The versatile enduro and park mountain bike that packs a punch


Kona’s Process X platform gained a wide following as a hard-hitting and durable long-travel platform, but there was still a die-hard group who wanted an alloy version with the same capabilities. So, Kona delivered, introducing an enduro-focused version of the Process X with a burly 6061 aluminum frame that is designed to withstand abuse. Kona also introduced a dual-crown version for the true park rat. It’s built around 162mm of coil-driven rear travel and can run either dual 29-inch or mixed wheels, depending on the intentions and riding style of the rider.



Designed around the same geometry numbers as the carbon Process X, the frame is built from 6061 aluminum to take advantage of the distinct ride characteristics that alloy offers while also being tough enough to take abuse. It features external cable routing, something that isn’t too common these days, with the cable for the dropper post entering the seat tube on the non-drive side near the lower shock mount. There is a Universal Derailleur Hanger (UDH) to make sourcing replacements simple and a flip chip between the seat stay and rocker link that lets the frame run a 29-inch or 27.5-inch rear wheel while maintaining the stock bottom-bracket height and geometry.

Reach numbers range from 440mm to 525mm, while the chainstays remain a constant 440mm across the four frame sizes. Our size-medium test bike had a reach of 465mm paired with a 345mm bottom bracket height and a 1246mm wheelbase. The head tube angle sits at a fairly slack 63.5 degrees with a 77.9-degree seat tube angle, and Kona uses standard Boost spacing (12x148mm) for the rear wheel.


The Process X uses Kona’s four bar single-pivot Beamer suspension design to achieve 162mm of rear wheel travel.

Like its carbon-framed sibling, the aluminum Process X uses Kona’s link-driven, single-pivot Beamer suspension design to drive the 162mm of rear-wheel travel. The enduro build is spec’d with a trunnion-mounted Fox DHX Performance shock with a 400-pound spring for a size medium. It features low-speed rebound adjustment and a climb switch.

Up front, there is a Marzocchi Bomber Z1 fork with their Grip damper and 170mm of travel, keeping it simple yet effective when it comes to damping the front wheel. Each frame size sees a 50-pound jump in spring rate, from 350 pounds on the size small to 500 pounds on the XL.


As far as enduro-focused builds of the alloy Process X go, Kona only offers this one spec level at $4,500. Driving this bike is a mix of Shimano Deore, SLX, and XT drivetrain components, which all worked well with no issues during our testing period. The Deore cassette and SLX derailleur shifted quickly and consistently, even under power, and pairing it with a 30t Race Face chainring and Aeffect R cranks helped with climbing.

The brakes also come from Shimano, with a set of Deore levers and calipers paired with 203mm RT64 centerlock rotors. The aluminum Process X rolls on a set of WTB KOM Trail i30 rims laced to Shimano hubs wrapped in a Maxxis Assegai/DHR II tire combo. There is a TranzX dropper post with +RAD internal height adjustment, allowing you to adjust the amount of drop in 5mm increments. Our size-medium frame came with a 170mm dropper post, which can be dropped down to 140mm. The cockpit is spec’d with Kona’s in-house stem, handlebars and grips, and uses a ZS FSA Orbit headset to keep things smooth.


It’s hard to ignore the weight of the aluminum-framed Process X when the trail points uphill. The burly frame and choice of components make climbing a laborious affair, but it isn’t impossible. On steeper fire roads and smoother singletrack climbs, the climb switch on the DHX Performance shock works well to stiffen up the rear end and increase the efficiency of the bike to offset some of the weight. The Marzocchi Bomber Z1 fork felt stable and supportive most of the time we were on the pedals, and we never felt like it was wallowing or diving too far into its travel.

On more technical climbs that required better line choice and tight clearances, however, the Process X wasn’t the nimblest of the bunch. The heavier weight of the frame made the bike feel a bit cumbersome, and it required some extra encouragement to get it up and over rocks or other obstacles on the trail. It wasn’t a dealbreaker, but it did take noticeably more effort than some other enduro bikes with similar amounts of suspension travel.

ON THE RIDER Fly Racing Ripa 3/4 Jersey ($55) Radium BOA Shorts ($125) Crew Socks ($9); Lazer Cage Kineticore Helmet ($300); Vonzipper Porkchop Blanco Goggles ($85); Shimano GF600 Shoes ($160)


The Process X is a platform that is built to go downhill, and the aluminum version of the bike does this quite well. The weight of the frame and coil shock make it quite stable through high-speed chunk and when leaning into corners, yet it doesn’t feel super muted or glued to the trail. It can pop off of rollers and side hits easily without it feeling like you’re throwing around a lead weight, and it is keen to whip or scrub off any lip it can find.

