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Recreational Cyclocross and Gravelbiking This has to be the most physically intense sport ever invented. It's high speed bicycle racing on a short off road course or riding the off pavement rides on gravel like :The Dirty Kanza". We also have a dedicated Racing forum for the Cyclocross Hard Core Racers.

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Old 02-17-13, 04:42 PM   #1
GeorgeBMac
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Kona Jake? Or are there others?

I usually hang out in the 50+ forum but was hoping some of you might have some CycloCross ideas for me:

I am thinking of getting a cyclocross -- not to race but for use on the Limestone/Gravel/Asphalt rails-to-trails that I usually ride on. I already have a Trek DS hybrid and a road bike but wanted to get a lighter, quicker ride (the road bike will handle the trails, but doesn't do well on the rough stuff).

I was looking for a sub $2K bike with a triple chain ring and disk brakes.

I like the triple for it's flexibility and besides, I'm not that strong on the few steep hills I encounter. Basically, I ride on the middle ring on the flats and minor grades and go to the small or big ring for steeper grades. I know I could get away with a double -- but I'd rather not.

And, I got used to the hydraulic disks (Alivio) on the hybrid. I like their stopping power as well as their smoothness... (It's good to be able to avoid the kids and dogs on the trail!)

But, so far the ONLY bike I've seen (from major manufacturer) with those features is the 2013 Kona Jake. And, that has one other thing going for it: my LBS sells them and they have been VERY helpful and I would like to buy from them if it is in anyway possible.

So, am I limited to the Kona Jake (the base level -- not Jake the Snake of Major Jake) or are there others?
And, what do you all think of this bike?

Thanks for your thoughts and experience !
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Old 02-17-13, 06:47 PM   #2
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I don't know what other options there are, but I own a 2010 Jake and love it. If I didn't have it, I'd but a 2013 Jake in a heartbeat. Even the color is great. I cannot imagine that you'd be disappointed.
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Old 02-17-13, 07:12 PM   #3
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My old 2011 Kona Jake was/is a great bike. Sounds like it would do fine for your purposes.
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Old 02-17-13, 07:21 PM   #4
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WaynesWorld & E.S. -- Thank you both for sharing your positive experiences. That helps!
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Old 02-17-13, 07:37 PM   #5
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I've got the 2013 Jake, and I love it.

Here's what I thought of it when it was new: http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...88-mile-review

I'm closing in on 1000 miles now, and I like it even more now.
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Old 02-17-13, 08:35 PM   #6
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I've got the 2013 Jake, and I love it.

Here's what I thought of it when it was new: http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...88-mile-review

I'm closing in on 1000 miles now, and I like it even more now.
Wow! That is a fantastic review of the bike -- and the pictures are great. Actually the pictures are better than the ones Kona took. And, I strongly suspect the review is better than any magazine would have done.

Thank you! (I don't know how I missed it when I searched ... But thank you for sharing it with me!).

... I think your review decided it. I am very much headed in that direction at this point.

What kicked this off was, when I mentioned I was looking for a CycloCross to my LBS, he said he had a warehouse sale coming up and there would be some nice Kona's there. But, later in the week he corrected that and said there wouldn't be many Kona's -- but he would look for something else for me and it would be a great price. But, the more I learn about the Jake the more it sounds like it is the bike for me....

Thank you again. And best of luck with your new Jake!
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Old 02-17-13, 08:41 PM   #7
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Speaking of pictures...did you see this thread? http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...2013-Kona-Jake

For some reason I don't think I linked to it in the review.

Edit: Nevermind. I see that I did link to them after all.
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Old 02-17-13, 10:08 PM   #8
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Speaking of pictures...did you see this thread? http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...2013-Kona-Jake

For some reason I don't think I linked to it in the review.

Edit: Nevermind. I see that I did link to them after all.
Yes, I did see those. Thanks again. I really like the color now that I've seen it... I definitely want to check this bike out. Unfortunately, my LBS doesn't have any right now. I'm going to have to bug him some.
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Old 02-17-13, 10:22 PM   #9
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My 2000 Jake the Snake has over 35k miles on it, and still looks and rides like new, and I've only done regular maintenance and a few minor mods to make it a light-touring and/or dirt road bike (depending on my mood).
Mods were, an XT 11-32 rear cogset and derailleur, road tires, wheels re-laced with double-butted spokes... and that's about it. It's been my trusty companion on all my centuries, including Hotter'n'Hell, and I won't sell it for love nor money.
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Old 02-18-13, 03:00 AM   #10
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My 2000 Jake the Snake has over 35k miles on it, and still looks and rides like new, and I've only done regular maintenance and a few minor mods to make it a light-touring and/or dirt road bike (depending on my mood).
Mods were, an XT 11-32 rear cogset and derailleur, road tires, wheels re-laced with double-butted spokes... and that's about it. It's been my trusty companion on all my centuries, including Hotter'n'Hell, and I won't sell it for love nor money.
Now THAT is a testimonial! I suspect that much of the credit for all those happy miles and great condition goes to you, but you couldn't have done it without a high quality bike to begin with...

