Since we produced our first mountain bikes 25 years ago, Kona has partnered with the finest frame-building and material manufacturers in the world. It's why our name is synonymous with longevity, durability, performance and value. For 2013, we feature some of the most technologically advanced bicycle frame materials in the world: the simple elegance of Kona Cromoly steel, the speed and agility of Kona Carbon Race, Kona Scandium 6069 Aluminum alloy and our everlasting 7005 Aluminum. At Kona, we pride ourselves on using the right materials for the right applications, going to great lengths to ensure your bike is built with The Long Sweet Ride in mind.
For 2013, you'll find the simplicity, strength, comfort, resilience and playfulness of Kona Cromoly interspersed throughout our road- and mountain-bike platforms. Very few materials offer as much shock absorption, durability and supple-ride characteristics as steel. We've never strayed from cycling's original material and have worked tirelessly to adapt, refine and innovate Cromoly framesets as rider demands continue to evolve.
KONA 7005/6061 ALUMINUM
Kona 7005 and 6061 Aluminum alloys are used extensively throughout our fleet of mountain and asphalt bicycles. A tough, durable, affordable, light alloy, both Kona 7005 and 6061 deliver fantastic, reliable performance that lasts for thousands of rides. It is, by far, the ultimate aluminum tubing on the market today. Much of our 7005/6061 tubing is butted and/or formed, meaning the tubing's wall thickness can be increased or decreased, as well as shaped, allowing us to fine-tune a particular frame's strength and ride characteristics depending on its intended application.
KONA RACE LIGHT 7005/6061 ALUMINUM
Kona Race Light 7005/6061 is a lighter, more performance-oriented fabrication of our 7005/6061 Aluminum tubing. Designed to meet Kona's discerning race specifications, Race Light 7005/6061 uses custom butting to create thicker tubes at weld areas and important parts of the frame, providing incredible strength and torsional integrity to the feel of the ride. We remove wall thickness in other parts of the frameset to lighten up the bike, providing the perfect balance between quickness and stiffness. The emphasis here is on performance, lightness and speed built the Kona way.
KONA RACE LIGHT 6069 ALUMINUM
At Kona, we are always refining materials to achieve the best mix of ride performance for certain applications. With Kona Race Light 6069 tubing, which mixes trace elements into the alloy, we are actually able to make framesets that are lighter and stiffer than Scandium 7005. Not quite as light and stiff as Scandium 6069, but significantly more affordable, Kona Race Light 6069 Aluminum allows our designers to make the tubing thinner while maintaining the preferred ride characteristics, stiffness and strength for a desired riding application—in this case, medium-travel all-mountain bikes, like our new Process.
KONA SCANDIUM 6069 BUTTED
Known to be one of the strongest alloys in the world, Kona Scandium 6069 is featured in many of our high-end bike models, from dual-suspension mountain bikes through to some of our top-ranking asphalt rides. Comparable to carbon when it comes to weight, but exponentially more durable, Kona has always been a fan of Scandium and is one of the few companies in the world to use it so extensively.
Scandium is a rare earth metal and potent grain refiner that, when added to aluminum alloy, elevates the strength and durability of the material by 50 per cent. Scandium aligns the grains of the alloy, making the metal less susceptible to failure. Scandium alloys are twice as strong as 6061 or 7005 Aluminum, which means our product team uses much less material. Because of a Scandium alloy's strength, it can be butted thinly enough so the aluminum gives a more compliant feel that's similar to steel but without weight. In more specific terms, we're shaving weight off our aluminum frames by 10 to 15 per cent, without sacrificing strength and durability.
Introduced to our line in 2012, new Kona Scandium 6069 comes with yield strengths that are about 40 per cent higher than previous scandium alloys. The result is the strongest-per-weight aluminum alloy ever made. Because of its fibrous or fine-grained structure, Scandium 6069 alloy reveals a unique combination of high strength and toughness, good corrosion resistance and excellent fatigue strength.
KONA CARBON RACE
To create our growing fleet of Kona Carbon Race bikes, Kona has partnered with some of the most reputable carbon manufacturers in the world. Our design team works intimately with our production facilities to ensure desired ride characteristics, durability demands and weight stipulations are met to the highest standards possible. Kona Carbon Race bikes are featherlight, super fast, and tough as all hell.
STEP 1: APPLICATION
At Kona we are very selective when choosing carbon fiber for specific bicycle frames. Each riding discipline requires a different balance of weight, strength, frame damping, stiffness, compliancy and durability. With over 25 years experience making bikes for every known cycling discipline, the first step in the design phase is ensuring how carbon fiber can be optimized for its intended use.
STEP 2: DESIGNING AND ENGINEERING THE KONA RIDE
For the good guys and girls in the Kona Product Development and Sales Teams, it's imperative that key elements of the Kona Ride manifest in our carbon bikes. Efficiency, agility, comfort, and overall strength are all key considerations when we begin to work on the design of a carbon frame. Of course, we aim to leverage all the inherent properties of the material, but it's crucial that it still feels, rides and lasts like a Kona.
STEP 3: MATERIALS & FABRICATION
THE WEAVE: Kona Carbon Race bikes use TORAY fibers, what we have determined to be the most technologically advanced in the industry—this is the same carbon weave used throughout most Formula 1 racing cars. Our carbon weave also features NANO TECH, a process that injects carbon nano cups into the weave matrix, bringing more strength, stiffness and impact resistance to the finished product. The results are frames with industry leading weight, stiffness and durability. Our entire structure is always built with unidirectional prepreg carbon fiber underneath a frame finish that is either UD or 3K.
Kona Carbon Race frames are always built with a MONOCOQUE main triangle. While a tube-to-tube process similar to welding is cheaper to build, we choose only to use the monocoque process as it alone allows for continuous fibers where the tubes join, creating a much stronger and lighter structure.
Our production process also eliminates as much bonded-in aluminum inserts as possible. While we bond in thread inserts for durability, you won't find us taking short cuts with aluminum inserts for bottom brackets, headtubes, front derailleur mounts, or seat tubes. When we do put alloy into the frame we take very specific steps on their surface treatment and have special jigs for each step to ensure proper alignment.
Another thing you won't find inside our frames is foam. Laying up the carbon around foam mandrels is another trick that makes bikes cheaper and easier to build, but leaves the rider dragging around a bunch of heavy foam. Kona Carbon Race frames are only molded with internal air bags, which are removed after the molding process. This means our carbon frames are made from only the best ingredients: carbon fiber and epoxy.
STEP 4: TESTING
During the prototyping process, our frames are tested for weeks at a time on veritable bike torture machines that push our designs through tens of thousands of cycles. What we learn from this directly translates into making strong frames, while eliminating unnecessary material. Kona Team athletes—experts when it comes to pushing the limits of our bicycles in real world scenarios—are the next in line when it comes to testing our prototype Kona Carbon Race bikes. Even after the tests rigs and pro rider testing, our product team continues to abuse the same prototypes day-in and day-out to make sure we are building the best Kona Carbon Race frames we possibly can.