First Bike: Kona or Bontrager?

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KevinH

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Feb 21, 1997, 3:00:00 AM2/21/97
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I've posted on this subject once before and gotten some great help.
Thanks. I'm going this weekend to look for some of the bikes that people
have suggested to me. But now I've got another option which I could use
some advice on.

I'm looking to buy my first bike. I plan on going 50/50 on and off road.
The two bikes that I've seen around here that I like are a Kona Cinder Cone
($750) and a Bontrager Privateer S - last years model (was $1050, now
$800). Any advice on either of these brands, or even these specific bikes
if possible, would be great.

The Bontrager has LX components with an XT rear derailleur, while the Kona
has STX components with an LX rear. How big a difference does this make?
Also the Kona has Avid V breaks and a Rock Shox Indy C fork, while the
Bontrager has a Quadra 21R fork and doesn't have V breaks. Does this make
one jump out.

What else should I look at when making this decision?
Thanks.

hi...@aerial1.com

Janet Anne Kinard

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Feb 21, 1997, 3:00:00 AM2/21/97
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In article <01bc1f9b$1bb57500$1864...@apt-hotx-pcmj1.aptpcs.com>,

KevinH <hi...@aptpcs.com> wrote:
>
>I'm looking to buy my first bike. I plan on going 50/50 on and off road.
>The two bikes that I've seen around here that I like are a Kona Cinder Cone
>($750) and a Bontrager Privateer S - last years model (was $1050, now
>$800). Any advice on either of these brands, or even these specific bikes
>if possible, would be great.

My husband had a Kona and absolutely LOVED it for riding around in city
but said he had some problems controlling the front end on uphills on the
trail. That could be his size (he's 6'5 and around 200lb)--I'm not sure.
Hope this helps you some.


Janet

--
Janet Anne Kinard
Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta Georgia, 30332
"really short married chic"
Internet: gtd...@prism.gatech.edu

Rick Brusuelas

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Feb 21, 1997, 3:00:00 AM2/21/97
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KevinH wrote:
> The Bontrager has LX components with an XT rear derailleur, while the Kona
> has STX components with an LX rear. How big a difference does this make?
> Also the Kona has Avid V breaks and a Rock Shox Indy C fork, while the
> Bontrager has a Quadra 21R fork and doesn't have V breaks. Does this make
> one jump out.

Get the bike that fits best. These two bikes have fairly dramatic differences
in frame design, so its very likely that one will "fit" much better than the other.
The important thing is to be properly "fitted" at the bike shop(s) you look
and these bikes. A good salesperson will explain how a bike should "fit" and
see whether the bike "looks" strange in relationship to how you sit on
it. There have been numerous magazine articles written on how a bike should
"fit", and I suppose there have been numerous posts here as well (check the
FAQ that Vince Cheng posts ocasionally as well). The key is that you should
feel comfortable on the bike, since, like ski boots, if its uncomfortable on
the store, it will be even more uncomfortable on the trail, especially after
hours of riding.

The two bikes' specs are close enough that they really shouldn't make
too much of a difference. And its easy enough to upgrade or change parts,
both at the time of the sale, and down the road. But getting a properly fitted
frame the first time should be the key.

Rick
--
.... Leave No Trace

Rick Brusuelas ric...@ix.netcom.com

Matt Nadler

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Feb 21, 1997, 3:00:00 AM2/21/97
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> In article <01bc1f9b$1bb57500$1864...@apt-hotx-pcmj1.aptpcs.com>,
> KevinH <hi...@aptpcs.com> wrote:
> >
> >I'm looking to buy my first bike. I plan on going 50/50 on and off road.
> >The two bikes that I've seen around here that I like are a Kona Cinder Cone
> >($750) and a Bontrager Privateer S - last years model (was $1050, now
> >$800). Any advice on either of these brands, or even these specific bikes
> >if possible, would be great.
>
At the price range, you may also take a look at the Klein Pulse Comp II
(1996 models). A very solid frame with STX/LX gruupo and a quadra 21
fork. $870 close out if you can find it (list $1200). Nice bike.

