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Thread: Kona Ute

  1. #1
    Hey let's ride. pathdoc's Avatar
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    Kona Ute

    Nice looking utility bike. I didn't know Kona mad a utility bike.

    http://www.konaworld.com/bike.cfm?content=ute

  2. #2
    Senior Member travelmama's Avatar
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    It is a very nice bike!
    Two Wheels One Love

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    Share the road. bugly64's Avatar
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    I just wish that Kona Ute frames available like Surly.

  4. #4
    urban commuter
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    We bought a Ute not quite two months ago, and we LOVE it! It's a really solid, smooth-riding, useful bike that can move a lot of stuff. I needed to haul a bunch of things to work this week, and the Ute handled my 13 mile roundtrip commute very nicely. In fact, I don't think I was any slower on the Ute than on my folding bike. Once it gets up to speed, it's surprisingly fast.

    We have the 2008 model (it was on sale), and it does have some downsides. It's not a Big Dummy, but for less than $800, that's not what we were expecting. For instance, Kona made a terrible error putting a single kickstand on the 2008 model. They fixed that in 2009, but it's a real pain to load our bike, so we need to upgrade that ASAP. Since the frame is aluminum, the front is very lightweight, and it tends to flop around when it's fully loaded and I'm walking the bike, so that takes a bit of extra attention. I'd also like the option to load cargo lower on the frame, as you can with a Big Dummy or Xtracycle. Still, I'm quite pleased with the purchase, and it meets 95% of our hauling needs (groceries, cat litter, pet food, etc). For the other 5%, we'll use Zipcar.

    One of these days, we'll get around to writing a review of sorts, but for now, here are all our blog posts about the Ute so far.
    www.carfreephilly.com: a blog about going car-free in the City of Brotherly Love

    2008 Brompton S2L | 2010 Trek Bellevillle | 2008 Kona Ute | 1971 Raleigh Twenty

  5. #5
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    I got one two years ago. On paper and initial use it looks like a winner but there's something terribly amiss in the front fork rake. There's a wobble in the front end that I tried to address with front panniers which helped a lot but it's still not right to my taste. In turns it feels like the front wheel is "scrubbing" in that the wheel and turn aren't following the same curve. I suggest anyone getting one put on a front rack so you can put some weight up front. My$.02 is that they should have made the bike with 26" wheels and spent some effort getting the steering right. I can haul a full grocery cart load but I'd rather use a LHT set up for smaller loads or go to a trailer.

    I had to do a few modifications to make it work, the one side kickstand was worthless, it came in 26/36 chainrings with 170mm crank arms and the 18" frame really is too cramped with stock stem for my normal 5'9" height, the stock metal clips on the big panniers are totally inadequate to the task and will pop/bend off with any big load. A bike that's going to be a load carrier going up hills, why else would you need such super low gears, requires a posture for power output and the stock stem was too cramped. I'm wondering if there's an aftermarket fork that could address some of the handling issues. Seems to me the fork is too flexible for it's intended purpose, I can see it bend back when applying the disc brake.
    The frame construction and integral rack construction is efficient and light, it's the front end that's got problems.

  6. #6
    urban commuter
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    Sorry you're having so many problems with your Ute. I haven't experienced the steering issue at all; I wonder if it's something specific to your bike? I find that the bike handles nicely even loaded down. I just got back from a 3-mile trip home from the grocery store with around 70lbs of groceries, and the Ute handled like a champ, even up a steep hill. The more I ride the Ute, the more I love it. (With the exception of the single kickstand!)

    Where did you attach your front panniers?
    www.carfreephilly.com: a blog about going car-free in the City of Brotherly Love

    2008 Brompton S2L | 2010 Trek Bellevillle | 2008 Kona Ute | 1971 Raleigh Twenty

  7. #7
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    I used an OldManMountain Sherpa rack on the front. I would suggest something with low riders for even better handling. The big rear panniers are a perfect size except for the simple fact they're totally inadequate for staying on with the size of load the bike is designed for, after a few times going up 1-2" driveway bumps and having 20lbs of groceries fall right off I took folks suggestions here and added six heavy duty zip ties to secure it to the rack. I"ve got it with a long milk crate on top that can carry two cases of soda or two BIG bags of groceries.

