That word was out long ago. If you truly want to develop upcoming technology in race situations at the UCI Downhill World Cup, you’re going to show some of your cards. And if you’ve been following along, you know that we’ve been developing this bike for the past two seasons under Kona Gravity rider Connor Fearon.
You probably also know that the Operator is the bike Graham Agassiz sends to stratospheric heights at the FEST series and at Red Bull Rampage. Aggy and Connor push their Operators to the limit in different ways, and we needed to build a bike that was suited to their needs as much as it was to the privateer racer’s or to those banging laps in the bike park.
In creating a new Operator, we wanted to retain the traits that riders like Aggy really love, while continuing to develop the bike that Connor needs to compete at the top level. It’s gotta be agile. It’s gotta be planted. It has to be fun to ride, and it’s gotta rip around corners. In short, it's gotta ride like a Kona.
In all cases the new Operator needed to be durable and well-built: a bike that our top riders could smash on race courses and big hits, day in and day out. Our riders and our bike park partners need to have confidence in a bike that will hold up, lap after lap, for more than just one event. Our bikes have been evolving for nearly three decades, and the new Operator is another step in that lineage. The evolution of a bike that can compete at the top level while still being the bike you’d choose to ride on your day off.
Two years in a row we’ve had Aggy and Connor join us at Retallack for test sessions on the Operator. For these two, whose schedules rarely coincide, coming together at Retallack is a bit of a celebration. Aggy’s spent a lot of time riding and building in Retallack’s high mountain terrain and Connor has fallen in love with the place. While they may both compete at the top level in their respective disciplines, the pure joy of ripping amazing trails on a bike you love is undeniable.
The 27.5 Operator sees a number of changes which continue the evolution of our long travel platform. To retain the snappy and lively feel we’ve put a 423mm chainstay on all sizes, increased the reach across the board, and combined this with a 63º head angle. The Beamer suspension design has been updated with a more progressive leverage curve for increased bottom out resistance and a raised main pivot for improved pedaling performance. With bearings in all suspension pivots, and now in the upper shock mount as well, the new Operator will continue the legacy of Kona’s legendary durability.