Kona Sutra LTD Dream Build by Gee Milner (Video)
This Kona Sutra LTD Dream Build by Gee Milner is valued at over $10,000, and you could win it. For this extra-special build, Kona played off the Sutra LTD’s go-anywhere, rugged touring nature with a bit of a modern twist. Find the build kit here, plus a video and details on how you could win this bike…
Words by Will Ritchie, photos by Gee Milner (@geemilner)
The Sutra LTD has always been a bike about capability and one that almost taunts overdoing things – you want big tires, alrighty, you got ‘em! It’s almost as though you can hear the frame egging you on when eyeing the production bike sporting 29 x 2.25” Rekon Races with ample tire clearance billowing around the edges, both in fork and chainstays. So, we obliged, challenge accepted – Minion SS 29 x 2.3″ Double Down dual layer 120-tpi casings are over-the-top tough while still touting a high thread count, and that tire itself almost feels like the underrated sleeper shredpacking tire – fast enough centers, toothy side knobs, perfect.
The hope was to build something that augmented that techier-trail-ability for a drop-bar bike while still allowing for some no-nonsense practicality doing multi-day trips, hopefully with the ability to cover real distance – trail maneuverability with a dropper and no high-mounted weight, plus some rack-based cargo up front to bring the goodies along for the long haul. Fun without necessitating going way minimal. We also wanted to go after a bit of a modern take on the classic all-terrain tourer with a twist on self-powering the electronic, gadget-driven world we all find ourselves in – be it taking an inReach or SPOT for peace of mind, peeping Ride with GPS (or any navigation app/device for that matter) on your phone, recharging a SteriPen – the list goes on. So many devices.
We could’ve just added a fine Schmidt SON 28-12 front dynamo, accommodated our take-along gadgets and left it at that, but we wanted to see about pushing a little further with that modern take on the self-reliant, out-there setup, and we decided on going SRAM AXS with the Schmidt/Sinewave Beacon/Goal Zero Flip 36 combo. Within the right Rockgeist Micro Pannier is an AXS USB charger and two spare AXS batteries. With 10,050 mAh and pass-through charging tech, its more than enough to power 300mAh AXS batteries so you can ride and charge as you go. A Rival/GX Eagle/Reverb AXS easily sync’ed medley felt meant to be for the Sutra LTD so we went for it. Plus, it meant we got to put a beautiful Sinewave Beacon light on the bike, who doesn’t want that?
Rockgeist’s Gondola large dropper bag, custom Wedge framebag, and Microwave Panniers allow for ample packing space and still a full-size, seat-tube mounted 1-liter bottle for easy access water carrying. We saw Rockgeist’s Wedge framepack on Logan’s Sutra LTD review and couldn’t forget, plus the Gondola and Microwave Panniers reinforce that trail-worthy-but-pack-worthy theme.
WTB built up the 30mm-inner-width CZR 28-hole rims to a DT Swiss 240, classic J-bend spoked, 6-bolt hubs. If rotors loosen up, you always have a multi-tool, but nobody brings a BB tool, so 6-bolt made sense along with the reliability of the Ratchet EXP and the easy ability to take a cassette off by hand if a spoke breaks. Within the frame bag are a couple of each extra length just in case. Up front, the Schmidt SON 28-12 ISO powers the Sinewave Beacon. The mountain-use burly but lightweight WTB CZR i30s matched to the 28-hole count again reinforced that tough but smoother riding theme and the wider profile of the rims and clean, understated graphics give it that ready-for-anything stance.
Up front, Gee Milner was able to route the dynamo wiring cleverly through Pass and Stow’s Five Rail Rack, holding the Microwave Panniers and still allowing storage on top. A wide, comfy Ritchey Venturemax XL WCS 52cm wrapped by Smanie’s all-weather-friendly Elite bar tape and WTB’s Volt Titanium Medium saddle keeps with the almost-mountain bike theme.
Hope’s beautiful purple-ano, made-in-UK, durable components and 36-tooth, round-chainring Evo crankset gives the bike flat-ground pedalability with the SRAM XG-1275 10-52T Eagle cassette while still providing nice and low gearing. Purple ano matched to the almost-teal ‘matte turismo’ frame color gave it a ’90s throwback feel too.
The best part of the build for us is that all ticket raffle sales go directly to the Smart Shelter Foundation, an NGO non-profit intent upon improving the living standards for impoverished people in developing countries in the form of safe and affordable housing, specializing in earthquake- and cyclone-resistant construction globally. If the bike can pedal the world, its proceeds may as well too. It assists in the donation the Torino-Nice Rally makes to the Smart Shelter Foundation each year with the rally and acts as sponsorship.
Raffle tickets can be purchased here through RallyUp, and the bike will be shipped globally to the winner. Due to supply chain constraints, we cannot swap frame sizes, so the winner will receive the size 54 Sutra LTD Dream Build shown in the photos.
The Sutra LTD Dream Build will be on display at Café du Cycliste, at the finish of the Torino-Nice Rally, until September 30th, 2022.
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