    I haven't had so many problems as much as it feels like the design isn't finished, like they designed the frame and grabbed one of the stock forks for it regardless whether that fork was optimum for the application. I'm picky but if the only bike I had was a 60's Schwinn Collegiate I'd ride it.

    It's not a wobble like high speed shimmy but a front end wobble that comes when getting out of the saddle or the rear end is fully loaded.
    Last edited by LeeG; 05-23-10 at 12:19 PM.

  8. #8
    urban commuter
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    OK, now that I've had the Ute for a while, the kickstand is becoming a MAJOR issue. Because the 2008 model doesn't have a double kickstand, it is almost impossible to load/unload without the bike falling over. The single kickstand doesn't do a thing as soon as there's something loaded onto the bike--it just tips. Kona fixed the issue in 2009 but that doesn't help me. Up until today I tried to overlook the issue, as you can always lock the bike to something while you're loading to keep it stable. But today I had two cases of beer that I was trying to haul home. I had just loaded the bike up and walked to the curb. Somehow the chain got stuck between one of the front chain rings and the chain guard. Since the bike is so unstable while loaded, I had to unload the beer to fiddle with the chain. Then I had nowhere to lock/lean the damn thing without leaving my two cases of beer on a sketchy street corner--no thank you! So I had to load both cases onto the drive side (still difficult because the bike will spin around and fall onto the non-drive side) and walk the bike the 3 blocks home. It took a good 10 minutes to do this without having the bike and beer fall on top of me. At this point, the kickstand is making this bike useless, even dangerous for me to try to haul anything. What good is a cargo bike if you can't even haul beer?!

    We NEED a double kickstand on this thing. A mechanic at our LBS has a 2008 Ute as well, and he has been working on a double kickstand solution for us and a few other folks who bought these bikes without realizing what a horrible design flaw the kickstand really is. But until then, I don't think this bike is going to get much use. Sorry, just had to rant.
    www.carfreephilly.com: a blog about going car-free in the City of Brotherly Love

    2008 Brompton S2L | 2010 Trek Bellevillle | 2008 Kona Ute | 1971 Raleigh Twenty

  9. #9
    One Man Fast Brick hubcap's Avatar
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    Excellent update Philly. I cringe at your description and agree that any real cargo bike needs a double stand. I don't yet have one on my Mundo, but I will soon.

  10. #10
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    What's Kona say about this? Clearly, they knew the screwed up. Have you called them and asked?

  11. #11
    Gear Hub fan
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    http://www.velo-orange.com/podolegki.html

    I am not familiar with the Kona frame but wil the above stand mount on it ok? It can clamp to the chain stays behind the bottom bracket or mount on a European style stand mounting plate in the same position.

    I just installed one on my Swobo Dixon and while not perfect it is the most stable center stand I have tried other than the Xtracycle & Big Dummy specific Kickback or Rolling Jackass stands. It does need a good application of grease to the leg pivots and cams at the time of installation and a few operation cycles to spread the lube for smoothest operation. When deployed the legs are about 11 inches apart from tip to tip.
    Gear Hubs Owned: Rohloff disc brake, SRAM iM9 disc brake, SRAM P5 freewheel, Sachs Torpedo 3 speed freewheel, NuVinci CVT, Shimano Alfine SG S-501, Sturmey Archer S5-2 Alloy. Other: 83 Colnago Super Record, Univega Via De Oro

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  12. #12
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    Kona Ute Stability

    Based on photos it appears to me like the Ute and the new Trek Fisher cargo bike have the panniers too far to the rear in relation to the rear axle. Well over half the panniers extend well beyond the rear axle point. Unless you are very careful during loading to minimize the weight in the rear of the panniers. the load will tend to lighten the front end of the bike excessively. I noted this when using shopping panniers on a normal wheelbase length bike prior to getting my Big Dummy.

