Kona Sutra 2013 Touring Bike: First Look

Kona have just announced their bike line-up for the 2013 season. While I don’t usually post on product launches, Kona have supported my adventures for half a decade, and last week they reminded me why I’m glad to be working with them (aside from getting to ride their bikes for free).

I wrote a detailed review of the 2012 Sutra touring bike after riding it from Vancouver to San Francisco in the spring. In the review, I pointed out a couple of big improvements I’d like to see made to this very capable long-term expedition tourer. Several other owners echoed these sentiments in the comments, and I sent the feedback to Kona’s designers in BC, Canada.

2013 Kona Sutra

So here it is — the 2013 Sutra, rebuilt as we requested. The big one, wider-ranged gearing — check. Rubber fender-extenders front and rear, also as requested — check. More robust grip tape, certainly needed in retrospect — check.

Same superb frameset and wheelset — check. Same confidence-inspiring ride quality and luggage-hauling capabilities — check. If only more companies would take pride in listening to their customers instead of telling them what they want.

There are now 4 Konas floating around in my posession — the Sutra dedicated tourer, the Explosif expedition bike, another Explosif rebuilt as a city singlespeed, and a steel Honky Tonk for dashing around the countryside on. I’ll remain a happy patron as long as Kona keep building bikes for riders rather than posers. Chapeau…

The best 2013 Sutra deal I can find is from Cyclelane.co.uk, who are currently knocking 20% off the RRP.

85 Responses to “Kona Sutra 2013 Touring Bike: First Look”

  1. trevor

    the bike above has no pedals!!!! check!!! :P

    Reply
  2. Dan Williams

    Arrggg… conflicting… must resist replacing my 2012 model.

    I think Ill look into the cheaper option of adding rubber fenders.

    The 26T is a good change and Ill have to look into doing it myself.

    Reply
    • Tom

      Yes, it’s an easy modification to make. I put a 24t on mine. It wasn’t a full crankset replacement — I just took the cranks off and swapped the granny ring out. There’s details and a link in the 2012 Sutra review.

      TravellingTwo sent out some pictures of home-made rubber fenders:

      http://www.flickr.com/photos/travelling_two/7661807266/in/photostream

      Reply
      • tim

        Have just bought 2012 Sutra on special deal and note your comments about changing granny ring to 24t. However my LBS says I cant change just the one ring because there is a 20t range limit between the 3 rings on this set up. Is he wrong ?

        Reply
        • Tom Allen

          I’ve fitted a 24T without the slightest of issues, regardless of whether it’s ‘best practice’ or not. So yes, he is wrong. Show him this photo if you like ;)

          Reply
    • Yahya Afrikanus

      26T Yeah…:)

      Reply
  3. Slim

    Lovely bike but too expensive for now :(.

    Reply
  4. Daniel

    Just ordered a 2013 Kona as my first touring bike. Really looking forward to taking it on my first week long tour! Do you guys bother putting kickstands on your touring bikes? If so, what kind of kickstand do you use?

    Reply
    • Tom

      Hi Daniel — I haven’t put a kickstand on my bike, I usually just lean it up somewhere or lie it on the ground if there’s nothing vertical. People to use them, but you’ll need something a lot stronger than the traditional kind, because of all the extra weight and the different centre of gravity of a touring bike. Unfortunately I can’t help much with that, as I’ve never used them, but Google brings up a few ideas when searching for “touring bicycle kickstand”.

      Reply
      • Daniel

        Good point Tom. I wouldn’t bother with a kickstand either if I’m touring and have bags to cushion between the bike and a metal pole I might lock it too. However when I use it for commuting I’ll have to be real careful to not let the metal poles scratch and chip the frame.

        One good tip I saw was to buy a velcro loop and loop it around the front tire and frame so when you are locked up your tire won’t turn and cause your bike to fall to the ground and get scratched up.

        Reply
        • Dave Charlesworth

          Hi, I have a 2010 Sutra, love it! As far as stands go, it’s taken me 2 years but I have finally discovered clickstand, check out the website. It really does a good job of supporting a fully loaded bike, ordered from USA , came in about 4 days, chuffed!

