A quality offering designed to ride well over broken road surfaces. With mechanical discs and Tiagra 10-speed shifting the spec is a bit lower than on some other bikes at this price
Rides well over rough roads
Comfortable over longer distances
A bit underspeced relative to some other bikes at this price
By Paul Norman
It’s not a brand usually associated with road bikes, with a range of literally dozens of mountain bikes on offer. But Kona also makes a fair few dropped bar bikes, including its cyclocross, gravel and touring offers. And its Esatto range includes four bikes with alloy framesets: two with disc brakes, one with rim brakes and a flat bar variant. There’s also a titanium frameset available in the range.
The Kona Esatto Disc is the lower specced disc braked variant, with the DDL coming with Shimano RS505 hydraulic brakes, mixed Ultegra/105 shifting and tubeless-ready rims.
The current 2017 Kona Esatto Disc varies slightly from the 2016 bike which we’ve tested as it now comes with a rear 12x142mm thru-axle as well as its 12x100mm thru-axle at the front.
The brake calipers have been swapped from Hayes to TRP Spyre mechanical discs and there’s been a tyre change to from 28mm Contis to 30mm Schwalbes, but otherwise it’s pretty much the same machine.
The Kona Esatto Disc displays Kona’s off-road design skills with a longish wheelbase and a low head tube angle for good stability. There’s also plenty of clearance for 28mm tyres.
It’s made of Kona’s own aluminium alloy which it claims has better strength than standard alloys due to its increased titanium composition. It’s nicely finished too, with all the welds being smoothed out and the cables routed through the frame.
The fork is all carbon with a thru-axle – a standard which is increasingly being used for disc braked road bikes for its increased rigidity and more accurate brake disc placement.
The Kona Esatto Disc comes with Shimano’s newest Tiagra groupset. Although it’s a notch down from Shimano 105 and his 10-speed rather than 11, you’d be hard-pressed to notice the difference as the brake levers and shifting feel identical to standard 105 and there’s the same gear range. It also comes with mechanical disc brakes, although braking actually feels on a par with Shimano’s hydraulics.
The Alex CXD6 wheelset comes with 28mm Continental UltraSport tyres, which provide good grip, roll well and have plenty of ride comfort. Their replacement 30mm Schwalbes should be rideable at 50psi or so and are likely to provide even more cushioning over uneven surfaces. Kona stresses the bike’s adaptation to riding on the dodgy road surfaces which are increasingly the norm not just in the UK.
All the bike’s other components are Kona own-brand alloy, including bars, stem and 27.2mm seatpost while the saddle is also Kona branded.
The Kona feels quite a lively, engaging ride. The ride position is comfortable without being overly upright and I could tick along well, even into a stiffish headwind. It rides well over gravelly, potholed and cracked roads, with the relaxed geometry helping maintain the bike’s stability.
I found I could take on hills comfortably both in the saddle and when standing for steeper sections. With a 34 tooth small chainring and a 32 tooth largest sprocket, there’s plenty of bottom end gearing to tackle gradients. The Conti tyres rolled and gripped well and felt compliant and rapid.
For £1400, the Kona Esatto Disc provides a nice package, with good road feel and manners. It’s comfortable for longer rides and although you can get 105 hydraulic braking and shifting from some other brands at a similar price, you’d be hard-pressed to tell the difference from the Esatto’s Tiagra/mechanical disc brake combination.
Kona also offers a lifetime warranty to the original owner on its metal frames.
For more details visit the Kona website.
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