If you enjoy riding drop bar bikes on a variety of surfaces, Kona Bikes’ engineers and product managers have been hard at work ensuring the company has a model for you. For 2018, the company has an impressive line of 11 different bikes that span 3 model groups, 3 different materials, 2 wheel sizes and nearly every price point from $849 to $3999. The Rove, Sutra and Jake lines each offer bikes that can handle cyclocross, gravel, commuting and bike packing while breaking categories and defying labels.

Last week, we took a look at the updated 2018 Jake the Snake, Major Jake and Super Jake cyclocross line, and today we shine a spotlight on the versatile, expanded Rove line of bikes we saw at the 2018 Kona Launch event.

We spotlight the 650b 2018 Kona Rove NRB DL today. © Cyclocross Magazine

We spotlight the 650b 2018 Kona Rove NRB DL today. © Cyclocross Magazine

For 2018, Kona gets creative and fully embraces its Scrabble tray of letters, earning points for creating the Rove LTD, Rove NRB DL, Rove NRB, Rove ST, Rove DL and simple four-letter Rove. To complicate matters, the models switch between B and C versions, with the Rove LTD, NRB DL and NRB embracing 650b, while the others roll on 700c.

While Kona might already have you seeing blurry with its own version of Words with Friends, the only points that really matter are earned with KOMs. Thankfully, we scored a ride on one of the new 2018 Roves with the Kona Endurace team, and take a close-up look at the other new models.

Rove Adds Three 650B

2018 Kona Rove LTD Reynolds 853 steel 650b bike. © Cyclocross Magazine

2018 Kona Rove LTD Reynolds 853 steel 650b bike. © Cyclocross Magazine

Still hung up on the letters? Don’t be. Kona declined to define the NRB acronym or abbreviation, but admitted the LTD is a limited, dream-build edition while the DL represents a Deluxe model.

2018 Kona Rove LTD Reynolds 853 steel 650b bike features double butted tubes. A frameset is available for $1499. © Cyclocross Magazine

2018 Kona Rove LTD Reynolds 853 steel 650b bike features double butted tubes. A frameset is available for $1499. © Cyclocross Magazine

2018 Kona Rove LTD Reynolds 853 steel 650b bike slows down with SRAM Force 1 hydraulic disc brakes. © Cyclocross Magazine

2018 Kona Rove LTD Reynolds 853 steel 650b bike slows down with SRAM Force 1 hydraulic disc brakes. © Cyclocross Magazine

2018 Kona Rove line has some unique design elements, including a copper logo pattern for a fashion-forward ride. © Cyclocross Magazine

2018 Kona Rove line has some unique design elements, including a copper logo pattern inside the fork leg for a fashion-forward ride. © Cyclocross Magazine

2018 Kona Rove LTD Reynolds 853 steel 650b bike is powered by a SRAM Force 1 drivetrain. © Cyclocross Magazine

2018 Kona Rove LTD Reynolds 853 steel 650b bike is powered by a SRAM Force 1 drivetrain. © Cyclocross Magazine

The flagship $3599 Rove LTD (which really is a NRB LTD, but that was one letter too much) pairs Reynolds 853 doubled butted main tubes with SRAM Force 1 componentry, WTB KOM i25 tubeless wheels and WTB Horizon 47mm 650b tires.

I rode the $2099 Rove NRB DL on a gravel ride with a few other journalists from Whistler to Squamish (stay tuned for ride impressions and photos), chasing Kona’s Kerry Werner, Barry Wicks and Spencer Paxson.

Cyclocross Magazine's Andrew Yee pushing the Kona Rove NRB DL through the woods of British Columbia. photo: courtesy

Cyclocross Magazine’s Andrew Yee pushing the Kona Rove NRB DL through the woods of British Columbia. photo: courtesy

The Rove NRB DL features a new alloy frame complete with thru axles, rack and fender mounts, Shimano 105/Ultegra components, a non-series Shimano RS510 50/34 crankset, WTB i23 rims with the same WTB Horizon 47mm 650b tires as on the Rove LTD model.

A long cage Shimano Ultegra rear derailleur handles rear shifting duties on the alloy 650b 2018 Kona Rove NRB DL. © Cyclocross Magazine

A long cage Shimano Ultegra rear derailleur handles rear shifting duties on the alloy 650b 2018 Kona Rove NRB DL. © Cyclocross Magazine

The alloy 650b 2018 Kona Rove NRB DL adds its name to a growing list of highly capable, raceable do-it-all machines. © Cyclocross Magazine

The alloy 650b 2018 Kona Rove NRB DL adds its name to a growing list of highly capable, raceable do-it-all machines. © Cyclocross Magazine

The 2018 Kona Rove hails the bison as a symbol of its go-anywhere, afraid-of-little spirit. © Cyclocross Magazine

The 2018 Kona Rove sports the bison as a symbol of its go-anywhere, afraid-of-little spirit. © Cyclocross Magazine

The alloy 650b 2018 Kona Rove NRB DL embraces 650b 47mm tires, as well as 700x40mm tires. © Cyclocross Magazine

The alloy 650b 2018 Kona Rove NRB DL embraces 650b 47mm tires, as well as 700x40mm tires. © Cyclocross Magazine

The bright green $1699 Kona Rove NRB keeps the same frame and wheels as the NRB DL model, but sheds $400 through a mix of Shimano Tiagra components and FSA Omega Adventure 48/32 crankset.

