2020 Kona Process 134 CR DL 29 Bike

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2020 Kona Process 134 CR DL 29
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Never Not Fun: The All-New Kona Process 134 29er

Reborn with the option for 29-inch wheels, the Process 134 is now a versatile, well-rounded ride with a sleek appearance. It's also one of the most polished Kona bikes to date.

Rating: Vital Review

Kona is a brand with a history of doing things their way. Their pseudo-delinquent, never-not-having-fun attitude has delivered some noteworthy bikes piloted by amazing athletes. A few weeks back we traveled to Bellingham, Washington for a visit with Kona to learn about what they had in the pipeline for 2020. Our itinerary included three days of solid riding aboard Kona’s all-new Process 134. It was a safe bet to assume the bike would get Kona’s latest platform update but the particulars remained a mystery. What would it be? A 29er trail bike with the latest modern, aggressive geometry greeted us on day one. In a competitive field with deep talent, the mid-travel trail bike class is a tough one. We dumped liters of sweat on the top tube to find out how the new Process 134 fared. Press on

Kona is a brand with a history of doing things their way. Their pseudo-delinquent, never-not-having-fun attitude has delivered some noteworthy bikes piloted by amazing athletes. A few weeks back we traveled to Bellingham, Washington for a visit with Kona to learn about what they had in the pipeline for 2020. Our itinerary included three days of solid riding aboard Kona’s all-new Process 134. It was a safe bet to assume the bike would get Kona’s latest platform update but the particulars remained a mystery. What would it be? A 29er trail bike with the latest modern, aggressive geometry greeted us on day one. In a competitive field with deep talent, the mid-travel trail bike class is a tough one. We dumped liters of sweat on the top tube to find out how the new Process 134 fared. Press on to learn for yourself.

Strengths

Weaknesses

  • Goldilocks suspension feel at 28% sag, pop and plough when needed
  • Strong all-around climber
  • A true “do-all” bike
  • Audibly quiet carbon and alloy frames
  • Easy to ride and manage on trail
  • Well balanced progression curve
  • Sleek overall appearance
  • Must love short chainstays
  • Rear end stiffens noticeably under heavy braking

Process 134 Highlights

  • Available in both 29 and 27.5-inch models
  • 134mm (5.3-inches) rear travel // 140mm (5.5-inches) travel fork
  • Full carbon and aluminum frame options
  • Updated, faux-bar, single-pivot design
  • Trunnion-mount metric rear shock
  • 2.47 overall leverage rate with 11% progression from 30-90% of travel
  • Coil-compatible (suggest running 22% sag)
  • Anti-squat: 102% at sag, 85% at end of travel
  • Tubed internal cable routing with the option for both Euro/standard brake preferences
  • Full-sized water bottle mount inside the front triangle
  • Press-fit 92mm bottom bracket with ISCG05 tabs
  • Boost dropout spacing
  • Different dropper post height for each size, 125mm through 200mm
  • Lifetime warranty

Compared to Previous Process Bikes

When the Kona team decided to update the Process 134 they first looked back at one of the more niche, but ahead of its time bikes – the Process 111. They decided to make the ultimate mash-up: the large wheels and rowdy ethos of the Process 111 plus the travel numbers of the prior Process 134. From the ground up, this is an all-new bike for Kona, retaining only the 134 moniker.

A bike that climbs this well should be expected to have some compromise on the descent – maybe nervous in this or that terrain, or perhaps scary on the steeps? No, not the Process 134.

The goal was to build a truly versatile machine. While still using the layout of the Process 153, the new 134 has a more svelte frame which includes a streamlined rear triangle for less ankle and foot rub. Gone is the muscle bulge near the head tube junction. Instead, the top tube is now straight and sleek in diameter. Through and through, one could claim this is Kona’s most refined offering in the mountain bike line to date.

Geometry

The Process 134 was given the full treatment in the geometry department. Seat tube lengths are nice and short while allowing for increased post insertion over the Process 153. Speaking of seat tubes, Kona didn't get super crazy with the seat angle coming in at 76.3-degrees.

A 66-degree head angle mated to a 51mm offset fork rounds out the front end. Kona decided not to chase trends, opting for the longer offset option following back-to-back tests. This decision was made in the name of keeping the bike more agile for all-day ride situations.