    Both bikes are designed as "Semi Longtail" bikes which compromizes their functionality compared to a xtracycle, Big Dummy or Yuba Mundo when it comes to cargo hauling. Even on my Big Dummy I try to load it with the heavier bags ahead of the rear wheel axle for best handling characteristics.
    Gear Hubs Owned: Rohloff disc brake, SRAM iM9 disc brake, SRAM P5 freewheel, Sachs Torpedo 3 speed freewheel, NuVinci CVT, Shimano Alfine SG S-501, Sturmey Archer S5-2 Alloy. Other: 83 Colnago Super Record, Univega Via De Oro

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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by tatfiend View Post
    Based on photos it appears to me like the Ute and the new Trek Fisher cargo bike have the panniers too far to the rear in relation to the rear axle. Well over half the panniers extend well beyond the rear axle point.
    The Ute I had didn't have the extra long bags but normal sized big bags that can hold a grocery bag or case of beer. I had them mounted as far forward as possible. The handling issue I perceived wasn't a function of rear weight too far aft.

  14. #14
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    Way to much whinning and *****in' about the UTE. It is a mid-size cargo bike - plan and simple. Also a very good touring bike with a modified handlebar, seatpost, and front rack. Load the weight on the front and enjoy the ride. As for the kickstand, I have the "green-painted" model, and have never had the bike fall over during loading of 8 bags of groceries; or a bottle of Bombay and two six-packs of Bear Republic, or a bunch of vegie starts from the nursery. Common sense helps.

  15. #15
    urban commuter
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    Quote Originally Posted by mR"bAdeXaMplE View Post
    Way to much whinning and *****in' about the UTE. It is a mid-size cargo bike - plan and simple. Also a very good touring bike with a modified handlebar, seatpost, and front rack. Load the weight on the front and enjoy the ride. As for the kickstand, I have the "green-painted" model, and have never had the bike fall over during loading of 8 bags of groceries; or a bottle of Bombay and two six-packs of Bear Republic, or a bunch of vegie starts from the nursery. Common sense helps.
    Wow, thanks for this super helpful comment. I guess I and every person who bought this bike from the LBS (and the guy who works there and owns the '08 model) just don't have the "common sense" to keep the bike upright with the useless stock kickstand. The bike is rated for a couple of hundred pounds. It shouldn't tip over while loading 2 cases of beer.

    Tatfiend, I don't think the problem is where the panniers are located. The Ute does an excellent job carrying weight once I'm riding it. I love the ride. It's loading and unloading that are a problem for me. Unfortunately, the single stand is integrated into the frame.
    www.carfreephilly.com: a blog about going car-free in the City of Brotherly Love

    2008 Brompton S2L | 2010 Trek Bellevillle | 2008 Kona Ute | 1971 Raleigh Twenty

  16. #16
    Senior Member travelmama's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by phillyskyline View Post
    Wow, thanks for this super helpful comment. I guess I and every person who bought this bike from the LBS (and the guy who works there and owns the '08 model) just don't have the "common sense" to keep the bike upright with the useless stock kickstand. The bike is rated for a couple of hundred pounds. It shouldn't tip over while loading 2 cases of beer.
    Yes and thank you! Mr. 4 Posts- If there was not a stability issue with the '08 Ute, why was the '09 equipped with a different kickstand? It would have been nice had Kona used "common sense" from jump street before putting the bike out on the market.
    Two Wheels One Love

  17. #17
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    Hey TMama, thanks for noticing my 4 posts - got 918 better things to do with my time. As for Mr. Philly: Yea, try loading two hundred pounds on a UTE. The spokes will go before your bike tips over. You can't work the kickstand, buy a better one...duh! Case-in-point: The stock handlebar is a mess. Puts your wrists at a very ackward angle. Solution: An On One Mary bar; great angle for pulling or pushing. This bike is not a mule, wasn't intended to be a big-loader. Get a BD or a funky extracyle kit if you have lottsa pounds to pull. What we have in common is a desire to use a bike for errands and such, that a normal-sized bike could never achieve.

  18. #18
    urban commuter
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    I'm glad you like your Ute so much. Congrats to you.

    I'm talking about 2 cases of canned beer that weigh maybe 50lbs combined. The bike tried to tip over with the two cases (even in size and weight) loaded onto 2 panniers, one on each side of the bike.

    The kickstand was obviously an afterthought, and it's a shame. As mentioned earlier in this thread, there is no easy way to add on another kickstand due to the stock stand's placement and the fact that it's built into the frame. It makes it much less useful for me, and if we can't find a fix for the kickstand issue, we will likely sell it.

