Just In: Kona Dr Good
A £699 urban utility bike with a 7-speed hub gear, hub-centric brakes and an up-front carrying rack about the right size for a crate of beer
Kona have seven bike options in their commuter range for 2014, ranging in price from £549 to £799. Two of them – this Shimano Nexus 7-speed hub geared offering and the otherwise similar 9-speed derailleur gear equipped Dew DL – are fitted with enclosed tubular aluminium front carry racks, easily removable if the idea doesn't appeal or you feel inclined to trim the 14.4kg (32lb) overall bike weight.
Without the rack (we're mentioning this because the rack weighs about 1,500g on its own) the Dr Good is simply a sensibly specced aluminium framed utility bike with a decent range of gears and fast rolling 700 x 32c tyres.
There's no doubt that Kona are aiming at style influenced buyers with the Dr Good too, but the styling thankfully stops short of pose and theft magnetism with only Schwalbe's Road Cruiser gumwall tyres and the wooden rack base drawing commentary. The all-black approach of the rest of the bike appears to be aimed at pure practicality.
A tall head tube ensures that the riser handlebar is comfortably high for a relaxed posture but there's enough top tube stretch between the saddle and the bars for efficiency to get the upper hand over sit up and beg. There's about 4cm of bar height adjustment potential and the shaped grips will be popular with most riders.
Full outer cables run under the down tube to the Shimano Nexus 7 hub gear and roller brake and there's a simple sprung steering damper just behind the head tube to stop the steering swinging round when you've got a load on the front rack.
There are two sets of bottle cage eyelets plus rear rack eyelets on the seatstays and dropouts. The mudguards supplied are very basic plastic offerings but there's still enough room for slightly bigger tyres if needed.
The frame and componentry emphasis, as the overall bike weight suggests, appears to be on workhorse durability. The 6061 butted aluminium tubes are reinforced in all the right places, the paint overcoat seems hard wearing and the bolted seat clamp faces forward, away from rear wheel spray.
The wheels are solidly built 36 spoke offerings with nutted hubs and tough rims, and the Schwalbe tyres have a decent reputation for puncture-free riding on rougher surfaces.
Shimano's twist grip Nexus gears have a good longevity reputation too, and all the finishing kit is sturdy stuff that's capable of taking a fair amount of abuse.
The front brake is a cable pull Hayes disc with a 160mm rotor and the FSA 38 tooth crankset has a trouser-guard/bash-plate.
Frame sizes available are 46, 49, 53, 56, 59 and 61cm and the geometry on our 53cm test sample is 70.5° at the head and 74° at the seat, with a horizontal top tube reach of 55.5cm. Smaller sizes have slacker head angles and steeper seat angles, larger sizes vice versa.
That's about it for now. We'll be using the Dr Good as a workhorse town bike for a few weeks and then we’ll report back with a complete review.