2015 KONA HEI HEI
I recently got the chance to ride the 2015 Kona Hei Hei from the guys at Bike Barn, I was pleasantly surprised at my experience out on the trail
The Kona Hei Hei may have changed many times since its debut 25 years ago, but its prime job has remained the same: To go fast. The sticker on the handlebar says it all: “For competition use only.”
New for 2015, the tried-and-true, entry-level dual-suspension XC racer comes with a light and lively Scandium 69 frameset, further adding to the range of this wildly capable mountain bike. Featuring the same refined Race Light geometry and precisely tuned suspension as on the Hei Hei Supreme, the Hei Hei is best described as a true freedom enabler. Light on the wallet and smooth on the trail, with 120mm of front travel and 100mm of rear, as well as Stealth dropper post routing, this beauty will take you into the high-rev zone of off-road bliss.
The Hei Hei comes spec’d with Shimano’s super reliable Deore brakes and running gear but with a higher spec XT rear derailer. Front shocks are RockShox Recon Gold Solo Air with a RockShox Monarch RL in the rear. Kona has its own bar and stem which do a great job.
Kona get a lot of performance out of the Hei Hei’s 100 mm of suspension. If I were going to be xc racing, I would run about 9 and 10 mm of sag, but I like using all the travel, so I set up the Hei Hei differently. At 25 percent sag the Kona pedaled surprisingly efficiently when run wide open and was super smooth on small to mid-size rocks and roots.
What’s more, the Hei Hei is downright fun. Kona shortened the chainstays a few years back and while the Hei Hei is not as nimble as some other premier XC bikes, it’s no slouch in the truly tight stuff. The Kona likes to be thrown, pushed and ridden hard. Yep, it’s fast, but I like the Hei Hei because it’s actually fun.
This is a cross-country racer that has a life beyond the race. So, while the sticker doesn’t lie–the bike is a race machine, no doubt about it–the Hei Hei isn’t just for ‘competition use only.’ It will give you smiles each and every time you ride it.