Established in 1988 and currently headquartered at Ferndale, Washington, USA, Kona Bicycle Company is popularly known for bikes that target users on the opposite spectrum, such as kids and the overweight. But are Kona bikes good?
Kona bikes are good because they are pretty high-end and innovative – encouraging durability, strength, reliability, comfort, and superior performance. The manufacturer invests in quality parts and modern designs to stay atop the competition.
That, however, doesn’t make Kona Bicycle Company the most flawless bike brand out there. As I’ll share later, the bike brand has a few concerns, but they are nothing compared to the positives.
Before explaining what makes Kona bikes good and the concerns attached, let me briefly share the brand history.
In a hurry? Check out my most recommended Kona bicycles on the hotlist below:
4 Best Kona Bikes
- Kona Blast Hardtail: Best Kona Hardtail Bike
- Kona Operator: Best Kona Full Suspension Bike
- The Kona Sutra Trekking Bike: Best Kona Road Trekking Bike
- Kona Libre CR/DL: Best Kona Gravel Bike
About Kona Bicycle Company – The Brand History
After working with MTB Hall of Famer Joe Murray for several years, Jacob Heilbron and Dan Gerhard were motivated to make their first-ever bike. So, the two founded Kona Bicycle Company in 1988 in Vancouver, BC.
Their first-ever production was a hardtail mountain bike with a slanting top tube, and the company was recognized as the first to make such an MTB.
1989 saw them introduce their first-ever straight leg MTB fork, which they produce up to date.
In 1990, Dr. Dew, whom most Kona urban bikes are named after, joined the company, and Max Jones followed him. Max Jones was later inducted into the MTB Hall of Fame.
1994 saw Kona make its first-ever dual suspension bike, Sex One, and in 1998, the company made its first-ever freeride bike, the Stinky Dee-Lux. It was also in 1998 that they launched Konaworld.com.
By 2005, Kona was sponsoring numerous podium finishers in world cycling events, something they continue to do today. 2005 also saw Dr. Dew join the MTB Hall of Fame.
In 2010, the company made its first-ever electric-assist bike and over 650 bikes for the African continent, popularly known as Africabikes. And in 2014, they started making fat bikes and now make pretty every bike.
So far, so many cyclists have won major world events, riding a Kona bike. Among them are 2002 Commonwealth Champion Roland Greene, 2004 and 2005 World DH Champion Fabien Barel, and 2004 Cyclocross Gran Prix Champion Ryan Trebon.
Currently, Kona Bicycle Company has its headquarters at Ferndale, Washington, USA. However, its major factory is in Vietnam, and distribution centers are in Geneva, Vancouver, and other parts.
Are Kona Bikes Good or Bad? The Review!
Let’s review what makes Kona bicycles good and those that concern customers.
The Good – Why Kona Bikes Are Good
Generally, Kona bicycles are good because of these reasons:
1. High-End Parts
Kona doesn’t shy away from using all kinds of materials for its frames. So, you’ll get Kona bicycles in carbon, steel, titanium, and aluminum, and the frames are all high-end.
Their aluminum frames, for example, are double-butted to promise utmost durability, while their carbon frames are among the lightest and the strongest on the market.
And when it comes to the groupsets, Kona sources from reliable suppliers like SRAM, Shimano, among others, and that’s where the elements of reliability and high-performance come in.
As for comfort, everything from their slow-weight frames to their firmer suspensions promotes optimum rider comfort. So, overall, Kona’s high-end parts promise the following:
- Superior performance
Realistically, these bikes are everything you need to compete at the elite level, which explains why Kona-sponsored cyclists are seasonal podium finishers.
2. Innovative Designs
Kona is a bicycle company that takes pride in modern technology in every bike they unveil. Their Beamer Independent Suspension Technology, for example, enables their mountain bikes to stay at the highest travel range and recover from aggressive hits quickly.
The best thing about the suspension is that it is tunable, depending on the rider’s weight, making the MTBs better racers.
Another impressive technology that Kona is known for is the MagikLink Active Geometry. This Kona-patented rear-travel suspension technology offers riders a more intuitive riding experience, giving Kona cross country (XC) bikes an advantage over their competition.
It generally makes Kona XC better climbers, racers, downhillers. Additionally, MagikLink enjoys a Variable Spring Rate, a rear suspension property that makes it adaptable to different climbs and descends.
The best part is that MagikLink promises a more extended travel range, essential for elite cross country racers.
Other Good Things About Kona Bikes
While Kona bike’s chief selling points are its high-end parts and innovation, several other things make them worth it. They include the following:
3. Good Warranty
Kona offers a limited lifetime warranty for all its bike frames in the U.S, Europe, and Canada, affecting only the initial buyers. Kona guarantees that the bike frames will be free from manufacturing defects for a lifetime.
