Yep. Got a REAL Hybrid.
I can't believe how impressed I am with this bike. I currently have a Marin hybrid and the Kona puts it to shame.
This bike is really quick. So quick that I heard the wind whistling through my helmet on the test ride. I took it fast around corners and it responds immediately without me feeling like I was going to lose it. It wasn't twitchy at all but I felt rather controlled.
The shifting is smooth and precise, and with the geometry I found that it really can climb better than I had anticipated. Granted, at this time I am getting over bronchitis, I have allergies AND asthma. Upon attempting that hill I found it surprisingly easy to overcome and without a hint of trouble. If I had the Marin I would be concerned and it would be a guarantee that I would have an issue with breathing at the top.
The brakes on this bike are mechanical, versus the hydraulics that I'm used to on the mountain bikes. It does it's job way better than rim brakes but not quite as touchy as the hydraulics. Something that won't affect anything because the riding is different. It serves its purpose and I am very happy with them.
The fork on this bike is a Kona Project two, a straight rounded fork, chromoly. Not as teeth jarring as alu but nice and stiff enough to where you feel like it's more part of the frame. Nice and stiff and not too compliant.
The frame is 7005 aluminum versus the 6061 on the Marin. Kona is known to overbuild their frames due to their mountain biking background, so this gives me a sense of security when it comes to the integrity of the frame. Granted this is not a dirt jump bike but still, I can see that the attention paid to this kind of frame is the same they do for their other bikes. I didn't feel any torquing or flexing but then again I just got the bike and didn't try to push it quite yet due to my bronchitis. The warranty on the frame is lifetime. One year for manufacture defect on parts from Kona and lifetime tune ups from the LBS.
The best part is the cute little bell it came with!
For $470, I think I've been blessed.