A few weeks ago, as the attentions of the cycling world turned to the hellingen of Flanders and then the legendary pave of Northern France, we mused of the potential of a Kona WorldTour team. Of course, that's not exactly the goal or vibe of the company, although more than a few people pointed out that, like the fun-loving Peter Sagan, professionally roadies could do with a bit more laid-back personalities at the upper level of the sport.
So if we'll never truly know what a Kona Bicycle Co. WorldTour team would look like, we began to assemble (in our heads, at least) what their bike would be. What would Kona-CDC ride in the cobbled Classics? Let's imagine...
For the frame, we're bringing back the look, feel and performance of classic steel with the Roadhouse. With all the suspension, jelly 'serts, and wild frame designs many bike companies are cobbling (hope you caught that) together, and with their bike weights nearing the 18 and 19 pound range with all of those do-hickeys, why not just use steel? Reynolds 853 is relatively light and provides a buttery smooth ride over rough surfaces. Even the slightly taller head tube lends itself to a more endurance geometry.
Now, let's get dreaming. Discs are totally legal, and our frame is setup to make the most of it. With so many killer options, you'll probably have plenty of opinions, but we're going to go with some wheels we've seen in person and have spent some time with. ENVE's SES 5.6 offers a great balance between aerodynamics, lightweight, and incredible stiffness. ENVE is the official wheel supplier for a WorldTour team already, Team Dimension Data, and the team tends to use similar depths on their rim brake bikes much of the year. The 5.6 would have done us pretty darn well at Paris-Roubaix, where every team, by our count, was on tubulars. We think tubeless clinchers are finally ready for the big stage.
We'll leave ENVE to the wheels and select some other stuff for the cockpit. Since it's Kona, since it's Central District, and since we love the stuff, we're going for Thomson. We're going with the Masterpiece post, which comes in at just 158 grams. That's about the same as most carbon posts, and less than many, and with so much suppleness in the frame, we can afford a little stiffness in the post. We'll pair that with a 100mm X2 stem, Thomson seat collar, and our favorite drop bars, the Thomson KFC. Yep, we're going carbon on the bars, because they're light, tough, and Katie F'n Compton is a living legend.
This one is tough, but we'll stick with what we know. Sure, it's not a 'road' seat, but if your butt is on it and you're on pavement, voila, now it's a road seat. We're talking about the WTB Volt. Versions of this saddle come branded or unbranded on all sorts of Konas, and we always tell riders to give it a week, even if they don't like it at first. Almost all of them end up sticking with it, and some even upgrade to carbon or titanium railed models down the line.
Since we're kind of building this for the cobbles, we're going to give it some rubber to match. Kona nails it with the stock build, actually, with the 2017 Roadhouse coming with our pick, the Schwalbe S-Ones. It's a perfect tire for someone looking to do a bit of everything. It has the same dimpled patterned as its wider brother, the G-One, but slots in between the widest Pro One (a 28) and that G-One, which comes in a 35. At 30, it's a great width for gravel and pavement, and we've ridden it as low as 40psi on loose, sandy gravel and still felt like it was floating over the top.
It's 2017, folks. If we're making a rocket ship, we're making it with the best electronics possible, and we have to give SRAM eTap a shot. The wireless components group may not be quite as crisp as Shimano Durace Ace Di2, but the difference in minimal, and with their Hydro levers now available, we love the clean look. For Paris-Roubaix, we're going for a 52/36 with an 11-25 cassette. There's nary a hill between Compiegne and Roubaix, and of course we want something for the sprint on the velodrome...right?
We'll opt for Shimano Dura Ace pedals (taped over, because it's a SRAM drivetrain), Elite Ciussi bottle cages, ZIPP Service Course tape (single-wrapped), and a Quarq power meter, just to have something to tell us how hard Paris-Roubaix is.
Alright, your turn! What's your build on the 2017 Kona Roadhouse?