    Also, I'm not a dude.
    www.carfreephilly.com: a blog about going car-free in the City of Brotherly Love

    2008 Brompton S2L | 2010 Trek Bellevillle | 2008 Kona Ute | 1971 Raleigh Twenty

  19. #19
    Junior Member Hoplon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by phillyskyline View Post
    The kickstand was obviously an afterthought, and it's a shame. As mentioned earlier in this thread, there is no easy way to add on another kickstand due to the stock stand's placement and the fact that it's built into the frame.
    Maybe you can find something like this for the larger 700c wheels. Or maybe this.

  20. #20
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    I have a 2009 Ute. The only stability issue I have encountered is if I have a load that is particularly heavy in the rear, keeping the front end stable is a trick when walking the bike and getting on/off it. However, I have an Xtracycle Pea Pod seat mounted as far forward as possible for my two year-old, and her weight generally off-sets most of this. It becomes more of an issue if my 7 year-old is riding on the rack behind her, but that is due more to his inability to sit still than an inherent flaw in the bike.

    This bike, for my purpose, is great for getting around town quickly and enables me to carry my two children and load of groceries without much trouble. That said, we are getting a Mundo for serious cargo hauling next month.

  21. #21
    urban commuter
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    The guy from the LBS who was working on a fix for his 2008 Ute kickstand said he couldn't get it stable enough and is thinking about drilling into the frame to make it work. So...there goes that idea.

    I've been enjoying the Ute as a commuter bike for days when I need to haul a bit extra to/from the office, or pick up groceries on the way home. As long as I have somewhere to lock it up or lean it while I load and unload, it's a pleasant ride. I'm still salty about the kickstand, but what can you do.
    www.carfreephilly.com: a blog about going car-free in the City of Brotherly Love

    2008 Brompton S2L | 2010 Trek Bellevillle | 2008 Kona Ute | 1971 Raleigh Twenty

  22. #22
    xtrajack xtrajack's Avatar
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    I am of the opinion that any bike intended to haul any significant weight, should be equipped with a dual leg kickstand. I actually installed bar ends on my kickback stand to widen the foot print of the stand. My Xtracycle hasn't fallen over during loading or unloading yet. As always, YMMV.

    Edit:
    When I was looking for a cargo bike, the Kona Ute wasn't on my radar screen, I have been very happy with my X. Gotta luv serendipity.
    Last edited by xtrajack; 09-27-10 at 02:29 PM.
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  23. #23
    Senior Member crazybikerchick's Avatar
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    Hi - we are considering purchasing a second hand Ute that is available for an excellent price to use as a cargo bike. Would probably rather have a Big Dummy with Xtracycle but price is good.

    Wondering about a couple things - first ths is the 2008 model with single kickstand.

    1. Can you mount a Pletscher double kickstand on it or are there mounting point issues?
    2. Is there anything like wideloaders that is compatible with the Ute?

  24. #24
    Senior Member travelmama's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by crazybikerchick View Post
    Hi - we are considering purchasing a second hand Ute that is available for an excellent price to use as a cargo bike. Would probably rather have a Big Dummy with Xtracycle but price is good.

    Wondering about a couple things - first ths is the 2008 model with single kickstand.

    1. Can you mount a Pletscher double kickstand on it or are there mounting point issues?
    2. Is there anything like wideloaders that is compatible with the Ute?
    1. No
    2. No. Some years ago a woman who had a Ute flexed a PVC rod between the rack and was able to hook several smaller panniers on it.
    Two Wheels One Love

  25. #25
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    Yesterday I put my 2008 Kona Ute up for sale on Craigslist for cheap. Last night, I fixed a flat I'd left long ago (November, last time I rode it) and took the bike for a spin to be sure everything was working properly so people could come take a look today. Well...now I'm having second thoughts! I'd forgotten what a nice, smooth ride it is. I used to ride the Ute every time it rained because of the disk brake, upright position, and visibility on the road. When I was done with my ride, I picked it up and carried it into my front porch. (Say what you will about the aluminum frame, but you can't keep a Big Dummy or Mundo in the city without a locking garage or shed, 'cause those aren't going upstairs.) I decided to ride it to work today and see if I had a change of heart. Again, I enjoyed my ride a lot.

    I'm really torn. If it weren't for that darned single kickstand and resulting balance issue, I wouldn't even dream of selling it.

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