          Reply
        • Long Rider

          I solved the kickstand problem decades ago. Tie a loop at each end of 1/8th inch bungee chord, and another 2″ loop in the middle. Roll the back wheel so the valve stem is facing forward, and then lift the front wheel so its stem is facing back towards the back wheel’s. Slip the center bungee loop over the back stem, and the 2 end loops over the front stem. The bungee will hold the front wheel straight, and prevent the bike from rolling. It weights almost nothing, and is easily tucked into a jersey pocket, Bento box, or wrapped around your wrist. Indispensable for wrenching, on the road, or at home too.

          Reply
    • Ramona

      Sorry this is a bit of a late reply — but just in case… My husband and I have the double kickstands available through Rivendell for $40 (http://www.rivbike.com/category-s/335.htm). We are not in any way light weight tourers and don’t care one way or the other about that. I don’t mind leaning the bike or lying it down, but a fully loaded bike is heavy and loves to fall and stay down, so picking it up again is not that nice. Having a kickstand has been incredible — convenient, steady, simple — and I dare say that most touring cyclists we come across who see our bikes propped up on them admire them, as they search for something to lean up against. Not for everyone, I’m sure, but I have no complaints about mine.

      Reply
  5. Doug M.

    One thing I haven’t liked about Kona’s unicrown fork on the Sutra (I think it’s also sold as the P2 cross disc fork) is the really tight clearance above the tire. It makes it hard to have a nice large-volume tire (38–45 mm) along with fenders. Might not be a concern for all, but it would be nice to have the extra clearance.

    Reply
    • Tom

      I would agree with the statement that there isn’t much clearance for large-volume tyres, as is the case with most road-oriented tourers. I’ve removed the front fender in order to fit 38C Marathon Mondials for my next trip, and I consider that a fairly small sacrifice to create the extra clearance. I may fit a down-tube fender in lieu of that — not yet sure.

      Reply
      • fotochap

        Looks good!

        To solve the front mudguard clearance issue on my 2008 Sutra, I ended up hacksawing off the part of the front mudguard that extends under the fork and about 10cm over the tyre. It meant I could shift the whole guard up a little bit and fit my 700c x 38 Marathon Pluses, which was a necessity because at the time I was commuting via Peckham, whose pockmarked streets were not agreeing with the stock Contact tyres supplied with the bike.

        Reply
        • Tom

          Good idea! I can vouch for Peckham being surpassed only by Outer Mongolia in terms of awful road surfaces :)

          Reply
  6. Yahya Afrikanus

    If you work for Kona, or rep their bikes you should really tells us. What’s up with the fork braze ons on the 2012 Sutras: some have two pair, some have one pair. Even the kona site 2012 Sutra has one pair and clamps to secure the rack: what gives? The frame is genius and I will purchase. I wish I did not have to wait for the 2013 model.

    Reply
    • Tom

      Hi Yahya

      The first line of this article reads “While I don’t usually post on product launches, Kona have supported my adventures for half a decade, and last week they reminded me why I’m glad to be working with them (aside from getting to ride their bikes for free).”

      Hope that clears that one up…

      I can’t speak for any 2012 Sutra except my own, which has two bolt-holes in each fork leg and two braze-ons at the bottom. The stock rack fits securely like this. The bolt holes could also be used for bottle cages if a front rack was unnecessary. I haven’t tried fitting any other model of front rack myself.

      Hope that helps!

      Tom

      Reply
    • Daniel

      My 2013 kona sutra has the 2 sets of braze ons. . the odd thing was that the guy at the bike shop used metal clamps to secure the front rack instead of the braze ons. . I guess he couldn’t figure out how to match them up to the rack? Anyhow I took off his clamps and used the braze ons to secure the lower part of the rack. After seeing it installed that way in some tourers photos.

      Reply
      • Tom

        Some might say that a bolted clamp should be stronger than a brazed-on fitting…?

