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2000 Kona NUNU

Manufacturer: Kona Mountain Bikes (lots of broken links)
Functionality: ****
Styling: *****
Durability: *****
Pricing: MSRP $629

2000 Kona NUNU

2000 Kona NUNU

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 response.

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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. 

Yes, I need more practice!

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.

2000 Kona Explosiv

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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