John Winchell

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Feb 21, 1997, 3:00:00 AM2/21/97
to hi...@aptpcs.com

I would go w/the Privateer. The thing about Konas is their aggressive
geometry. It's great for tight singletrack conditons, but bascally sucks
for most anything else. A radically sloping (3 inches off seat collar)
top tube & relatively steep seat & head angles make them very twitchy &
sketchy @ speed, especially on fire roads, doubletrack - any kind of
wide, rolling trails/terrain.

The Bontrager, on the other hand, has relatively neutral geometry which
translates into very predictable handling in most situations. On top of
that, they are also built to last a lifetime & provide the most bang for
the buck. A slightly sloping top tube (a inch, maybe 1 1/4 @ most) plus
a slack fork rake allows you to stretch out over the bike & effectively
center your balance to negotiate rough terrain much more easily than
w/the Kona.

Although the frames are produced @ the much-despised "T" company
facility in Waterloo, WI, they retain the same basic design principles &
reinforced gusseting @ key stress points as the original Race/RaceLite
KB designed so many years ago. Bulletproof framesets, if you ask me. I
have a Race (circa '93 - PRE-Trek & proud of it!) & it is an amazing
ride.

Definitely go w/the Privateer...

Good luck! :)
--
John
------------------------------------------------------------------------
John C. Winchell j...@petes-house.rochester.ny.us

"How can anybody be enlightened?
Truth is after all so poorly lit."

--Neil Peart

Dave Blake

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Feb 22, 1997, 3:00:00 AM2/22/97
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John Winchell <j...@petes-house.rochester.ny.us> says...

>
>I would go w/the Privateer. The thing about Konas is their aggressive
>geometry. It's great for tight singletrack conditons, but bascally sucks
>for most anything else. A radically sloping (3 inches off seat collar)
>top tube & relatively steep seat & head angles make them very twitchy &
>sketchy @ speed, especially on fire roads, doubletrack - any kind of
>wide, rolling trails/terrain.
>
> The Bontrager, on the other hand, has relatively neutral geometry which
>translates into very predictable handling in most situations. On top of
>that, they are also built to last a lifetime & provide the most bang for
>the buck. A slightly sloping top tube (a inch, maybe 1 1/4 @ most) plus
>a slack fork rake allows you to stretch out over the bike & effectively
>center your balance to negotiate rough terrain much more easily than
>w/the Kona.
>

Why is it that you cite a steep seat tube as a reason for 'twitchy'
handling of the Kona, while the Privateer has a 75 degree seat
tube and you claim it to have neutral geometry and predictable
handling ?

Most people seem not to realize that KB designed his bikes with
some funky geometry relative to other MTB makers. The
seat tube is as steep as a triathlon bike. He has a special
fork crown so that his bikes have MORE trail than
others. The result is that the front end is a little slower
than other MTBs (closer to a motocross bike) and the
weight distribution of the rider is a little further
forward. It is a great handling bike in most situations,
but it is a little more difficult than others in steep
downhills.

--
Dave Blake
dbl...@phy.ucsf.edu
http://www.keck.ucsf.edu/~dblake


John Winchell

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Feb 23, 1997, 3:00:00 AM2/23/97
to

Dave Blake wrote:
>
> Why is it that you cite a steep seat tube as a reason for 'twitchy'
> handling of the Kona, while the Privateer has a 75 degree seat
> tube and you claim it to have neutral geometry and predictable
> handling ?

Well, even though the Privateer has this steep a seat angle, it more
than makes up for it w/the slack fork rake. Thus, the term "neutral" is
to describe its overall balance between steep seat & slack head/fork
geometry to allow the rider more handling flexibility over a wider range
of terrain.

>
> Most people seem not to realize that KB designed his bikes with
> some funky geometry relative to other MTB makers.

True enough...his geometry does deviate f/the norm, but for good
reasons, I believe.

