Kona Rove HD E-Bike Assessment: Good Bike, Nice Worth

Should you’ve been across the mountain biking scene for a decade or three, you may affiliate the Pacific Northwest’s Kona Bicycle Co. with brawny big-hit rigs just like the Stab, the Pungent, and the Pungent Dee-Lux. And with barrier-breaking shredders hucking them from unthinkable heights in the course of the nascent freeride period of the late ‘90s and early aughts.

Quick-forward to in the present day and Kona shredders are nonetheless busting down doorways to what’s doable on a mountain bike. Simply check out Caleb Holonko’s unreal gapper at the beginning of this clip. However Kona can be a way more diversified model lately, with a lineup that features gravel bikes, commuters, leisure fashions, and electrified variations of all three.

Till final yr, all of these e-bikes had been powered by Shimano mid-drive motors and priced at $3,000 and up. Then Kona dropped its new HD line of value-priced e-bikes. “HD” stands for hub drive, particularly SR Suntour’s R250 HP unit. 

The sportiest of the three-model Kona HD line is the Rove HD. It’s primarily based on the model’s longtime all-road/journey drop-bar Rove mannequin. I obtained to bang round on the Rove HD for a number of weeks, driving a mixture of pavement, crushed-gravel paths, fireplace roads, horse trails, and singletrack.

In brief: The Kona Rove HD provides terrific worth and an exhilarating trip expertise for cyclists, starting from each day commuters to journey riders who wish to cowl extra floor extra rapidly — irrespective of the floor.

  • Body
    6061 butted aluminum
  • Motor
    SR Suntour HD rear hub
  • Battery capability
    418 Wh
  • Drivetrain
    Shimano Claris
  • Wheel dimension

  • Nice value

  • Responsive and highly effective hub drive motor

  • Good all-arounder

  • Pretty light-weight

  • Heavy rear finish

  • Show exhausting to learn

  • Shifting could possibly be improved

Kona Rove HD E-Bike Assessment

The Drive System

Suntour R250HP hub drive motor
(Photograph/Kona Bicycle Co.)

Kona pairs the 250W nominal/500W peak SR Suntour R250 HP hub drive, boasting 60Nm of torque, with a 418Wh battery housed inside the big downtube of the Rove HD’s butted 6061 aluminum body. The facility pack locks into the body with a key and could be charged both on or off the bike. Charging from 0% to 100% is between 6 and seven hours.

Fairly than relying merely on cadence sensing to find out motor output, as many hub-drive e-bikes do, all of the Kona HD bikes use a torque sensor housed within the backside bracket. This delivered a extra measured and natural-feeling pedal help akin to pricier mid-motor electrics however at a decrease value.

Kona Rove HD front end
(Photograph/Kona Bicycle Co.)

In launching the HD line final October, Kona said that its intention was to “assist decrease the barrier to entry to driving an electrical bike.” The corporate has actually completed that inside its personal electrical line.

For comparability’s sake, Kona costs its Shimano STEPS mid-motor-equipped Libre El gravel e-bike at $4,499, whereas the brand new Rove HD is available in at lower than half that with an MSRP of $2,199. Nonetheless, it has a lower-level drivetrain, brakes, and different elements than the LIbre EL’s Shimano GRX construct.

One tradeoff, nevertheless, is that the motor’s weight strikes from the middle of the bike, the place mid-drive motors sit, to the rear wheel. This impacts the bike’s dealing with by making it tougher to get the wheel off the bottom and maneuver the again of the bike.

The drive system provides Class 1 pedal help (no throttle) as much as 20 mph. Riders can choose from 4 help modes — Eco, Tour, Sport, and Turbo — plus a Stroll mode. A discreet handlebar-mounted combo controller/show unit controls the system and has readouts for knowledge, together with help mode, present pace, journey distance, share of remaining battery life, and extra. 

Kona Rove HD Construct

Kona Rove HD front view
(Photograph/Kona Bicycle Co.)

Kona’s purpose is to make the HD line’s pricing accessible to extra customers, and the element spec displays that. I’d describe the Rove HD’s construct as “modest however succesful.”

A Shimano Claris 1-by-8 with an 11-32T Claris cassette and Suntour SR crankset (38T) takes care of the drivetrain with the torque-sensing backside bracket.

These Claris levers squeeze a set of Tektro Spyre-C mechanical disc brakes with 180mm rotors. Kona-branded bits spherical out the cockpit. 

The bike rolls on 650b road-plus wheels, with WTB rims which have a 19mm inside width wrapped in a pleasant set of high-volume WTB Horizon Comp 650 x 47c tires with tan sidewalls. One of many unique “all-road” tires, and one I’ve spent fairly a little bit of time on through the years, the Horizons had been a welcome sight.

WTB Horizon tires
(Photograph/Toby Hill)

The Rove HD body has mounting factors for a rear rack and a bottle cage contained in the entrance triangle on prime of the downtube. The fork additionally has provisions for racks and equipment. Commuters and bikepackers alike can rejoice that. The body and fork may also accommodate fenders with loads of clearance for 47c tires, which is the widest rubber Kona approves.

