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.
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.
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.