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Mark's 2017 Kona WoZo Review

Our own Mark Hendershot (yes, THE Mark Hendershot) has been putting Kona's new WoZo through the paces! See the bike, the build, and the feedback after some seriously fun miles in West Michigan. 

I’ve been testing the 2017 Kona WoZo (tubeless version) on the trails and beaches of West Michigan since early fall. My mind has been blown away!

My name is Mark F Hendershot and I have been riding bikes for a long time. Riding for Santa Cruz as a member of the OG Syndicate Team, I was the 24 hour soloist specialist wacko for several years. I’ve lodged many hours in the saddle! I have performed a ton of product testing. I am currently employed at Central District Cyclery in Grand Rapids Michigan.

The Kona WoZo is a fun bike to ride! It’s the step-father of the Kona Honzo, Kona’s trail and race ready 29er.  This machine handles like a full suspension bike without all the maintenance issues and weight associated with it. The Wozo is a four season vehicle that has been called a quiver killer. It truly is the jack-of-all trades cycle. After a lengthy test ride period, I think they’re right. I would be thrilled to only have the WoZo in my fleet.

First, the build. The 7005 Aluminum WoZo comes with a 100mm Bluto fork. The front and rear tires are 4.8 and 4.0 Schawalbe Jumbo Jim’s respectively. The Sun Ringle MuleFut rims and Jumbo Jim rubber easily sets up as tubeless. This rig has a very capable mix of SRAM NX/GX 1x11 components. The WoZo has external/internal dropper post ready mounts. The clever folks at the Kona shop equipped it with sliding dropouts that can be adjusted to as short as 420mm to make it extremely playful, accept a vast array of tire sizes, or in a pinch it could be set up as a single speed. Every little detail is thoroughly throughout and ergonomically planned, and works well together.

The conditions in my neck of the woods tend to be on the sandy side of things. Some trails can get rather muddy with roots and rocks just to keep you on your toes. The vast majority of trails in West Michigan throw a mix of things at you; tight, twisty stuff with short steep climbs and some fast, wide-open sections, too. Between seasons it’s not uncommon to find messy, slushy ground cover. We average around 75 inches of snow per year. Typically we have a few meltdowns throughout the winter, which causes sloppy, icy, downright disgusting terrain. I’ve not had to make a single adjustment and it still handles like it did out of the box.

The WoZo is defiantly a confidence-inspiring ride. It has made me a better rider. The one aspect of the WoZo that separates from other fat bikes is its aggressive geometry. It climbs like quickly and responds to power like a dream, and it descends like a jackalope. I was able to clear tricky lines that I hadn’t been able to on other bicycles. The Bluto’s small bump compliance paired with 4.8 Jumbo Jim is unmatched. The WoZo handles like a dream in the deep snow. It goes where I point it to, no questions asked. I was extremely impressed with how it handled the messy conditions. It tracked better than anything I’ve ridden. The Schwalbe Jumbo Jim Tires look like a three season tire, but I was amazed at how well it handled the white stuff. They felt like they were made of Velcro. It tackles the sandy beaches of Lake Michigan like a monster truck. It just plows through anything you put in its way.

The 2017 Kona WoZo has left me in a state of bliss. The nimble gazelle-like ride puts a perma-grin on my mug! I would highly recommend putting your tush on the $2,399 WoZo providing you can find one.

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