Table Of Contents

  • Climbing Ability 60% 60%
  • Downhill Ability 90% 90%
  • Overall Fun 70% 70%
Travel: 161mm rear/ 170mm fork Head Tube Angle: 63.5 Seat Tube Angle: 78 Reach: 490mm (large frame) Weight: 32.8lbs (large frame) Price: $4,999 What We Like: Chainstay Chip Makes A Difference What We Don’t: Sluggish At Slow Speeds, Super Long

Kona has brought a stretch limousine to a chicane competition it seems. The new Process X is a far cry from what most of the bikes in this article are in terms of geometry and length. While the length and geo make it a downhill superstar, it does not love tight corners and hates uphills just as much as kids chasing the ice cream truck. The flip-chip that increases or decreases the chainstay length does make a big difference in the ride. So it’s all about finding that perfect set up.

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See Our Best Long Travel Mountain Bike Review 2021 Article HERE!

est Long Travel Mountain Bikes: Santa Cruz Hightower - Gear Hacker

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  • Climbing Ability 90% 90%
  • Downhill Ability 90% 90%
  • Overall Fun 90% 90%

Pros

All-around Ability in a Variety of Terrain

Cons

Weight of Some of the Build Options

Travel: 145mm rear/ 150mm fork

Head Tube Angle: 65.2

Seat Tube Angle: 76.3

Reach: 470mm (large frame)

Weight: Starting at 29 lbs

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  • Climbing Ability 70% 70%
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Pros

Maestro Suspension Platform, Price

Cons

Could Use Some Better Brakes

Travel: 146mm rear/ 170mm fork

Head Tube Angle: 64.6

Seat Tube Angle: 76.4

Reach: 488mm (large frame)

Weight: Varies With Frame Material

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Pros

Really Playful Bike

Cons

Expensive Build Options

Travel: 150mm rear/ 170mm fork

Head Tube Angle: 64.5

Seat Tube Angle: 76.9

Reach: 480mm (large frame)

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  • Downhill Ability 100% 100%
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Pros

DH Bike That Can Climb

Cons

Needs Steeper Seat Tube, Price

Travel: 170mm rear and fork

Head Tube Angle: 63.9/ 64.3

Seat Tube Angle: 76

Reach: 487mm (S4 frame)

Weight: Starting at 32.5 lbs

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  • Climbing Ability 80% 80%
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  • Overall Fun 90% 90%

Pros

Climbing Ability, Ripmo AF Option

Cons

Stock Shock Not Being Fox Float

Travel: 147mm rear/ 160mm fork

Head Tube Angle: 64.9

Seat Tube Angle: 76

Reach: 475mm (large frame)

Weight: Starting at 28.9 lbs

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Pros

All-around Performance

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Price

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Pros

The Shapeshifter

Cons

Also The Shapeshifter

Travel: 150mm rear/ 160mm fork

Head Tube Angle: 66 - 67.5

Seat Tube Angle: 73.5 - 75

Reach: 470mm (large frame))

Weight: Starting at 31.2 lbs

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  • Downhill Ability 90% 90%
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Pros

Amazing Climber, Custom Paint Job Option

Cons

Short Reach and Cost

Travel: 160mm rear/ 170mm fork

Head Tube Angle: 65

Seat Tube Angle: 75.5/ 76

Reach: 455mm (large frame)

Weight: Starting at 30.95 lbs

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  • Climbing Ability 60% 60%
  • Downhill Ability 90% 90%
  • Overall Fun 70% 70%

Pros

Chainstay Chip Makes A Difference

Cons

Sluggish At Slow Speeds, Super Long

Travel: 161mm rear/ 170mm fork

Head Tube Angle: 63.5

Seat Tube Angle: 78

Reach: 490mm (large frame)

Weight: 32.8lbs (large frame)

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  • Climbing Ability 90% 90%
  • Downhill Ability 80% 80%
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Pros

Strong Climber, Stable Descents

Cons

Not As Playful As Older Versions

Travel: 150mm rear/ 160mm fork

Head Tube Angle: 63.5

Seat Tube Angle: 77.7

Reach: 480mm (large frame)

Weight: Starting at 32.23 lbs

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  • Climbing Ability 80% 80%
  • Downhill Ability 90% 90%
  • Overall Fun 70% 70%

Pros

Made For The Downhills

Cons

TWINLOC System Needs Some Work

Travel: 170mm

Head Tube Angle: 64.5

Seat Tube Angle: 75

Reach: 466.5mm (large frame)

Weight: Starting Around 30.20 lbs

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  • Climbing Ability 80% 80%
  • Downhill Ability 90% 90%
  • Overall Fun 90% 90%

Pros

Now Comes With A Water Bottle Mount, Sportier Geometry

Cons

Climbing Could Be More Efficient

Travel: 160mm rear/ 170mm fork

Head Tube Angle: 64

Seat Tube Angle: 78

Reach: 480mm (large frame)

Weight: Heaviest Build 34.2 lbs

Before diving into this review there needs to be a disclaimer… “this is not the Kona Process 153 or 134.” Kona released the Process X in the mid-2020 summer. These bikes all have different travel and serve very different purposes on the hill.

