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Thread: Kona Sutra?

  1. #1
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    Kona Sutra?

    This is strictly idle musing on my part - supposedly the 2006 Volpes are hitting US shores and I just need time to get to the LBS, but does anyone know anything about the Kona Sutra? Good/bad, geometry, widest tires/fenders, most comparible to ___________? This seems to be one weird bike.

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    Senior Member Ziemas's Avatar
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    I have a Surta. I think it's a good commuter, but I wouldn't trust it on a tour.

    I run 37x700 Nokian 106 studded tires and fenders with plenty of room to spare.

    The paint is horrible, I need to touch-up mine on a weekly basis.

    The geometry is stable loaded in snow.

    The sizing is very odd as Kona sizes the bikes according to the top tube length. My 60 has a (I think) 54cm seat tube.

    More info on my Sutra woes can be found at the below link.

    My Rear Rack Brazon On My New Frame Just Cracked

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    Thanks Ziemas. Although winter commuting in Riga is probably rougher on a bike than most people's tours.

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    Senior Member Sebach's Avatar
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    I think I remember hearing more than once something about the rack eyelets cracking when they should not be. Do a search, I might be thinking about something else. Nevermind, I just did one: My Rear Rack Brazon On My New Frame Just Cracked

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    I've just fitted a rack and avoided the eyelets for this reason. There are suitable mounting holes near the axle.

    My Sutra is quite new (only been out on it a handful of times). I got it to supplement my full-sus MTB as a do-anything roadie. Commute, tour, light off-road etc. It'll even convert easily to singlespeed (if that floats your boat).

    Fitting rack and mudguards needed a wee bit of thought, but all worked out OKwithout any hassle.

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    Senior Member Ziemas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by druidh
    I've just fitted a rack and avoided the eyelets for this reason. There are suitable mounting holes near the axle.

    My Sutra is quite new (only been out on it a handful of times). I got it to supplement my full-sus MTB as a do-anything roadie. Commute, tour, light off-road etc. It'll even convert easily to singlespeed (if that floats your boat).

    Fitting rack and mudguards needed a wee bit of thought, but all worked out OKwithout any hassle.
    Could you please post some photos? Thanks.

  7. #7
    Capt Sensible
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sebach
    I think I remember hearing more than once something about the rack eyelets cracking when they should not be. Do a search, I might be thinking about something else. Nevermind, I just did one: My Rear Rack Brazon On My New Frame Just Cracked
    I've been meaning to follow up on the above thread but hadn't gotten around to it Anyway, no time like the present...

    Like Ziemas, I had a rear braze-on fail on my (3 week old) 2006 Sutra. It was fixed under warranty through the LBS that sold me the bike; I didn’t deal with Kona directly (possibly a mistake in retrospect). Unlike in Ziemas' case, Kona opted to repair rather than replace the frame. From the start I pushed for a replacement but was told that demand for the Sutra had been such that Kona were completely sold out and that there would be no new production availability for months. It took Kona nearly a week of "inspecting" the frame to decide this, and they only did so when pushed by the LBS. However I was assured that the frame would be as good as or better than new when done, and that I would have the bike back in a week.

    Ten days later (and after numerous calls to try and find out what was going on) the LBS called me up to say that they had the frame back but that in their opinion the repaired paint job was sub-standard. They went on to say that because the paint shop Kona used was busy, it would be up to 4 weeks before they could re-do the paint. I again asked why Kona did not have some replacement frames held back in case of warranty claims, but was again told that there would be none available for months.

    At this point I was looking at a total wait of up to 6 weeks for a repair on a brand new bike that I'd had on the road for 3. This was completely unacceptable. I told the LBS that Kona's customer service sucked, and so by association did theirs. I then told them that either I had a fully functioning, as-new bike back in my hands by the end of that week or that I would be in for a full refund.

    After that Kona miraculously managed to locate a paint shop that would take care of the repair as a priority job. In addition, as a fallback option they'd also managed to locate a replacement frame in case the paint shop didn't come through in time. Although this wouldn’t be available until a week or so after the deadline I’d set them. In the end I did get the (repaired) bike back in time. I should point out that only the rear triangles were repainted, not the whole frame, and there was some minor paint damage around the headset, presumably from the frame being stripped down, which necessitated a return trip to the LBS to be taken care of. Partly because of this I would second Ziemas assessment about the general fragility of the paint.

    The LBS’s take on all this was that I just got unlucky with a bad weld, which would raise questions about the quality of other more structurally important welds. IMO the frame mount braze-ons on the Sutra are just a bad idea that should be eliminated. I've worked for many years on complex software systems so probably know better than most about well intentioned but poorly conceived design features. These things happen, particularly with newer designs, I understand that. What's particularly disappointing is how Kona reacted to it. I was happy to support a local NW manufacturer, but based on this experience of their customer service I would not buy another bike from them in future.

    I bought this bike because I wanted a steel frame roadie style commuter with disc brakes. The only other suitable option I found that was vaguely affordable was the Marinoni Turismo, which would’ve worked out to be about CDN$6-700 more expensive with a similar component level. Conventional wisdom is to focus the initial investment on the frame since components can always be upgraded over time. After this experience I wonder if I strayed to far from that wisdom in choosing the Sutra over the Turismo …

  8. #8
    Senior Curmudgeon FarHorizon's Avatar
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    WOW! These Sutra experiences are the opposite with my Kona Dew Deluxe experience. My bike was perfect from the shop, the paint was good, the weld-ons seemed sturdy, and the bike seemed well-engineered.