It’s essential, however, that you first register your bike upon purchase to stretch the warranty from 3 months to a lifetime.
Mark you; the frame is not the only thing that comes with a limited warranty. You also get a one-year limited warranty for the complete bike in the U.S and up to 2 years in Europe.
4. A Variety of Comfortable Sizes
Kona has a standard sizing guide for almost all its bicycles to enable riders to find their match easily. The standard size guide (shared in the table below) applies to Kona gravel, drop-bar, urban, and mountain bikes.
Overall, it’s easy to get a comfortable Kona bike as you only need to look at its frame size and match it with your body size (height and inseam); using the table below:
5. Bike Demos
You don’t have to buy a Kona bike outright if you are unsure about it. All you have to do if you are in the United States is to go for a test ride at any of their dealer shops.
Check the list of Kona U.S dealer shops here.
6. Bike Variety
There is no bike that Kona doesn’t make. Currently, they are popularly known for their high-end mountain bikes, gravel bikes, drop-bar bikes (road bikes), and electric bikes.
The biggest put-off with Kona bikes is the price. Kona bikes are not cheap. So, it’s understandable that what most people ask is, ‘how much do Kona bikes cost?’
Well, here are the price ranges for the various Kona bicycles:
- Mountain bikes – $1,500-$5,000
- Drop-bar bikes (road bikes) – $1,899-$3,799
- Gravel bikes – $1,899-$3,799
- E-bikes – $2,899-$4,700
- Fat bikes – $1,799
So clearly, Kona bikes are not low-cost. But why are Kona bikes so expensive?
As discussed, Kona bikes are all about high-end parts and innovative designs, and that’s what you pay for. However, you can rent a Kona bike and ride through the Kona bike rental program if you cannot afford to buy one.
Check out the destinations for the bike rentals here.
Note that other than the price, the other issues are:
- Some bikes feel a little slack, given that most Kona bikes come in standard sizes
- Some MTBs are slow on climbs even though they are pretty good on flats and descends
Are Kona Mountain Bikes Good?
Kona is undisputedly one of the kings in the mountain bike sector. The company is known for its Process MTB line, a high-end do-it-all mountain bike line. So, if you are serious about competitive mountain biking, getting a Kona mountain bike makes sense.
The company is known for high-end cross-country mountain bikes, downhill mountain bikes, hardtails, fat tire mountain bikes, and dirt jumping mountain bikes.
Their Kona Blast Hardtail, for example, is a perfect choice for cross country racers who want speed, performance, and agility.
However, if you want the ultimate downhiller, you cannot go wrong with Kona Operator. This MTB offers you 200mm of front and frame suspension, which is enough to ride on any steep descend.
Are Kona Gravel Bikes Good?
Kona takes pride in its crème de crème Libre CR DL. According to the manufacturer, this gorgeous carbon bike is too good to ride over gravel, but its utmost dominance cannot go unnoticed.
You can count on its frame for comfort and endurance and its high-end groupset for top performance. So, Libre CR DL proves that Kona gravel bikes are good.
Are Kona Road Bikes Good?
Kona doesn’t make your typical road bike – one that you’ll only ride on urban roads. No! They make high-end cyclocross and touring or trekking bikes with a traditional road bike drop bar and a slimmer frame.
But unlike traditional road bikes, Kona cyclocross and touring/trekking bikes feature strong multi-terrain wheels, as it’s the case of the Kona Sutra Trekking Bike.
This trekking road bike brings together the worlds of a traditional road bike and a modern MTB, making it a dream choice for bike packing, mountain biking, and cross country touring.
1. Is Kona a Good Bike Brand?
Kona enjoys more than 34 years of producing high-end bikes. Their bikes feature some of the most top-tier parts and employ modern designs to promise durability, superior performance, and reliability.
2. Where Are Kona Bikes Made?
Kona has its leading factories in Taiwan, making most of their bikes there. The company, however, has its headquarters in Ferndale, Washington, USA.
3. Are Kona Bikes Worth the Money?
Though Kona bikes are more expensive than most of their competition, they are high-end. The quality of the parts and the uniqueness of the designs make them worth the money.
4. Are Kona Bikes Overpriced?
Though Kona bikes cost more than most, they are not overpriced. These bikes are top performers that elite cyclists use to compete, and some have won podium places on the grandest stages. So, these bikes are all about quality and good performance.
In Conclusion; Are Kona Bikes Good?
Not all bikes can deliver on their promise of strength, durability, reliability, and high performance. But lucky for Kona bikes, their high-end parts and innovative designs assure all that. So, yes, Kona bikes are good.