Urban Velo

My very own Kona Ute

Since I first spied a Kona Ute, I knew I wanted one. Long bikes make sense, and the Ute hit my spending and actual use range pretty well. Finally last week my own personal Ute arrived, months after the search began. This coincided nicely with our low-key release party here at UVHQ giving a perfect excuse to load this bike up and go.

As compared to the pre-production specs cited in the above linked post, the Ute has had some changes. The 700c wheels and big Continental tires are welcome and fast rolling, and it looks like the frame and fork has clearance for some pretty big 29″ tires if you’re so inclined. My scale says 38lbs for the complete bike, lighter than quoted for the first time ever in bicycle history.

The frame is available in one size, hopefully to fit most. That’s not me, as the top tube is about two sizes too short as far as I’m concerned. I swapped the stem out for a 120mm I had around, and the swept back stock bars are next to go to further stretch the cockpit out and move my weight forward over the front wheel for steering stability. The basket is a Wald model, with some beer can shimmed passenger bars out back. Otherwise what you see is what you get for the $799 MSRP.

Beer! Speaking of beer can shims, the release of issue #8 was a proper time to restock the collection. That’s four thirty packs of award winning beer you see there, along with the chairs for the impromptu backyard movie showing. Eventually the beer had the best of us, the neighbor came over, and we ended up watching Slapshot at 1AM. Best left at that.

The Ute handled the moves well enough. The chairs weren’t too bad and the beer pretty well handled as expected, which was terribly. Pretty top heavy when loaded as shown, I hope to figure out some sort of way to load the sides of the Ute frame which looks to be a custom job as there is nothing on the market specifically made to fit this frame. Later in the week after loading up the Ute with 300lbs+ of paper and unceremoniously dumping the load in the center of a busy city street my desire to load the weight lower on the sides for stability was affirmed yet again. As this spy shot of the ’09 model shows, Kona seems to be hep to the jive, with some much larger side bags coming soon. 2009 Kona Ute

As time goes on we’ll have some follow-ups on the Ute. There is a whole new world of possibilities available with a long bike at our disposal.

19 Comments

  1. tim zJuly 23, 2008 at 8:06 am

    i bet you could carry a few more 30 packs. lets try…

  2. d*powJuly 23, 2008 at 9:03 am

    wow, 4 30 packs? you could single handedly save a party with that load!

  3. DaCuzzJuly 23, 2008 at 12:27 pm

    Did you drain all the 30-packs??? Sick rig – the 09 looks rad too!

  4. gilJuly 23, 2008 at 3:21 pm

    Deluxe PBR hauling! Epic!!!

  5. jimmyJuly 23, 2008 at 9:43 pm

    let’s see… 8 chairs divided by 120 beers = 15 beers each. seems about right

  6. JeffJuly 25, 2008 at 8:32 am

    The Big Dummy obviously has more options at this point, but it’s so hard to argue with the price tag on the UTE! The $799 price tag seems more inline with the actual usage the bike would get in my fleet.

  7. gwadzillaJuly 25, 2008 at 10:02 am

    there was a point where it did not seem like the market would support both the Xtracycle and the UTE
    but
    with soaring gas prices the Xtracycle is back ordered
    and there is room for all the options
    there should be options

    people like options!

    a friend of mine just wrote an article for SALON about his life changing Xtracycle Experience

    http://gwadzilla.blogspot.com/search?q=xtracycle

    I admit

    I WANT ONE!

  8. siouxgeonzJuly 25, 2008 at 2:54 pm

    Glad that you have been dragged over the line :) Now take the next step. Start that special jar for the funds :)

    I remember thinking “Well, the Xtracycle won’t change my life – I’m already there.” R.O.N.G.

    Make it happen!

  9. KevinAugust 1, 2008 at 10:27 am

    Other than the problem of carrying the load too high, did the Ute seem to handle the 300 lbs of paper OK? Did that much weight seem to overly stress the frame?

    thanks

    Kevin

  10. bradAugust 14, 2008 at 9:05 pmAuthor

    The bike has seem some more use, and it definitely has some flex going on when I have it really loaded down. I’d even say speed wobbles. I have not managed to get nor rig up low, side loading bags yet but I suspect it will help with the handling.

  11. NickAugust 24, 2008 at 1:49 am

    I have tried them at the bike shop that I work at. I remember reading about the prototype being 26″ wheels with a steel frame, and I have to say I was disappointed in the 29′er wheels and the frame (Aluminum). I really don’t want a cyclocross style wheel on a cargo bike. 26″ or even 24″ wheels offer superior handling with a large load. Having such tall wheels, might have contributed to you dumping your load on the street. I must admit, that I hate aluminum frames. Steel has the track record and longevity. I also thought the plastic board on top of the rack was kind of aesthetically sterile/cheap compared to a nice wood board.

    The Big Dummy is way more expensive, but is way better designed. I guess the Cargo Bike market so far is you get what you pay for.

    I also wanted to mention that I delivered Time Out Chicago for almost 3 years using a Mountain Mixte from the early 80′s hauling custom built trailers made from scrap.

    My largest loads were 22 boxes of printed Magazines weighing somewhere between 350 – 450 pounds depending on page count.

    I just moved a couch 7 miles with a bike trailer 2 weeks ago.

    Good luck with the Ute

    (a sidenote – I’m buying a Kona 88 cruiser)

  12. bobAugust 28, 2008 at 10:56 am

    Nick,

    “The Big Dummy is way more expensive, but is way better designed.”

    You know, from what I have seen of the two frames, there is not much difference in the designs except for the Surly’s Xtracycle mounting points.

    Aesthetically the Kona wins hands down. Though the rack system based on the Xtracycle IS really modular and reconfigurable.

  13. MiguelSeptember 4, 2008 at 1:52 pm

    where can I buy that little rear handlebar?

    thanks!

  14. bradSeptember 4, 2008 at 3:03 pmAuthor

    Miguel – Nowhere in particular. It is simply an old mountain riser bar I had laying around that I cut down. The stem is a cheap adjustable one from a hybrid bicycle that I shimmed with a beer can to fit the seatpost.

  15. bertJune 17, 2009 at 3:55 pm

    Nice beer wagon

  16. JeffJune 17, 2009 at 4:01 pm

    Best dam bike I ever ridden

  17. lucasDecember 9, 2009 at 8:16 pm

    me encantan estas bicicletas!!!
    quien fue el ídolo que creo esto, lo felicito!

  18. mikeAugust 9, 2011 at 9:25 pm

    wow, i just got the ute and i have to say i feel realy good about the buy awesome !

  19. mikeAugust 9, 2011 at 9:27 pm

    you are the shit and yes im talking about the ute

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