The
> seat tube is as steep as a triathlon bike. He has a special
> fork crown so that his bikes have MORE trail than
> others. The result is that the front end is a little slower
> than other MTBs (closer to a motocross bike) and the
> weight distribution of the rider is a little further
> forward.

Right! Thus placing the rider more balanced over the center of the bike
for greater stability all around.

It is a great handling bike in most situations,
> but it is a little more difficult than others in steep
> downhills.

Well you can't have everything, I guess... :)

Rassie van Aswegen

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Feb 24, 1997, 3:00:00 AM2/24/97
to KevinH

KevinH wrote:
>
> I've posted on this subject once before and gotten some great help.
> Thanks. I'm going this weekend to look for some of the bikes that people
> have suggested to me. But now I've got another option which I could use
> some advice on.
>
> I'm looking to buy my first bike. I plan on going 50/50 on and off road.
> The two bikes that I've seen around here that I like are a Kona Cinder Cone
> ($750) and a Bontrager Privateer S - last years model (was $1050, now
> $800). Any advice on either of these brands, or even these specific bikes
> if possible, would be great.
>
> The Bontrager has LX components with an XT rear derailleur, while the Kona
> has STX components with an LX rear. How big a difference does this make?
> Also the Kona has Avid V breaks and a Rock Shox Indy C fork, while the
> Bontrager has a Quadra 21R fork and doesn't have V breaks. Does this make
> one jump out.
>
> What else should I look at when making this decision?
> Thanks.
>
> hi...@aerial1.com

I would go with the opinion raised by Rick Brusuelas. Go with the best
and most comfortable fit. Both these bikes are kewl and good value.

Radical Rassie

Boywonder

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Feb 24, 1997, 3:00:00 AM2/24/97
to

John Winchell <j...@petes-house.rochester.ny.us> wrote:
>I would go w/the Privateer. The thing about Konas is their aggressive
>geometry. It's great for tight singletrack conditons, but bascally sucks
>for most anything else. A radically sloping (3 inches off seat collar)
>top tube & relatively steep seat & head angles make them very twitchy &
>sketchy @ speed, especially on fire roads, doubletrack - any kind of
>wide, rolling trails/terrain.

WHAT???
I will totally agree that Konas are setup for tight, technical singletrack,
they are _responsive_, that's a good thing...

But, the claim that they suck at anything else is way off base....
I can bomb down anything as fast as anyone I know on my Kona no matter
what kind of bike they have...

Charles Coker
Austin, TX

Andy Hong

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Feb 24, 1997, 3:00:00 AM2/24/97
to

John Winchell <j...@petes-house.rochester.ny.us> writes:

> Dave Blake wrote:
> > seat tube is as steep as a triathlon bike. He has a special
> > fork crown so that his bikes have MORE trail than
> > others. The result is that the front end is a little slower
> > than other MTBs (closer to a motocross bike) and the
> > weight distribution of the rider is a little further
> > forward.
>
> Right! Thus placing the rider more balanced over the center of the bike
> for greater stability all around.

Uh... you guys have it backwards. Have either of you ridden a Bontrager?

Bontragers have LESS fork rake, making the steering FASTER (and as some
people say, the bike less stable).

The steeper seat tube puts the rider weight more forward.

One of my bikes is a Bontrager. Two of my riding buddies have Konas.

--
andy <6...@centra.com>

rich...@cruzio.com

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Feb 24, 1997, 3:00:00 AM2/24/97
to

In article <5en9dr$19...@itssrv1.ucsf.edu>,
dbl...@phy.ucsf.eduDELETETHISPART (Dave Blake) wrote:
>
> John Winchell <j...@petes-house.rochester.ny.us> says...