My instincts were telling me that Kona's were good, dependable bikes -- but it was just a gut feel. Thank you for confirming what my gut was trying to tell me...
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Old 02-19-13, 08:33 AM   #11
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I have a 2013 Kona Jake as well with about 700 miles on it. The only thing I really did not like were the stock brakes - I had the LBS change them out to BB7s before purchase but otherwise have been pleased with the bike.

I've done a couple of CX races and plenty of commutes on the bike but mostly I use it for longer gravel grinders (50mi+). I don't ride on the stock tires anymore - they were tough, but a bit heavy and tall profiled for my riding, and the tread seems to trap small stones/gravel easily.

I did also swap out the drivetrain to a CX-70 double/FD and 105 shifters but that's obviously not necessary and not a reflection on the bike. I'm already looking at a full wheelset upgrade next...
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Old 02-19-13, 02:23 PM   #12
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Bike Biz Overview: Kona is a brand, built overseas and shipped to the Kona Importer.
the frame has the Brand name .. the rest is a parts pick and installed before shipping the Box,
in a container, on a Ship, across the Oceans.

yes there are other brands of bikes, made under other brand names,
many brands are made in the same contract manufacturing company

got a Kona dealer? .. go test ride it .

'Good' bike, of one sold in other than a Big-box store [for as cheap as possible]
is often how well the Dealer's put it together , and stands behind what they sell.



people that bought one, of that brand, like theirs .. as you see..


Cross = Hybrid in many markets..

Drop bar hydraulic discs are not going on , at the 2K price point. mechanicals are.
want hydraulic discs? stick to straight bar bikes.

Last edited by fietsbob; 02-19-13 at 02:41 PM.
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Old 02-19-13, 07:19 PM   #13
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Bike Biz Overview: Kona is a brand, built overseas and shipped to the Kona Importer.
the frame has the Brand name .. the rest is a parts pick and installed before shipping the Box,
in a container, on a Ship, across the Oceans.

yes there are other brands of bikes, made under other brand names,
many brands are made in the same contract manufacturing company

got a Kona dealer? .. go test ride it .

'Good' bike, of one sold in other than a Big-box store [for as cheap as possible]
is often how well the Dealer's put it together , and stands behind what they sell.

people that bought one, of that brand, like theirs .. as you see..

Cross = Hybrid in many markets..

Drop bar hydraulic discs are not going on , at the 2K price point. mechanicals are.
want hydraulic discs? stick to straight bar bikes.
All good points...

And, I especially agree with the test ride... What is prompting my inquiry was that my LBS has said they are having a warehouse sale and I may be able to get a bike at an exceptionally reasonable price -- and they might have Kona Jakes there. But it's going to have to be a quick decision -- so I wanted to do my homework upfront. Unfortunately, all of their stores have emptied their bikes into the warehouse already -- so there is no way to ride one ahead of time.

And, yes, I know that there is no way (today) to get hydraulic disks on a drop bar. I was merely stating my experience with them and why I prefer disks... I am hoping that the mechanicals will work as well as the hydraulics that I have been using. But, it looks like the disks on the Jake may be marginal anyway.

And, yes how the store puts the bike together is quite important. Fortunately, I have an outstanding LBS a mile from my house. I can depend on them to do a good job -- or to fix it when they don't (nobody's perfect).

In any event, I really appreciate all of the feed back I have been getting. The more I hear about this bike the more I am liking it and I am really looking forward to riding one. (Damn! I REALLY hope this bike fits me -- it sounds like a great bike and a near perfect match for what I am looking for!)
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Old 02-19-13, 08:54 PM   #14
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I got Disc brakes on a Bike Friday it has Avid BB7 calipers , they work well.

just have to do a little bit of adjustment over tine as the pads wear ,
since the auto adjust of hydraulicsis not in the design, But..
you also dont have the auto adjust filling in the space when inadvertently touching
the brake lever with the wheel out. that is a situation common to Hydraulic systems.

well except for the Magura Rim brakes,, HS33 has a manual adjustment on the lever .
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Old 02-19-13, 11:34 PM   #15
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I got Disc brakes on a Bike Friday it has Avid BB7 calipers , they work well.

just have to do a little bit of adjustment over tine as the pads wear ,
since the auto adjust of hydraulicsis not in the design, But..
you also dont have the auto adjust filling in the space when inadvertently touching
the brake lever with the wheel out. that is a situation common to Hydraulic systems.

well except for the Magura Rim brakes,, HS33 has a manual adjustment on the lever .
I have only heard good things about the BB7's... Best of luck with them.