Best Long Travel Mountain Bikes: Kona Process X - Gear Hacker

The Bike

The Kona X is a downhill smashing 161mm rear travel bike. The 161mm promotion is because of a flip-chip on the rear axle, so the bike either has 158mm or 164mm of rear travel. The flip-chip sets the chainstay length at 435mm with 158mm of travel or 450mm with 164mm of rear travel. The difference in chainstay length does have a fairly significant impact on the overall feel and responsiveness of the bike.

For the geometry, the Process X does not hold back. The head tube is set at a very slack 63.5-degrees, and the seat tube angle is a steep 78-degrees on a large frame. The steep seat tube angle does help, as the reach on a large frame is a massive 490mm. Not many bikes come close to that number in their large frames. The XL frame smashes the 500mm bar at 525mm—go go gadget arms! While a lot of the bikes on this list are trying to be all-around, the Process X seems to be quite content at just being a downhill oriented ride. We are all good with that!

If you order a small frame size, the bike comes with a 27.5” rear tire and 29” front, so you get to rock a mullet right out of the box. All other frame sizes are 29” front and back. The frame itself is a carbon front triangle and chainstay with an aluminum rocker. Kona decided that the rocker will take some abuse and also has a flip-chip in it to adjust wheel sizing and that needs to be strong, so they opted for aluminum.
Best Long Travel Mountain Bikes: Kona Process X - Gear Hacker

Climbing

As you probably have guessed, with the length and amount of travel, the Process X is not the quickest horse in the stable. The Kona has been built with the lockout switch in mind, so right away you can understand that the rear suspension was not really built as a solid pedaling platform. With the steep seat angle, the rider is in a good position to keep weight on the front wheel and have a good ability to drive into the pedals. Without the lockout, there would be a considerable sag in the suspension while out of the saddle.

The amount of reach and long-wheelbase has made handling a slight issue if your home trails are windy and require some snappy cornering. Snappy isn’t exactly a word that you will see anywhere about the Process X. With the shorter chainstay setting, the rear end is a bit more playful and can help get around some tighter corners.
Best Long Travel Mountain Bikes: Kona Process X - Gear Hacker

Downhill

Point the front wheel downhill and enjoy. The Process X—with the longer reach, steeper head tube, and long travel—is built for thrashing down rough terrain quickly. For some riders, it got to be a bit unwieldy with how long it is. There is the feeling that you really need to put some effort in to get the Process to come alive on the trail and really find those perfect lines.

While it is not as poppy as the other Process models, it will fly comfortably off larger kickers—though it may not jump off little bumps and set up into different lines. With the chainstay in the short setting (435mm) the back end is easier to control and can get away from you if you push it. The Process’s bread and butter are rough high-speed trails that don’t require too many sharp corners. Like Jeep against a Ferrari, they are built for different things, and the Process X has its niche and is quite comfortable there.

Best Long Travel Mountain Bikes: Kona Process X - Gear Hacker

Build Options

For the Process X, there are only two build options available at the time of writing. The Process X, $4,999, and the Process X DL, $6,999. The DL stands for deluxe, and deluxe always sounds nice. The Process X bikes do some with some decent components, including but not limited to Fox suspension and burly Maxxis tires. At the time of writing, there was not a frame only option for the Kona Process X.

As mentioned earlier, there are still many different Process bikes available by Kona—like the 153 and the 134. They all have different amounts of travel and frame materials. So do your research before diving into the Process world, because there really is a bike for everyone in the Kona catalog.

Best Long Travel Mountain Bikes: Kona Process X - Gear Hacker

The Bottom Line

The jury is still out on whether the super aggressive geometry is working. It does make the downs super stable and secure, but the compromise of sluggish slow-speed handling keeps it out of the one arrow quiver category. If you mainly ride to the top of a mountain in a chair or gondola and need something that can handle big hits and fast terrain, the Kona Process X is definitely worth a look.

The chainstay adjustments do make a noticeable difference in the overall feel and style of the bike. So it can handle a variety of terrain if you have the know-how and patience to change the chainstay chip every time you need to. Kona is a great company and has started pushing the limits again in their Process category, so it’ll be interesting to see after some more time on the trails what riders will be thinking about the super modern geo and overall length.

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We participate in affiliate programs to help us fund Gear Hacker. Some of the links in this website are affiliate links, which means that if you purchase a product using our link, we will earn a small commission. Don’t worry! This comes at no additional cost to you, and we will never base our reviews on whether or not we earn a commission off of a product. With that said, if you find our review helpful and decide to purchase an item we review, we would be very appreciative if you use our links to do so. It will help us bring you more awesome content in the future!