EDGE CYCLES PEACH
Frame: Columbus Cyber chromoly
Fork: Marzocchi SuperFly, 2 3/4 in travel
Wheels: Shimano XT hubs, Wheelsmith spokes, and Mavic 517 rims
Drivetrain: Shimano XT
Brakes: Shimano XT
Price as tested: $3,000
Sizes: 15.5, 17.5 (tested), 19.5, 21.5 in
Weight: 24 lb, 12 oz
Contact: Edge Cycles; 800-873-3068
- BIKE SEEKING RIDER
DON’T BE PUT OFF because I’m different. My mom always said don’t judge a book by its cover, so don’t judge me by mine. I’m not an easy “read,” so you may have to spend a bit to get to know me well. Once you do, you may never go back to the ordinary.
- OUT OF THE BOX
Who the hell is Edge Cycles you ask? Good question, and one that nearly everyone who saw the bike asked. Our well-rehearsed answer is Over the Edge Cycles is a shop in Fruita, Colorado, that got tired of doing epic riding on someone else’s bike and decided to make its own. The Edge Peach is constructed from 100 percent Columbus Cyber chromoly tubing and Breezer dropouts. Each frame size receives its own custom-butted tubeset, is welded with tight, precise beads, and is topped off with a powder-coated finish. Edge frames are designed with taller head tubes and radically sloping top tubes for a more upright rider position and improved stand-over height. It’s touted as a high-end, practical steel hardtail. The Edge’s $950 frame-only price is steep, but the workmanship, quality of welding, and finish throughout the frame is top-notch.
Geometry is set up for either a Marzocchi SuperFly or Atom Bomb fork, and our test bike was equipped with the former. The hard numbers on our 17.5-inch model 71/73 head and seat tube angles, a 23-inch top tube, 16.75-inch chainstays, 41.6-inch wheel-base, and 11.9-inch bottom bracket height. The Edge was also dressed with a full Shimano XT kit of V-brakes, shifters, cranks, hubs, and derailleurs. Componentry is rounded out with a no-name TIG-welded aluminum stem and bar, Thompson seatpost, and Mavic 517 rims. All this adds up to a grand tally of $3,000.
- ON THE TRAIL
While the three-grand sticker shock might have you staggering a bit, the handling of the Peach is sweet enough to even it all out. Throw a leg over the Edge and point it at some single-track, and you’ll be rewarded with a bike that delivers nearly anything a sane rider asks of it without excessive complaints. Stable when speeds pick up on the wide open stuff, yet still limber enough to pick a line, through tricky bits of trail–a subtle weight shift is all the Edge needs to change direction. While the more upright rider positioning provided by the Edge’s taller head tube did allow more control, particularly on the steep stuff, we’d still prefer a rise bar for additional width and control. Though hard out-of-the-saddle efforts did cause some bottom bracket flex, the Edge still ascends and accelerates effectively.
Three grand for a simple steel hardtail? No one can argue that this bike is the best bargain on the, bicycle planet. A quick browse through one of the mega-brand catalogs will affirm that fact. But for those who must march to the beat of a different bass line, the Peach lives up to its price tag. It performs well and, in a retro-way, it dares to be different.
Frame: Easton Elite TaperWall aluminum
Fork: RockShox SID XC Hydra-Air, 3 in travel
Wheels: Shimano XT hubs, Mavic 517 rims
Drivetrain: Shimano LX shifters and front derailleur, XT rear derailleur
Brakes: Avid SD 1.9 levers, Avid Arch Rival 50 sidepulls
Price as tested: $1,599
Sizes: 14, 16, 17, 18 (tested), 19, 20, 21 in
Weight: 25 lb, 12 oz
Contact: Kona, 800-KONA-USA
- BIKE SEEKING RIDER
I’VE GOT “steep and nasty” written all over me, but don’t be fooled by my tough exterior. With the right accessories, I’m quick and capable on the racecourse and ready for the rough side of the mountain. While I’m not exactly a cheap date, you’ll get a lot out of me with a small investment and a little quality time.
- OUT OF THE BOX
Robbing Peter to pay Paul-it’s an inevitable part of the bike spec game. Product managers at bike companies are almost always forced to make compromises-LX brakes instead of XT, wire tire beads instead of Kevlar, etc.–to squeeze the bike into a targeted “hot” price point. The good news is that in the case of the Kona Kula, the compromises all seem to have been well thought out. Here’s why: (1) the Kula is made in Taiwan, but the main frame is constructed from Easton Elite TaperWall aluminum tubing and (2) the component mix is Shimano LX/XT, with the emphasis being on the LX end of the drivetrain, which would be hard to swallow on a bike at this price point were it not for the RockShox SID fork, Avid Arch 50 brakes, WTB headset, and Interloc stem and seatpost.
As it sits, the rise bar–equipped Kula hits the trail at a relatively light but still abusable 25.75 pounds and is yet another example of a bike designed with the slimy steeps of British Columbia in mind.
- ON THE TRAIL
The Kula is well-suited to steep technical riding. The big tubed aluminum frame does a good job of keeping the wheels in line without a trace of noodliness, while the wide bars and upright riding position allow enough breathing room to decide how to handle tricky panic moves. Being good at wheelie drops can often mean poky at climbs, however. The Kona surprised us here. In addition to handling the tight and scary with confidence-inspiring dignity, the green and white bike climbed with surprising alacrity. The gummy Hutchinson Alligator 2.0 knobs on our test bike were a little slow on hardpack, and the tall and square riding position sometimes made it tough to keep the front end stuck on steeper climbs, but all in all, it was a much better bike at monkeying up hills than we expected. Slap on some lower bars and lighter tires, and you can take the Kula racing without a worry.
The parts pick panned out sensibly. The drive train gave little hassle. The only real drawback to the LX setup is a few extra ounces of weight, not a lack of performance. The Avid brakes were superb. The 80-millimeter travel SID fork is a good allrounder, though the hard-core steep and freaky set might opt for something with another inch or so of stroke. Peter may have been robbed to pay Paul, but in this case, Paul lets Peter play with his new bike and everybody lives happily ever after.