        Reply
        • graham

          When I picked up my 2013 Sutra from my LBS they had also installed front rack with metal hose clamps. I thought it might be due to the change in brake configuration from the 2012 sutra (which my gf owned). Seemed a bit funny though that it wouldn’t all jive. great blog, cheers!

          Reply
  7. John/Denmark

    Hi Tom

    Thanks for a very good site.

    I have the 2012 Sutra, and did some changes a FSA crank 46/32/22, adjustable stem, brooks B-17 etc. I can see Kona have done some of these changes, witch is great for new buyers. But why did they change the brakes Avid BB7 with Hayes? I think the Avid brakes re great and haven’t read much good about Hayes?

    Reply
    • Tom Allen

      That’s a good question. I hadn’t noticed the brake swap. I guess time will tell…

      Reply
      • John/Denmark

        Has time been given you any experiences with the new brakes?

        Reply
        • Tom Allen

          I don’t have a 2013 model to test long-term, but my 2012 brakes are still running perfectly. Hopefully another rider will post on the 2013 brakes, though I don’t anticipate issues — it’s all tried and tested gear.

          Reply
  8. Mike

    Picke up my new 2013 Sutra yeaterday. The ride hame was a joy. Will update as time goes by.

    Reply
  9. stewnewtotouring

    Hi Tom,
    As my tag suggests, I am new to touring, just having completed my first 115 miler in a day. I have been looking for a tourer and fancy the Sutra, partially because there are some very good deals available. I notice the 2012 model has attachments for cantilever brakes as well as the BB7 discs. It seems from the Kona photograph that the 2013 doesn’t have these extra attachments. Am I correct? If it doesn’t, that would be a shame, especially as the Hayes brakes are an unknown quantity to me and I would like to keep the cantilever option, just in case.….

    Reply
  10. Jerry

    Last summer I purchased a 2012 Kona Surtra for my first ever long tour — a six week, 2000 mile ride through the northern Rockies. I did swapout the gearing to a 50–39-30 front and 1–32, 9 speed reaer cassette which I found to be more than adequate for mounatain passess — and there were a lot of them. I also installed Schwalbe Marathon 700x32 tires which were incredible. I didn’t have a single flat in 2000 miles and I rode through a lot of broken glass and gravel roads.. With those changes, I couldn’t be happier with the bike. The only other change I might make is to install a Brooks saddle but I did get along fine with the WTB one that came with the bike. Maybe next year. At 1500 miles I had a minor tune up on the brakes and derailer done for $18.00. That was it for mechanical concerns. I’d highly recommend this bike if you’re considering taking a long tour. It’s reliable and stable even when fully loaded with 35–40 lbs of gear even at high speeds.

    Reply
  11. Bob Stockdale

    Hello Tom, after a lot of time looking at touring bikes, I’ve just bought a 2013 Kona Sutra from Evans. One thing I think would be an improvement would be schrader valves, instead of presta.

    regards Bob

    Reply
  12. Mark

    Hi Tom,

    I’ve read through your review of the Sutra and it’s provided alot of good information. However, I’m still confused about maximum tire clearance on the 2012 model. Can you comment on the max tire size without fenders? Thanks.

    Reply
  13. Peter

    2012 on sale for $1100 or 2013 model for $1499. Suggestions?

    Reply
    • Tom Allen

      Save $400! :)

      Reply
      • Peter

        Thanks, I am leaning that way. Only reservation at this point is the overall weight of the bike, it seems daunting to travel long distances on this beast when I am used to a much lighter (and on paper at least), faster bike.

        Reply
        • Tom Allen

          I can understand your point. But remember that adding luggage makes a fast & light bike slow & heavy too :) so you might as well be riding one that’s designed for it, rather than a roadster that’ll flex all over the place!

          Reply
          • Peter

            Thanks again, I purchased the 2012 model today and based my decision in part on your review and advice. Now i am hoping the snow melts and my lungs and legs can be put to good use.

