Best Kona Bikes for 2021

Kona Review: An In-Depth Brand Analysis for 2021

Wondering whether Kona Mountain Bikes are right for you or not? We reviewed the best Kona Bikes for 2021 along with their after-sales services and warranty to ensure you get your money’s worth.

Best Kona Mountain Bikes for 2021

1. Kona Honzo and Big Honzo

Specs

  • Fork: 120 mm/130 mm travel
  • Wheel Size: 29”/27.5”+
  • Frame Size: S, M, L, XL
  • Frame Material: Steel/Aluminum/carbon
  • MTB Type: Hardtail XC and Trail Bike

Kona’s entry into the bicycle market was marked by its progressive and strong hardtails.

As it turns out, the company is still building the best quality hardtails that last long. Honzo is the current head-turner hardtail in the Kona series of bikes.

While some think that Kona is for beginners and people who have little to no idea about mountain bikes, the bike is on its level, and even seasoned riders and champs are looking to ride it.

The bike features 120 mm travel RockShox forks and an SRAM 1×12 drivetrain. Other features to notice immediately you start riding the bike is the slack cockpit and the comfortable seat.

Honzo inspired the Big Honzo. However, the latter has completely different features compared to the original Honzo.

For starters, Big Honzo has 27.5” wheels instead of 29”, and they are wide tires. The tires will offer more traction and improve the quality of your ride.

The bike still has space to change your wheels to 29”, and that’s just so impressive. For the fork, Big Honzo comes with 130 mm travel RockShox forks.

Big Honzo is the best to buy here because it gives you wheel-size options. All the Honzos come in either steel, aluminum, or carbon. Choose your poison.

There are eight Honzo models, the carbon frames being the most expensive ones while aluminum frames take the lower price. Steel frames are also affordable. This bike is the best for you if hardtails are your thing and you love riding on less bumpy and technical trails.

If they are loose, then Big Honzo is the best for the job. However, hardtails can be selective when it comes to terrains.

They’ll limit your riding if you love riding on rocks and bumpy trails. Before you swipe that card, ask yourself whether Honzo is the right bike for the type of trail you ride.

2. Kona Unit X

Specs

  • Fork: Rigid
  • Wheel Size: 29”
  • Frame Size: S, M, L, XL
  • Frame Material: Steel
  • MTB Type: Hardtail Trail bike

Unit X has been on Kona’s lineup since 2003, and it gets better and better in the same tradition.

Now you can get a 29er Unit X with a steel frame. Unit started as a single-speed bike, but today, we have Unit X with a 12-speed SRAM groupset.

The Gloss Champagne color of the bike is such a turn-on that it makes someone want to sip that champagne too.

Unit X is every backpacker’s best friend and bike of choice, and so if you want a bike to explore the wilds, then Kona Unit X will be the best choice.

The Unix X comes with a rigid fork, and it would only make sense if it had wide tires for traction and floating and to absorb small vibrations as the tires roll over rocks.

The bike can take 29×3.0” wide tires or plus size 27.5” ones, and I believe this is an excellent opportunity for backpackers to go adventure riding more often without worrying about their comfort.

Previous Unit Xs came with quick releases, but the 2021 model comes with thru-axle. Unit X is a rigid steel bike with the latest features.

The bike also features the modern trail bike’s geometry with a slacker headtube. Some compare Unit X to Honzo in terms of geometry.

The dirt-touring features of this bike are what make it every cyclist’s dream. Having this bike in your garage is such a pleasure.

This is the type of bike you deserve if you love adventure riding and camping far from home.

It’s lighter than most hardtails and can take you to many places as long as you keep the cassette rolling.

3. Kona Fire Mountain

Specs

  • Fork: 10 mm travel
  • Wheel Size: 26”/27.5”
  • Frame Size: XS, S, M, L, XL
  • Frame Material: Aluminum
  • MTB Type: Hardtail XC Bike

Kona Fire Hardtail has been around for over 20 years now, and as many popular models ditch the 26” wheels, Kona Fire has stuck with them to fulfill their clients’ needs.

The same model comes with 27.5” wheels if you decide to scale up. Looking at all the Kona MTBs, this seems to be their budget bike. Kona states that they designed the bike with road bikers in mind.

Roadies can take a break from the roads, hang their bikes for a day, grab their Kona Fire MTBs, hit the trails, and wind up.

