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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 $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.
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