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  1. #1
    Fourth Degree Legend junkyard's Avatar
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    Cinder Cone vs. Caldera

    You all were helpful in a previous post of mine, so I thought I'd look to the pros for some more advice. Still new to mountain biking (specifically XC) and still looking for a bike. After borrowing some bikes from friends and test riding at a few LBS, I like the feel of Kona. I was looking for a Caldera based on some feedback in these forums and other reviews I've read. So far, no dealers have had a 2005 for me to see. One had a Cinder Cone, which is about $150 cheaper but does not come in a 17". Most shops have put me on a 17" or 18". Here are my questions:

    1) Is the extra $150 for the Caldera worth it in components?
    2) Would there be a big difference in feel from 17" to 18" (assuming I go with the Cinder Cone and the 17" is not a choice).

    I've attached links to both the Caldera and Cinder Cone...
    http://www.konaworld.com/shopping_ca...1&parentid=182
    http://www.konaworld.com/shopping_ca...0&parentid=182

    Thanks for your help.

  2. #2
    Gravity Is Yer Friend dirtbikedude's Avatar
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    The Caldera has a couple upgrades over the CinderCone but they both have decent components that will work well. I am not sure if there is a difference in the geometry though both frames are also equal in quality. If there is not much of a difference in geometry between the two I would say go with the CinderCone and use the extra money for some new accessories.


  3. #3
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    I had a choice whether to buy a 17" Brodie Bandit or shop around for a bike a hair smaller. I liked the feel of the bike in the store so I bought it.
    I allways regreted it after.
    I think a bike you can get used to it. BUT. If it dont fit like a glove then it never will fit like a glove. There will always be something sloppy about it.
    I am sized for a 16" Kona or Brodie for the technical stuff I 'try' to do.
    I was quite happy on my 17" bike untill I got into the rocks (which is where I like to ride).
    I would borrow as many types and sizes as possible and ride them where you do your majority of bikeing and find one that fits perfect. It might take some moving around of suspension adjustments and seat post adjustments(ask for the owners OK first)
    I have an old 18" Fuego that I rode for years. The size was small but still it was called a 18" because of the design. I rode nite and day summer and all winter for 3 years till the bike was beat. That bike fit like a glove and I could make that thing handle a lot better then my brodie just because it fit me and I became part of it.
    I will be looking to get another high end bike next year and I will take my time and find a perfect one.
    Up here in Canada, KONA has a demo at various parts of the province at different times so you can try different bikes out for free. All you need is acredit card and away you go
    Choose wisely junkyard

  4. #4
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    <i> If it dont fit like a glove then it never will fit like a glove. There will always be something sloppy about it.</i>

    I would say its far more important to get a bike that fits better you can more easily upgrade components in the future if need be
    I had a similiar experience with an 18" instead of a 17" I grew to hate that bike over the years I rode it.
    I would also suggest you round down instead of up.

  5. #5
    Fourth Degree Legend junkyard's Avatar
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    Based on the responses, it sounds like this... if the 18" fits me, save the $150, go with the Cinder Cone. If the 18" is a little too big, don't chance it, suck it up and spend the additional $150 so the bike fits properly, because in the end, the components the bikes come with are comparable and can always be switched out in the future.

  6. #6
    7 inch Weagle skdsl's Avatar
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    IMHO the fork alone is reason enough to get the caldera. But the bike must fit you first.
    05 Rocky Mountain ETS-X50 05 Ironhorse 7Point5 04 Ironhorse Glory Townsville Rockwheelers

  7. #7
    Fourth Degree Legend junkyard's Avatar
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    Hello all - just wanted to give you an update. A friend of mine found a Kona Explosif (full bike, not just the frame) on Ebay. After losing the bidding on that, I went down to my LBS and put a deposit down on a new Caldera. With any luck, I'll have it by the end of the week. I appreciate everyone's help and suggestions.

  8. #8
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    Congrads on your choice of a new bike.
    I am sure you will enjoy it
    My wife got a Haro v-1 on Sat. and she already loves and trusts it
    A big difference from the Huffys she was use to
    Good luck

  9. #9
    Fourth Degree Legend junkyard's Avatar
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    So, the latest development is this... the LBS tried to order a 2005 Caldera, but Kona doesn't have any more. None of the other shops in the area have one on the floor (I guess they tried to trade). They are willing to sell me the Cinder Cone that is on the floor plus some upgrades on parts. This is getting more complicated than I hoped (as I am new to this)... any suggestions on what I should push for? They'd mentioned new crank arms, stem, bars in an effort to go a little lighter.

  10. #10
    KONAmdx
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    Junkyard,

    How much are we talking about here? I got my Cinder Cone last April for $730.00
    and I think that was a good deal. Good luck.

