Kona's Dr Good is a sturdy urban utility bike with a Shimano Nexus seven speed hub gear, disc brakes and a carrying rack up front but it's not quite as practical as it seems at first look.
It's obvious right from the off that Kona have chosen to put a lot of emphasis on durability in the design and construction of their Dr Good.
The frameset and components, not to mention the 14.4kg/32lb weight, create a bombproof, workhorse feel, albeit with a few limitations in everyday practicality.
The frame's 6061 butted aluminium tubes are nicely reinforced in all the right places, and the silky black paint seems hard wearing.
I really like the range of gears from the Shimano Nexus seven speed hub, and the braking is superb. But the basket isn't quite as useful as it looks and the mudguards are fairly flimsy, though that's normal on bikes at this price.
Kona have six other bikes in their commuter range, ranging from £549 to £799. Two of them, the Dr Good and the otherwise very similar 9 speed derailleur equipped Dew DL, are equipped with the tubular aluminium front basket/rack.
Fastened between the fork crown and eyelets half way up the fork legs, the rack has a slatted wooden base that looks good but adds to the weight. You'll need to line it in some way if you want to carry small objects that aren't contained in cartons as the gaps in the sides are pretty wide.
The rack weighs about 1500g on its own and makes the steering feel heavier. It's especially noticeable when the rack is fully loaded, but the steering is slow even when the rack's empty. It's easy to remove if the idea doesn't appeal to you or if you feel inclined to trim the overall bike weight.
A basic spring as a steering damper between the down tube and the fork stops the front end from swinging round but a loaded basket still takes a bit of getting used to.
Overall, I found the rack a minor distraction from the bike's overall appeal. It's only really of use for occasional bag or small carton and six pack carrying duties.
A rear rack with panniers would be more use for random (or organised) shopping or commuting in all weathers. The £549 Dew Plus, is otherwise fairly similar but with derailleur gears and without the basket.
There again, I do like the hub gear on the Dr Good.
Without the basket, the Dr Good is simply a practically equipped and smooth welded aluminium framed utility bike with a decent range of gears and rapid rolling 700 x 32c tyres.
The wheels are well built 36 spoke offerings with nutted hubs and tough dome-profiled black rims, and the Schwalbe Road Cruiser tyres have a decent reputation for flat-free riding on rough surfaces.
Shimano's twist grip Nexus hub gear has a very smooth shift feel and you can select your gear while static or on the move. It also has a good longevity reputation and a range of gears that are ideal around town, for all but the hilliest terrain.
The integrated Nexus hub brake is as powerfully efficient and nicely modulated as the cable pull Hayes disc brake at the front.
The rest of the finishing kit is fairly sturdy stuff that's capable of taking the sort of use and abuse that utility bikes are likely to be subjected to. The aluminium bodied rubber platformed pedals are grippier than most pedals supplied with bikes like this; FSA's 38 tooth crankset has a steel trouser-guard/bash-plate; the 580mm low rise handlebar and shaped grips feel perfect on a bike of this type; the seat post is a twin bolted offering; and the saddle is well padded.
The all-black approach of everything except the tyre sidewalls and wooden basket base appears to be aimed at stealthy practicality.
A tall head tube and 25mm steerer washer stack ensures that the handlebar is high enough for a relaxed ride posture but there's enough top tube stretch between the saddle and grips for easy power transfer on climbs and in initial acceleration.
The shapely frame tubes, gumwall style tyres and cargo bike imagery would appear to indicate that Kona are aiming at style influenced buyers with the Dr Good.
There are certainly better solutions to cargo carrying on other bikes out there, but they tend to be much more costly than this.
The combination of the sprung steering damper and provision for a rear rack (via threaded seat stay eyelets plus double threaded eyelets on the dropouts) creates good haulage potential for shopping trips but the styling thankfully stops short of excessive pose and theft magnetism.
Practicality is still foremost, with full outer cabling to the gears and brakes and two sets of bottle cage eyelets.
The mudguards may be very basic plastic offerings but they'll last you a while if you don't get anything trapped in them. They have mud flaps on the ends and there's still enough room for slightly bigger tyres if needed.
Frame sizes available are 46, 49, 53, 56, 59 and 61cm and the geometry on our 53cm test sample is a confident and neutral handling 70.5 degrees at the head and 74 at the seat, with a horizontal top tube reach of 55.5cm.
Smaller sizes have slightly slacker head angles and steeper seat angles, larger sizes vice-versa.
The overall ride feel of the Dr Good is easy going, as any decent urban bike should be. The relatively skinny tyres mean it rolls fast once up to speed, but its overall weight means that getting up to speed can be an issue. It's noticeably more sprightly without the basket.
As a minimum fuss and low maintenance urban workhorse this is a bike that has a lot going for it. At worst the basket is an opinion splitter that can be removed. At best it can carry a dinky dog in a box and everyone will go 'Awwww'.
Sturdy urban utility bike with practical hub gears & disc brakes, but the rack's not as useful as it looks.
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Make and model: Kona DR Good
Size tested: 56
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
Kona says "Commuting by bike is an exercise in efficiency and simplicity. The Dr. Good checks the boxes of both, with a 1x7 Shimano Nexus internal rear hub, fenders, and a nice new front rack. We added some flair with Schwalbe road-cruiser tires in gumwall to keep things looking fresh because, hey, who doesn't like a little style? Dr. Good''simple, clean and effective."
We reckon that's a good hype-light assessment. The rack is fairly heavy, and in't as practical as we hoped, but it's still a decent town bike even without it, and we really like the shifting on that Nexus hub gear
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
It's and aluminium frame and fork with rear rack mounts. There's a disc brake up front and a rear brake incorporated in the Nexus hub. The wheels are well built, the tyres are fast and fairly tough. All the finishing parts are decent quality for a bike at this price.
Good frame finish with fairly tough paint. No moans.
That front rack makes the steering a little heavier than perfect, but the sprung steering damper stops it from swinging round when loaded and you quickly get used to the feel.
Everything on here has a decent durability reputation.
The rack adds 1500g for not a lot of use-ability. The bike feels more sprightly without it.
A very comfy ride and a well padded saddle.
As a town bike we'd have preferred the same bike without the rack, but it's pretty good value if you like the rack idea.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Great round town bike in all weathers. The rack design is limited in use value.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The Shimano Nexus hub gear, the wheels and the comfortably efficient ride position.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Half hearted about the rack.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.
Would you consider buying the product? No.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes.
Anything further to say about the product in conclusion?
We'd love to see a slightly cheaper version without the rack.
Age: 58 Height: 181 Weight: 78kg
I usually ride: Merlin Ti My best bike is: Ibis Silk SL
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo cross, commuting, touring, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mtb,