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Kona Launches the Satori but Build Kits Fail to Impress

Kona has relaunched the Satori model in its lineup as a mid-travel 29er. With 130mm of rear suspension and 140mm up front, the Kona Satori stacks itself up against a crowded field of trail bikes. The bike features the Fuse Independent Suspension system. This system utilizes a single pivot with a predictable leverage ratio. The frame features a seat stay that relies on small degrees of frame flex rather than a pivot at the seat and chainstay junction.

Those chainstays are 430mm long and the headtube comes in with a 68.0 degree angle. Pretty standard numbers for this category of bike. The Satori is slotted nicely in Kona’s lineup of 29ers. Bigger than the 120mm/100mm Hei Hei and yet not as burley as the 160mm/153mm Process 153.

What is very puzzling is the 2 build kits provided. The lower end Satori retails for $2699 which is a decent price point. But, for that money you don’t get the buildkit you would expect. The fork is a low-end RockShox Recon Gold. The drivetrain is Shimano Deore 10spd paired with Race Face Aeffect cranks. Putting 10 speed Deore on a bike in this price range just doesn’t add up. The bike also features lower end Shimano mt500 brakes and a Trans-X Dropper.

The higher end build, the “Satori DL” features a much more respectable build kit, but also bumps the price up to $3499. It gets rid of that Recon fork and 10 speed drivetrain by jumping all the way up to a SRAM GX Eagle drivetrain and a RockShox Revelation RC Solo Air. The nicer fork is welcome, but as I’ll show below many bike manufactures fit a similar fork on their base model.  Braking power on this higher end model is provided by SRAM Guide R brakes. The dropper is also upgraded to a RockShox Reverb.

Overall, while this bike is interesting, it feels like you need to be a Kona die-hard in order to pick this bike from the crowded lineup of mid travel trail bikes. I’ve put together a comparison table of bikes from Canyon, Specialized, Trek and YT all in this same category and price range to see how the Kona Satori stacks up.

Kona Satori Vs. The Competion

Kona SatoriKona Satori DLSpecialized StumpJumper Comp AlloyCanyon SPECTRAL AL 6.0YT JEFFSY® 29 ALTrek Fuel EX 7 29
ForkRockShox Recon Gold RL Solo Air 140mm
Fork: RockShox Revelation RC Solo Air 140mm
RockShox Reba RL 140mmROCKSHOX PIKE RC 150mmFOX 34 FLOAT RHYTHMRockShox Reba RL 130mm
ShockRockShox Deluxe RL DebonAir TrunnionRockShox Deluxe RL DebonAir TrunnionRockShox Monarch RTROCKSHOX DELUXE RTFOX DPS PERFORMANCEFox Performance Float EVOL
DrivetrainShimano Deore 10 Spd w/ RaceFace Aeffect cranks
SRAM GX-Eagle 12spdSRAM GX 11spd w/ Race Face Aeffect cranksSRAM GX EAGLE, 12SSHIMANO SLX 11speed with E*THIRTEEN TRS+ cassetteSRAM NX, 11 speed
WheelsWTB STP i29 TCS laced to Shimano Deore hubsWTB STP i29 TCS laced to Formula hubsRoval Traverse 29 laced to Specialized hubsDT SWISS M 1900 SPLINEDT SWISS M 1900 SPLINEBontrager Line Comp 30
Dropper PostTrans-X DropperRockShox ReverbCommand Post IRccKIND SHOCK LEV SIE*THIRTEEN TRS+ Dropper post, Bontrager lever
Price $2699$3499$2800$2300$2299$2499
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Matt Stenson

I'm a mountain biker currently residing in Montrose, Colorado. I love riding bikes with my family and friends, race casually and am plain crazy about bikes.

2 thoughts on “Kona Launches the Satori but Build Kits Fail to Impress

    1. Not only direct to consumer brands. Trek and Specialized too. It’s not just the fork either 10spd deore is what you would expect on a $1500 bike, not one $1000 dollars more.

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