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Sneak peek: Kona Major Jake goes carbon for 2011

Long-standing cyclocross bike gets a major overhaul

Kona have announced that they’ll be making their long-standing Major Jake cyclocross machine in carbon fibre next year. The traditionally scandium alloy bike, which is often pressed into service as a year-round commuter, will be built to the same geometries as previously but, Kona say, it’ll be both stiffer and lighter.

The Major Jakes gets a tapered head tube that houses an oversized fork steerer for increased front end stiffness, and a new oversized bottom bracket junction for extra rigidity down there too.

“The steering is more precise [and] there is absolutely no fork chatter under hard braking,” said Team Kona cyclocross rider Barry Wicks on the Konaworld website. “The bike accelerates really well out of tight corners which is very important for cross. The new oversize bottom bracket area increases the stiffness to the point where I can just mash on the gas as soon as I get the bike pointed in the right direction and it just goes off like a rocket.

“When I stared riding it, the advantages of the carbon material and increased head tube and bottom bracket stiffness began to emerge. Stomping on the pedals up steep climbs and ripping singletrack descents became an exercise in precision and speed. I felt like I was on my scandium bike, but with a 30 percent increase in awesomeness.”

Top quality use of the word “awesomeness”. Kona reckon the ride quality of this new incarnation is considerably improved too.

“The carbon frame is more forgiving on rough courses as [it] helps damp high frequency vibrations and absorbs some of the punishment so the rider doesn’t have to,” says Wicks.

The Major Jake comes with internal cable routing to keep things functioning in grimy conditions, an integrated carbon cable stop for the rear brake, and generous mud clearance at both ends. Wicks reckons his 63cm model – he’s a big lad – weighs in at 17lb (7.7kg) with non-race spec parts, and expects it to be closer to 16lb (7.3kg) in full competition mode.

Cyclocross aficionado Chipps Chippendale of said, “Every other major player in the 'cross world now makes its race machines in carbon fibre. Kona isn't known as a major player in the carbon scene and I think its carbon bikes lack some of the whizz and polish of the bigger companies, but carbon's a good material to make a strong, light bike out of and Kona is a good company to not get too worthy about it, nor promise anything that the material isn't going to deliver.”

We’ll let you know when we get details on price and availability.

Mat has been in cycling media since 1996, on titles including BikeRadar, Total Bike, Total Mountain Bike, What Mountain Bike and Mountain Biking UK, and he has been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. Mat has been technical editor for over a decade, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer. Now over 50, he's riding road and gravel bikes most days for fun and fitness rather than training for competitions.

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