  11. #11
    is slower than you Peek the Geek's Avatar
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    Junkyard,

    Both bikes are using the same frame, I believe. Geometry won't be any different. The big difference between the two is going to be your fork. I can't comment on the pluses and minuses of either Marzocchi, but that's where the real X vs. Y is going to be. You can upgrade your bar cheaply, slightly better cranks probably won't make much difference, and you should be swapping out the stem anyway to dial in your fit. Upgrading a fork can get way pricey---definitely more than $150 if you have to take a loss selling the one that comes on the Cinder Cone. On the other hand, the fork on the Cinder Cone might be just fine for your needs/wants, since it'll be better than the stock fork on the more basic Blast.

    See if the shop'll be willing to swap forks. Doubtful, but worth a shot. If not, and if you'd be happy with the fork, take their offer of swapping out various parts. Maybe even get them to throw in cages and a discount on accessories (though many shops will do that anyway).
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  12. #12
    Fourth Degree Legend junkyard's Avatar
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    So I wound up with the Cinder Cone minus any enhancements. I decided to see how I like the current set up and go from there. I wound up paying about MSRP ($850) but got some shoes and stuff thrown in. Additionally, they gave me a fair discount on a bike rack. Though, not as good of a deal as mike x got.

    Regardless, mike x -- how do you like the bike?

  13. #13
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    I personally dont think there is anything wrong with a cinder cone. As you said, if a part does let you down then you can upgrade from there.
    I never had a cinder cone but took a lot of looks at it before I got my Brodie Bandit.
    There will be pros and cons you will find with every bike. I think that if I have it my way, in about 2 years I will have about 4 different bikes. Depending on the day and the trail I choose to ride that day will dictate what bike I take.
    I went for a ride today and met a guy that races a cannondale and his practice bike is a cinder cone. I think that shows that a cinder cone is a good bike.
    I often have a conflict weather to get another tough bike like my brodie or to get a light bike like a cinder cone or something.
    I think after a while a person will get use to a bike and other will be interesting but just wont feel right.
    I think you will find the good points of the cinder cone and use them to your best advantage.
    When I got the brodie I sometimes thought that it was more bike then I needed.
    I could buy 4 Iron Horse Axions for the money I spent on the Brodie
    Naaaa! The Brodie was worth it
    Later in the future I still want to upgrade to a $3000 to $6000 bike and see what they are like.
    I dont know, but I know that I will continue not to know if I dont try first.
    You too
    After a month or two I would not mind to hear what you think of the cinder cone
    Happy riding

  14. #14
    Fourth Degree Legend junkyard's Avatar
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    Hopefully taking out tomorrow with a few friends. I'll let you know how it turns out!

  15. #15
    KONAmdx
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    junkyard,

    congratulations with your new toy. i love my cinder cone. so did you take it out
    yet, how was it? let us know.

  16. #16
    aap
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    I would say it depends on what youre using it for, but in general you would be better off paying a little more for the better fork
    and components you get on the caldera. That being said, if it were me I would definitely choose a well made chromoly hardtail over the no name aluminum that kona uses on those 2 bike frames. They're also machine welded in a factory in
    Taiwan, which is another factor to consider, since durability wont be great with these, especially if you do jumping of any
    kind. (those 2 bikes should have a down tube gusset)
    I currently have an 11 year kona explosif, which has Tange chromoly frame and served me very well. Its too bad kona doesnt
    make chromoly hardtails anymore. If I were going to buy another hardtail I would get something that has a well made chromoly frame thats similarly priced, such as a Rocky hammer.

  17. #17
    Fourth Degree Legend junkyard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mike x
    junkyard,

    congratulations with your new toy. i love my cinder cone. so did you take it out
    yet, how was it? let us know.
    i took it out on monday afternoon. i feel really comfortable on it. the only issue i was having was the front disc was squeaking a bit while riding. it was kind of annoying and felt like i was fighting against it a bit. we got it to stop, but i plan on taking it down to the shop i bought it at and ask them about it anyway. other than that, things went really well with it.

  18. #18
    is slower than you Peek the Geek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aap
    Its too bad kona doesnt
    make chromoly hardtails anymore.
    Doesn't Kona still make the Explosif frame?
    Proud supporter of the Chippewa Off-Road Bike Association (CORBA)
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  19. #19
    KONAmdx
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    junkyard,

    Break it in more, you're suppose to take your bike back after the first 25-50 miles.
    They might have to adjust a few things. My LBS gave me a lifetime free adjustment.
    By the way, where you from?

  20. #20
    Fourth Degree Legend junkyard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mike x
    junkyard,

    Break it in more, you're suppose to take your bike back after the first 25-50 miles.
    They might have to adjust a few things. My LBS gave me a lifetime free adjustment.
    By the way, where you from?
    They told me to bring it in after a month. Figured I'd mention it then and see if it still needed adjustment. I'm in Connecticut. How's the riding in NY?

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