Sunday, July 22, 2018

New bike: custom Kona Dew FS allroad / adventure rig

Bikes are my passion. They have always been. I pretty much live in the 'n+1' concept. The bike industry brings something new every year and lately there has been certainly something I have wanted, a more capable gravel / allroad bike. I like to explore small, rugged gravel and forest roads and for my liking, 700X40C tires are just not enough every time. Sure, I could pick up 29+ bike or even fatbike, but sometimes there are some longer, paved transitional sections to those gravel and forest roads so a well rolling and faster bike makes a lot of sense. I have built several new roadplus bikes at work, like Kona NRB bikes. 650BX47 roadplus tires or even slightly wider tires have looked like the right size for my needs. However, I can't afford a complete new bike at the moment. But living the 'n+1' syndrome often means that there are some old parts in the garage. So, I found a brand new 2011 Kona Dew FS frame from Kona's warehouse and the plan was ready: build a completely custom allroad bike. A bit of inspiration came from my co-worker who had built a Dew Drop as a roadplus bike.

There were several things I wanted to achieve with this bike project:

- build a very unique bike
- re-use the old parts and save money
- build the wheelset myself
- ability to run largest possible tires that the frame accepts
- front dynamo hub for USB charging
- white/blue Suomi-Finland color theme

After several late evenings building the bike after work, and building the wheels during the midsummer, the mission was accomplished. Here is the summary of the process. All the photos where shot at Hanko coast, the southernmost point of Finland:

Something new and something old. New: Ritchey Comp VentureMax 42cm handlebar, very comfortable and spot-on tuck and top positions. Old: Shimano 105 STI 8-speed gear/brake levers:

Handlebar tape is Lizard Skins DSP 3.2mm, definitely best looking and most comfortable tape out there:

Thomson Elite Setback seatpost has been my favourite on my fatbikes over the years so it was a natural choice. Kona saddle from the original Wo build:

Seatpost clamp is by Kona and came with the frame:

Same goes with the stem which is Thomson Elite X4, 90mm +/-10°, slammed as -10° as as low as possible to get better top position:

The headtop is pretty massive at 18cm, Kona's metallic head badge is very nice:

Power transmission: Shimano Deore 175mm triple crankset (smallest chainring removed) with Hollowtech bottom bracket, Shimano Tiagra rear derailleur from the old parts, Shimano HG-93 XT 9-speed chain (8-speed in the picture, 9-speed is MUCH smoother!), Shimano Ultegra 6703 triple front derailleur with Problem Solvers adapter:

Then to the wheels, starting with the hubs. For the first time for me, I'm using a dynamo hub. It's Shimano DH-3D32-QR:

The rear hubs is reliable Shimano XT 756A:

The front dynamo hub required 36-hole rim. Not many rim choices for 27.5 so I ended up with NoTubes Arch MK3, 36 spokes front, 32 spokes rear. Spokes are DT Champion and DT brass nipples:

Tires are Schwalbe Thunder Burt Evolution SnakeSkin TL-Easy 2017 27.5 x 2.10 / 584-54, set up as tubeless with Muc-Off NoPuncture sealent. These tires are fast as I have averaged 30-31 km/h on my 40 km commuting route!

WTB TCS tubeless valves, in blue color of course:

Brakes are Hayes CX Expert (originally on my Kona Rove ST 2015) with Hayes rotors:

All cables and housing are from Jagwire:

Top tube is protect-taped from frame bags:

The front fork is one of the many Kona P2 forks and I painted it myself. The complete build looks very good indeed:

The bottom bracket sits pretty low at 26cm. It's too low for trail riding but this bike is surprisingly fast on all roads, and that is really the main purpose. This bike will see different setups with bikepacking bags and other adventure equipment. I'm pretty excited for future allroad adventures with this bike!