Kona Cinder Cone Review

2013 bike mountain bike review ride

Kona Cinder Cone

I love bikes. I’m not a bike tech, nor do I follow a strict training program—but I know that bikes make me happy! That being said, my experience in the cycling world has mostly been with my road bike, and racing track. Mountain biking? Definitely not.

The unfortunate thing about both road and track cycling is that weather is a huge factor; track gets cancelled in the event of rain, and it’s hard to convince me to get my road bike too wet and dirty once that rain really begins. In years past, once mid-September/October hits, I know it’s time to say goodbye to my bikes for the next 6+ months.

Once I realized that mountain bikes are generally fine with rain, I knew I had to try one out! After the folk at Mr. Crampy’s got me out for few trial rides, I was officially hooked. The search for a bike began.
Since I’m a beginner, I wanted a bike that would be good enough to allow me to develop my skills without breaking the bank. I needed a bike that I could learn on and grow with, but of a high enough quality that the bike itself wouldn’t hinder my progress or hold me back once I got the hang of it.

With so many options in mountain bikes, I tested out all sorts of combinations of sizes and styles. Kyle and MacBeth managed to wrangle up a wide assortment of bikes for me to borrow and try out, which was a huge help to someone as indecisive as I am.

As a shorter rider (5’4”), I found that I had a hard time with 29ers—the wheels were big and easy to roll over obstacles, but I felt like the bike was controlling me rather than the other way around. 26” wheels were much easier for me to handle, but the smaller wheels made it noticeably more difficult to get over things. For me, 27.5” wheels were the perfect compromise! This wheels size is somewhat new to mountain bikes (or so I’m told), but in my case, they truly did bring the best of both worlds together.

I also settled on a hardtail; riding full suspension bikes was nice and comfy, but the relative simplicity of hardtails made them a lot of fun to ride. I might change my mind later, but I figured a bike that would force me to learn good biking habits (versus a forgiving, full suspension bike) would ultimately be the best to start with.

Of course, we still had to find this elusive 27.5” hardtail that came in my size and fit my budget. Luckily, Mr. Crampy’s became a Kona dealer right around this time. Kona has a huge range of bikes, offering a great selection at all price points, and of every style and size imaginable. The Cinder Cone fit the bill perfectly for me—the fact that it’s a really attractive-looking bike was just the icing on the cake.

Tiger Mountain crew ride

I’ve taken this bike out a good number of times now, and I couldn’t be happier with my decision. The bike is surprisingly light for having an aluminum alloy frame, which was the biggest surprise. It feels solid while riding, but not definitely not clunky. It’s only been a few weeks, but I’m already learning how the bike will react in various situations, which means it’s predictable and reliable and not fussy. It climbs like a beast, but I also took it down Tiger Mountain, where it handled great even on the drops I sent it over. I can’t wait to explore more, develop my skills, and see all that this bike can really do! With just a few component upgrades later, I may not need to upgrade the bike for quite a while (if ever), since the frame itself is great.

Aside from the trails, I’ve spent a good amount of time tearing around my neighborhood and jumping off of things. I’m not going to lie—this bike makes me feel like a little kid, and is just plain FUN! And shouldn’t that be what a bike is all about?

-Rossane