  14. David

    I just bought a 2012 Sutra and love the bike. Do wish it had lower gearing in the front like the 2013’s. But the one big, yet minor, complaint I have concerns the front rack. There is a big flat bar across the top making it impossible to fit the ubiquitous Ortlieb Front Rollers without finding equipment to drill a hole in the bar, which I unfortunately do not have. The other option is to buy a new rack, but that, I have found, is difficult to find reasonably priced. Other than the gearing and front rack, a great bike!

    Reply
  15. Martin

    Nice post ! I actually thinking about buying a Kona Sutra 2013, but in one shop I can have the 2012 with 20% discount. My question is, is the improvement on the 2013 are worth the cost ?
    Thanks you.

    Reply
    • Tom Allen

      It’d be cheaper to simply buy a smaller inner chainring at the same time and have the shop swap it out — that’s my advice. The other improvements aren’t worth an extra 20%!

      Reply
      • Martin

        Thanks you a lot for the advice. Evancycles staff told me to go with the 2013 and the newer components :P. I’m not so rich, a nice discount is always welcome !

        Reply
  16. Jasmine

    I hear wonderful things about this bike and how heavy duty it is. But I am scared. Do you think it can carry me (245 lbs) plus all my gear (145lbs)?

    Reply
    • Tom Allen

      That’s what it’s designed for ;)

      What are you doing with 145lbs of gear, though?

      Reply
      • Shidee

        HI Tom, need some advise on choosing correct bicycle size, I am 5′ 11″ tall, if I want to purchase kona sutra what is the correct size. tq

        Reply
  17. Shidee

    I am from kuala lumpur Malaysia, my friend and I plan to ride to Thailand & Cambodia(Angkor Wat) end of this year however still at planning stage.

    Reply
  18. Petr

    Great reviews! Any suggestion regarding the size? I am 190cm tall, with an inseam of 89cm. Should I get the 59cm or 61cm frame? If I got the 61cm frame and it felt too large, would a shorter stem do the trick?

    Reply
    • Petr

      Upon assurance from CRC that they will change the bike for a different size, should the fit be wrong, I pushed the button and went for the discounted 2012 model in size 61. I will comment on the fit soon.

      Reply
      • Tom Allen

        Great — do let us know about your sizing experience — it’s probably the trickiest thing about ordering a bike online.

        Reply
  19. ThaiRay

    I have today acquired a 2013 Model for £999 and they done 0% from http://www.singletrackbikes.co.uk/

    Reply
  20. chris

    i have looked at the crc web site and they only have 53cm and 59 cm in .which size would suit me if any . i am 5ft 10 in and 31 inch inside leg.just one last thing is this bike better than a ultra galaxy (cost alot more)

    Reply
    • ThaiRay

      I am 5.10 or 180 cm and theres plenty of adjustment on my 59

      Reply
    • Tom Allen

      The 56cm is probably going to be the best choice for your measurements, regardless of price/availability. If you must choose, I’d probably go for the 53cm. I’m 5’11″ and the 59cm is too long for me. Hope that helps…

      Reply
  21. ThaiRay

    Guys, I have a 2013 Sutra but it has a BLACK front fork, any ideas why??

    Reply
    • Tom Allen

      Bike specs do vary slightly over time. Unless it’s a problem, I wouldn’t worry about it…

      Reply
  22. Petr

    Yesterday, I finally received the discounted 2012 Kona Sutra model (in size 61) from CRC. However, my size conundrum is nowhere near to resolution. As stated in my previous post, my measurements are: height — 190 cm (6 feet 2.8 inches), inseam — 89 cm (35 inches), and somewhat shorter arms (arms span — 184 cm (6 feet 0.44 inches) . Also, my shoe size is 54 (UK 10.5 / US 11). The advice I received prior to the purchase was evenly split between the sizes 59 and 61. As it appears, I am somewhere in-between. And this being my first bike equipped with drop bars doesn’t help either. The whole posture (understandably) feels different and odd. I think the bike is too long for me. But having said that, the TT and WB are identical to my hybrid bike. In fact, the geometry is almost identical (except for the height), and when I swapped the drop bars for a flat bar, the reach was absolutely spot on. And so is the height of the front (with the stem flipped to positive 6 degrees). The stand-over is perfect too. There is absolutely no toe overlap without the front fender in this size (61), and most likely none with the fender on (provided the fender closely follows the contour of the wheel). I like the roominess of the frame and as well as the geometry. So, there are good arguments for either size. In the end, I’ve decided to keep the bike in size 61. First of all, it may be that the feeling of being stretched and uncomfortable is simply due to my inexperience with the drop bars. Second, I may decide to ditch the drop bars (upon some trial period of let’s say 2 months), and equip the bike with a flat bar. In this case, the bike in size 59 would be definitely too small for me. And finally, since the stretch is my only perceived issue with the size, I can always rectify it by changing the stem for something shorter.

