2000 Kona NUNU
Mountain Bikes (lots of broken links)
To start with the bottom line, if you’re looking
for a decent entry-level mountain bike, consider a Kona. In fact if you're
looking for any type of mountain bike at all, consider a Kona. Being somewhat
new to the mountain bike scene, I went into this thing with my usual spode-like
enthusiasm. Having toyed with the idea of giving pedal-power a go for a
couple months, I thought I’d look around to see what’s available.
After looking around, it appeared that everyone and their mother had
either a Specialized or a Trek. These both seem to be good brands, but I
wanted something different. While on vacation in Southern Cal, Mission
Viejo to be exact, I stumbled into Felcyn Cyclery. A curious young man,
who asked if he could help me in anyway, approached me. I responded with
“yup, I want a mountain bike.” His response? “Are you looking for a
Downhill, Slalom, Freestyle, Cross-Country, or what?” I pondered that
for a second and came back with “uh, I want a mountain bike?” He then
asked if I wanted a rigid, hardtail, softtail or a full suspension. Once
again, staring blankly, I responded with “uh, I want a mountain bike?”
“Oh, you want a good entry-level cross-country bike” was his next
At that point, he started to
introduce me into a variety of different brands. I quickly zeroed in on
both the Voodoo and the Kona. The Voodoo was nice looking, but more than I
wanted to spend. The Kona NUNU had a very cool color scheme and decent
“entry-level” components for a reasonable price (MSRP $629, but can be
had for much cheaper). What I was looking for was a competent bike that
was that would be good enough that a few upgrades wouldn't be wasted on
it. The NUNU was exactly that, a good base platform with opportunity for
upgrades down the road. The clincher, however, was the cool
glow-in-the-dark stickers on the frame. The NUNU comes equipped with
butted 7005, 3.9lb. aluminum frame, Rock Shox Jett forks, Shimano Alivio
front derailleur, Shimano Deore rear derailleur, TruVativ crankset,
Shimano Alivio Rapid-Fire indexed shifters, and a Sun Race 11-30 8-speed
freewheel/cassette. These are all decent quality, low cost components.
Overall, the bike is reasonably
lightweight and has a smooth shifting, precise drive train. While I’ve
read some pretty bad reviews of the Alivio front derailleur, claiming that
it’s sloppy and fails to shift, I haven’t had any problems with mine.
I chose to go with the 19” frame, which fits quite comfortably. This
seating position for “proper” riding took a little getting used to but
now it’s like second nature.
This bike can really take a pounding also. So far, I've gone over the bars on a steep downhill (the bike flipped a half dozen times before landing on me) and I high-sided dragging it 40 feet down a hillside (landing at the bottom of an 8-foot deep concrete irrigation canal). So far, no damage has been done to the bike. Too bad I can't say the same for myself!
The only complaint I have about
this bike is the SDG Comp saddle. It’s more uncomfortable than an old
KTM. It is really hard and painful. There are a variety of saddles
available and, from what I can tell, selection for comfort is about as
personal as which chain lube you choose. There is no single saddle that
everyone likes. Every saddle that I looked at had an equal number of
proponents as detractors.
Kona offers a full line of bikes, covering the
Hybrids, XC (Cross country), Downhill, Slalom, etc. In both hardtail
(rigid rear-end with front forks) and dual suspension (no explanation
needed, I assume). MSRP on their most basic hardtail, the Hahanna, is
$325. MSRP on their top-of-the-line Titanium King Kahuna is $3999.
Personally, I’m shooting for the Scandium version, the Explosif that
retails for $2299.
If you live in So. Cal., visit Felcyn Cyclery in Mission Viejo (949/768-1201). If you’re in the Bay Area, visit Menlo Velo in Menlo Park (650/327-5137).
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