Kona's latest enduro bike hits the mark when it comes to value; but at what price?
Need to know
- More affordable version of the Process 153
- 150mm travel with 27.5in wheels
- Slack geometry and frame design mirrors top-end Process range
- Wide bar, short stem, taacky tyres
You only get one first ride on a bike, and usually it’s enough to suss out your initial thoughts on how it feels and whether it really ‘works’. Not this time though, I’ve taken the Kona Precept out for a handful of rides simply because I couldn’t figure it out… or figure out if I liked it or not.
The Precept range is all about offering good performance at a low price — it’s basically the cheaper alternative to the top-end Kona Process 153 line. The range is unusual, though, because instead of offering various spec levels across the Precept spread, Kona offers it with four travel options, from 120mm all the way up to a 200mm downhill bike.
The Precept 150 is a very competent bike to descend on and there’s a ton of travel to soak up big hits and drops. The suspension does feel a bit dead at the top of its travel though, so this is really a bike for steep, rocky terrain rather than mellow singletrack. Get it up to speed and it starts to feel more playful and easy to loft the front end, something I think is helped by the short chainstays.
Kona has actually gone slightly slacker and lower than the flashier Process geometry, and it’s something I like very much combined with the short stem, wide bar and excellent High Roller II tyres. It’s a heavy bike with heavy wheels, which does make the Precept feel really stable and solid on rough stuff.
It’s not just a bit heavy though; at over 15kg it’s a tank. The climbing position is not helped by the seatpost either: a 100mm drop KS Eten that isn’t anywhere near long enough for a bike with such a short seat tube, or a rider with my lanky legs. In short, I couldn’t get the saddle high enough. Worse, it wouldn’t stay extended, thanks to a faulty seal inside the post.
If Kona had unveiled the Precept 150 a couple of years ago it would have been exciting. But today, it feels left behind by some mighty competition from the direct sales brands: the YT Capra Al 1 is only £85 more and Canyon’s Strive Al 6.0 is £2,000, and both are arguably better bikes, or at the very least lighter bikes.