They say: “A bike that can ride burl beyond the travel numbers”
Need to Know
- Short travel 29er gets 111mm of travel
- Inspired by the Honzo hardtail
- Low top tubes, 40mm stems and tight back ends across the range shout ‘party-time!’
- Single ring specific frame design
- Process range also includes two 650b models with 134mm and 153mm of travel
Four years in the making, the new Kona Process could well mark a welcome rebirth for the Canadian brand. After years in the wilderness, Kona now has a range of trail bikes that have good times written all over them.
There are three new platforms in the Process range, each offered with two levels of equipment; the 153 (650b) gets the longest travel and greatest capability, then there’s the mid-travel 134 (650b) and the 111 two-niner. All three look promising, but it’s the latter models that seem most suited to UK riding, and the big wheel Process 111 that really fired our imagination when we saw it in the flesh.
Why? Well, progressive spec and geometry combined with short travel efficiency and big wheel rollover sounds like an irresistible recipe to us. Kona has given the Process range a thoroughly contemporary riding position, taking length out of the stem and adding it to the front centre. This keeps the steering as direct as possible – critical on a 29er – while simultaneously improving stability. Kona also places a great deal of significance on keeping the head angle slack, the bottom bracket low and the chainstays short. This it accomplishes by binning the fixture for a front derailleur and fitting a single ring drivetrain. What you can’t see from the photos is that the Process 111 actually comes with a wide-narrow XX1-style chainring that lets you remove the chainguide altogether.
The suspension may be minimal on the new Process 111, but there’s nothing restrained about the back end. Meaty seat and chainstays paired with the tight dimensions should keep the handling snappy and responsive. Kona has also adopted a similar shock yoke to those found on Specialized models, reducing friction by eliminating bushing rotation.
Getting your saddle out of the way won’t be a problem thanks to the internally routed KS Lev dropper posts found as standard on both models. But even more significant is that, regardless of frame size, all the Process bikes get super low top tubes and loads of breathing space for throwing shapes on the trail. Better dig out those disco slippers…