The $1699 2018 alloy Kona Rove NRB. © Cyclocross Magazine

The $1699 2018 alloy Kona Rove NRB. © Cyclocross Magazine

The FSA Omega Adventure 48/32 crankset helps tackle any terrain. 2018 alloy Kona Rove NRB. © Cyclocross Magazine

The FSA Omega Adventure 48/32 crankset helps tackle any terrain. 2018 alloy Kona Rove NRB. © Cyclocross Magazine

2018 alloy Kona Rove NRB brings 650b drop bar adventure down to $1699. © Cyclocross Magazine

2018 alloy Kona Rove NRB brings 650b drop bar adventure down to $1699. © Cyclocross Magazine

All three 650b Rove models feature the same 450g carbon fork as the Jake cyclocross line, which boasts a 12mm thru axle and a flat mount disc brake mount.

2018 Kona Rove LTD Reynolds 853 steel 650b bike has lots of clearance around the 650x47mm rubber. © Cyclocross Magazine

2018 Kona Rove LTD Reynolds 853 steel 650b bike has lots of clearance around the 650x47mm rubber. © Cyclocross Magazine

They also all feature threaded bottom brackets. The alloy models feature a frame with an impressively engineered two-piece forged bottom bracket shell that offers wide, molded chainstay stubs that sit wide on the shell for maximum tire clearance. Chainstays are welded to the bottom bracket just past where a 650b tire sits.

The new alloy 2018 Kona Rove NRB frames feature a forged two-piece bottom bracket shell that is optimized for tire clearance while keeping a 68mm wide threaded shell. © Cyclocross Magazine

The new alloy 2018 Kona Rove NRB frames feature a forged two-piece bottom bracket shell that is optimized for tire clearance while keeping a 68mm wide threaded shell. © Cyclocross Magazine

The alloy 650b 2018 Kona Rove NRB DL features a forged bottom bracket shell for rear tire clearance. © Cyclocross Magazine

The alloy 650b 2018 Kona Rove NRB DL features a forged bottom bracket shell for rear tire clearance. © Cyclocross Magazine

All Rove models feature offset rack and fender mounts as seen on the Jake the Snake, allowing owners to simultaneously use both rack and fenders during adventures or commutes.

2018 Kona Rove line features offset fender and rack mounts for easy simultaneous use. © Cyclocross Magazine

2018 Kona Rove line features offset fender and rack mounts for easy simultaneous use. © Cyclocross Magazine

Road+ Plus Tried-and-True 700c

While all Rove models can handle both 650b and 700c wheels, Kona brings back three 700c Rove models in the form of the Rove ST, Rove DL and Rove.

Kona's Joe Brown shows off the 700c wheel versions of the 2018 Kona Rove line. © Cyclocross Magazine

Kona’s Joe Brown shows off the 700c wheel versions of the 2018 Kona Rove line. © Cyclocross Magazine

The $1499 Rove ST, as the letters suggest, is a steel model, with a cromo frame and fork, dressed with SRAM Rival 1X components, with flat mount disc brakes and thru axles.

The 700c 2018 Kona Rove ST. photo: courtesy

The 700c 2018 Kona Rove ST. photo: courtesy

The $1099 Rove DL and $849 Rove share an 6061 alloy frame and Project 2 alloy disc fork, and remain on QR wheels. The DL comes with a full fender set and Shimano Sora, while the entry-level Rove relies on the price point Shimano Claris.

The 700c 2018 Kona Rove DL. photo: courtesy

The 700c 2018 Kona Rove DL. photo: courtesy

The 700c 2018 Kona Rove. photo: courtesy

The 700c 2018 Kona Rove. photo: courtesy

All the Rove models have similar reach and stack (and fit) to the Jake cyclocross line, which means relatively tall standover heights for a given reach. The configuration, labeling and geometry may require sizing down for all but the really lanky-legged rider. Cyclists who ride a 56cm will likely want a 54cm frame.

See the full geometry in the following table, and a full photo gallery below. Stay tuned for first ride impressions of the 2018 Kona NRB DL and ride photo gallery.

More info: konaworld.com

2018 Kona Rove Geometry

 SIZE485052545658
1ST LENGTH480500520540560580
2TT LENGTH515531546563579599
3REACH373378383388392400
4STACK530550570590610630
5STANDOVER724743765782803821
6HT ANGLE70.570.5717171.571.5
7HT LENGTH101.8123144.3165.4186.6207.7
8ST ANGLE7574.57473.57372.5
9CS LENGTH435435435435435435
10BB DROP747472727070
11BB HEIGHT269269271271273273
12WHEELBASE101110231031104310501064
13FRONT CENTER587599606618624639
14FORK LENGTH395395395395395395
15FORK OFFSET454545454545

2018 Kona Rove LTD, Rove NRB DL, Rove NRB, Rove DL, Rove ST, and Rove Photo Gallery:

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Kona's Joe Brown shows off the 700c wheel versions of the 2018 Kona Rove line. © Cyclocross Magazine

Kona’s Joe Brown shows off the 700c wheel versions of the 2018 Kona Rove line. © Cyclocross Magazine

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