2023 Kona Shonky Review
- MSRP: $1,599
- Travel:100mm front
- Frame: Steel
- Wheels: 26×2.3″
What we like about it: A hardtail dirt jump bike that is cost-effective and doesn’t pick the terrain.
What we don’t like about it: The weight is not dominant.
Although Kona is not a manufacturer focused on developing and researching hardtail dirt jump bikes, the Kona Shonky is, in a sense, a classic product of Kona’s. Produced since 2010, it has remained popular even after over 10 iterations, which is undoubtedly due to its excellent design and configuration.
The latest Kona Shonky comes with a durable and flexible CrMo steel frame and a 100mm travel Manitou Circus Expert fork, providing outstanding shock absorption. Even in high drop and landing scenarios in the mountains, the rider’s hands won’t feel uncomfortable.
The 26×2.3″ Maxxis DTH EXO TR DUAL tires, coupled with the WTB ST i30 TCS 2.0 wheelset, are also exceptional, providing riders with confidence to challenge anything with their light and reliable performance. Additionally, the durable and reliable Tektro HD-M275 brakes are easy to operate and provide a sense of security for riders.
Overall, this mid-range component hardtail dirt jump bike offers excellent value for its price, making it very friendly for both beginners and intermediate hardtail dirt jump bike enthusiasts.
Now, let’s analyze the riding experience and specifications of the Kona Shonky. If you want to learn more about bike reviews, you can follow us.
Bike Park Performance
Like most mountain culture enthusiasts, when I received the latest Kona Shonky, I couldn’t resist going to the mountain bike park with my friends to enjoy some rolling and jumping.
I must say that the undulating slopes at the Arctic Star Park in California after being modified by people are suitable for hardtail dirt jump bikes.
Although I’m not very good at playing tricks in the mountains myself, since I got this bike, I always do some training on weekends.
I prefer a more comfortable riding style for leisure riding. Therefore, when I first tried the Kona Shonky, I felt a bit uncomfortable because, like most sports-style bikes, its geometry is somewhat aggressive. However, in reality, the geometry of this bike is relatively comfortable compared to most other bikes of the same type. After I rode it around on a flat dirt track, I completely adapted and didn’t feel any discomfort in my waist.
I have to say that the tried and tested Kona Shonky model understands the essence of the sport. With a moderate 71.5° seat tube angle and a loose 69° head tube angle, I was able to ride without back or shoulder fatigue and with a strong pedaling position at all times. What’s more, it’s very easy to do both crossing and leaping.
Of course, the Kona Dirt Jump is also very comfortable in the saddle, with a wide tail and standard nose length, ensuring that the hip muscles are well placed while giving me more power at the base of my legs.
In addition, I like the smooth Kona XC/BC 35 handlebars, which are appropriately wide and convenient for my operation. I am not limited by the grip and do not feel that I have lost space to show off my actions and techniques. The Kona Key Grip handlebar grips are also comfortable to the touch, with a good grip and a cubic stripe design that provides some shock absorption, allowing my hands to avoid ground vibrations during wheel landing moments.
Mountain Jump Training
However, the reason why the Kona Shonky truly makes people fall in love with this sport is not just because it is comfortable to ride and has good components, but also because it complements my performance.
Before the game starts, I usually like to do some tailwhip and barspin tricks as warm-up exercises. The Kona Shonky is also very good at spinning and never gets stuck.
When the wheels hit the track and I see the tall ladder bridge in front of me, I can’t help but speed up my pedaling. Although the bike has a single-speed transmission system, the Samox Dirt Jumper, 28t crank has a very efficient transmission efficiency. Coupled with the reliable Joytech Single Speed 14t cassette, I only need to use my pedaling frequency to express my need for speed.
As I accelerate my pedaling, the graceful wheels turn circles on the slope like seagulls gliding on the sea, fast, light, and fun.
When the wheels are in the air, I usually do a barspin or roll in a quick and chic way. This makes me feel very cool because the elongated standover of the Kona Shonky is very suitable for barspin and other movements.
In addition, I also love to spin in the bowl-shaped dirt jump. Because this not only trains my speed but also allows me to try more technical movements at any time. These all make me happy and give me a sense of accomplishment. After finishing our bike ride, I easily booked accommodation on Skyscanner. I can finally relax and rest well.
