Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Kona Sutra

I meant to write about my new touring bicycle last fall after I put at least 1000k on it, you know, touring.

Then, life took over and I'm well over that number...nearing 2000k without any long touring on it, just weekends and day trips. The longest trip was my mini- elfstedentocht min eén.
Short trips this year include going up and down (9k round trip) to the beginning of Gibraltar road, like my first week in Santa Barbara and a few other short painful uphill routes. Since then, it's been more of the same up and down and a few errands.

My excuse? Puppies can't be left alone!

Gibraltar Road

But I can say a few things about it.

The whole process of looking for a touring bike was inspired after borrowing a friend's bicycle for our Belgium trip... and I'm happy I did end up with the on sale Kona Sutra.

It's a Kona Sutra from 2011. I made some changes: fatter tires, shorter stem, better saddle, a horrible ineffective kickstand, and cross bar brakes.


I love it.
It's solid and stable and wonderful going downhill.
Disc brakes are awesome!
Admittedly, it's a bit too big size-wise, but the shorter stem helps a lot.
It carries weight very easily, no difference in stability at all.
Bar end shifters are easy to use! I like keeping my brakes and shifters separate.  
The gearing is low enough for some uphills, too fast for flats, fine for downhills. (I don't like going over 40kph downhill. I'm a chicken.)

But... it's freaking heavy-  just over 17 kg / 38 lbs with racks, waterbottle, etc.
On the uphill- and by uphill, I mean upmountain, I blame the bike's weight for my weariness and failure...  (really, I need to be in better shape and lose some of MY excess weight before being truly justified in calling out my bike for being too fat.)

No matter, I'm resolved. It's the bike's fault. :)

I know I'm going to have to plan more touring soon or I'm in danger of owning an aspirational bicycle, like those aspirational 4 wheel off-road cars that are marketed to city dwellers and suburbanites who dream of being something more than congestion traffic.

September up the coast!  Hike and bike campsites? I hope so!


  1. I figured in my case its better to lose 20 pounds than try and shave that off my panniers :) cheap and effective. No more puppy stories?

    1. The puppy is big now! Almost 50lbs. He's going to have to learn to walk next to my bike soon... but first I've been trying to get him to jog with me. It's a slow process of dragging him along behind me, exhorting him to speed up and then telling him to slow down once he does. :)