited by cjn1014; 05-18-2010 at 08:37 PM.
    Civilization ends at the waterline. Beyond that, we all enter the food chain, and not always right at the top.

  2. #2
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    The big advantage is simplicity. I have a VPP bike and the piviots need rebuilding 2-3 times a year...they always creak and are hard to maintain. Another guy I ride with has a Kona Dawg. He has never had to touch the piviots.

    Kona also has the Magic Link now...and it works. It climbs sick and when you come into steep rollers it slackens out the HT. You can really feel it shift. Same with drops and jumps travel feels bottomless...

  3. #3
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    I see a bunch of steel frames, a carbon frame some plain suspension for the regular folks and a complicated suspension setup for us folks who love shiny moving things.

    At the end of my last ride I was heading home and thinking about the good old days when you could get a hardtail, a really nice hardtail, or a super nice hardtail and though about what it would be like to ride the trail I was on with one and I though no way.

    I was at a 6 hour race on the weekend, 400 riders and short of the under 12s you could count the hardtails on one hand. The days of a cool steel or Ti frame have really passed.

    If you start building bikes that you have to try and force down people's throat you wind up like Bridgestone, dead and gone. Just imagine how nice those bikes could be today if they had managed to open their eyes to what people wanted to ride!

    For me personally, I already mentioned I have a tricky suspension bike. I also have a custom steel hardtail from the guy who builds Cromags setup like my early 90s race bikes, and it's 8 years old. It'll probably last me another 20 years. I have a nice True Temper tubeset sitting on my workbench that I can't figure out what to do with. I don't really want to build a bike I'll wind up riding twice a year just to prove an abstract point.

  4. #4
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    I have ridden/owned/work on and with both Kona 4 bar bikes and Dw Link bikes of all types.
    I currently ride a 09 Kona Dawg built to my specs with a custom tuned rear shock.(take this into account) I like the aggressive stiff and predictable feel of the Kona 4 bar system. The harder I push the better it seems to feel. But feel is the key word, you do feel a connection to the trail. With the Dw link stuff the trail is gone. The suspension does an incredible job of making a rough trail smooth, while stay very controlled. The Kona 4 bar system in my opinion needs a custom tuned shock.
    Voltron

  5. #5
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    ^^ I agree with you. I have ridden Demo's, Norcos and Giants. All of those bikes are very much capable of erasing all but the biggest bumps on a trail, however none of them felt particularly communicative. I keep going back to my Kona bikes because I am more comfortable having suspension keep my wheels planted while still allowing me to feel what my wheels are connected to. I tend to wash out a bit more on other bikes because the sensation of floating that they generate tricks me into thinking that my tires have more traction than they do. Just because the suspension is keeping the wheel on the ground does not mean that that wheel has enough pressure on it to be an effective steering point of contact.

    Kona bikes are more polarizing than any other brand because they stick to their suspension design through thick and thin. I have never had a problem with them, and I am just as fast on my Stinky SIX as a couple of good riders I know are on their Demo 7's.

    yogreg said before me, getting the rear shock tuned by a company like Push makes a world of difference on Kona bikes. I also find that air shocks seem to work a little bit better on Kona frames than a coil does right out of the box. I don't know why as I usually shy away from Air as much as possible, but after watching my lady ride her Minxy I tried a ROCO air on my Stinky and it is absolutely wonderful.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by cueTIP
    ^^ I agree with you. I have ridden Demo's, Norcos and Giants. All of those bikes are very much capable of erasing all but the biggest bumps on a trail, however none of them felt particularly communicative. I keep going back to my Kona bikes because I am more comfortable having suspension keep my wheels planted while still allowing me to feel what my wheels are connected to. I tend to wash out a bit more on other bikes because the sensation of floating that they generate tricks me into thinking that my tires have more traction than they do. Just because the suspension is keeping the wheel on the ground does not mean that that wheel has enough pressure on it to be an effective steering point of contact.

    Kona bikes are more polarizing than any other brand because they stick to their suspension design through thick and thin. I have never had a problem with them, and I am just as fast on my Stinky SIX as a couple of good riders I know are on their Demo 7's.

    yogreg said before me, getting the rear shock tuned by a company like Push makes a world of difference on Kona bikes. I also find that air shocks seem to work a little bit better on Kona frames than a coil does right out of the box. I don't know why as I usually shy away from Air as much as possible, but after watching my lady ride her Minxy I tried a ROCO air on my Stinky and it is absolutely wonderful.
    LoL... I have the dumbest rear shock 07 or 08 Roco R Air, looks like a small beer can without the decal. Only rebound adjustment. Matched with the 888 on the front it is butter. Really plush bike that isn't all that heavy, but super tough! 48 in wheelbase doesn't hurt either.

  7. #7
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    magic link is like nothing anyone else has. no one has a 160mm bike that really pedals like a 100mm bike except kona.

    non magic link konas are slack, strong, reliable, and just fun to ride. they have their corner in the market. people freak out about suspension design too much. if you're slow, you're slow. if you're fast, you're fast. the bike you're on really doesnt matter that much.

  8. #8
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    Hear, hear! I totally agree that people make too much out about suspension type! I got caught up in too, believe that suspension type xyz was the best. There are subtle differences, if you have the luxury of testing the bikes side by side with the same exact setups. I really believe that your body adapts to whatever suspension type you have, as long as the bike fits properly. My son was riding a 40 lb on our trails and still beat me up some climbs!

  9. #9
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    Due to lack of funds, my King Kikapu frame is currently hanging from a hook in the basement while I ride the stew out my Kula Deluxe. They don't feel terribly dissimilar to me until I get past the 2.5 hour mark. Then on the hard tail I remember why I went down the suspension path to begin with.

    The King Kikapu has, as has been said, a well connected feel to it but still dramatically reduces fatigue. That the ride qualities are so similar between the two is a mark of quality in my mind. I don't want to be totally insulated from the trail.
    "Bikes aren't fast--people are fast. Bikes are overpriced. It's an important distinction."---BikeSnob NYC

  10. #10
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    The more I read the thread title the more confused I get, I don't know what the OP wants, crazy front suspension like a Z-link fork with a magic setup?

  11. #11
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    Is there anyway to quantify whether one suspension is truly better than another? Isn't it just subjective?

  12. #12
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    Well weight, price, & can you find spare parts down the road would matter. Any bike from 15 years ago stacked up against a new bike today would loose out no matter how nice it was back in the day. A lot of it is a chocolate vs. vanilla argument hyped up by a marketing department. The whole no one but Specialized has a 4-bar bunk springs to mind.

  13. #13
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    Its not really about the bike or suspension design. Its all about the rider. I have a 1996 Kona Sex One. I am the original owner, have replaced parts over the years with a mix of hd xc gear and good deals. Had a local climbing competition with 33 people many with expensive newer bikes, 29's, ht, fs etc. and some sick gear. I placed 3rd on a 15 year old rig with VERY outdated 4 (faux bar) suspension and a Float RL.

    You can give a nooby a $5k bike and beat him/her everytime.

    Balance, experience and endurance will beat technology everytime.

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