Longer reach numbers are among the new standard affairs, starting at 425mm for a small and growing in 25mm increments until you reach the XL which jumps to 510mm. The Process 134 uses 427mm chainstay lengths across all sizes.

Initial Impressions

During our time in Bellingham, we did plenty of climbing on the Process 134. Our vertical assents were varied with some technical bits, plenty of long grinds and all points in between. No matter the route, all of it was easily surmounted by the new Kona. We fiddled with the quick-adjust compression lever on our RockShox Super Deluxe in the name of science but never found a real need for it as the bike rides well in the open mode. The Process is a composed and happy climber, something that should never be in doubt for any trail bike in this day and age.

A wise man once said that you’ve got to get up to get down, or something like that. He was talking about bikes, right? A bike that climbs this well should be expected to have some compromise on the descent – maybe nervous in this or that terrain, or perhaps scary on the steeps? No, not the Process 134. Point this bike at most anything you want, it will not back down or leave you shook.

The suspension design and performance offers an incredible balance that is both stable in the chop but supportive enough to loft the bike off most trail features. Our medium was a comfortable fit that could be ridden in a neutral position but allowed for plenty of body movement to push or pull the bike as we wished. During our rides there were options to point the Process 134 down some steep bits, most with some sort of time spent in the air. At no point was there any trepidation or concern. Roll up, drop in. The Process quietly delivered performance without feeling like a bruiser.

The only on-trail quibble that can be presented is the suspension under braking. Shutting down the Process 134 in the rough stuff had our right (rear) foot dancing on a flat pedal. Once aware and a bit more familiar with the trails, we accommodated and took a more braced form, really dropping that back heel during high-speed chattery sections. This suppressed most of the boogie-foot for the remainder of our time on the Process 134.

Inside? Inside! The Process 134 loves to come in hot, lined up for the inside, and snap around berms with ease. Smaller riders will likely delight in the shorter chainstay length, though there is a healthy group of taller folks voicing the need for longer stays for larger bikes.

Build Kits & Pricing

The new Process 134 comes in six trims including two different wheel sizes. The carbon builds only come in the 29-inch wheel configuration and offer two trim levels.

The Process 134 CR DL was our test bike and is the flagship model. The drivetrain and stoppers are a full and proper SRAM X01 Eagle build kit (no GX cassette slipped in there) with the new SRAM G2 brake. RockShox's top offerings, the Pike Ultimate RC2 and Super Deluxe Ultimate, handle the suspension and the recently-updated RockShox Reverb dropper post makes the seat go up and down. We noted less effort to compress the dropper and faster return speeds.

Our test bike retails for $5,999 USD, which is a killer value for the spec. A little digging around at what other (non-direct) brands are putting out there found that the Process 134 CR DL comes in either much cheaper or better spec’d than its competitors.

Carbon Kona Process 134 CR 29

If instead you want a carbon frame and FOX suspension, Kona has that in the form of the Process 134 CR. This GX Eagle build with a FOX Performance 34 and Performance Elite DPX2 will run you $4,999. There are two aluminum 29-inch wheel options, the 134 DL and 134, at $3,699 and $2,399, respectively.

Aluminum Kona Process 134 DL 27.5

27.5 isn’t dead! Kona is still offering the Process 134 in two 27.5 versions and is available in an extra small frame option (Lilliputians rejoice!). The two aluminum builds, the 134 DL and 134, round out the line with the same parts and price as the 29-inch aluminum bikes. The entire Process 134 line comes with SRAM Eagle drivetrains and size-appropriate dropper posts, which is pretty cool in our book.

All the fun with the Kona Bikes team.
Ian Schmitt, Kona Bikes Product Manager, enjoying their latest creation.

What’s the Bottom Line?

After a couple of days atop the new Process 134 CR DL 29, we can say Kona has a winner on their hands. This is an excellent example of the modern mountain bike. It is fully capable of scooting along the mellow stuff while delivering performance for the rowdiest players in the woods.

Budget-minded riders can sleep well at night, too. A few miles on the aluminum 134 DL 29 proved to be just as quiet as the carbon and the suspension performance is there, although the added weight can be noticeable. The consistency in performance further drove home what a great platform the Kona team is working with. Any rider looking to put a trail bike in his or her garage should give the Process 134 a serious look.

