Kona Smoke 2-9 Review

It was great to finally get out on the Smoke today. The weather was perfect and there wasn't much that could have kept me inside. Of course, though, Angie had dibs for the first ride. I was a little anxious to know whether or not she would enjoy it. It was her first bike ride since she was a kid.

She. Loved. It. *sigh of relief* It was really cool to see her come back with a huge smile on her face. She had the same feelings I had after riding a bicycle for the first time as an "adult." So naturally, when she got home, I wanted to see how it rode.

Overall, I'm incredibly pleased. The 29" wheels were awesome for hopping curbs and absorbing the rough roads beneath. It truly handles like a mountain bike but feels fast like a road bike. I was even surprised that the gearing was as fast as it was. This is my first experience with a hybrid. I kind of expected it to be exactly like an mtb with slick tires and rigid suspension. But it wasn't. The right rider would easily hang with a roadie on a race bike.

I averaged around 16mph just messing around the neighborhood... until I took it into the wet grass. It felt great with it's big fat tires. They rolled over all the ruts and bumps the grass could give.

My only issue with the bike, at all, was the shifting. I'm not a big fan of grip shifting. It seemed that every bump and curb would cause me to accidently shift. That's not to say that I won't get used to it. I probably will. And Ang most likely won't notice at all. She probably won't put the bike to the same tests that I did :-).

Overall, I'm VERY pleased. I think it's gonna be a great bike for our family. I'm gonna put a rack on it and send into commuting duties this week!


  1. Hi Derrick,

    Could you tell me what size is your Kona Smoke and how tall are you?
    I really like the concept(Cro-Moly frame and price help a lot) of this bike and am strongly considering buying it.


  2. Sergej,

    Mine is a 16" and I'm about 5'8" tall. It fits a lot more like a "comfort" bike than my other rides... very upright.

  3. Thanks a lot for the response!
    I am considering riding it as a mtb actually (nothing too crazy without the shocks on the front fork).
    I've read a couple of reviews, and where I am I can't go in the shop and have a look at it, I would have to order it.
    So I've got bunch of questions: is it too heavy, how does it handle, does the front wheel clip your toes when you turn..
    I'm a mid-level avid rider and I taught this could give me a perspective of riding a 29er mtb for fairly little money, so if you happen to have a bit spare time any advice would be well appreciated


  4. I wouldn't say that it's too heavy at all. I would be a little conscious of the grip shifters. I seemed to accidentally shift a bunch when I hit bumps (which you're bound to do when mtb'ing). Otherwise, I'd definitely call it a worthy trail machine. I was surprised how much the larger wheels and tires helped to roll over anything it hit. Front suspension was less needed with such a tall wheel. I think you'd be fine to run it on trails.

    I don't have any toe clearance issues at all. It does with the fenders on it but i took them off. But I don't have a suer large foot.

    As far as handling goes, I think it's fine. It took a lot to get used to since it's a mix of flat bars 700c wheels and fat tires. So it is different than anything else i ride. It turns slower than my road bike (not as twitchy either) but doesn't feel as controlled as my smaller wheeled mtb.

    Hope that helps!

  5. Thank You Derrick,

    That really helps.
    I haven't yet made my decision. I'm gonna wait a couple of months and if I save up enough money I might buy Cannondale trail sl 5 (not a 29er, but I'm in love with it's looks). If not, I'll probably go for Kona.
    Thank you once again for taking the time to write these responses!