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Kona Kapu 853 returns along with two new Rove bikes for 2015

Kona expand Rove lineup with Rove AL and flat-barred Big Rove, and the Kapu returns with a Reynolds 853 tubeset

Last week we brought you news of Kona’s new disc-equipped Esatto range, now we've got a few other new bikes to tell you about, including the return of the company’s Kapu 853 and a Rove AL and Big Rove joining the popular Rove range.

Kapu revives retro interest

While Kona are clearly looking towards the future with their Esatto disc road bikes, they’ve also got one eye on the past with the return of the Kapu. This is their old school steel frame that pays homage to the bicycles of yesteryear, it's been in the range in the past but has been redesigned for 2015. It used to be a lugged frame, it's now TIG welded. 

The new Kapa features a frame and fork made from Reynolds 853 tubing. The geometry has been designed for long-distance comfort, the sort of riding such a bike is going to be used for, so the head tube is a bit taller and the top tube shorter than their race bikes. Along with relaxed head and seat angles, lower bottom bracket and longer chainstays, it should be a very stable and comfortable bike.

The Kapu will cost £1,699 with a Shimano 105 11-speed groupset and Ultegra rear mech, along with TRP long drop caliper brakes, so you can easily fit mudguards. There are eyelets on the frame and fork for ‘guards.

Large tyres are easily accommodated and Continental Grand Sport Race 28mm tyres are specced. They’re fitted to Mavic Aksium S wheels. Kona Road finishing kit completes the bike along with a Selle San Marco Era Dynamic saddle. The Kapu will be available in six sizes from 49 to 61cm.

Rove AL and Big Rove expand gravel grinder range

Kona launched the Rove model two years ago. Pitched as a super-practical fast and light steel bike ideal for a spot of gravel grinding, but equally perfect for commuting, light touring and going on adventures, the bike tapped into the growing trend for super versatile cyclocross-inspired bikes with capacity for wide tyres and a lust for adventure. 

They first launched the Rove Ti, a US Lynskey built frame, but they’re now expanding the Rove to more prices, and will offer Rove AL at just £649. Same geometry and features but at a fraction of the price. 

Kona use a 6061 aluminium frame to build the Rove AL and it’s double butted to lower the weight. The frame is built up with a Kona Project Two Touring Disc fork and a Shimano Claris 8-speed drivetrain with a massive 11-32t cassette and compact 50/34 chainset. Hayes CX Comp mechanical disc brakes are fitted and Schwalbe 32mm tyres are used.

Lastly, the Big Rove takes the Rove and swaps the dropped bar for a flat handlebar.

“We took what we’d found in the original Rove design and pushed it more towards the mountain realm," says Kona. "The Big Rove is our non-mountain bike mountain bike.

The frame and fork will take a 2in tyre so you could fit a wide cyclo-cross or a narrow mountain bike tyre. There’s also space for mudguards. They’ve stretched out the frame geometry a touch so shorter stems can be used with adversely impacting the geometry.

Costing £1,199, the Big Rove is specced with a SRAM mountain bike groupset, including an X7 Type 2 rear mech and X5 2x10 chainset with Tektro HDC-290 hydraulic disc brakes. Schwalbe Big Apple 2in tyres are fitted to wheels comprising Shimano Deore hubs and WTB SX19 rims.

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David worked on the tech team from 2012-2020. Previously he was editor of and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds, and you can now find him over on his own YouTube channel David Arthur - Just Ride Bikes

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