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  1. #1
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    Kona sutra and disc brakes

    I was looking at a local bike shops web page yesterday when what do you know along comes a bike that looks good. the kona sutra seems to have everything the trek 520 does, 700/32s, 52/42/30 chainrings. a 44cm chain stay. unlike most of the 520s it does have sti shifters. and unlike any tourer i have looked at it has disc brakes... what i would like to know is; has anyone ridden a kona??? or specifically a sutra and ; has anyone used disc brakes before? it would seem to me that i would be afraid they would fail on a down hill under full load conditions.. anyone??? thanks..

  2. #2
    Left OZ now in Malaysia jibi's Avatar
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    With discs I would be more worried about damaging/bending the disc while transporting the bike, by plane etc.

    george
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  3. #3
    20-Something Desk Jockey andypants's Avatar
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    Are they mech or hydraulic? I have Avid BB7s and they're great. Failure should definitely not worry you, at all. I would say you should be worried about them working TOO well downhill while fully loaded.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Ziemas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tuffwolf
    I was looking at a local bike shops web page yesterday when what do you know along comes a bike that looks good. the kona sutra seems to have everything the trek 520 does, 700/32s, 52/42/30 chainrings. a 44cm chain stay. unlike most of the 520s it does have sti shifters. and unlike any tourer i have looked at it has disc brakes... what i would like to know is; has anyone ridden a kona??? or specifically a sutra and ; has anyone used disc brakes before? it would seem to me that i would be afraid they would fail on a down hill under full load conditions.. anyone??? thanks..
    I have one and it's a horrible touring bike. I use mine for a winter beater.

    The Sutra has several problems, The first is that the braze-ons for the rack tend to crack. The second is finding a work around for this problem.

    I wouldn't tour on mine, and I recently met a lady from Canada here in Riga who has been touring Europe for the last six months on a Sutra who also thinks it's a horrible touring bike. She said if she had the chance to do it over again she wouldn't buy the Sutra.

  5. #5
    Senior Member George's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by andypants
    Are they mech or hydraulic? I have Avid BB7s and they're great. Failure should definitely not worry you, at all. I would say you should be worried about them working TOO well downhill while fully loaded.

    +1
    George

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    from the sound of it the bb7's which is what is on the sutra are fine. but the bike is a pos because of mech failure in some of the brazon's i am also concerned with the rear rack mount it looks like it is up to high and i don't understand how the front rack is mounted as it doesn't seem to have any brazons in front.. i am going to test ride one saturday perhaps the brakes can befound on another bike with better brazons... something to look at...
    thanks everyone

  7. #7
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    Kona makes great MTBs...not touring bikes. Test ride the bike, of course, but beware Kona doesn't have a proven track record with touring bikes.

    Road bike levers and disc brakes don't really go together....any flex in the housing has a very negitive affect on braking power. Plus disc brakes have put a great deal of stress on the spokes during braking-- a really bad idea with a touring bike.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tacomee
    Kona makes great MTBs...not touring bikes. Test ride the bike, of course, but beware Kona doesn't have a proven track record with touring bikes.

    Road bike levers and disc brakes don't really go together....any flex in the housing has a very negitive affect on braking power. Plus disc brakes have put a great deal of stress on the spokes during braking-- a really bad idea with a touring bike.
    i figured that it would put a lot of stress on the wheel haveing built a few wheels before i am not sure flex in the cables would be a problem since they seem to be using a ridged cable houseing plus it is taped up in the handlebars but that doesn't mean there isn't any flex problems since the cables aren't really tied down other than in the bar tape. and of course i will test ride it... going to be test riding several over the next few months included the 520, surley lht, jamis aurora, T2000 the kona and any others that i can find...
    thanks

  9. #9
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    Road levers aren't v-brake levers...they pull way less cable, so any little cable flex anywhere in the system is bad news. Not something you want on tour. I've never hooked up disc brakes to travel agents (the little do-dads that you use with STI brifters and v-brakes)

  10. #10
    Senior Member Nigeyy's Avatar
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    The trick is not to use mtb disc brakes with shorter pull brakes...... I used the Avid *road* discs with STI levers. No problem and excellent to use. I still use the same brakes but am trying trekking bars now. I haven't used mtb disc brakes/short pull levers and the travel agents (though one of my friends who wanted to run v-brakes with short pull levers and used travel agents and wasn't impressed).

