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  1. #1
    Team Water Andy_K's Avatar
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    Kona Jake lovefest

    I just saw Super6 posted some beautiful pictures of a brand new Kona Jake on the sticky picture thread and kwrides asked for a review to pass the time while awaiting delivery. Having had a Jake since February, I had forgotten just how sharp it looked new.

    In any event, I love my Jake. I don't have the time for a full review just now (though I'll try to get to it later). In the mean time, I thought I'd open a thread and ask everyone who rides a Jake to post their thoughts.

    Last edited by Andy_K; 08-06-08 at 11:51 AM.

  2. #2
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    I ride an '07 every single day and I love it.

  3. #3
    not a role model JeffS's Avatar
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    I rode a Jake the Snake for a while.

    This was the bike where drop bars really clicked for me. The revelation was so drastic that I decided to sell the Cannondale Bad Boy I'd just purchased (mainly for the looks) after just one ride. I did give it a second ride just to be sure, but that was it.

    I actually commuted almost exclusively on the stock knobbies, switching them right at the end for some Marathon Supremes.

    I sold the bike because I found a smokin' deal on a lightly used Salsa Las Cruces. Even then, I still liked the JTS, I just hated the canti brakes. Bought the JTS barely used on ebay for about $550 shipped. Sold it for about $650 shipped.

    One of the main reasons I bought the JTS was the bright orange paint. Also liked the bright green model, but couldn't find one. I'm not feeling the more subdued colors now.

    The parting shot:



    - for the critcs out there... the brifters were turned up when I bought the bike. Didn't have enough cable length to move them. The bars are fairly high because I ride exclusively in the drops.

  4. #4
    Team Water Andy_K's Avatar
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    I've had my Jake since February. In that time I've put 1500 miles on it -- mostly commuting (22 miles round trip), but I've also taken it on a semi-offroad ride through Forest Park (the source of the muddy Kona logo above) and a couple of metric centuries. Here's a picture of my Jake basiking in the sun at the Pioneer Century in June:



    I swapped the knobby Locusts out for a pair of 700cx25 Conti Gatorskins at the time of purchase. I've had the Locusts on for a few rides, and I can tell you it's much faster with the Gatorskins on. I switched out the stock seat for an E3 form gel, which makes it quite comfortable for very long rides. I've got a Bontrager rack and PB Cascadia fenders, and a couple of bottle cages.

    Most recently, not wanting to repeat the beating my legs took climbing Sawtell Road on the Pioneer Century, I've bought an 11-32 cassette for long rides with climbing, and I'm putting a Deore derailleur on to handler the big cogs on the new cassette.

    In summary, I love my Jake. It has delivered on the promise of versatility in its press, and it's just a fun bike to ride.

  5. #5
    Senior Member kwrides's Avatar
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    Nice! Thanks and keep posting those Jake pics!

    I'll post some pics and a review when mine comes in and I've got the rack and fenders on it. It's been slow going because the 08's are almost gone. I'm having to wait for Kona to ship one to the shop and it's been over a month now, so it shouldn't be much longer. They had an 07 in stock here in Houston, but I wanted the 08 for the upgrade to Tiagra Brifters.

    I can't wait. I'm currently commuting on a Windsor the Hour single speed that I really like riding, but I'm sick of using for a commuter. My feet are too big to use a rack and panniers on the Windsor, even though it has rack mounts. The 100 degree heat and a sweaty 10pound backpack are killing me on the ride home.

    I almost bought an 07 Tricross triple even though I didn't like the camo paint job just so I wouldn't have to wait. In the end, I decided the wait was worth it for the Jake because I prefer the look and the price was much better.
    Last edited by kwrides; 08-06-08 at 08:59 AM. Reason: oops - I said the 08 had Sora brifters, it has Tiagra

  6. #6
    Senior Member kwrides's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JeffS View Post

    The parting shot:

    We need to pair this picture up with the other thread about a deer sneaking up on a commuter. The orange bike and woodsy background are a perfect match!

  7. #7
    Senior Member kidpurple's Avatar
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    '07 Kona Jake
    Upgrade --> Tiagra

    For commuting season:
    700x28 Panaracer Pasela TourGuard tires
    Blackburn rear rack + Deuter rack pack ii panniers
    SKS Commuter Trekking Bicycle Fenders - 45mm
    Planet Bike SuperFlash + DuraVision Pro X600 headlight



    I love every second of it!

