Posted by: dolan | February 9, 2008

A New Ride

kona zootra, originally uploaded by dolanh.

So far, it’s been a fun ride. The goal was absolute reliability in any weather, as it tends to rain a lot here in Portland and I don’t have time to be adjusting things these days. The Sutra frameset, with it’s faults, ended up being about the best non-custom fit I could find. If I had my choice I probably would have used a Rocky Mountain Sherpa, but that would mean parting out the rest of the bike, paying $1000 or so more up front, and not having adjustable dropouts which help so much with the speedhub. The Cotic Roadrat was another interesting idea, but I’m not sure how well it would handle loaded touring. Routing the fender stays was interesting — I had to bend them by hand around the disc brakes and even so they just barely work. Cable routing was a challenge as well, as you can see in some of the other pictures. But for the most part, things came together pretty well.

As for riding impressions, well, it’s solid, fairly heavy (I’m guessing ~30 lbs), and very very stable. The brakes are just incredible in the wet: strong, silent, and fade-free. The dynohub/light combo is fantastic as well, with the auto-light-sensor doing its thing behind the scenes with no thought from me and putting out plenty of light. Many of the parts (seat, cranks, skewers, rack, etc) I’ve had for a while now so they just feel normal. The speedhub is taking some getting used to. I love the range, and the simplicity, but I don’t love the 7-8 shift, and I really dislike the grinding in the lower range. I’m told this will get better, and I hope it will, but at the end up the day there’s really no competition.

Let me know if you have any questions. For now, this will be my “daily rider” to and from work, and maybe some day (when Lucas is a bit older) I’ll get to test out its loaded touring capabilities.

Finally, thanks goes out to Dean at Clever Cycles for sourcing many of the parts, including the big red thing on the rear.

Just a quick parts list for those interested in such things:

* 2006 (NOS) 54cm Kona Sutra frameset
* Rohloff disc QR Speedhub (OEM2) with Monkey Bone
* Schmidt disc Dynohub and shifter
* Mavic A719 rims (32h) with brass nipples, DT 14/16/14 spokes
* Pitlock skewers
* Schwalbe Marathon Supreme 700x32cm tires
* Avid BB7 mechanical disc brakes
* Chris King 1 1/8″ NoThreadSet
* Cane Creek SCR-5 brake levers
* Salsa short & shallow 44cm bars
* (temporary stem from my wife’s bike — plan on Thomson)
* Brooks B-17 ti saddle, handlebar tape
* Thomson Elite seatpost
* Tubus Cargo rear rack
* SKS fenders (hand to bend the stays)
* B&M Lumotec IQ Fly Senso Plus (whew!) front light, D Toplight XS plus rear light
* (old Shimano bottom bracket — plan on Phil Wood)
* Shimano XTR M900 (1st generation) cranks
* SRAM PC68 chain
* el cheapo (and dying) Victor SPD/flat pedals



  1. That is a phat pair of wheels. I hope I get a chance to see you riding a wheelie into the office on this beast.

  2. Very nice!
    I remember all the bike rides we used to do in Culver City.
    Those were the days of riding in the wind with little or no worries! 🙂
    Nice blog, by the way.

  3. Nice bike!!!

    Far far ago..i used to have a KONA bike too, model Hahanna, great !!!!

    Now i own a “LAPIERRE”, great french brand 🙂

  4. Nice bike and nice wheels !

    I’ve got the same rims, and am looking to get some Schwalbe Marathons also.

    I wondered if you could be so kind as to measure the actual width of these tires on the Mavic rims? This would help save me from ordering different sizes to get the exact width I need. I’ve read they run “true to size” … but it really depends on the rims used. I find so few people with A719’s and Schwalbe tires… as in you’re the first!

    I appreciate the help if you can.

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