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KONA COILER DEE-LUX '05 (Tony)

As you may have guessed from my other reviews, I'm a man on a budget. So when the time came for me to get a new bike it was always going to be a compromise. Or so I thought...


FIRST IMPRESSIONS

My missus phoned me at work and said "There's a big box for you in the hallway...". I barely let her finish. I ducked out of work there and then and rushed home to inspect. The first thing that struck me about the Coiler Dee-Lux was how much better it looked in the flesh, particularly the paint job which looks silver in the official Kona shots but in natural daylight is like a matt titanium silvery gold. I don't know about you but I think the expensive photo shoots depicting bikes against white backgrounds often make an amazing bike look a bit gay!
The build quality is excellent and the welds are neat and inspire confidence. Overall the Coiler had a solid look that said 'take me up the trails and try caning me'!!


OUT OF THE BOX

Frame: Kona 7005 aluminium butted frame with 6" travel
Fork: Marzocchi 66 VF 150mm travel fork.
Rear Shock: Fox DHX 4.0 rear shock
Gears: 27 Speed. Shimano LX and XT front and rear derailleurs
Shifters: Shimano Deore LX M570 shifters
Chainset: Raceface Evolve DH X-type chainset
Braking: Hayes hydraulic HFX-Mag XC disc brakes and levers
Wheels: KK disc front and Shimano M475 disc rear hubs. Sun Singletrack SL-1 rims
Tyres: Nokian NBX 26x2.3 inch tyres
Bars: Raceface Evolve Riser AM bars
Stem: Raceface Evolve stem
Saddle: WTB Laser V Race saddle
Seatpost: Raceface Evolve seatpin
Pedals: Shimano M520 clipless pedals


THE MODS

This bike is well kitted out for the money but a couple of bits will need replacing straight away if you're going to get the best out of it. The first things I swapped were the tyres. The Nokian NBX 2.3 is a perfectly good tyre but when you see one sitting between the legs (fnar fnar) of a pair of 66's you become immediately aware that it's not going to be up to the riding that this bike wants to do. The 2.3's frankly make the Coiler look like a Hybrid or road bike! I stuck a Nokian Gazza 2.6 on the front and a Maxxis Minion 2.5 on the rear and that balanced the bike out nicely.

Next I swapped the outer ring for a RaceFace bashring. This was just a personal choice and it'll depend on your riding style as to what you do with the chainrings but the setup is very flexible and removal of the old ring and fitting of the bashring took less than 5 minutes. Sweet.

After that I swapped the clipless pedals for my trusty Wellgos (see review), the 80mm stem for a 50mm and replaced the spring on the rear shock. Being a 'small' frame the spring rating was 450lbs and with my 15 stone (95Kg) weight it was like riding a waterbed! A quick call to the guys at Mojo suspension and the following day the new spring was on the doormat.

You could also swap the rims and shifters to improve performance but the Sunn Singletracks have held up well for me and the shifters have given me no trouble so far so it's up to you.


THE RIDE
By the time you've swapped some stuff over on the Coiler it's getting close to 40lbs. However, instead of behaving like a clumsy lump the Coiler is surprisingly nimble and yet feels firmly rooted to the trails, charging through every obstacle in it's path with almost an air of arrogance thanks to those lovely Marzocchi 66s. The Fox DHX gives you complete control over the setup of the rear end and, whilst daunting for some at first, tuning in is relatively simple. The DHX will take big hits in it's stride but comes into it's own on the climbs where the Pro Pedal kicks in. Again the Coiler hides it's weight on the climbs (although it's obviously no XC weapon) and the rear linkage remains almost solid with very little bobbing.

The real change occurs in the air. Once airborne the bike loses about 30lbs and suddenly feels light, manouverable and really well balanced allowing it to be thrown around a bit. Stopping a 40lbs bike with a 15 stone rider on is no problem for the quite frankly perfect Hayes HFX Mag brakes with an 8" rotor at the front and a 6" at the rear. On top of that this bike makes drops look and feel smaller and as a result starts to encourage you to take on stuff you might not have looked at before.

The only problem I've experienced is that on most UK trails, due to the lack of 1500ft mountains, you meet quite a few tight switchbacks and the slightly slack head angle slows you down a bit. However, this should be no reflection on the Coiler and you can definitely make the time up on the bits in between!


OVERALL
I love it!
The last full-susser I owned was a GT LTS back in the previous millennium! Since then I've been riding hardtails (the most recent of which being my much loved and trusty singlespeed DMR Trailstar) and even though I knew getting the a full-susser would be good for my riding, I was apprehensive about how much of a contrast it would be. By the second ride I felt like I'd had the bike for years.

The build and components inspire confidence and the bike itself just wants to charge though every trail, drop every drop and clear every set. Whether the rider does is a different matter, but the Coiler is like a pushy friend, egging you on, 'do it, do it, do it!'. The components that are good, are very good and the only things that i'd say want changing immediately are the tyres but the frame, forks and shock are spot on and will take a proper beating.

The '06 Coiler is basically identical to the '05 in every way except the tyres which are now Maxxis Minion 2.3s, an 8" rotor at the rear and, in my opinion, a horrible new blue paint job. There are still a few '05 Coilers knocking around and they're going cheap at the moment so if you're on a budget and you're after a bike that will take you to the top of the trail as well as throw you down it, will improve your riding, last and can be easily upgraded then get a Coiler Dee-Lux. Sorted.

*UPDATE* July '06
Right, I've had the Coiler for nearly a year now so I thought I'd better bung a progress report thingy up!

The frame and shock are still holding up very well after trips to Aston, Friston, Tilgate, Leith, Coed Y Brenin etc. and several offs! I have a feeling that I will break before the bike does. The paintwork is a bit mashed but this is partly to do with the matt finish and partly to do with me crashing now and then!

Had some problems with oil leaking from the lowers on the 66s but had the seals replaced and this seems to have done the trick. I've become quite attached to the 66VFs, no adjustments except a bit of air for preload and you're off and they're very plush.

The rims are still pretty true in spite of some very heavy landings (I'm truly not a 'smooth' rider!) and the hubs too have held out well. The harsh winter and a fair bit of lazyness on my part has resulted in a new cassette, freehub and chain (had i cleaned the bloody thing better none of this would have happened!) and also new pads although again I admit that this was probably more down dragging the brake something which I'm training out of myself.

I'm hoping to have this bike for a long time to come and so far the overall impression I've formed of it is that it's strong...very strong. I'm a big lad and I've twisted it into many wrong shapes and always come of infinately worse than the bike which, in a strange way, gives me more confidence every time. I still love it!


LOOKS: 5/5
BUILD: 5/5
SPEC: 4/5
RIDE: 5/5
VALUE: 5/5

5/5

BUY THIS NOW

RELATED LINKS

www.konaworld.com

 

 

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