    Some words on the purchase and delivery from CRC. It took them 3 working days to dispatch my order. I was told this was due to a meticulous inspection of the bike prior to dispatching it (off to a customer — me). Fair enough. However, the very meticulous inspection failed to discover one scratch (about 1.5 cm) on the top tube, second scratch (about 5 cm) on the seat tube, and third scratch (1 cm) on the chainstay. Also, somebody forgot to lead the brake cable through the first cable guide on the down tube. So, now I don’t know whether the cable guide has some click mechanism, which would allow me to to open it, insert the cable, and click it back, or whether the cable must be disconnected from the rear brake, rewired through all the cable guides again, and connected back to the brake. Any advice? And finally, there is some strange noise coming from the BB7 rear brake, when I am free-spinning the wheel. I tried to adjust the brakes according to online manuals and videos, but I wasn’t successful. I am taking the bike to a bike shop tomorrow for some qualified advice. Provided there is nothing serious with the brakes, I will keep the bike in spite of the aforementioned issues. I don’t care so much about scratches, as all my bikes eventually end up banged up and scarred. But I will let CRC know about this and about not being overly happy with their service. The delivery by DHL took 7 days (no wonder since according to the tracking information, the bike was processed through 5 sorting facilities (!?!) over a 2,200 km long journey. The box the bike arrived in is absolutely humungous (190 x 110 cm). If it doesn’t sound like much on paper, just wait when you see it in person. While the box isn’t too heavy, the size makes it difficult to maneuver through tight spaces and/or carry it on a stairway. The bike was fully assembled (with exception of the drop-bars and the front fender).

    My first impression: This is a beautiful bike. The finish is gorgeous (it will show scratches though), the retro look is cool, and the proportions are very eye-pleasing. The whole thing looks and feels very solid. With one exception — that being the fenders. They totally let the bike down. They are very black, glossy, and plasticky! They look cheap, they are short, they have no flaps, and they rattle! I took them off and threw them away. I also took off the rear rack. It feels very solid and it looks good (made by Tubus), but for my purposes I need a steal rack. The front rack arrived in a plastic bag, and even though I didn’t even take it out, it’s quite obvious it doesn’t come up anywhere near the quality of the rear rack. I gifted them both to my family members. Also, CRC threw in a pair of plastic pedals (for people like myself, who forgot to order pedals on time), a small multi-tool, and a pedal wrench. That was a nice surprise. Well done, CRC! The bike weighs (in size 61 without pedals, the fenders and the racks) 13.2 kg (29.1 lbs). But as other also noticed, you don’t really notice the weight of the bike when moving it around. Perhaps it’s due to the low height of the bike and (thus) no need for lifting it high.

    Over all and so far, I am very pleased with the first impression. I will provide additional insight once I have solved the small issues and ridden the bike for some time.

    Reply
  23. Jason

    Hey Tom, Have you any tidbits of info for the 2014 machine yet?

    Reply
    • Jason

      I read somewhere that there would be no 2014 Sutra — but interest in their Rove model.

      Reply
    • Tom Allen

      I’ll see what I can conjure up…

      Reply
      • Jason

        Cheers Tom — I thought you might be able to get a definitive answer (and opinion) as an inside man!

        I’m close to hitting the button on the 2013 model but also not in any great rush if there is anything interesting ahead.