    Maybe I just got lucky?

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    Senior Member Ziemas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Capt_Sensible

    Like Ziemas, I had a rear braze-on fail on my (3 week old) 2006 Sutra. It was fixed under warranty through the LBS that sold me the bike; I didn’t deal with Kona directly (possibly a mistake in retrospect). Unlike in Ziemas' case, Kona opted to repair rather than replace the frame. From the start I pushed for a replacement but was told that demand for the Sutra had been such that Kona were completely sold out and that there would be no new production availability for months. It took Kona nearly a week of "inspecting" the frame to decide this, and they only did so when pushed by the LBS. However I was assured that the frame would be as good as or better than new when done, and that I would have the bike back in a week. …
    I had to fight hard to get a replacement. At first Kona Europe denied all responsibility, saying the rear rack must have been overloaded.

    It took many calls from me to Kona Europe AND to the corp HQ in America to get a new frame. It wasn't easy. And when they did send the frame they sent the wrong size. I had a 58 and they sent a 60. I had to buy a new fork to fit the 60. I found it easier and quicker just to buy a new fork out of pocket than to deal with the jokers at Kona. As a commuter I need my bike to get to work.

    I'm not happy with Kona and will probably never buy one of their bikes again.

  10. #10
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    I wish I had read this thread sooner, I just got my Sutra last week. I am planning on using it to tour. I'll let you know how it works out for me.....

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    This is also a bike i am looking at getting. i luv steel and want a good, solid touring bike. anyone have any possitive kona sutra experiences?

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    Here are two photos of the rack fitting. The closeup shows better the only small modification that was required - a few seconds with a hacksaw to remove the non-load bearing end of one of the panniers support brackets.
    Attached Images Attached Images

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    Quote Originally Posted by druidh
    Here are two photos of the rack fitting. The closeup shows better the only small modification that was required - a few seconds with a hacksaw to remove the non-load bearing end of one of the panniers support brackets.
    I have yet to purchase my racks. What brand do you have on yours?

  14. #14
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    Rack is a Tortec Tour, but is a fairly generic design. The major criterion is the height of the pannier support bracket. On some models, this is too low and interferes with the disk brake. The use of some spacers would get around this, but reduces the strength of the system.

    http://www.wiggle.co.uk/Default.aspx...acturer=TorTec

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    Quote Originally Posted by dannwilliams
    I wish I had read this thread sooner, I just got my Sutra last week. I am planning on using it to tour. I'll let you know how it works out for me.....

    well I am glad I have read this as I was seriously thinking about the sutra.

    Think again

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    I came across this rack on the REI site. It is made for bikes with disc brakes and attaches to the disc brake mount. Claims a 100# weight capacity. What are your thoughts on it?
    Attached Images Attached Images

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    Fitting looks overly-complicated and not "vertical" enough to make use of the threaded hole on the disk-side dropout - although that weird additional bracket may indeed do the trick.

    Do you really need to carry that sort of weight?

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    Quote Originally Posted by druidh
    Fitting looks overly-complicated and not "vertical" enough to make use of the threaded hole on the disk-side dropout - although that weird additional bracket may indeed do the trick.

    Do you really need to carry that sort of weight?
    I don't plan to carry that much weight, but if it can, it should have no problem carrying 40#. The way I understand it, the weird bracket attaches to the disc brake mount, not the eyelet.

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    Yep - as long as you get them to line up (within the variation they allow you). I'm just questioning the need for all of that given there's a much simpler / cheaper solution.

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    I picked up that REI rack and it doesn't work. The brake sits on top of the hub and hits the bottom of the rack on that side. Guess I'll be taking it back.

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    Senior Member Ziemas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dannwilliams
    I picked up that REI rack and it doesn't work. The brake sits on top of the hub and hits the bottom of the rack on that side. Guess I'll be taking it back.
    The Sutra should have been strangled at birth.....

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    Here's another good one on the Sutra: mine had hop in front wheel when I got it. Took to LBS and the wheels were true and round. Suggested I remount the tire to try and get better seat, that could be problem. Did it and still had hop. This week had my first flat. The tires are Nokian touring 700 32. Pulled out the tube and is a 700 35-43. The hop was from the tube bunched up in there. I hadn't taken the tire all the way off to reseat and did not notice. I replaced both tubes with correct size and the hop is gone!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ziemas
    The Sutra should have been strangled at birth.....
    I did say that the rack looked like it wouldn't fit! Hardly a reason to diss the bike tho - someone bought the wrong rack ??

  24. #24
    Senior Member Ziemas's Avatar
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    ^^
    Check out the link I posted in post #2 and also read Capt_Sensible's post #7 for more thoughts on why the Sutra is a horrible design. I don't trust this frame at all.

    My post #9 deals with Kona's customer service on these matters.

  25. #25
    Thawing Member Aloyzius's Avatar
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    This is a very old thread, but I'm glad I found it, as the Sutra was on my list of possibilities. The 2008 appears to have mostly the same problems. I'm thankful you guys brought all this to my attention, two years later.

    Also, being a fan of the Damned, I have to give props to anyone using the good captain's name.

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