Head over to konaworld.com for more details, and be sure to catch Miranda Miller on a Pacific Northwest adventure aboard her new ride.

Vital MTB First Ride Rating

  • Climbing: 4.5 stars - Outstanding
  • Descending: 4 stars - Excellent
  • Fun Factor: 5 stars - Spectacular
  • Value: 4 stars - Excellent
  • Overall Impression: 4.5 stars - Outstanding

About the Reviewer

Brad Howell - Age: 40 // Years Riding: 28 // Height: 5’9” (1.75m) // Weight: 160-pounds (72.5kg)

Brad started mountain biking when a 2.25-inch tire was "large," and despite having threads, bottom brackets sucked. Riding in the woods with friends eventually lead way to racing, trying to send it at the local gravel pits, and working in bike shops as a wrench to help fix those bikes. Fortunate enough to have dug at the past six Rampages and become friends with some of the sport’s biggest talents, Brad has a broad perspective of what bikes can do and what it means to be a good rider. The past few years Brad worked in the bike industry and got to see the man behind the curtain. These days, though, he likes just riding his bike in the woods with friends.

Photos by Caleb Smith and Kona // Video by Brad Howell and John Reynolds

Specifications

Product Kona Process 134 CR DL 29 Bike
Model Year 2020
Riding Type Trail
Rider Unisex
Sizes and Geometry
S, M, L, XL View Geometry
Size S M L XL
Top Tube Length 569 596 625 664
Head Tube Angle 66° 66° 66° 66°
Head Tube Length 93 98 109 120
Seat Tube Angle 76.5° 76.5° 76.3° 76.2°
Seat Tube Length 385 410 450 485
Bottom Bracket Height 342 (33 drop) 342 (33 drop) 342 (33 drop) 342 (33 drop)
Chainstay Length 427 427 427 427
Wheelbase 1159 1186 1216 1255
Standover 715 725 725 725
Reach 425 450 475 510
Stack 601 605 615 625
* Additional Info All measurements in mm unless otherwise noted
Wheel Size 29"
Frame Material Carbon Fiber
Frame Material Details Kona carbon with internal cable routing and rubber frame protection
Rear Travel 134mm
Rear Shock RockShox Super Deluxe Ultimate, 185x55mm stroke, trunnion upper, 8x20mm lower
Fork RockShox Pike Ultimate RC2, Charger2, DebonAir, tapered steerer, 110x15mm spacing, 51mm offset
Fork Travel 140mm
Head Tube Diameter Tapered (44mm upper / 55.95mm lower)
Headset FSA Orbit 1.5 E ZS
Handlebar Kona XC/BC 35
Stem Kona XC/BC 35
Grips Kona Key
Brakes SRAM G2 RSC with SRAM Centerline 200mm rotors
Brake Levers SRAM G2 RSC
Drivetrain 1x
Shifters SRAM X01 Eagle, 12-speed
Front Derailleur None
Rear Derailleur SRAM X01 Eagle, 12-speed
ISCG Tabs ISCG 05
Chainguide None
Cranks SRAM Descendant Carbon DUB
Chainrings 34 tooth SRAM X-Sync Eagle
Bottom Bracket SRAM DUB PF92
Pedals None included
Chain SRAM GX Eagle
Cassette SRAM X01 Eagle, 10-50 tooth, 12-speed
Rims WTB KOM Light i30 TCS, 32 hole
Hubs DT Swiss 370
Spokes Stainless Black 14g
Tires Front: Maxxis Minion DHF EXO TR 3C 29"x2.5" WT
Rear: Maxxis Minion DHF EXO TR 3C 29"x2.3"
Saddle WTB Volt Pro
Seatpost RockShox Reverb with 1x remote lever
Seatpost Diameter 31.6mm
Seatpost Clamp Kona standard single bolt, 34.9mm
Rear Dropout / Hub Dimensions 148x12mm
Max. Tire Size 29x2.5"
Bottle Cage Mounts Yes
Colors Gloss polar silver and olive with olive and charcoal decals
Warranty One-year limited on complete bicycle
Three-year limited on carbon frames
Lifetime limited on non-carbon bikes and frames when registered within three months of purchase
Weight N/A
Miscellaneous
Price $5,999
More Info

www.konaworld.com

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