Did you get a new bike or new disk brakes?
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Old 02-20-13, 09:14 AM   #16
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How tall are you? The geometry is fairly standard and should be quite close to your road bike.

I ride a "53" which is actually a tad bigger than my "small" road bike. I like that though as I prefer the stability for off-road rides.
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Old 02-20-13, 07:31 PM   #17
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How tall are you? The geometry is fairly standard and should be quite close to your road bike.

I ride a "53" which is actually a tad bigger than my "small" road bike. I like that though as I prefer the stability for off-road rides.
I am a smidge over 5'8". I think the R500 road bike is a 50 -- but I am not sure since it was given to me and I doubt the original owner ever knew. But it feels a little cramped and snug to me. My 2012 Trek DS is a very large 17.5" and nearly the size of the 19" 2013 models... It feels good to me -- nice and roomy without making me stretch for anything.

I am thinking that a 53 would be right for me as well. But I will rely on the LBS -- the manager there has shown he can be pretty accurate with just an eyeball.
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Old 02-24-13, 01:45 PM   #18
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Guys, thank you for all of your advice and information. I really appreciated it. And the more I heard, the more I was determined to get a Kona Jake. I still think they sound like great bikes. But, things just didn't work out that way...

I went to warehouse sale being held by the local chain of Trek dealers (Trek of Pgh) and unfortunately there weren't any 2013 Kona's there -- and almost no cyclocross bikes at all. And, none in my size. Well, none except one:

It was a 2008 red LeMond Poprad disk. And as soon as I saw it I fell in love with it. The manager at my LBS showed it to me and told me it was the owner's "demo" bike and didn't have a lot of miles on it. (The original tires attest to that -- probably far less than 1000 miles).

It is one of the last ones made and also one of the last bikes made here in the USA.

It has all 105 components except the crankset which is Bontrager. It also has BB7 mechanical disk brakes which you have all spoken highly of. And, it also has carbon fork and seat post which, along with the True Temper OX Platinum steel frame should give it a really nice ride...

It needs a lot of cleanup and the manager at my LBS said he would tear it down and treat the frame with frame saver, replace the bar tape and the cables and install a compact double for me. The front shifter has a problem -- but he'll take care of that. I also plan to install 'spin-skins' in the tires and I might replace the tires with something with a little less tread...

These are the "Before" pictures -- it still needs the tune-up and a good bath...


Thank you again for all of your help, information and advice. I really appreciate it!
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Old 02-24-13, 01:58 PM   #19
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You lucky bastard ! Great find... I wish I could find one of these in Quebec city
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Old 02-24-13, 04:45 PM   #20
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You lucky bastard ! Great find... I wish I could find one of these in Quebec city
I knew it was a great find -- but I didn't know how great...

I just got from my first real ride on it (only 15 miles because my toes got too cold) -- but it amazed me:
-- It was as fast as my Cannondale road bike
-- It was as stable as my Trek DS
-- It was far smoother and easier riding than either. It just glided over bumps that would jar my teeth on the other 2 bikes...

It just felt good in all ways.

And, it was light enough that I found myself hardly using the gears. (I use the gears constantly on the Trek DS -- which with all its accouterments weighs twice what the LeMond weighs.

So my challenge will be to keep from loading the LeMond up with excess weight. Plus, as an added bonus, that will force me to use the Trek (with it's fenders and lights and racks and trunks) when it gets dark or wet out...
... Otherwise, I fear I would find myself riding the LeMond 100% of the time....

It is really a shame that Trek killed off this line of bikes....
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Old 02-24-13, 05:19 PM   #21
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Oh yeah, that's a nice bike! Congrats!
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Old 02-24-13, 07:25 PM   #22
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Very nice!
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Old 02-25-13, 01:44 PM   #23
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Wow, nice. As much as I like my Jake, I would've preferred to have the LeMond!
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Old 02-25-13, 03:42 PM   #24
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Cross/hybrids are a busy segment, most brands have several models.


George B, the brakes were on the new bike, someone else's Built to order,
their OCD kicked in over the shade of the color,
so I got a good deal from the maker, for the refused special order.

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Old 02-28-13, 01:33 PM   #25
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Cross/hybrids are a busy segment, most brands have several models.


George B, the brakes were on the new bike, someone else's Built to order,
their OCD kicked in over the shade of the color,
so I got a good deal from the maker, for the refused special order.
Cool! THAT's the way to do it!
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