Go-faster steel all-rounder unveiled

If you like fast but super-practical steel bikes, you're going to love this. Kona has published a few images of the Rove, its 2013 'Monster Cross' or 'Gravel Grinder' model, that looks like it could be spot on for urban pothole bashing during the week and blatting round dirt roads and easy bridleways at the weekend.

“We wanted to design a ride that would excel on as many rough surfaces as we could throw at it,” says Kona. “Everything from bumpy backroads to dusty highways, with all forms of irregularity in between. A bike that could go on a month long tour one day, ride to school the next, then race cross on the weekend. The Rove is all about filling that slot – or slots we should say.”

To that end, the Rove features lots of tyre clearance, eyelets for racks and mudguards, and mechanical disc brakes - Hayes V-Series CX-5s with 140 rotors, if you were riding on the road you'd want to go for a 160 up front. It will be made from chromoly steel, so it should take a beating, and if disaster strikes steel is still the most easily repaired material.

Kona goes on to say, “Based on extensive testing in and around our Ferndale, WA product development offices—on everything from full-on singletrack to rough rural roads—we’re extremely happy with the versatility and ride feel of the bike. It doesn’t ride low, like some bikes in the category. It’s aggressive yet comfortable, nimble but sturdy.”

It'll be available late summer 2012 as part of Kona's 2013 range

The main points of the spec include:

  • SRAM Apex drivetrain with 36/46 chainrings and 11-32 spockets
  • 44cm Kona Road bar
  • Kona chromoly straight blade fork, with oversized crown, low-rider mounts, and IS disc mounts
  • 700C 35mm Freedom Ryder tires
  • Hayes V-Series CX-5 mechanical disc brakes with 140mm rotors
  • Room in the frame for a 45mm tire without guards, or a 40mm with guards
  • Six sizes: 47, 49, 53, 56, 59, 61cm
  • US price will be $1699USD – UK price still to be decided.

More details from Kona's website.

Our official grumpy Northerner, John has been riding bikes for over 30 years since discovering as an uncoordinated teen that a sport could be fun if it didn't require you to catch a ball or get in the way of a hulking prop forward.

Road touring was followed by mountain biking and a career racing in the mud that was as brief as it was unsuccessful.

Somewhere along the line came the discovery that he could string a few words together, followed by the even more remarkable discovery that people were mug enough to pay for this rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work. He's pretty certain he's worked for even more bike publications than Mat Brett.

The inevitable 30-something MAMIL transition saw him shift to skinny tyres and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.