Bicycle Network: Bikes 'n' Bits
Kona Dew Deluxe vs Saints Fabrication
Kona Dew Delux
|Frame Sizes||49, 52, 56, 60cm|
|Fork||Kona Project Two Disc|
|Brake levers||Shimano Rapidfire|
|Brakes||Shimano Mechanical Disc|
|Front derailleur||Shimano FD-T-301D|
|Rear derailleur||Shimano Deore|
|Bottom bracket||TruVatic LE|
|Pedals||Wellgo LU-A9 with clips and straps|
|Bars||Kona Aluminum Riser|
|Front hub||KK Disc|
|Rear hub||Shimano FH-M475 Disc|
|Rims||Sun MZ 14|
|Tyres||WTB Slickasaurus 700x37C|
|Seat post||Kona double thumb|
|Saddle||WTB Pure V Sport|
|Price||$999 - rrp (at time of printing)|
Ever wished you could find a bicycle that was suitable for commuting year-round, surviving Around the Bay in a Day or possibly the Great Victorian Bike Ride? The Kona Dew series (and a bit of extra training!) may just make this possible.
The Kona Dew series consists of three models; the Dew (rrp$599) the Dew Deluxe (which is the model I tested) (rrp$999) and the Dr Dew (rrp$1499). While each model shares the same frame design the Dr Dew is upgraded to a lighter alloy frame.
The Dew series is somewhere between a flat-bar road bike and a hybrid. It has the speed of a flat-bar road bike with the added versatility of mounts for a rack and mudguards, enabling conversion to a year-round commuter if desired. The Dew Deluxe’s no suspension ride relies on the Kona Project Two fork for smooth steering. The fork’s cro-moly construction effectively absorbs the majority of the road shock making it feel like you have small-travel suspension fitted.
The lightweight 7005 series butted aluminium frame comes in gloss black with green decals. Although the colour is not ideal for being seen (night-time visibility is about zero) its unassuming design and low-key looks make it less susceptible to theft. That said, the bike drew much interest and many favourable comments about its style and design from other commuters as I rode it to and from work each day – obviously the bike’s individuality and clever design speaks for itself.
The frame is equipped with all the features you would expect on a bike in this price range, two water bottle cages, disk brake mounts, mounts for racks and mudguards, and a replaceable rear-derailleur hanger (an important feature should you happen to damage this part of the frame).
Kona hasn’t cut any corners with the Dew Deluxe’s wheels, using Sun MZ14 rims on Shimano disk hubs and WTB Slickasaurus tyres. The MZ14s are usually found on the Dew Deluxe’s skinny-wheeled cousins, but they handle the wider 32c Slickasaurus tyres perfectly.
On the flipside should you want to put a skinnier road tyre on the Dew Deluxe the MZ14 allow for this conversion making it adaptable and versatile. The drive chain is made up of Shimano derailleurs and Truvativ Touro triple cranks and cartridge bottom bracket. It’s nice to see a Deore rear derailleur to handle the wide range 11–34, 8-speed Shimano cassette. The shifting handled with Shimano’s Rapidfire shifters and the Shimano cable M475 disk brakes were safe and reliable in both wet and dry. The disk brakes provided value-for-money reliability usually associated with expensive hydraulic systems. Kona completed the package with its own branded lightweight riser handlebar and stem combination and a WTB Pure seat with Kevlar edging for durability.
A nine speed drive chain would better suit the price bracket but the Dew Deluxe is a quality package with exceptional frame and fork and name brand components. The Dew Deluxe stands out in an informed crowd and blends into an un-informed one.
Saints Fabrication – St Kilda Cycles
|Fork||Reynolds cro-moly 525|
|Brake levers||Shimano BL-M570|
|Brakes||Shimano Deore LX|
|Shifters||BBB Kraton twist shifters|
|Crankset||TruVatic Elita 39-48T|
|Bottom Bracket||TruVatic ISIS GigaPipe 113|
|Chain||Wipperman Connex 800|
|Stem||Ritchey Pro 31.8|
|Bars||BBB Fiberlite carbon|
|Front hub||DT Hugi 240 32|
|Rear hub||Rohloff Speedhub 500/14 OEM|
|Spokes||DT Champion 14G|
|Rims||26 Mavic XC717 Disc 32|
|Tyres||26 Schwable Big Apple 2.0|
|Seat post||BBB FiberPost 300mm|
|Saddle||Fizik Nisene cro-moly rails|
|Price||$5649 (at time of printing)|
With a unique metallic Tangello paint job, the Saints Fabrication bike certainly turns heads. The eye-catching colour, however, is not the only feature on this complex purpose-built bike. At the heart of the bike lies the Rohloff 500/14 speed hub delivering 14-speed internal hub-shifting capability.
Vince purpose built the frame around the internal hub with an eccentric bottom bracket, which adjusts the chain tension and eliminates the need for clunky chain tensioners. Equipped with Rohloff-specific dropouts, the hub fits snugly without the torque arm that is usually required.
The frame is a fillet-brazed construction of Reynolds cro-moly 525 tubing. However, Saint’s Fabrication will build a frame from any material – even carbon fibre. Vince’s brazing is first class and many cyclists commented on the high quality finish. It’s great to see traditional frame-building methods being employed on a cutting-edge bike with all the latest componentry.
St Kilda Cycles did not stop at the hub and the frame. They laid it on with a no-expense spared parts, including a Chris King headset, BBB carbon fibre handlebars and seatpost, Truvativ Elita Isis drive cranks and bottom bracket. This machine also carries a Fizik saddle, reliable 26” Mavic MTB rims and a generous 2.0 Schwalbe Kevlar belted Big Apple tyres.
The full-length Zefal mudguards are most appreciated in wet conditions and the ingenious Dymotec S6 dynamo and front Lumotec LED Topal and rear Seculite provided effective safety lights and visibility for the ride home. The front Lumotec LED has a wide beam which reaches full power at a measly 2.5km per hour without the dragging feeling of a traditional dynamo light system.
The rear Seculite has a great safety feature, it maintains its bright red glow while stopped at the traffic lights for a period of up to two minutes. Don’t be put off by the idea of a dynamo light, these new dynamo lights actually deserve the name dynamo, taking the self powered light technology into the 21st century.
The Rohloff hub is of the highest quality German construction and with its internal mechanism is the perfect all-weather gear system. The single chainring and cog setup with the Rohloff reduces wear and eliminates chain slap. The Rohloff hub allowed me to change under pressure, change while stationary without pedalling, and all 14 gears were handled off one twist shifter making it easy to use.
With the internal Rohloff system there is no overlap in the gear ratios as with traditional derailleur gear systems meaning the next gear shift is evenly spaced, with no clunking and slipping between gear changes. Although simple to use, the Rohloff is a complex gear system. I found the most useful and up-to-date information on the Rohloff hub system at www.rohloff.de and www.sjscycles.com/thornbrochure.asp .
St Kilda Cycles put this bike together as a test bike, give them a call on 9534 3074 to have a go. They also are happy to discuss building you a frame in any style. This bicycle really is the dream machine.
Do I really have to give it back?
This article first appeared the October-November Issue 2005 of Ride On.
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