Energy and Vary

The Suntour hub drive’s 60Nm of most torque won’t sound like a lot in a market the place in style mid-drive programs max out at 85Nm or extra. But it surely was greater than sufficient to utterly fly off the road from a useless cease in all however the lowest pedal-assist mode, Eco. The bike is comparatively light-weight, 44.5 kilos, and people fast-rolling WTB Horizons actually helped the trigger.

However the motor put out fairly a little bit of muscle with fast engagement, because of the system’s torque sensing reasonably than lag-prone cadence sensing. The engagement isn’t fairly as rapid as a mid-motor like a Shimano STEPS or Bosch drive, however it was fairly rattling shut. And for lots much less cash.

That mentioned, I didn’t look after the system’s Eco mode, which supplied a negligible degree of help earlier than the subsequent pedal-assist degree, Tour mode actually kicked up the ability. On flat floor to reasonable uphill grades, Tour mode took me as much as the 20 mph restrict so quickly that I by no means felt a must shift into Sport or Turbo. Even pretty steep ascents had been manageable with out standing up and mashing the pedals.

So, staying largely in Tour mode, I used to be capable of get 37 miles of vary over 1,600 toes of whole elevation achieve on a single cost of the 418Wh battery. That is very respectable for the battery’s dimension.

I additionally pedaled the Rove HD effectively over 20 mph ceaselessly as a result of the hub drive had barely any noticeable drag when breaching the help restrict. Similar for pedaling with the motor turned off. Vary anxiousness? Don’t even fear about it. Positive, you’ll be pedaling a 40-plus-pound bike, however not one which feels prefer it’s caught within the mud.

You’ll know when your cost is winding down for the reason that system defaults into Eco mode as soon as the battery dips to 10%. As a Kona rep instructed me, the bike maintains a “reserve tank” of energy to assist get you house.

Kona Rove HD Trip Impressions

Kona Rove HD on the tarmac
(Photograph/Kona Bicycle Co.)

The e-bike’s hub drive/torque sensor combo impressed me from my first outing on the Rove HD. It felt like a mid-drive motor. I might really feel a contact of carry-over energy as soon as I ended pedaling, however it was only a blip in time in contrast with every other hub-motor bike I’ve ever ridden. 

Extra importantly, motor engagement when pedaling from a useless cease was near-instantaneous. That translated to fast begins in metropolis site visitors and welcome responsiveness when working into steep hills unexpectedly, particularly demanding off-road pitches. And no hill was too steep for this drive system. As I mentioned earlier than, Tour mode obtained me over no matter grade I desired. However the Rove HD completely flew uphill in Sport and Turbo modes.

Taking the bike off-road, these WTB Horizon tires supplied loads of traction in my native Southern California loose-over-hardpack terrain. In addition they absorbed vibration and shock from ruts and embedded rocks because of their beneficiant quantity and rounded profile. It was an awesome all-around tire that additionally rolled quick on clean pavement because of its clean middle line, which is bookended by a chevron-patterned outer tread for assured cornering within the filth.

Nonetheless, this was on no account a nimble gravel bike. That rear-hub motor was drawn to terra firma like a magnet, and it took a helluva lot of rider persuasion to raise the rear wheel into the air or make it dance over technical terrain. I most loved the Rove HD on quick fireplace roads and horse trails, the place the mixed weight of the motor and battery saved the bike securely planted to the bottom and made for a supremely assured trip as I charged previous the motor’s help restrict.

The Shimano Claris drivetrain’s shifting wasn’t significantly clean, even after twiddling with cable stress. It’s in all probability the very first thing I’d improve on the Rove HD. Alternatively, the Tektro mechanical disc brakes delivered spectacular stopping energy with out being grabby. Kona additionally specs a large house-branded drop bar for broadly spaced hand positions and wraps it in a soft, slip-resistant bar tape that helped mute street and path suggestions.

Low profile display on the Kona Rove HD
(Photograph/Kona Bicycle Co.)

I like a modest, low-profile show unit on an e-bike over a massively intrusive one. However I had a tough time making out the minuscule readout on the Suntour unit whereas driving. And direct daylight hitting the display screen meant all bets had been off.

As a result of I used to be glad simply staying in Tour mode the vast majority of the time on the Rove HD, I wasn’t apprehensive about exceeding the help restrict because of the drive system’s minimal drag. So, I didn’t must seek the advice of the show a lot anyway.

Kona Rove HD E-Bike: Conclusion

The Kona Rove HD is a good selection for fanatic journey cyclists who wish to go all out on fireplace roads for a few hours, in addition to commuters eager to make quick-and-easy work of their spin to and from the workplace. In case your each day journey features a little bit of break day street, even higher! The Rove HD can deal with virtually any terrain you throw at it with its stout construct and extremely succesful WTB tires.

You additionally get energy to spare, remarkably natural-feeling pedal help, respectable vary, and pretty mild weight — all of the makings for a enjoyable and worry-free trip. And at an MSRP of $2,199, it’s an absolute discount too.