I stopped over at Byron’s place Sunday and got a chance to ogle his stable of bikes. Of course the one I went to see was the Kona Ute. I’ve long been interested in the longtail concept – mostly for a short-haul option and trips to the store. I live on pretty serious hill, so for me the idea of a 50lb bike is p”robably a little foolish, but there is a local grocery that I’d love to have a quality longtail for (today I schlep messenger bags or tow the trailer).
Anyway it was raining so I didn’t get an extended test ride, but the Ute was awesome. It’s far more sturdy than the Bettie which has a decent amount of whip to it. The Ute just makes more gradual turns than a regular mountain bike, but it doesn’t have that unstable feel that you get on some xtracycles. The deck and the footpegs (standard? not sure) looked great and added a nice 2nd-passenger option. One of the nice points on the trim was the Hayes mechanical discs. I’m a big disc fan, but I’m easily disappointed by manufacturers cutting corners to save money. In a lot of lower-range bikes they use the Tektro disc setup. I love Tektro parts just not their disc brakes. The rotors warp too easily and adjustable they are not good choice by Kona for taking the high road there. The rest of the drivetrain was predictably predictable Shimano. The Cork grips were a nice touch too.
What would I change? I’d go with a Brooks saddle for that nice up-right position. I’d probably go with a slightly wider mustache bar and add some campus pedals – having that upstroke can be a good thing when hauling a load. Other than that it’s built pretty nicely. When I can convince the wife that I need one more bike…this one might be it.