We’ve already seen some of the new Kona 2008 bikes that reside at the short travel and lighter end of the range, now it’s time for the longer travel bikes, with a revised Stinky Supreme and a radically new CoilAir Supreme.
It’s fair to say that Kona hasn’t done anything that you’d describe as “radically new” with its full suspension platform for quite a while, so the 2008 CoilAir is officially quite exciting. The CoilAir was originally designed as a not-too-heavy long-travel bike that can be ridden up and down challenging terrain and the latest model takes that concept a step further.
The next step is – wait for it – automatic travel and geometry adjustment. Adjustable travel is nothing terribly new, and several bikes have adjustable travel, but generally you’ll have to at least stop and sometimes get tools out. Then there’s Bionicon’s fully travel/attitude adjustable offerings, but even they require you to press levers.
Kona’s “Magic Link” design, though, does everything by itself with no need to flip any dials, adjust any knobs or waggle any spanners. Ride uphill or over varying terrain and the geometry is steeper and the travel is firmer, and set at 6in. Point the bike downhill and geometry slackens and the suspension travel increases from 6in to 7.4in. All without having to flip any dials or adjust knobs.
Located just above the bottom bracket, the short Magic Link sits vertically between the bottom shock mount and the swingarm pivot. The link moves fore and aft on a spring-loaded shaft, taking the shock mount and swingarm pivot with it. The effect is that those two points can float. Pedalling forces push the swingarm (and hence the link and lower shock mount) forwards, which keeps the travel to 6in, introduces a tauter suspension feel, raises the BB and steepens the whole bike to get the weight bias further forward.
Throw in some bump and brake forces however, and the Magic Link moves backwards, pulling the bottom end of the shock rearwards and down. The angles get slacker, the BB drops, the travel goes up and the rate curve gets more progressive – more sensitive on small stuff, ramping up for bottom-out resistance. The Magic Link’s own little spring allows you to choose how much force it takes to adjust the Magic Link.
Elsewhere changes are relatively minor. Gone is the bracing tube at the seat tube junction, dropped in favour of a more elegant top tube bend to keep standover clearance. How it actually rides we’ll have to wait and find out – the guys at Kona are still working on the design and the bike won’t see production until later in the year.
Following the original CoilAir’s lead of putting lighter air suspension on a big-travel bike, the Stinky Air is the first Stinky to be put on a diet. The coil rear shock and dual-crown forks have gone, replaced by a Fox DHX 5.0 air shock and single crown forks. One for the hardcore freeriders who don’t want all the heft of a DH bike then…
Prices and more information soon.