The self proclaimed “World cup ready race bike” Is a promise that kona delivers on and NOT ONLY THAT they also boast “extremely easy to maintain, with incredibly supple rear suspension and ride characteristics engineered to last”. A big call from a company thats heritage is more about huck than race.
The Kona is every bit a race ready bike that has a ride personality that is all business. The massively adjustable suspension, laterally stiff over sized pivots and smooth suspension action are all reflective of the speed that this steed is designed for. With multiple adjustments for compression and rebound dampening this bike takes some tweaking to get the best performance from the 4 bar walking link design but when the set up is right this combination comes alive.
The build kit is a list of some of the most desirable parts available. With a full Shimano Saint groupset, Rock Shox Boxxer world cup fork, Fox DHX4 shock, a Easton cock pit and finishing kit by Mavic, Maxxis, and E-13 working together to make a realiable and adjustable bike that can be tuned to suit almost any riding style and terrain world wide. In particular a great small detail is the listing of bearings and sizing on the rear of the seat tube.
Kona’s heritage of building some inspiring bikes, shines on the trails and the design crew has kept the geometry low for stability at speed rather than the old hucking and tight north shore style that some would have previously associated Kona’s name with.
The new design has taken a group of young Aussie’s including world cuppers Mitch Delf’s, Connor Fearon to some great podium finishes as well as a junior national championship to boot.
From the first run this bike showed its intended purpose on our rough test course. The low centre of gravity and smooth suspension action really allowed faster corner speed and easier control over choppy loose rock sections. Short chainstays and a great position helped really make the bike feel a bit more agile while its 17.9kg weight was noticeable when punching out of corners but really assisted the bike in keeping it settled and online when it needed to be planted. Such as when hitting bigger drops and rough landings. While the rotating weight is noticeable when your pushing it up the hill the wheels are fairly tough and can last a season even with reckless riding.
It’s a lot more race inspried than expected but thanks to the evolution that Kona has made from the Stab frame the Supreme Operator is a “world cup ready race bike”. Knuckle punching, high five’s all round for the design team.
The build kit is second to none and suspension is super smooth, with adjustability to match. I would like to see a matched Fox or RockShox complete suspension set-up which may help get even more out of this great frame. The operator isn’t a bike made for one season of smooth Australian tracks but rather seasons of Canadian or NZ style shreddin’.
It is rider friendly, bullet proof and easy one the eye. The Supreme Operator would be a great buy for anyone after a long lasting bike which is still a awesome ammount of fun while still being fast and reliable.
Words & Rider : Jon Odams Photos : Robert Conroy