With a smaller rear wheel, the playfulness of the frame would only be magnified. Through technical sections and rock gardens, the weight of the bike causes the wheels stick to the ground, so you can charge through your line rather than having to pick your way around it.

As soon as it was pointed downhill, the alloy frame of the Process X wanted to smash and charge.

The Bomber Z1 fork was compliant through the beginning of the travel and muted small bumps effectively while ramping up smoothly into a stable and progressive platform that resisted bottoming out. The DHX Performance shock worked just as well.

When things got steep, the aluminum Process X held its own and let us swing off the back with confidence, though the brakes did hold us back at times (more on that below). There was some noise from the frame and cables at high speeds through rough sections of trail, but it was nothing unexpected or overly concerning.


External cable routing is becoming less and less common with each new bike release and update, so it’s refreshing to see Kona keep this alive with the aluminum Process X. It makes a difference when you decide to upgrade the brakes and drivetrain or need to perform maintenance and adds to the simplicity of the platform.

We are also fans of the DHX Performance coil shock from Fox. It is simple and straightforward to set up and adjust, yet the performance is on par with that of other higher-end coil shocks and works well as an aggressive enduro or freeride option. The ability to run either a 27.5-inch or 29-inch rear wheel with the frame was also well-received by those on the wrecking crew, as some of us are big fans of a mixed-wheel setup.


There are a few things we would change component-wise when it comes to the aluminum Process X. The first thing would be the wheels; the WTB KOM Trail i30 rims felt too flexible and compliant for a bike that is designed to charge this hard. They lost tension after almost every ride. If we were to take these wheels to the bike park, we would be surprised if both survived a full day of riding.

Another thing that held the Process X back was the brake setup. We have had great success with XT and XTR-level brakes from Shimano in the past, but the lower-level Deore brakes felt underpowered and not as consistent for an enduro and freeride-focused bike. The bite point had a noticeable amount of fade on descents longer than a few minutes, and we could feel the difference in power compared to higher-level offerings, which forced us to hold back through some sections of trail.

Our final issue, and something that is make or break for some people, is that there is no room for a water-bottle mount on the frame.


The aluminum version of the Process X from Kona is an interesting take on a bike designed to be a versatile and durable enduro/freeride platform. Practical touches like external cable routing, a flip chip for the rear wheel, and a SRAM UDH (Universal Derailleur Hanger) make repairs and swapping out parts a simple task; however, there are some drawbacks.

The choice of components doesn’t exactly align with the price of the bike, and there would have to be some replacements made early on if the bike were ridden the way it was intended. It’s built for the rider who wants to progress to the next level and begin to explore the bike park on a platform that can adapt and grow with their skill set. Experienced and advanced riders may quickly find the limits of the aluminum Process X in its stock configuration, especially with the wheels and brakes, but the alloy frame and suspension are still a viable platform for building a capable and durable enduro machine to take to the bike park.



CATEGORY: Enduro/Park


SUSPENSION: 170mm (front), 162mm (rear)

Price: $4,499
Weight: 38 pounds (without pedals)
Sizes: SM, MD (tested), LG, XL
Frame tested: 6061 aluminum, 162mm travel
Shock: Fox DHX Performance, 400lb Spring
Fork: Marzocchi Bomber Z1, 170mm
Wheelset: WTB KOM Trail i30
Tires: Maxxis Assegai Exo+ (29”x2.5”) front, Maxxis DHR II Exo+ (29″x2.4″) rear

Seatpost: TranzX Dropper +RAD internal (170mm travel), Shimano lever

Saddle: WTB Volt
Handlebar: Kona XC/BC 35
Stem: Kona XC/BC 35
Grips: Kona Key Grips
Headset: FSA Orbit 1.5 EP, ZS
Brakes: Shimano Deore
Rotors: Shimano RT64, 203mm (f)/203mm (r)
Rear derailleur: Shimano SLX
Shifters: Shimano XT
Crankset: Race Face Aeffect R
Bottom bracket: Race Face PF92
Cassette: Shimano Deore 12-speed, 10-51T
Chain: Shimano Deore 12s
Chainrings: Race Face 30-tooth


Head tube angle: 63.5°
Effective seat tube angle: 77.9°
Reach: 465mm (18.31″)
Stack: 632mm (24.88″)
Bottom bracket height: 345mm (13.58″)
Chainstay length: 440mm (17.32″)
Wheelbase: 1246mm (49.05″)


You might also like