We can recall a few years when Kona's new range has seemed to be big on range but low on new. That's not particularly an accusation that could be levelled at the recently-launched 2007 range, though. There's an impressive 15 new models in there - some are substantial redesigns, some are all-new. Obviously the whole range has been updated for 2007, but we're just looking at the bikes that can be justifiably called "new".
We'll start with some bikes that clearly aren't mountain bikes but which catch our eye anyway. Kona does a bunch of road, cyclocross and "transportation" bikes. New for 2007 is the Paddy Wagon, described as a "track/messenger" bike. We don't know if the geometry is more track than road, but it does at least come with brakes so it's road-friendly in that sense at least. You get a Dedacciai butted chromoly frame, Project Two road fork and a flip-flop rear hub so you can run a fixed sprocket on one side and a freewheel on the other.
On the cyclocross side, the new Major Jake is a full-on CX race beastie built around an Easton Ultralite frame with carbon seatstays. The fork is also from Easton, an EX90X carbon item, and you get Mavic Ksyrium Equipe wheels. And a nice orange colour.
Kona launched a bunch of women's bikes for 2006, and there are a couple more for 2007. The Kula Lisa is a XC racer featuring an Easton Ultralite aluminium frame, RockShox Recon 351 fork, WTB saddle and Race Face bits.
Also new is the Queen Kikapu, a 4in travel FS bike that's held up by a Fox RP2 shock at the back and a RockShox Tora Air at the front. You'll also get Hayes HFX-9 brakes and a Race Face Ride XC X-Type crankset.
As well as revised versions of all the existing Kona kids' range, there'll be two miniature versions of the Shred dirt jump-style bike. The Shred 2-0 has 20in wheels shod with Maxxis Hoodlum tyres...
...while the Shred 2-4 has 24inchers and Maxxis High Rollers. Both have Suntour XCU suspension forks (40mm travel on the 2-0, 80mm on the 2-4) and Hayes MX-4 disc brakes.
For 2006 Kona introduced the King Supreme, with a super-short 2.5in travel frame. For 2007 it's extending the concept with two bikes that revive the Hei Hei name (last seen on Kona's classic titanium hardtail). They both share a new custom-butted Scandium frame designed to be super-light to the extent of being ball-burnished in order to save the weight of paint. The "basic" Hei Hei will have a diddly RP2 shock, SID Race fork, Race Face Evolve X-Type cranks and and FSA XC-300 wheelset. The ridiculously posh Hei Hei Supreme will have an RP23 shock, SID World Cup fork and Shimano's 2007 XTR throughout.
There's the usual year-on-year revisions to the Kula race hardtails, but this one's new. It looks a bit like some weird wide-angle lens distortion, but in fact this is the Kula 2-9, featuring 29in wheels (for those not au fait
with these, they're 700c rims with big knobbly tyres, thus giving an outside diameter of about 29in). The frame is Scandium, the fork is the 29er version of RockShox's Reba SL.
Also operating in the 29er space is the new Unit 2-9. Dedacciai butted chromoly frame, Project 2 29er fork, Hayes HFX-9 disc brakes, sliding dropouts, one gear. The 26in version is much the same only with smaller wheels.
Out of Bounds/Downhill
Kona's top-of-the-range DH bike has had a floating rear brake for a while, but the system has been redesigned for 2007, christened the DOPE and will come on the Stab Supreme, Stab Deluxe, Stinky Supreme and Stinky Deluxe. It was designed in association with floating-brake specialists Brake Therapy and will be available as an after-market upgrade.
The Stinky frame hasn't just sprouted a brake arm, though. It's also got a longer top tube, new, stiffer replaceable dropouts for improved shifting (and making the frame upgradeable to a 12mm rear through-axle) and stiffer rocker arms for enhanced all-of-the-bike-going-the-same-wayness. This is the Stinky Primo, with a Marzocchi 888 RCX2 170mm fork, Roco RC rear shock and a combination of Race Face Diabolus cranks and Shimano Saint brakes and transmission.
And here's the new Stab Supreme. The 8in travel frame has also been redesigned, with what's described as "more progressive geometry". That appears to mean a shorter back end and a slightly lower bottom bracket. There's a two-position shock mount to let you tweak the geometry further. It's also lighter than the 2006 bike.
Finally we have the new Coiler/Coilair family. Kona's 6in travel platform has also been redesigned, with a lower top tube for more standover clearance, a new seatstay assembly with more tyre clearance, new rocker arms and a lower leverage ratio on the rear suspension. It's also got a two-position shock mount and replaceable dropouts. The bike pictured is the Coilair Supreme, with a Fox 36 RC2 fork and DHX Air 5.0 shock. You also get an RF Atlas chainset and Shimano Saint brakes. There's also the Coilair with a 36R fork, DHX 3.0 shock, Evolve cranks and Hayes brakes.
Obviously there're a hell of a lot more bikes than that in the range, but those are the new ones. UK pricing is yet to be fixed, and some specs may change before the bikes arrive here sometime in the Autumn.