  8. #8
    Team Water Andy_K's Avatar
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    Here's another pic of my Jake after a particularly dirty ride:



    Note that the Nashbar frame bag fits it perfectly.

  9. #9
    not a role model JeffS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andy_K View Post
    Is that the angle you normally have the superflash pointed?

  10. #10
    Team Water Andy_K's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JeffS View Post
    Is that the angle you normally have the superflash pointed?
    Not when I can avoid it. I had been hanging it on my rack trunk, but since I wasn't using the trunk that day, that left the seat bag, and it just won't hang right there. Since then I've gotten the PB rack mount and the superflash is much happier.

  11. #11
    Senior Member
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    I have a 2000 model, the black/white one. I have used it for 8 years of commuting, and it is still going strong.
    Fits me like a glove(55cm). I switched to bar end shifters when the STI's wore out, added fenders and 700x28C Panaracer Pasela TG. I have needed to replace the headset, bars, seat clamp. Other than that, it just keeps on going.

  12. #12
    All Bikes All The Time Sawtooth's Avatar
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    Dangitt!!!! My picture is too big to post. 2005 Major Jake size 54 here. Red and Black. Love her. She is my sexy and rugged ride. The kind that could really hurt you.......and you would like it.

    Parts:
    Ultegra Ders (front and back)
    Ultegra/Open Pro Wheels (Black)
    Ritchey WCS bars
    Thompson Seatpost
    ITM stem
    Selle Italia Gel Flite Seat
    32 Michelin Transworld Cities (Very capable off and on road)
    Tiagra Shifters/levers (Dura Ace wore out , still love these)
    Some Carbon fork that I forget the name of

    She climbs things that have my buddies falling off their mtbs behind me.....charges up hills like a goat.
    She sucks on technical descents (but we are at peace with that)
    She is nearly as fast on-road with 23s as my TCR0 (I have had her over 52 mph!!!)
    Last edited by Sawtooth; 08-06-08 at 04:07 PM.

  13. #13
    Team Water Andy_K's Avatar
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    OK, so here's something a little more closely resembling a review -- the good and the bad.
    I've got the 2008 Jake. I was looking for a good road bike for commuting and was prepared to spend
    around $1000. I was leaning toward a Jamis Aurora, but I wanted to shop around a bit to see what
    else was available. A guy at my LBS showed me the Jake ($850). I test rode it a week later and didn't even bother taking the Aurora for a ride. The Jake was what I was looking for.

    Accessory Mounting

    The first thing I was looking for in a commuter was the ability to mount racks and fenders (on the
    assumption that anything with a certain level of components will be decent, but I'm not willing to
    deal with clamp-on mountings). The Jake handily met this criteria. It's got braze ons for a rack on
    the seat stays, two threaded eyelets next to the rear dropuouts and threaded eyelets on the fork.
    I've got some sort of Bontrager rack and Planet Bike Cascadia road fenders. I've also got a pair of
    Cascadia hybrid fenders to go with the wider tires the bike came with, but I've never mounted them.
    Although there are two sets of eyelets in the rear, I've got the rack and fenders mounted to the same
    holes with no trouble. The LBS where I bought the bike mounted the rack very close to the fenders.
    I've raised it an inch or so to give me room to work with the velcro on my trunk rack, but there's
    still room for a trunk rack and seat bag to coexist. The Planet Bike fenders fit nicely and look
    really clean. The black fenders match the gloss black paint very well. The front fender tends to
    vibrate a bit, but not to the point of hitting the tire.

    The Jake's handlebars have an oversized center, which is a bit of a nuisance. I've got a computer
    and a light mounted right next to the stem and they tend to slide loose because the handlebars are
    sloped at this point. The mounting works, but it's annoying.

    Size/Fit

    I'm a bit comprehensionally challenged when it comes to bike geometry. I've read all about bike fit,
    but somehow it only sinks in by small increments. Consequently, I never have any idea what size I'll
    need when I go to look at a bike. The guy at the LBS guessed I'd need a 52- or 54-cm frame (I'm
    5'9") and had both sizes sent over from other locations. The 52-cm got there first and on test
    riding it seemed pretty good, so I never rode the 54. He said the Jakes tend to "run a little big"
    (that is, people often need a smaller size than they think). Make of that what you will.