> >
> >I would go w/the Privateer. The thing about Konas is their aggressive
> >geometry. It's great for tight singletrack conditons, but bascally sucks
> >for most anything else. A radically sloping (3 inches off seat collar)
> >top tube & relatively steep seat & head angles make them very twitchy &
> >sketchy @ speed, especially on fire roads, doubletrack - any kind of
> >wide, rolling trails/terrain.
> >
> >The Bontrager, on the other hand, has relatively neutral geometry
which
> >translates into very predictable handling in most situations. On top of
> >that, they are also built to last a lifetime & provide the most bang for
> >the buck. A slightly sloping top tube (a inch, maybe 1 1/4 @ most) plus
> >a slack fork rake allows you to stretch out over the bike & effectively
> >center your balance to negotiate rough terrain much more easily than
> >w/the Kona.
> >
>
> Why is it that you cite a steep seat tube as a reason for 'twitchy'
> handling of the Kona, while the Privateer has a 75 degree seat
> tube and you claim it to have neutral geometry and predictable
> handling ?

I think it's supposed to be 74 degrees. This can be adjusted
with saddle fore/aft settings and stem length, but we are trying
to get some of the rider's weight forward.

> Most people seem not to realize that KB designed his bikes with
> some funky geometry relative to other MTB makers.

Yeah, we set it the way we developed it instead of the way
the folks at the mags down in LA thought it should be. No
big deal, but the bikes are different than the standard hardtail
for this reason. We live in singletrack nirvana, so it's not
a big stretch to think that we would dial the bike in for
this. My guess is that the folks at Kona did about the
same. They ride too, and aren't just trying to please
the mags.

> The


> seat tube is as steep as a triathlon bike.

Nope. 74 degrees is not out of line with road racing
and other off road bikes these days. It is very different
from what the Marin guys started with (69), and that was
novel a while back. It's not new and revolutionary anymore,
but it's very sorted out and well proven at all levels
of recreational riding and competition, including world cups.

> He has a special
> fork crown so that his bikes have MORE trail than
> others. The result is that the front end is a little slower
> than other MTBs

Depends on what you mean. I don't have time to take
it up in detail, but the extra trail does speed things up
in some situations too. The biggest advantage is in maximum
cornering speed in typical singletrack situations. The crown makes
the front end stick better, and the front end traction is generally
the limitation on cornering speed on an MTB. You can get through
corners faster with the crown. The difference is small but
noticeable.

> (closer to a motocross bike)

I don't understand this

> and the
> weight distribution of the rider is a little further

> forward. It is a great handling bike in most situations,


> but it is a little more difficult than others in steep
> downhills.

Yeah, it's tougher to ride on very fast downhills. But,
this turns out to be simple to work around with a little
time on the bike. You get used to the handling and I don't
think it slows you down. It might when you first hop on the
bike if you are used to a longer, lazier bike. No big deal.

In technical stuff, dropping off ledges and the like, I think
it's a simple bike to ride. This is not simple riding in
general, so you have to know what you are doing, but a
shorter bike makes weight transfers a little easier.

Later,

KB

-------------------==== Posted via Deja News ====-----------------------
http://www.dejanews.com/ Search, Read, Post to Usenet

bul...@earthlink.net

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Feb 24, 1997, 3:00:00 AM2/24/97
to

A friend and me build frames and we are going to build a few mountain
bikes (before we built road bikes) and we believe that the best set up
is a little steep head tube (tighter steering) because I at least seem
to like the quickness and a shallower seat angle such as a 73 degree to
put your butt farther back over the BB for climbing stability, we
believe on shallower seattubes like most of the road pros. There are a
few makers with this theory out there. As far as top tubes, we believe
on the shorter end since most makers make too long of top tubes,
especially for short people.

This has been my opinion and mine only. Hope I can help anyone with our
opinion.

Xavier

John Winchell

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Feb 24, 1997, 3:00:00 AM2/24/97
to

Perhaps I should rephrase this. What I meant to say was that Konas are
excellent for tight singletrack, perform almost as well on doubletrack,
but not too well on fast fire roads $ the like. The intent was to tip a
hat to their handling in the technical terrain, but also recognize a
less-than-perfect behavior w/almost too quick steering on fire/jeep
roads. This has been my experience w/the three Konas I owned.

Sorry if I offended anybody else...just offering my two cents on their
handling characteristics.