    Perhaps cable flex is more of an issue, all I can say is it wasn't with me. I think you have to use the right components that's all. Concerning spoke issues, you should lace the wheel up properly (e.g. reverse 3 cross pattern from a normal 3 cross one). I've run quite a few disc wheels now, never had one fail yet.

  11. #11
    Senior Member greenstork's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tacomee
    Road levers aren't v-brake levers...they pull way less cable, so any little cable flex anywhere in the system is bad news. Not something you want on tour. I've never hooked up disc brakes to travel agents (the little do-dads that you use with STI brifters and v-brakes)
    I've never had the problems that you've mentioned (more than once on these boards) regarding cable flex and disc brakes. You can't run any disc brakes with road levers, perhaps that's the issue that you've experienced. There are only two "road" disc brakes that work with brifters (to my knowledge), the Avid BB7's and Shimano BR-R505. All the other mechanical disc brakes require more cable pull and hence, won't work with brifters. In my experience, those that do, work just fine.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by greenstork
    I've never had the problems that you've mentioned (more than once on these boards) regarding cable flex and disc brakes. You can't run any disc brakes with road levers, perhaps that's the issue that you've experienced. There are only two "road" disc brakes that work with brifters (to my knowledge), the Avid BB7's and Shimano BR-R505. All the other mechanical disc brakes require more cable pull and hence, won't work with brifters. In my experience, those that do, work just fine.
    There a number of people on bikeforums.net who have had bad (or perhaps no) experience with disc brakes, and nothing you can write will change their opinion.

    For the record, I've had no problems at all with avid bb7 brakes, housing runs and lever response or feel, or the wheels I built to use with them, on two bikes I use regularly. They are nearly zero maintenance components. I would have tried discs sooner except that it took me awhile to talk myself into buying brakes, hubs, forks etc.

    The Kona Sutra is a good looking bike. I think the stock crank is geared too high (just like the Trek 520), plus increases cost (fancy external bearing crank, which according to one ceramic bearing test I read actually has more friction than good 'ole sq taper bb/crank combos). The chainstay could be a little longer, and sti levers are maybe overkill for a bike you want to be simple, reliable and unattractive to thieves.

    The frame employs a fancy bolt-in dropout system - so it might work well as a single speed, or with a rohloff hub, etc. Kona sells the frame separately, for about the same price as a LHT frameset.

    http://www.konaworld.com/bikes/2k7/SUTRA/index.html

  13. #13
    My itch crotches to go! treefire's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tacomee
    Road bike levers and disc brakes don't really go together....any flex in the housing has a very negitive affect on braking power. Plus disc brakes have put a great deal of stress on the spokes during braking-- a really bad idea with a touring bike.
    Ummm....

    I 'm sorry, downhill mountain bike racing? They don't use cantilevers or V's. Why? because modulation of traction is the difference between a word championship or not. The biggest reasonk in my not humble opinion, that discs win hands down, is just that. MODULATION. Power is nothing. Modulation is everything. The only way you can flirt with tire traction is with modulation. Connection with the contact patch, ya might say.

    You are wrong about the stress to spokes. Braking forces into the spokes (and modulation) last ONLY until you lose traction of the tire. The spoked wheel works because it spreads the load throughout the entire structure. How a contact patch of a bike tire could ruin a wheel with on one square inch of contact between a tire and asphalt makes no rational sense. The contact patch on a touring bike, along with the tire pressures commonly run on a touring bike does not stress a wheel to the breaking point. Also, disc brake hubs usually are built with disc specific rims. So you can carry on that logic to realize that the manufacturers spec spokes to handle the stress. Mechanical discs are very easy to maintain and service. I WISH my Atlantis had discs.

    Now saying all that, I run V-brakes on my Atlantis with Dia Comp V-brake/disc road levers. Why? I can get V-brakes at Wal-Wort and the local five and dime. After running canti's (power in the lever instead of the brake), for eight years or so after running V-brakes, dealing with spongy spiral wound cables, correct geometry settings, cable hangers, wrench and allen for the hanger

  14. #14
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    Nothing personal, but disc brakes on touring bikes is a stupid idea. Why make things more compicated that they need to be? Disc brakes are made for MTBs, not road levers, 700c wheels, loaded touring. I built up a set of 700c wheels using Mavic MA3 rims and 32 DT Swiss spokes.... used Hayes disc brakes....and trashed them in a little less than 4000 miles commuting.