    I've ridden the 52cm Jake for about 6 months now and 1500 miles, and I think the size is right. This
    is my first road bike since an old salvage job I had as a teenager, so I don't really have much to
    compare it to as far as reach, agility, etc. It's been comfortable to ride. A couple of months ago
    I raised the seat an inch or two from where I had it, which helped with pedalling, but now I get some
    numbness in my right hand after 8 miles or so, so I suppose I'll have to fiddle with the stem at some
    point.

    Saddle

    The saddle is probably my biggest complaint with the stock components of the Jake. It comes with a
    WTB Rocket V saddle. My impression is that this saddle is specifically designed to create pressure
    in the groin area. I replaced it with an E3 Form Gel and I'm much happier now. FWIW, I put the
    Rocket V on a MTB and I actually like it there. It just seems not to be well suited to a road riding
    position.

    Wheeels/Tires

    The Jake comes with a Deore hub-based front wheel and a Tiagra-hub based rear wheel. I don't know
    anything about the make of the rims. I don't know much about wheeels in general, so I can't comment
    much here. With the stock brake pads it seemed I was constantly having to clean brake grit off the
    rims. I don't know if that was a function of the rims or the brake pads.

    The wheels have kept their true pretty well. I ride mostly on pavement, but I don't baby my wheels.
    I weigh 195, and when I roll off a curb the bike feels it. The only time I've had to true a wheel
    was when I dodged a pothole and instead went into a sewer grate just wide enough for my tire.

    The Jake comes with 700x35c Maxxis Locust CX tires. I had these switched out at the time of purchase since I didn't expect them to be good commuting tires, but I took them home for occasional recreational use. I've taken it out with the Locusts a few times. They seem to have pretty good traction. They feel about the way you'd expect knobby tires to feel. They give a kind of soft ride on pavement, but the rolling resistence is noticeably worse than with high-psi slicks. The Locusts take about 75 psi if I remember correctly.

    Brakes

    I said the saddle is probably my biggest complaint with the stock components. The brakes keep it from being a runaway. On my first test ride, it seemed to me that the brakes were very weak. I was used to the V-brakes on my old GT Timberline, which can stop on a dime. The Avid Shorty 4's on the Kona Jake do not stop on a dime. I read one person describe them as being more like speed attenuaters than actual brakes. This is the only center-pull canti brakeset I've used, so I have nothing to directly compare it with, but I feel like it should work better. I can't rule out the possibility that the wheels play a part in this.

    I recently replaced the stock brake pads with a set of Kool Stop black MTB pads (the blackness of the Jake is too beautiful for me to change lightly to salmon pads). These were certainly better than the stock pads, but I'm still not thrilled with the braking.

    Drivetrain

    The Jake has Tiagra shifters and derailleurs. The crankset is FSA Gossamer MegaExo with 50-39-30 chainrings. The chain is KMC HG53.

    Again, I have to preface with a disclaimer that this is my first experience with brifters. The shifting of the front derailleur takes a little getting used to. The Tiagra shifter working with the triple crankset has these "half-shifts" which are really useful but unintuitive. On the test ride, when I tried to shift up from the middle ring to the big ring, I thought the derailleur was out of adjustment because my shift attempt didn't get the job done. It turns out you have to push the front shifter much further than the rear shifter to get it to move. What you get in return is the ability to move the derailleur by small increments to use the middle chainring with a wider range of gears without rubbing the derailleur.

    The rear derailleur and its shifter are a totally different story. The shifting is smooth, crisp and effortless. I just think about what gear I want and it changes. Well, maybe it takes a little more than that, but not much.

    The Jake comes with a 12-25 Deore 9-speed cassette, which I really like for my daily commute. It strikes a very good balance of tight spacing vs. range of gears. It's not so great for serious climbing. I've recently put an 11-32 cassette on to get me over some hills on an upcoming century ride, but for the daily commute, I like the 12-25 much better.

    Overall, I love my Jake. It's a great bike, and I think it compares very favorably to other bikes in the same price range.

    Now how about another picture? Here's my Jake at work:

    Last edited by Andy_K; 08-07-08 at 09:05 AM. Reason: crankset and chain detail

  14. #14
    Senior Member kwrides's Avatar
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    I'm new to using fenders, but want to put some on my new Jake.