The bike comes with a durable and versatile aluminum frame and a slack geometry. Aside from the SR Suntour air forks, the bike also features a SRAM drivetrain.

The model also features hydraulic Shimano disk brakes for instant halting. Whether you are on a steep hill and a reindeer suddenly crosses in front of you, or you have to hold your emergency brakes, the effective Shimano brakes will not let you down.

Kona Fire is quite an agile bike that can take sharp corners and a great navigator. This is the bike you should buy if you fancy a 26” wheeled bike.

They are rare as many brands have shifted to 29erd and 650b wheels. You can ride on trails, tour your town, and do much more.

However, the Fire Kona is not gifted when it comes to technical bumps and terrain.

4. Kona Lana’i

Specs

  • Forks: 100 mm travel
  • Wheel Size: 26”/27.5”/29”
  • Frame Size: XS, S, M, L, XL
  • Frame Material: Aluminum
  • MTB Type: Aluminum XC Bike

Whenever you feel like the forest is calling you, trekking inside will limit the number of beautiful views you can see in a day. Sitting on a bike will let you cover a larger area, and that’s the catch.

Where’s your Kona Lana’i? If you don’t have one yet, make some arrangements. It’s one of the most versatile and exciting bikes to ride.

You get to choose whether you want a 29er, a 27.5er, or a 26er. You can also opt to spoil everyone in your family with a Lana’i of their choice. Kona will give you a discount on that.

Most Kona bikes have a touch of Hawaii’s heritage. That’s why the name Lana’i strikes an emotion, and it’s just as sweet when cross country riding.

The bike is the most affordable Kona bike out there, and it features an aluminum frame and a Suntour suspension fork. It also comes in various sizes to fit all heights.

This is the right bike for you if you are on a budget and looking for an MTB that can fulfill your day-to-day mountain bike needs.

You can ride the softer trails and on the road. The forks feature a lockout to let you ride in the streets.

However, the Lana’i is not suitable for jumps and hitting rocks. You will have no bike by the end of the years if you subject it to this kind of abuse.

5. Kona Hei Hei

Specs

  • Forks: 120 mm/140 mm travel
  • Shock: 100 mm travel
  • Wheel Size: 29”/27.5”
  • Frame Size: S, M, L, XL
  • Frame Material: Aluminum
  • MTB Type: Full Suspension XC/Trail Bike

All Kona models have been successful in the market year-round, including Kona Hei Hei.

It’s Kona’s cross-country full-suspension bike. Hei Hei is the type of bike to take to the marathon and sometimes the trail races, with all the confidence a rider should have.

The bike will handle the abuse, fly from the top of the rock, jump over obstacles, and do other great things to make the ride enjoyable. The Hei Hei 29er version has six bikes in that range.

There are two affordable aluminum bikes and four which are carbon models. For the forks, you can get anything from RockShox Recon to Fox Factory, depending on which Hei Hei sweeps you off your feet.

They all come with SRAM 1x drivetrains, namely the NX 12 and the XX1.

Interestingly, there’s also a trail-specific Hei Hei, known as Hei Hei Trail, but it comes with 27.5” wheels.

The wheels are plus-size for better traction, and you can also change the wheels to 29”. There are two Hei Hei 27.5 models, and they’re all carbon frames.

They are capable and outstanding performers on the trail. The bikes also get carbon rims and a RockShox Reverb dropper seat post.

Another difference between Hei Hei and Hei Hei Trail is the fork travel. The Trail comes with a 140 mm travel, while the XC type takes a 120 mm.

The Hei Hei is a good bike and a perfect mate if you are looking for fun on a cross-country bike and willing to spend on it.

Also, if you ride trail and cross country or believe in making a way where there’s none and ride long or race longer distances, this is the suitable bike for you.

Give the Hei Hei a challenge. However, the Hei Hei is not good in descents like an Enduro or DH bike would.

6. Kona Process 134 and 153

Specs

  • Fork: 140 mm/160 mm travel
  • Shock: 134 mm/153 mm travel
  • Wheel Size: 27.5”/29”
  • Frame Size: S, M, L, XL
  • Frame Type: Aluminum/Carbon
  • MTB Type: Full Suspension Trail(134), Enduro (153)

Here’s Kona’s most successful model, the Kona Process. Kona Process 134 is Kona’s quiver killer.

