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Kona Smoke Review

by Richard Masoner

Overview:
Kona is a bike company that made its name in creating bomb-proof bikes for freeriding, DH, XC, Dirt Jumping, Cyclocross and Road. Kona is also a company that gives back to the MTB community by being a heavy trails advocate and a proud supporter of IMBA.
Disclaimer:
As a product reviewer for the Crooked Cog Network, I am providing my unbiased opinion of any products provided to us by any company. I do not posses any type of relationship with the products company or parent companies. I am not compensated in any way by companies that send in their goods to be reviewed.
My background:
I am 5?7?, 155 lbs. I ride a Giant TCR for road, an Intense Uzzi for trails, a Specialized FSR XC for MTB racing and I ride the Kona Smoke for my commute. I am avid cyclist that enjoys all sort of riding. I am also a bike commuter traveling 30 miles round trip.
Testing Grounds:
The mean streets of L.A. and the San Gabriel River Trail.
Product Tested:
The Kona Smoke. The beater bike that isn

First Impressions and Comments:
My first impression was what a bitchin looking bike. Then I frowned at the Grip Shift system (the first Grip Shift system I used was from a Wally World Bike). Once in the road, I was extremely surprised how smooth and precise the shifting was, it kind of remind me of the Ultegra shifting on my road bike. The bike also felt very agile and nimble.
Options:
What you see is what you get.
Strengths:
Bitchin looking bike.
Bomb-proof (it’s a Kona)
Reasonably priced.
Fenders.
Weaknesses:
Bike doesn’t come with lights or a rear rack. After all, it is a commuter bike.
Grips are not too comfortable
Summary:
I love commuting on this bike. I am actually digging the grip shift system. I have installed a rear rack and a handlebar bag for maximum loading capacity. I switched to a clipless/platform combination pedal for more pedaling power. I also like its uniqueness, and at around 300 bucks, I considered it a bargain.
Related Links:
www.konaworld.com

 
The Chariot Summer Sale - 2013

20 Responses to “Kona Smoke Review”

  1. Cyrus says:

    Hi, Just read your review. I came across a store selling Kona’s and I’m considering buying the Smoke. I’ve been looking at something like the Specialized Crossroads.

    I have two questions: I live near a park and want to use it there. How would the Smoke with current tires handle on Grass or and easy trail. Also, I’ve noticed Kona’s have a frame with a lower center of gravity, how deos that affect your riding?

    Thanks,
    Cyrus

  2. The Bike Geek » Kona Smoke Review says:

    [...] ;ve recently purchased a Kona Smoke to commute to work. Click here to read the review. Permalink [...]

  3. Colin says:

    Hi just read your review of the smoke and found it very interesting.

    i am also 5’7 and was wondering which frame size you purchased.

    Also how do you think the bike would handle trails and tow paths.

  4. [...] iers to try out. I had Moe, The Bike Geek mount them on his [...]

  5. me says:

    I love my Smoke, although the top gear is not nearly fast enough for me. 24 speeds and I can hit the top one on a flat with hardly any effort?

    Otherwise a fine bike at a good price.

  6. Moe says:

    Hello Me. I’ve just got an KHS Urban X to test. The Urban X comes with a 44T at the front, which means you are faster on the flats! Check out my first impression of the Urban X, the style and the price are very similar to the Smoke.

  7. Sarah says:

    Hi – thanks for your review – I am considering buying the smoke – I am 5’6″ and weigh about 150lbs – not sure what size I should order – 18″ is what I am thinking. Also, some of the places I commute to require that I carry the bike up some stairs – is it heavy?

  8. Moe says:

    Hello Sarah, I’m 5’7 and the 18″ frame suits me fine. I tested the 16″ and it felt really small and somewhat cramped. As far as weight goes, you should be ok carrying it up some stairs, its no lightweight, but its not pig either.

  9. MC says:

    I bought the Kona Smoke a little over a year ago and it has been a great bike! I ride it everywhere, and haven’t had any real problems except that the grips slide off a little and I just replaced one grip shifter for $20. The fenders are my favorite!

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  11. Ben says:

    I ride a similar bike: my wife’s old mountain bike with freddy fenders and slick tires and the kona pedals. It rocks when the weather gets bad. The fenders keep road salt and mud out of my teeth and the big platform pedals even let me wear winter boots on the bike. Warm feet= happy commuter! Grip shift would probably be easier to use with mitts than my triggers, too. If I was looking to buy something new for the same purpose, the Smoke would be it.

  12. Shirley says:

    I just got a Kona Smoke two days ago. Rode it all day Saturday and to work this morning. I’m very happy with it.

    When you read any of the Kona Smoke specs, they allways mention “Mudflap Fenders & Mystery Horn”

    Does anyone know what the Mystery Horn is? I assumed there was a horn I could toot in traffic?

  13. Michael Chass says:

    I got mine with with an CUTE horn…

  14. Spencer Ogden says:

    It sure seems like the Kona Smoke is one of the most suitable commuter bikes out there, especially for the money. How worried should I be about the lack of a full chain guard? Should I just give up on the idea of commuting in my work clothes?

  15. Capt Tobasco says:

    Hi I got my Smoke about a month ago and I love it!!
    Its good on the roads and stays sure footed even in the wet.
    I most love cruising Southsea (UK) sea front on it as day brakes
    Ain’t life sweet!!

  16. William Tweedy says:

    I am undecided as to which bike is the better buy. The two bikes are the Kona Smoke and the KHS Urban X. I ride medium to flat topography.
    I’ll do some night riding, but mostly touring and small grocery shopping trips.

  17. Ted says:

    Bought my Smoke in 2006; use it to commute 6 miles each way. Ride to work is gradual uphill the entire way; can practically coast home. Bike is rugged, durable, and reliable. Outfitted with the usual back strobe, rack, and commuter tires. Great commuter bike!

  18. Sara says:

    I bought a 2006 Kona Smoke in early 2007 when they were getting rid of the old models. I love it! I’ve ridden it through pretty much everything and it has never skiped a beat. I also added a rack on the back and ended up switching the horn to a more traditional bell; joggers, etc listening to ipods paid me absolutely no attention when I squeaked the “mystery horn.” Also, I’m only 5’4″ female and the 18 inch frame has actually worked really well for me. All in all, a great bike.

  19. Haily says:

    Hi, i’m looking into buying a used 2008 kona smoke for my husband who is about 185-190lbs & 6’1….what size should I get him?

  20. [...] or what to look for, but JR said it’s a good brand at least, and a quick Google shows one or two people much more knowledgeable and hard-core bike commuter than me like it too, so I’m [...]

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