Dave Blake

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Feb 25, 1997, 3:00:00 AM2/25/97
to

Andy Hong <no-jun...@real.addr.in.sig> says...

>Uh... you guys have it backwards. Have either of you ridden a Bontrager?
>
>Bontragers have LESS fork rake, making the steering FASTER (and as some
>people say, the bike less stable).
>
>The steeper seat tube puts the rider weight more forward.
>
>One of my bikes is a Bontrager. Two of my riding buddies have Konas.

Well, you are right about one thing. Bontragers do have less
fork rake than other bikes (assuming that you use the KB
designed fork or KB designed Rock Shox fork crown).

But less fork rake equals more trail. More trail equals
slower steering and more stability, especially at speed.

If you have ever ridden a bike with negative fork rake
you can see the extreme. If you merely push the
bike forward it will roll upright without falling until
it has no more speed left. More rake equals less trail
equals less stability.

Dave Blake

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Feb 25, 1997, 3:00:00 AM2/25/97
to

bul...@earthlink.net <bul...@earthlink.net> says...

>
>A friend and me build frames and we are going to build a few mountain
>bikes (before we built road bikes) and we believe that the best set up
>is a little steep head tube (tighter steering) because I at least seem
>to like the quickness and a shallower seat angle such as a 73 degree to
>put your butt farther back over the BB for climbing stability, we
>believe on shallower seattubes like most of the road pros.

Hey,
you are not a roadie, are you ? Because you spec frame dimensions
that would give you a kick butt crit bike. Steering needs to be slower
on an MTB than on ANY road racing bike, because of the increased
accent on bike handling in technical terrain. Ever tried to jump on
a bike with a 73 degree head and seat tube angle, and a short top
tube ? It is pretty dern difficult to keep that front wheel stable
upon landing. I had a rigid Bridgestone that suffered from this, and
I have the leg scars to prove it. The more technical you get, the
shallower the head tubes become. Motocross bikes have a really
shallow head tube and a lot of trail for this reason.

I've ridden a lot of different MTBs, and I find that crit bike
geometry is not so hot when the trails become tighter
than fireroads (or even on high speed bumpy fireroads
they suffer). Of course, if you are a serious roadie you
may be better on a bike that gives you geometry that is
more comfortable for you.

Andy Hong

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Feb 26, 1997, 3:00:00 AM2/26/97
to

dbl...@phy.ucsf.eduDELETETHISPART (Dave Blake) writes:

> But less fork rake equals more trail. More trail equals
> slower steering and more stability, especially at speed.
>
> If you have ever ridden a bike with negative fork rake
> you can see the extreme. If you merely push the
> bike forward it will roll upright without falling until
> it has no more speed left. More rake equals less trail
> equals less stability.

Got it. Part of my problem was due to my misunderstanding of "trail". The
other part is due to me skipping over the condition of speed.

Less rake, more trail, more stability... AT SPEED.

But at slower speeds (approaching zero), less rake translates into a
reduction in stability. This is due to the *change* in height of the
headset decreasing as the rake decreases. Therefore, the change in
potential energy from a centered front end to a turned front end is reduced
with a smaller rake. At these slower speeds, the effect of bike lean
causing negative feedback to the steering system (so that any lean causes
the front end to turn *into* the turn, reducing the lean and straightening
out the bike) is reduced.

Showing the geometry issues in ascii would be too hard here, so I'll skip
the drawings.

So what I should have said is this: AS SPEED DROPS, the handling of a
Bontrager, with its reduced fork rake, becomes QUICKER.

(But at higher speeds, less rake equals more trail results in more
stability.)

Which is the reason why my Bontrager is great for tight singletrack.

Anyway, thanks for the correction!


--
andy <6...@centra.com>

Kimberly A. Heath

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Mar 4, 1997, 3:00:00 AM3/4/97
to

Rake schmake. I have a Kona Explosif and I LOVE it. Enough said.


Ride on.
Kim

Andy Hong <no-jun...@real.addr.in.sig> wrote in article
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