After a busy weekend of racing, we take a look at Cody's Kona, raced at Michigan Mountain Mayhem's Gravel Grinder on October 1.
The Kona Private Jake might seem a bit utilitarian next to some of the space ships you see on race start lines. It's aluminum with Kona's own carbon fork, and comes with the workman's SRAM Rival 1 out of the box. It has mechanical Tektro Spyres instead of hydraulics. But after a year with the bike, and 2,600 miles, there's a lot of benefit to it. Mechanical brakes are easier to adjust, perfect for Cody's annoying penchant for swapping wheels and tires multiple times a week. The Rival 1 drivetrain has been bombproof, and the stock ring swapped for an Absolute Black 40t oval makes it climb quick and snappy.
Those might be the more exciting ways to describe the bike, and if you talk to Kona, they'll confirm it's what they were going for. For 2016, they shortened the stays and brought up the front end, making it a bit more realistic in geometry and a bit quicker turn, corner and accelerate. That platform works nicely for quick changes, and last week the bike went from a Speed of Light rig to a gravel crusher.
First, the stock wheels, mated with WTB Nano 40s, came off, with Cody's Mavic All Roads and WTB Cross Boss 35s substituted in, taking almost two pounds off the bike's weight, which was just over 20 pounds, loaded up with everything but water bottles and a flat kit. It's a bit of a transformation, but nothing quite like Barry Wicks' "Nasty Jake", which you should totally check out.
The 1x drivetrain is extremely useful for hilly terrain, especially for races like the Gravel Grinder. Over 3,000 feet of elevation and some treacherous descents that discourage the need for a massive big ring means the 40t with an 11-32t cassette works out perfect, topping out just over 30mph.
It's pretty easy to see why the Kona Private Jake is one of our favorite bikes, and it's because it's one of the most versatile bikes. How many bikes have raced Mud, Sweat and Beers, the Gravel Grinder, Speed of Light and done a Tuesday Night Ride?