Size Tested: 18”
Weight (with pedals): around 31.5 lbs.
Intended Use: That’s a bit up in the air. Presumably all-around trail slayage.
Test Locations: A few rides around Winter Park, Colorado, and then a couple more in Whitefish, Montana. Trails were mostly XC-ish, but ranged from loose gravel to hardpack to loam.
Rider: 5’9” 150 lbs. Prefers trails that are downhill both ways.
Days on the bike: 5
The build: Stock as it comes from Kona. Rockshox Revelation RLT w/ 140mm travel, Fox Float RP23 Rear Shock giving 130mm travel, Easton Vice wheels, X9 / X7 derailleurs and shifters, Maxxis Ardent tires, various Kona branded parts (bar / stem / seatpost)
Due to a little snafu (read: “injury”), I didn’t get to spend as much time on the Satori as I’d hoped, but I still got a general sense of what the bike was about, and BLISTER reviewer Joe Hanrahan is currently riding and working on a follow up review to this one.
Intro, Specs, and Stats
The Satori is Kona’s attempt to make an aggressive 29er trail bike (like the Kona Honzo) but in a full suspension package. The recent trend in 29ers has been to cater to trail riders who are looking for a bike that has the climbing and rolling benefits of the larger wheelsize, but in a package that can hang with its 26” brethren on the descents. Personally, this is what I look for in a 29er, and it’s what I was hoping to find in the Satori.
To a large extent, the Satori achieves this goal. It has a fairly slack 68-degree head angle, a relatively low 13.3” bottom bracket, and short 17.3” chainstays (not bad for a bike with 130mm of travel). By the numbers, the Satori should be a bunch of fun on the trail, and in certain situations, it was really fun; in other situations, however, it felt a bit confused.
The Satori’s cockpit is spec’d more or less like a trail-friendly cross-country bike: it has a long-ish 90mm stem, narrow (by modern standards) handlebars, and a non-dropper seatpost (that doesn’t have a quick release, much to my disappointment). All of these parts make it less enjoyable on the downhill, and they’re probably things that I would look to swap out. But at the same time, if I was looking for a bike to do a four-hour climb, this isn’t the bike I’d be looking at, which is why I’m a little confused as to what the target market for this bike is.
While they tell me I shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, first impressions often prove to be true, and my first impression of the Satori is that it’s a really big bike. My test Satori was an 18”, and at 5’9”, I feel that’s the right size for me. I’ve owned Konas in the past and have always ridden an 18”.
If anything, I would have liked the 23.5” top tube to be slightly longer so that I could comfortably run a shorter stem (ideally, I’d run a 70mm on a bike like this). In other words, it’s not the fit of the bike that made it feel enormous, it’s the simple fact that when you put large wheels on a longer travel bike with a slack headtube angle, you end up with a lot of bike.
The Satori has a wheelbase of around 45.5”, which is quite long. For reference, my medium Trek Session 88 downhill bike has a wheelbase of around 46”, while my medium Canfield Yelli Screamy 29er hardtail has a wheelbase of around 43”. The upside of the Satori having a wheelbase akin to a downhill bike is that it has the stability of a monster truck. Mated with the big wheels, you can plunder straight down nasty descents without blinking an eye.
The Hope Tech Evo M4 brakes are ultra reliable, stack up extremely well against the competition, and are at home on nearly any ride—from a general-purpose trail bike to a true downhill race bike.