MBA Bike Test: Kona Process 134 CR/DL Trail Bike
The Process 134 appeals to a wide range of riders, offering either 29- or 27.5-inch wheels, as well as the option of a carbon or alloy frame. Prices range from $2399 to $5999, which is right in the sweet spot for most diehard riders. Kona updated the 134 with an all-new Rocker Link and a full-carbon rear triangle to reduce weight. The insertion depth was increased for long-travel dropper posts.
Water-bottle clearance was checked across all frame sizes, and internal tube-in-tube cable routing with the option of running the brakes on either side of the handlebars was engineered into these frames. Last but not least, Kona gave riders additional heel clearance and designed a chainstay guard to minimize chain noise.
The CR/DL model is Kona’s top-of-the-line Process 134 and comes equipped with all the bells and whistles. The list includes a SRAM X01 Eagle 12-speed drivetrain, a RockShox Pike Ultimate RC2 Charger 2 DebonAir fork, a pair of SRAM G2 RSC brakes and a RockShox Reverb dropper post. Kona gave the Process a pair of burly Maxxis Minion DHF tires to ensure no one would mistake the bike for a cross-country machine and gave this ride a Kona-branded 35mm cockpit. To support those aggressive tires, Kona spec’d a pair of WTB KOM Light i30 wheels with DT Swiss 370 hubs.
Kona’s Process 134 combines the technology and knowhow discovered while developing the Process 153 and mixes it with the playfulness of the old Process 111. The goal for the Process 134 was to build bike equally capable of powering up climbs or shredding descents. This was accomplished by giving the new bike a long, slack and low geometry in par with modern trail bikes while also increasing its suspension progression to keep the bike riding higher in its travel.
Kona claims the Process 134 is more progressive than its big brother the 153, offering its rider the option of running a coil shock. Should you go that route, sag should be set around 18 percent, while sag with air shocks can be set just shy of 30 percent.
DOWN AND DIRTY
The 134 is Kona’s bike of choice for long days in the saddle when the ride plan includes equal amounts of climbing and descending. This bike is simply happy to be out on the trails—no matter what type of rider is pedaling it.
During climbs, the single-pivot suspension platform offered a supportive feel, even with the shock set in its open position. With the steep seat tube angle and long reach, we felt centered on the Kona, which allowed us to put power to the ground without lifting the front wheel or spinning out the rear. Technical sections were met with ease, while long and boring fire roads were met with a smooth and consistent pace.
While some get their thrills conquering climbs, our test riders live for rowdy descents. When the trails pointed downhill, our Kona lit up and made us cheer all the way. The combination of its long, slack and low geometry provided a stable ride at speed, while its short rear end and progressive suspension curve allowed us to slash around the trails with ease. While we favored the descents, the Process 134 is no slouch when it’s time to head back up for another lap around.
The Process we tested was the cream-of-the-crop model, offering a build package that would please most riders for many years to come. If this high-end model fits into your budget, we’re sure you will be pleased. Meanwhile, if you’re looking to purchase a midrange model, we’d suggest buying the aluminum DL version, which seems to offer the best bang-for-your-buck should you plan to ride the bike just the way it came in the box.
The 134 is designed to satisfy a broad range of riders. It can be tailored to please a cross-country-style rider looking for a little extra squish, or it can be beefed up with a coil shock and downhill-casing tires to become a mid-travel shredder. In stock trim, the Process 134 is the type of bike that allows you to either sit back and let it do the work for you or push it to its limits and continue to feel confident in its abilities.
Check Out MBA’s: First Ride Of The
Kona Process 134 Here
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