        Reply
        • Tom Allen

          I can confirm that a 2014 Sutra does indeed exist, with a couple of modifications which sound like they might well be worth waiting for. It’ll be announced at Eurobike and I’ll have more details then ;)

          Reply
  24. bigoldtester

    Hi Tom

    Thanks for all the insights. I’ve been (ab)using my Roberts winter training bike to tour on for over a decade – it’s a beautiful bike, but not ideal or especially comfortable for touring with panniers (steep frame angles, tight clearances etc etc).

    I looked into the Sutra for something more function specific at a reasonable price and it sounds like a great package, but having spotted the words ‘long-term expedition tourer’, my worry is that it may be a bit over-engineered for pootling along the lanes of Southern England and France, especially now I’m older and less inclined to beat myself up doing very long rides.

    Is the Sutra still a good bet for 4–500 mile tours on decent roads?

    Reply
    • Tom Allen

      It’s an ideal bike for any length of road tour, from long-term to a few days. It’s true, of course, that you could tour short-term on something cheaper, and that it is built to handle far more demanding trips. But at the end of the day it’s an all-round mid-range touring bike, and with due care any good bike will last in the long-term.

      Reply
      • BIGOLDTESTER

        Just back from 450 miles around Haut Provence, where the Sutra behaved impeccably. The few minor glitches were mostly down to personal preference, rather than any inherent fault with the bike.

        Things didn’t start off well. The front rack overhangs the fork drop outs, so the bike wont fit a ‘San Remo’ style (front wheel out) roof rack unless this is removed. This wasn’t a problem, as I use a bar bag rather than front panniers anyway.

        As a personal preference, I’d have liked a longer stem on the 59cm bike I had – my knees kept clipping the bar end levers when setting off. But I think I’ll replace the bar ends with STI’s anyway next time out. I’ve become so used to them now that I kept making phantom gear changes on the brake levers, even after a week!

        It’s a very nice, stable ride, especially descending, where the long wheelbase and disc brakes really give confidence (I’m a lousy descender and some descents were quite tricky). Going up was fine, the frame stiffness really helps and I didn’t need the inner ring, even on 12% sections. I thought I’d have difficulty adjusting to 32mm tyres (used to touring on 25s) but barely noticed the difference in ride – except that they are bomb proof.

        Probably the best compliment I can give the Sutra, is that after a week of riding, I’d had no scary moments and no neck, back or sore-bum problems at all. With a few adjustments, it will certainly see me out as my touring bike.

        Finally, a quick plug for Chamberlain Cycles in Kentish Town, North London, who advised me, ordered the bike and put it together so that it all worked perfectly and nothing rattled, squeaked, or came loose.

        Reply
  25. Thairay

    Few months into having my Kona Sutra 2013, it’s still riding like a dream 100s of miles into ownership!
    I do have a couple of tiny build finishes that needed tweaking. I had to bend the front mud guard rail so that the disc brakes arm would travel fully, the bar tape has a big gap on one side and I was missing a couple of end caps that go on the mudguard rails to stop you poking your eyes out (As you do.)

    I also had the same issue as Petr, a clip had been missed that held the cabling for the gear or the brakes (cant remember now) and the front pannier was in a bag, not good if you have zero technical ability. I wrote to Kona and they wrote to my supplier who apologised for sending it out un-built.

    One of the weirdest things seems to be the bottom water bottle cage attachment is located so that you can’t actually get a full-size water bottle into it because it would hit the front wheel unless the mud guards were removed. I guess using a smaller bottle would cure this or use it with a gear holding equivalent.

    I write all those negatives but I wouldn’t want another bike! My Kona Sutra is the best bike I have owned, it goes with me everywhere. From long haul trips to a quick spank down to the library and last night me and the kids bike trailer in tow, nipped to the swimming pool. My bike is covered in stickers and protective tape to save her from nasty sharp town street furniture but everyone comments on her size and geometry. I am ultra pleased with this bike!