Although Kona positions the Kona Shonky as a dirt jump bike, this type of bike is very similar to BMX bikes.
With excellent 26×2.3″ Maxxis DTH EXO TR DUAL tires and reliable 100mm travel Manitou Circus Expert fork, both have good shock absorption. Whether jumping or descending from a high drop, most of the time, my hands don’t feel many drops. Therefore, occasionally after work, I also practice some skills on the street with it.
I’ve also been trying to practice on the crooked grind, which has a larger height and span. although the steel frame is not as light as a carbon or aluminum frame, the compact design makes it very light. I can easily lift the whole bike. Combined with its excellent damping effect, it does not easily accumulate fatigue, making it very interesting for me.
The latest version of the Kona Shonky inherits the classic version’s choice of sturdy, responsive, and lightweight CrMo steel as the frame material. Although this means that riders need to prepare a drier environment to preserve or maintain the bike, it also means more comfort compared to an aluminum frame.
With the iterations of the versions, the Kona Shonky also keeps up with the trend. The original 80mm travel fork has been replaced with a more shock-absorbing 100mm travel Manitou Circus Expert fork to reduce the front pressure on the rider.
For the wheelset, the latest version of the Kona Shonky uses the durable and reliable WTB ST i30 TCS 2.0 wheelset, paired with the 26×2.3″ professional Maxxis DTH EXO TR DUAL tires to adapt to various dirt jumps and pump tracks.
Like most hardtail dirt jump bikes, the latest Kona Shonky uses a single-speed transmission device, the Samox Dirt Jumper, 28t crank, paired with the Joytech Single Speed 14t cassette, which has extremely high transmission efficiency. The Tektro HD-M275 brake system is also very precise and fast.
What do we like about it?
- Value for money steel frame hardtail dirt jump bike, more comfortable than most aluminum bikes.
- The small frame is also very light, suitable for a variety of jumping and tumbling movements.
- The geometry of both comfort and power is more suitable for power pedaling.
- With the 100mm travel Manitou Circus Expert fork, the dropouts are non-existent.
- The rugged WTB ST i30 TCS 2.0 wheels with Maxxis DTH EXO TR DUAL tires can handle ladder bridges, roots, massive drops, and steep granite rock faces with ease.
- Samox Dirt Jumper, a 28t crank with Tektro HD-M275, for efficient transmission and easier braking.
What don’t we like about it?
- The steel frame gives it no weight advantage.
- What is the approximate weight of the latest Kona Shonky?
We weighed the fully equipped Kona Shonky and it was about 13.6 kg. It’s undeniably not a lightweight bike, but based on how easily and fast it accelerates, we were able to get it up into the air easily by following the slope.
- What is the traditional system of this Kona Shonky like?
Most dirt jump bikes on the market today are designed with single speed to reduce weight, so this bike uses the rugged Samox Dirt Jumper, 28t cranks with Joytech Single Speed 14t cassette combination as the drivetrain. They have a very efficient transfer efficiency, and can easily help riders to achieve acceleration or sprint.
- How to choose the size?
Similar to most dirt jump bikes, the latest Kona Shonky is not overly restrictive in terms of sizing. They only come in two sizes, SM size for riders of 152-171cm in height. While the L size is more suitable for taller riders, suitable for riders of 175-196cm in height.
Kona Shonky Specs
|Frame||Kona Cromoly ButtedColor: Satin Bloodstone w/ Raised Decals|
|Fork||Manitou Circus Expert 100mm Tapered 110mm Spacing|
|Bottom Bracket||Samox Dirt Jumper|
|Headset||FSA Orbit 1.5B ZS|
|Stem||Kona XC/BC 35|
|Handlebar||Kona XC/BC 35|
|Saddle||Kona Dirt Jump|
|Grips||Kona Key Grip|
|Crank||Samox Dirt Jumper, 28t|
|Cassette||Joytech Single Speed 14t|
|Brake Levers||Tektro HD-M275|
|Rims||WTB ST i30 TCS 2.0|
|Spokes||Stainless Black 14g|
|Front Hub||Formula 110x20mm|
|Rear Hub||Formula 142x12mm|
|Tires||Maxxis DTH EXO TR DUAL 26×2.3″|
|Disk Rotors||Tektro TR160mm|
|YT Industries Dirt Love CORE 2 26||Click view||Steel||SRAM LEVEL TL Hydraulic Disc||26 x 2.35″ or 26 x 2.2″|
|2023 Canyon STCHD 360||Click view||Aluminum||SRAM Level Hydraulic Disc||26″×2.3″|
|2023 Marin Alcatraz||Click view||Aluminum||Tektro HDM275 Hydraulic||26 x 2.25″|
|2023 Transition PBJ Complete||Click view||Steel||SRAM Level Hydraulic Disc (Rear Only)||26×2.2″|
Kona Shonky vs YT Industries Dirt Love CORE 2 26
Compared to the 2022 YT Industries Dirt Love CORE 2 26 with a steel frame, which is at the same price and type, the Kona Shonky is more popular for a reason. We do not deny that the YT Industries Dirt Love CORE 2 26 also has a high cost-performance ratio. Its 100mm RockShox Pike DJ, SRAM DESCENDANT 6K crankset, and SRAM LEVEL TL hydraulic disc brakes are all outstanding components.