    Can any of you recommend fenders and tell me why you picked one over the other?

    Also, I've read quite a bit about fenders making noise. Is this something I should buy from the LBS and let them get it right, or can I easily do it myself? I'll be using an OMM Red Rock Rack if that helps.

  15. #15
    Team Water Andy_K's Avatar
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    I went with the Planet Bike Cascadia because I had been happy with other PB fenders in the past. I've since bought a pair of SKS and I like them a lot too. The Cascadias don't feel as solid as the SKS, but they are significantly longer, particularly on the rear wheel. My SKS fenders don't shake as much as the Cascadias, but I think that's probably a function of the extra mounting hardware I rigged up to use with them.

    Installing the fenders is definitely something you can do yourself, but chances are if you buy them at the same time as the bike your LBS will do it for free. OTOH, you can get Cascadias (and probably SKS) cheaper online than at the LBS.

  16. #16
    Senior Member
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    Here's mine after about 7,000 miles.

    Changes from stock:
    - 700x32 slick tires
    - Bontrager satellite carbon fork (dropped about 13oz)
    - Tektro CR720 brakes (a major major upgrade from the Shortys)
    - Mavic Aksium wheels, which I got after I wore clean through the brake track on the original rims


  17. #17
    Senior Member
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    Here's mine after about 7,000 miles.

    Changes from stock:
    - 700x32 slick tires
    - Bontrager satellite carbon fork (dropped about 13oz)
    - Tektro CR720 brakes (a major major upgrade from the Shortys)
    - Mavic Aksium wheels, which I got after I wore clean through the brake track on the original rims


  18. #18
    Senior Member Tsuru's Avatar
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    I know this is a Jake thread, but he's got an ugly step brother, you know...... the Kapu:







  19. #19
    All Bikes All The Time Sawtooth's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andy_K View Post
    Size/Fit
    I'm a bit comprehensionally challenged when it comes to bike geometry. I've read all about bike fit,
    but somehow it only sinks in by small increments. Consequently, I never have any idea what size I'll
    need when I go to look at a bike. The guy at the LBS guessed I'd need a 52- or 54-cm frame (I'm
    5'9") and had both sizes sent over from other locations. The 52-cm got there first and on test
    riding it seemed pretty good, so I never rode the 54. He said the Jakes tend to "run a little big"
    (that is, people often need a smaller size than they think). Make of that what you will.
    Excellent Review. For What It's worth, I am also 5'9" and I ride the 54. It definitely rides big (feels like a 55 or a 56). I have grown to like the bigger size.

  20. #20
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    This is more of a fashion question, which may be an insult to a bike like Jake. But I've been wondering about tossing a brown saddle and perhaps bar tape on my 08. I think it could look pretty snappy with the black, with a somewhat old-school vibe. But it could still look tough enough to take your lunch money. Anyone have any pics of a brown seat on a Jake?

  21. #21
    Senior Member kwrides's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andy_K View Post
    OK, so here's something a little more closely resembling a review -- the good and the bad.
    Thanks Andy_K! It's good to see a real review on the site!

    I'm hoping to get mine tomorrow or Monday. I'll ride it for a while and compare notes.

    Thanks again!

  22. #22
    Senior Member kwrides's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BradBB View Post
    This is more of a fashion question, which may be an insult to a bike like Jake. But I've been wondering about tossing a brown saddle and perhaps bar tape on my 08. I think it could look pretty snappy with the black, with a somewhat old-school vibe. But it could still look tough enough to take your lunch money. Anyone have any pics of a brown seat on a Jake?
    I think white would look nice. I like the old school brown stuff, but I'm not sure how it would look on the 08 Jake with the big white label. Someone recently posted a really nice green commuter with brown leather saddle and tape and it looked fantastic.

    If you do it, post a pic!

  23. #23
    Share the road. bugly64's Avatar
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    I want one really bad. This Jake lusting is too much for me.
    My wife is the most wonderful person in the world.

  24. #24
    Seņor Miembro JustBrowsing's Avatar
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    I suppose I should probably dig out the camera and snap a shot of my Jake when I get home from work today....
    Hey! Get your mouse off my text!

  25. #25
    Team Water Andy_K's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JustBrowsing View Post
    I suppose I should probably dig out the camera and snap a shot of my Jake when I get home from work today....
    Please do.

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