    I now need to find a better pedal as my look keo cleats and pedals aren’t really ideal for touring and skating around the streets on cleats is not cool

    Reply
  26. Dave

    I’ve had my 2013 Kona Sutra for several months now and have really come to appreciate the quality of this bike at the price point. Needing a versatile touring/commuter rig, I went in search on the ‘Net and stumbled across the 2012 Sutra review on this site. Careful comparison to other similar bikes coupled with Tom’s thorough review gave me enough confidence to take the plunge and make the purchase.

    At 5’9″ I purchased the 53cm size and, although it was very comfortable right out of the box, I ended up modifying the cockpit to accomodate sensitive, tender knees. I come from a racing background and the bike felt a little too cramped and I needed more setback for my knees than the stock saddle/seatpost combo offered. After installing a Paul Engineering Tall and Handsome seatpost (26mm setback), Ergon saddle with longer rails, and 110mm stem, the bike fits perfectly. After long rides tiredness might be an issue, but not the comfort level.

    Thanks Tom for a great review which helped navigate the vast number of touring/commuter bike offerings. I feel like I hit a home run with my new Kona Sutra

    Reply
    • Tom Allen

      Glad to hear you’re happy! Where are you headed on it?

      Reply
      • Dave

        No where for a while. I’m still getting over a knee injury and am in the process of getting my fitness back to an acceptable level. Rides these days are confined to the Southern California area and commuting to my job at a bicycle shop. Before I really load the bike up, I’ve got to make sure the knee will take the added stress from the extra weight when loaded up. So far, so good. If all goes well, it’ll be off to the Sierras for two-wheel sight seeing… can’t wait!

        Reply
  27. rino

    hi tom I like to get the sutra but I like to change the handlebar and get one like the koga randonneur a butterfly handlebar do you think that the cables are long enough et what kind of control should I get to change the speed ‚thanks

    Reply
    • Tom Allen

      Sounds like a good idea and certainly doable. You’ll need to change the brake levers and shifters, but what you choose to replace them with would be up to you (it’d have to be MTB/trekking style). Cables are cheap and can be easily swapped out if they’re too short. I would pay a visit to your local bike shop and get their advice…

      Reply
  28. Peter

    Looks like the 2014 Sutra is built on the Rove frame, which would seem to move it out of the true touring realm. Curious to hear what you think.

    Reply
    • Tom Allen

      When I spoke to Kona they were excited about the new frameset, and I doubt they’d change it without good reason. Having said that, I’m still waiting to borrow the demo bike to find out for myself how it performs, and would prefer to reserve judgement until then. I’ll publish a full article when the time comes.

      Reply
  29. Jane

    Any word yet on the 2014? They are being offered here in NZ at 50% reduction for pre-orders, so that makes them cheaper than I could a 2013 model for. I would be interested to know, though, what difference you think the Rove frame would make.

    Reply
    • Tom Allen

      Hi Jane. Personally, I’m going to reserve judgement until I’ve ridden it myself, which will be as soon as I’ve arranged to borrow a demo bike. In the meantime, I’ve had a word directly with the bike’s designer, who had this to say:

      “One of the biggest pieces of feedback we received regarding the previous iterations of the Sutra had to do with the tire clearance. On the previous models it was relatively limited. Moving to the Rove frame allows the user to run 40C tires with fenders which is much better suited for loaded touring in our opinion… the increased dimensions of the headtube (44mm ZS) also contribute to the stability and precision of the frame. When loaded on the front there is significantly less flex from the HT/Fork interface.”

      Hope that helps in the meantime. I’m looking forward to trying it out…

      Reply
      • Jane

        Thanks for the fast response. I’m going to have to put my order in this week so unfortunately it will be before you have been able to test ride one … I ‘m not sure that I will want to run 40C tyres and gauging from your reviews and other posted comments I’m not sure that there was a problem with the flex. However, one thing I have picked up from reading all the posts is that Kona is super responsive to buyer feedback so that has to be a big plus.

        Do you know how much the 2014 Sutra weighs? I understand
        from the recent lawsuit that one cycle manufacturer got into that they are reluctant now to specify bike weights but with the necessity of airline travel for us kiwis it would be helpful to know.

        Reading your blog and following the different threads is great inspiration, Tom, so sincere thanks.

        Reply

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