by: Kallie Szczepanski
Posted on: Tuesday, April 15th, 2008 at 5:53 pm by: Kallie Szczepanski
If you are looking for a durable entry-level bike that won’t break the bank, consider the Kona Deluxe ($1,999), a road bike with the soul of a mountain bike.
Vancouver, British Columbia-based Kona Bicycles is primarily a mountain bike and cyclo-cross manufacturer. Since 1992, however, they have been turning out some sturdy road bikes as well. The company is known for its heavy-duty, low-maintenance bikes. These are rigs that can take a beating and still last for years. Kona believes that real people can’t afford a dozen different bikes, so they need an adaptable set of wheels suitable to cycling in different conditions. Their fan base includes the young and penniless pre-sponsor set, mountain bikers who want a road bike for commuting, or older cycling hobbyists. Any of these riders would be well-served by the Kona Deluxe.
The Kona Deluxe weighs in at a healthy 19.5 lbs.: the emphasis is obviously on building for power, rather than building light. The substantial Easton OS bar/stem and Kona’s own Carbon fork offer smooth handling. Large-diameter Dedacciai EOM tubes with Deda carbon stays provide impressive stability, great for cycling on loose gravel or muddy ruts. (As I said, it has the soul of a mountain bike!) The Deluxe features a Shimano Ultegra 10-speed drivetrain for smooth shifting. The R550 wheels and high-quality brakes are also by Shimano, so sudden stops are no problem. Buyers will probably want to up-grade the hearty but slow Continental Sport 1000 tires.
Some cyclists may be put off by the Deluxe’s color scheme. Iridescent deep-blue paint with fluorescent green logos give the bike a look reminiscent of a 1980s Trapper Keeper, more than a serious road bike. Nevertheless, many buyers seem to be quite impressed with their Deluxes. Typical comments include: “This is a very responsive bike that will give you more than your strength’s worth of fun”; “It feels light, quick and climbs well in my humble opinion”; and, “Got a deal on the great-looking Kona Deluxe 03.”
If you are accustomed to the kind of cycling that includes tearing down hillsides, dropping over boulders and dodging tree-stumps, then the Kona Deluxe is probably the ultimate road bike for you. If you’re a college student who needs a reasonably-priced bike for getting to school in possibly sloppy conditions, the Kona Deluxe would be a great choice. Likewise, if you’re an amateur triathlete who tends to really beat your bike (or even drop it) during the cycling leg, then the Kona Deluxe could be your perfect ride. If, on the other hand, you want an elite-level racing bike, then you’re going to have to look elsewhere, and spend a bit more money.