With its radically sloping top tube, it has good standover clearance, and a lighter, stiffer frame
The Kona Cinder Cone has a lineage that stretches back to the late 1980s, but fear not, this modern incarnation has been tweaked for 2016 to bring it more in line with contemporary thinking on sizing and geometry.
With its radically sloping top tube, it also has good standover clearance, and a lighter, stiffer frame.
Having that low top tube means you can move about the bike freely and drop the saddle well out of the way when descending. Which is welcome, since the minimal, 100mm-travel RockShox 30 fork soon runs out of puff when the going gets tough.
The Kona held a decent pace on smoother, easier trails, but start to ask real questions of its abilities and it quickly gets in a flap.
There was noticeable flex from the front end too — a combination of the spindly 30mm fork legs and lack of a thru-axle — and the Race Light Scandium 69 frame transmitted all of the trail chatter through to our feet.
It was like being caught in the middle of a good cop/bad cop routine with the soft, squirmy front end and unflinching rear creating a real sense of imbalance.
The Cinder Cone really needs a longer-travel fork to fan its flames on more technical trails.
As a traditional brand — sold through dealers — it also suffers against the direct-sales models on value, which leaves it looking and feeling outclassed by every other bike in this category.