However, the YT Industries Dirt Love CORE 2 26 model is less comfortable in terms of geometry compared to the Kona Shonky. This has led to it being less attractive and well-regarded than the latter. The YT Industries Dirt Love CORE 2 26 is more focused on using components to attract users, while the Kona Shonky is more focused on improving and enhancing its own model and user experience.
Kona Shonky VS 2023 Canyon STCHD 360
For those on a budget, the 2023 Canyon STCHD 360 is a great choice. On the one hand, it gives riders expecting good value for money a good option at a very attractive – under $1,000 – price. On the other hand, the bike is no slouch when it comes to features. The Race Face sports package with SRAM Level T Hydraulic Disc braking system to protect the rider in the dirt also shows Canyon’s sincerity.
In addition, unlike the Kona Shonky, the 2023 Canyon STCHD 360 is made of Aluminum, which is the material of choice for the frame. The Manitou Circus Sport fork is also less silky smooth than Kona Shonky’s Manitou Circus Expert fork. So, in some ways, the Canyon STCHD 360 is less comfortable than the former. However, the Canyon STCHD 360 is still an affordable alternative to the Kona Shonky.
Kona Shonky vs 2023 Marin Alcatraz
When it comes to aluminum frame hardtail dirt jump bike, this 2023 Marin Alcatraz is also very classic. As far as the configuration is concerned, this bike is not inferior to Kona Shonky.
I have to admit that the Marin Forged Alloy, Alloy 32T cranks with very high transfer efficiency and can drive the wheels with ease. The 26×2.25″ Vee Tire Co. XCV tires are also very reliable and not picky about the ground. Interestingly enough the Manutou Circus Expert fork and Tektro HDM275 Hydraulic are also standard on the 2023 Marin Alcatraz. So the two bikes are very similar in some ways.
However, when it comes to geometry and handling, users may need to consider more carefully. Compared to the Kona Shonky’s moderate 71.5° seat tube angle, the 2023 Marin Alcatraz’s 69° is more relaxed. In addition, the standover height of the 2023 Marin Alcatraz is also more compact, which means that riders may need to rely more on strength when performing tricks like barspins.
Kona Shonky VS 2023 Transition PBJ Complete
It has to be acknowledged that the 2023 Transition PBJ Complete is a very impressive steel frame hardtail dirt jump bike. It breaks people’s traditional perception of heavy steel-frame bikes with its lightweight design. This is something that Kona Shonky should learn and improve. In terms of component configuration, the 2023 Transition PBJ Complete also wins the hearts of many jumping enthusiasts with its Marzocchi Bomber DJ 26 fork, Samox BMX 3-Piece Chromoly crankset, and SRAM Level Hydraulic Disc brake system.
However, we also have to admit that the price of the 2023 Transition PBJ Complete is higher. Its excellence also comes with higher costs. The configuration of the Kona Shonky is equally worth the price. It would just be more attractive if it could “lose weight” and reduce its weight.
Overall, the Kona Shonky is an outstanding steel frame hardtail dirt jump bike from Kona, a veteran in innovation for over a decade. It offers a great solution for dirt jump bike enthusiasts with a moderate budget, with its reliable and practical components.
Within a reasonable budget, the Kona Shonky has created a perfect bike for adventure jumping on a variety of terrains, including rooty ground, huge drops, and steep mountainous terrain.
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