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Kona is a Canadian based bicycle manufacturer started in 1988. Kona believes in freedom and empowerment of the bicycle. The team from Kona is a dedicated group of cyclists making bicycles for people who love bicycling. We got to test the Kona Sutra (2018), and here are our thoughts.
The Kona Sutra has been made using a Kona Chromoly butted frame. While Chromoly tends to make the frame heavy, it also makes it sturdy and durable. Thus making it capable of carrying heavy weights which is an expectation of most touring specific bicycles. The bicycle has been ergonomically designed so as to ensure a comfortable riding position, making it perfect for long distance touring. The frame has an integrated pannier rack as well as front and rear mudguards, which are also made of Chromoly steel. This bicycle comes with a Kona Project Two Chromoly Disc Touring rigid fork.
When it comes to bicycle touring, simplicity is best. This is exactly what Kona’s designers have kept in mind while designing the Kona Sutra. Overly flashy bicycles can gather unnecessary attention, especially when on long distance tours. Yet, the simplicity of the Kona Sutra’s design makes it look classy and elegant. The bicycle comes in a single colour variant, a glossy royal blue with grey and orange decals, and simple bold Kona branding in grey.
The Kona Sutra is a 27-speed bicycle, which comes equipped with a Shimano Alivio front derailleur, and a Shimano Deore Rear Derailleur. This is impressive, yet reflective of its price point. The shifting is controlled by Shimano BarCon shifters. The shifting was impeccably smooth and seamless. The range of gear combinations available makes this bicycle a perfect all round touring bicycle. The positioning of the BarCon Shifters, at the end of the drop handlebar, can take some getting used to, in the beginning. Once you get the grasp of using them, they are every tourer’s dream.
The Kona Sutra comes equipped with Hayes Disc Brakes with 160mm rotors. The braking mechanism was precise and quick to respond. It required a feather light press of the Brake Levers to bring the bicycle to a stop. The brakes are sure to be effective on both wet and dry surfaces. If using the brakes on down hills, it would be recommended to press on the levers very lightly, given how responsive they are.
The Kona Road handlebar was well cushioned and had just the right width to allow for a comfortable riding position without having to get into too much of an aggressive riding position while using the drop bars. The tape on the grips is sufficient enough to ensure a comfortable, well-padded ride.
The Kona Sutra comes equipped with Schwalbe Marathon Mondial 700x40C touring tires. The dimensions of the tires makes it perfect to conquer roads as well as gravel and dirt paths, making this bicycle the perfect all-terrain tourer. The threading on the tires ensures superior grip while on corners, uneven surfaces and wet, slippery surfaces. Additionally, these tires are tubeless compatible.
Another highlight of this bicycle is it’s saddle. The Kona Sutra comes equipped with a Brooks B17 Leather saddle. Known for their top quality, comfortable saddles, a Brooks saddle means additional comfort while on a long tour where you spend most of the day on your saddle. The saddle was comfortable when on the test ride, and is sure to keep one’s sit bones comfortable and well protected, when on long distance tours.
If you are planning a long distance tour on a bicycle, and have the budget to buy a really good one, then the Kona Sutra should definitely be a front runner. With integrated mud guards and a rear pannier rack, the touring-focused tiers and saddle, this bicycle screams, “I am ready to see the world.”
Prices are subject to change by the brand, without due notice.