Words and images by Patrick Means

Kona Process 153 review

Warning: This bicycle could impair ones ability to think

This bike.  I’m in a stupor.  Whenever I ride this Kona Process 153, I come back dumb.  Functioning on a normal human level, is harder.  Interacting with children and animals is easier.  But logical, left-brain activities are nearly impossible.  Example: I log my rides on, The Strava.  Normally, as I ride, the ride title comes to me and it’s easy to make a slightly creative name or something at least more interesting or memorable so I can remember the ride later.  But when I get back from a Process ride, there is no ride title.  I’m completely at a loss.  I stare at the computer and type in single words like “awesome”, then delete it.  “rad biking”  delete that too…  What could possibly portray the glorious feelings of this bike, speedering through the woods like some combo bunny-rabbit/cheetah hybrid animal?  Maximum agility, maximum speed, maximum prowess.  Primal.

After all, you can only name so many rides, “Mountain Biking: AKA, Literally, Living the Dream”.

Mountain biking: AKA, Literally Living the Dream

Mountain biking: AKA, Literally Living the Dream

I felt like a honey bee.  Doing the back stroke – they might? – down in the depths of the most nectar rich flower.  Utterly lost in the bliss of it all.  No past, no future, just honey.  Sweet sweet nectar of the Gods of Shred.

The bits & pieces of this bike – even on this cheaper model – were super thoughtfully picked.  The bits that you don’t want to worry about on a bike like this – fork, shock, brakes, wheels, tires – you don’t have to worry about.  The truly game-changing Rockshox Pike, Monarch rear shock, Shimano brakes, work horses in their class.  Knobby Maxxis tires – done.  It’s set up to rip.  The 10spd Shimano drivetrain just works.  Enough said, go pedal the damn thing.

What goes up, must go down

What goes up, must go down

I have to mention the geometry and overall design on this bike.  When Kona released this bike, they changed they way we ride mountain bikes.  Let that sink in.  The long front-center of the bike puts you in your favorite Hulk Hogan bull-dog riding stance, while the super short rear end feels nimbly-bimbly.  Let me put this in terms that are easier to understand.  My Hei-Hei XC bike with a 100mm stem has the same measurement from the tip of the saddle to the center of the handlebar that the Process does – and the process has a 40mm stem.  Climbing and pedaling this bike is a breeze!  Then point it downhill and the real giggling begins.

In an age when you can easily spend $5,000 on a new mountain bike that’s not even close to top of the line, this bike delivers perfectly where you need it, for way less.   And compared to most of those more expensive bikes, the Kona Process 153 quite honestly – on the trail at least, and hey, where else matters? blows a lot of those bikes out of the water.

The author enjoying some normal Oregon shred nectar

The author enjoying some normal Oregon shred nectar

I love this bike.  Don’t get me wrong, I love all my bikes.  Road bike, ‘cross bike, xc bike, commuter bike.  But I LOVE the Process.  The happiness factor is simply off the charts.  Whooping and hollering through the woods with your friends; inventing little airs to catch down every new and old trail.  It can’t be beat.  Just don’t be surprised if you need some time to readjust to real life after you ride this thing.  Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m getting super jealous of the string my cat is playing with.

//patricky out

4 Responses to “2015 Kona Process 153 – one year review”

  1. Phillip with the Beard on

    I picked up the Process 134 and feel the same way. Once I dialed in the suspension to my ever-changing beer drinking weight, I was surprised by how natural the bike felt under me. The geometry is certainly “different” than any other MTB that I’ve owned; although “correct” might be a better word for it. I certainly don’t podium in races, but enjoy shredding local trails and fire roads with it. At the end of the day when I’m drinking that beer; there is always a smile on my face – and that’s what matters.

  2. Dennis Tapio on

    Nice review man! Really nice to hear good stuff about my dreambike! That is exactly what I want, a bike that will make my primal side come out and play. At the moment I am riding an “Extreme Haze”.. Hardtailbike, that used to have a 100mm suspension fork(But that one completely broke.. Would not extend anymore..), now a 120mm suspension fork(That barely works). I have had that one since I was 13, now being 19..
    One thing I am a bit worried about regarding the process 153, is the playfulness. I have heard many positive things about it, but what do you think? Does it pop and shuffle around when told to, or does it just roll over everything like a monstertruck? How about the balance? Is it difficult to maneuver the bike in slow, technical terrain? Keep up the good work!

  3. Andy on

    Great review. I’m only a few months into my Process 153, but this describes the feeling perfectly 😀

  4. Zach on

    Perfect review. I love my 153 just as much. glad to hear others are having the same feelings. I love the fit of the bike and it feels so playful throwing it around the trails. Big props to Kona for creating a bike so dialed in to fit and function.