It’s also a do it all bike that will give you the benefit of the doubt.  The Process was revised in 2017 to give it more climbing prowess.

The Process trail version is as impressive as it looks and entertaining to ride with every mile you cover.

The bike comes in namely aluminum and carbon frame models. If you can pay more, you’ll be lucky to get a carbon frame. In front, you get a RockShox or Fox forks 140 mm travel, and in the rear, a 143 mm travel, both making the bike as playful as it can be.

Kona Process 153 looks almost identical to 134 but with a slacker head tube and endure-oriented angles.

This model too comes with both carbon and aluminum options. You also get to choose between 27.5 wheeler for better and calculative cornering, or a 29er, a speed machine that can run over obstacles efficiently.

The enduro bike is capable and swallows every bit of the terrain like a rope. The bike is built for the challenging jumps and the rock gardens that other bikes will have trouble running through.

Both the trail and Enduro Process are great bikes that will not spare your bank account.

They are expensive as they come, but with the high cost comes the thrills of riding such bikes.

The bikes are versatile. The trail bike can also participate in an XC race, while the Enduro bike can easily pass all the downhill legends of your town.

The Process is the bike to buy if you know what you want and firmly believe that your needs will be fulfilled by either the trail or Enduro, depending on what your bike needs are.

7. Kona Operator

Specs

  • Fork: 200 mm travel
  • Shock: 200 mm travel
  • Wheel Size: 29”/27.5”
  • Frame Size: S, M, L, XL
  • Frame Material: Aluminum/Carbon
  • MTB Type: Full Suspension Downhill Bike

There’s only one Kona Operator, not a 29er or 650b. The single model comes with an adjustable geometry that allows it to take either of the wheel sizes.

Simply buy the 27.5’ wheels and have them as spare wheels so that you can pop them in and out of the bike as you wish or at your own convenience. The bike comes with 29er wheels.  

The bike also features a Beamer Independent Suspension platform, which is Kona’s own technology, and also it comes with an adjustable reach and chainstay length.

The Operator is the most customizable bike I’ve ever ridden. The bike’s chainstays are aluminum, while the rest of the frame is carbon.

Kona Operator is the bike that will put you on top of the podium if you utilize its features well.

There are only two models of the Operator available, namely the Operator itself and Operator DL.

This is the appropriate bike for you if you love riding in bike parks and descents are your cup of tea.

It’s also the bike to own if you are a speed freak who loves jumping over rocky sections, loves technical steeps, and love being in the air from time to time.

Kona Operator is the best gift you can give to a DH racer, and it also needs a rider who can tune it while looking forward to an awaited race.

Kona Warranty

Kona offers a lifetime warranty for models bought from 2009.

The standard warranty is 3-year long, but you will automatically get a lifetime warranty as the original owner if you register your bike within three months after purchase.

For any complaints or problems with your bike, contact your Kona dealer first. They will service or handle claims if your bike has any defects.

A complete bicycle purchased in the US or Canada gets a one-year warranty, while those bought in Europe get two years warranty. Kona lifetime warranty applies to the frame.  

After-Sale Service

Kona world is dedicated to helping you solve any issues with your bike. If you need any general information about a bike that you purchased, kindly email joe@konaworld.com.

For any questions, you can ask through the website, social media pages, or email weborders@konaworld.com.

However, if you have any serious issues with your bike which prevent you from riding, contact your dealer for further assistance.

Kona Bikes History

Kona Bikes are a Canadian pride. The company was founded in 1988 by bike fanatics Dan Gerhard and Jacob Heilbron.

Kona’s shed was based in Vancouver, British Colombia, and it was where Dan and Jacob would collaborate with Joe Murray to create steel hardtails.  

The Pacific Northwest company contributed t the freeride movement of the late 1990s.

The company continues to manufacture great bikes, including all-mountain, downhill, cross-country, and trail bikes, some of them featuring in the World Cup races.

Kona’s headquarters are in Washington, where all the innovative minds meet to build great bikes for all.

Some of their flagships have received recent changes to improve performance.

Final Remarks

Kona bikes are superior, as you have read in the review. They are of excellent quality, and the chances are that the bike will serve for a lifetime unless you decide to upgrade.

If you have any questions you need us to answer, shoot us an email.1.