    I wouldn't do that foolishness again.

  15. #15
    Senior Member greenstork's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tacomee
    Nothing personal, but disc brakes on touring bikes is a stupid idea. Why make things more compicated that they need to be? Disc brakes are made for MTBs, not road levers, 700c wheels, loaded touring. I built up a set of 700c wheels using Mavic MA3 rims and 32 DT Swiss spokes.... used Hayes disc brakes....and trashed them in a little less than 4000 miles commuting.

    I wouldn't do that foolishness again.
    Your experience with disc brakes seems to be shaped by the questionable set of rims you were using. A quick search for MA3 reviews showed that more than a few people had issues with the eyelets cracking at the spokes and others remarking on the poor durability:

    http://www.roadbikereview.com/cat/wh...0_2488crx.aspx
    http://www0.epinions.com/bike-Rims-All-MA3
    cracked rim at nipple exit (did a search want to confirm)

    I'm confident that if I spent a little more than 5 minutes searching that I'd find more evidence that this isn't an issue with disc brakes on touring bikes, but with your Mavic rims.

    And again, the Shimano BR-R505 road disc brakes are designed for use with road bike integrated levers. They are not even compatible with linear pull brake levers.
    Last edited by greenstork; 05-24-07 at 10:47 PM.

  16. #16
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    Hmm


    My disk braked, drop barred, 700cc wheeled tourer is doing just fine thanks.


    Bad workman etc etc etc

  17. #17
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    As a guy who's been around bikes for long time, I've seen lots of silly changes made to sell bikes. The first MTBs had cantilever brakes. Then v-style brakes came out and there was a big rush to upgrade. I have a friend who has sold over 25 pairs of used LX cantilever brakes on EBAY that he got while *upgrading* customer bikes to v-brakes in the early 90's. Now MTBs are going to disc brakes....why?

    To sell new bikes! The bike indusrty wants riders to believe that the older bikes aren't as good as the new ones. So here's to carbon seat stays! Disc brakes! and whatever other new stuff the engineers at Shimano dream up!

    I'll personally stick to older, cheaper, easy to fix in the field parts, thank you. Take a look at what the wrenches at the LBS are riding? Surly? Single speeds? Cantilever brakes? Bar con shifters? Most pros know...keep it simple.

  18. #18
    Senior Member Nigeyy's Avatar
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    Err ummm... well yes and no. Definitely new features sell bikes, but have you used decent disc brakes off roading in muddy conditions? That's why my first choice mtb has disc brakes (my own post purchase upgrade), though my second choice HT still has v-brakes. Disc brakes aren't just for fancy looks and fashion purposes, they do actually work better than v-brakes, particularly in muddy conditions (assuming comparison between decent v-brake and decent disc brake examples).

    I pride myself on being a cheapskate; I wouldn't buy into something unless it really was worth the value. I really don't care if it's new technology or old, it's all if it works and how it works, and for what price! And yes, I have discs on my touring bike -never a problem and great braking (haven't broken down, wheel hasn't disintegrated). Of course, you don't absolutely need disc brakes, but then again you don't really need more than 3 speeds, index shifting, a Brooks saddle or a frame lighter than 10lbs. Ultimately, you pays your money and you makes your choice for the value it provides you. Of course, everyone defines for themselves what is a silly upgrade!

  19. #19
    Senior Member greenstork's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tacomee
    I'll personally stick to older, cheaper, easy to fix in the field parts, thank you. Take a look at what the wrenches at the LBS are riding? Surly? Single speeds? Cantilever brakes? Bar con shifters? Most pros know...keep it simple.
    The wrench at my LBS rides a Waterford dedicated commuter with disc brakes and was the inspiration for my bike:

    http://www.waterfordbikes.com/board/viewtopic.php?t=114

  20. #20
    Senior Member duppie's Avatar
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    Question to the OP:
    Did you have a chance to testride the Sutra? If so, did any of the concerns mentioned here (somewhat short chainstay, front mounts, etc. turn out to be an issue?
    Have you decided on a bike yet? I am in the market for a touring bike myself and started to look at pretty much the same bikes you mention.
    Thanks, Duppie

  21. #21
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    no i sure didn't the shop that advertised them in town didnt have any left of the ones i have test ridden. the 520. the surly lht and the jamis aurora i like the jamis the best because of the brifters and the ride was basically the same as the other two..

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