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Kona Minute

edited October 2016 in Commuting general
Kona Minute

Struggling to find a thread for this bike to fit into. It could easily have gone in the Family & Kids thread.

I took delivery of one of these machines recently – very recently. Having made the necessary adjustments – I set out to do some shopping. The route included a steep hill, both up and down, canal towpaths – sometimes surfaced with crushed stone, sometimes grass (well, mud/water a couple of inches deep). The route also included some shared cycle path/footpath and some road – town and country.

First impressions are good, I’ve read elsewhere, that the brakes aren’t too good. Whilst I can see where they’re coming from, I think they’re good enough (not tried them in the wet yet). I’ve never had a bike with disc brakes before – so adjustment of these, when the time comes, will be a learning curve. Much of this riding was done with the panniers loaded – 10kg in one side, 6kg in the other.

I am so pleased with the bike – it handles well, and even with all this weight, didn’t seem too sluggish – my ride was around 20 miles. I normally prefer a narrow racing type saddle, even on more upright bikes, but this saddle was very comfortable. I discarded the pedals that came with the bike, and fitted some BMX style ones – suit my work boots better, and have good grip.

I won’t say much more about the bike its self – it’s good. The kick stand is already in the ‘box of bike bits’. It was useless when the bike was loaded, particularly when the weight is a bit uneven.

The panniers are HORRIBLE! The first thing I discovered, was the width of them, 25’’ from one side of the bike to the other. They have stiffeners in the bases, which cause them to stick out, even when empty – they look hideous – and dangerous, in my opinion. It needs some arrangement to hold them in the folded position, a strip of Velcro perhaps. These stiffeners are easily removed though – which helps. When loaded, or even when not loaded, there are gaping holes between the top flap and the pannier sides – big enough to easily put your hand in! There is no ‘storm flap’ or extended draw corded arrangement, as you usually expect on panniers these days. Trouble is, these panniers have extra large hooks. These are necessary on this bike, due to the oversize carrier tubing. To fit any other panniers, would mean transferring the hooks – drilling and bolting etc. There is a shortage of pockets. Tools, lights and stuff have to go in with your shopping, or in the small pocket in the top flap, which makes this flap heavy in use. Lastly, there are no reflective strips at all. I’m looking at fitting a draw corded extension to the inner top of the panniers – but it won’t be easy.

With a carrier of this length, the panniers could be longer – and less wide.

I think I’m going to love the bike – but I’m having difficulty expressing my hatred of the panniers!

Some background – I’ve got 56 years of cycling under my belt – racing, touring/cycle camping (the bike would be brilliant for this), unicyclist (not particularly good), ex two wheel recumbent rider.

Tony – sorry if I’ve put this in the wrong thread.


  • An update:

    I’m really in love with this bike – although I always wait until I think there’s no one looking, before I give it a passionate embrace.

    Cycling through a village, on a ride yesterday, I decided to stop at a seat on the green, to eat a sandwich. The grass was longish, and it was slightly up hill to the seat. I arrived at the seat – on big chainring – big sprocket. After a pleasant 20 minutes or so, I turned the bike round (which entailed wheeling it backwards a couple of yards) – Off came the chain at the front – I think it’s reasonable to expect this, when in this combination of chainring/sprocket. I wasn’t too bothered. I’ll wheel it to the road, and put the chain on using the front changer – automatically – no oily hands!

    Hmm – wishful thinking! The chain had become jammed between the bottom bracket shell and the chainset. Cyclists have had this problem since time immemorial – surely it can’t be that difficult to eliminate this? Although I seem to carry half my workshop around with me, I didn’t have a crank extractor. The chain was well and truly jammed, I thought I was going to have to try to take the inner ring off – not easy, while the chainset is on the bike, as it’s bolted on from the inside.

    I did eventually free the chain – quite expecting it to be bent – but it seems OK.

    I still hate the panniers – I’ve googled so many of them, that I’m well and truly bamboozled. It seems there are some that will fit this size of tubing – but they either don’t tick my boxes, or are very expensive. I’m going to have a go at modifying the originals – and make do, until I have some more money in my piggybank.

    Just another word about the gears. The gears go pretty low, but I’d still rather swap one of the higher gears for a lower one – this bike is a load carrier after all.

    The gear shifters have indicators on them. A red marker moves along indicating which sprocket you’re on – but, the black numbers are on a black background – say no more! I’m not bothered – I’ll listen to my legs, as I’ve always done!

  • alkosalkos Posts: 2
    In regard to gears, you can easily swap the bashguard for a standard 104mm shimano chainring - I have installed a 44teeth one and riding is much more fun now.

    I can't really understand your hatred for the panniers, though - I find them less than perfect, yet very usable. They lack some kind of waterproof closing at the top (sides under the flap are always exposed), but I'll DIY something about it.

    Also, on my very first ride fully loaded (30kg of groceries) they have scratched the rack tubing quite badly - I would STRONGLY recommend to glue rubber patches (i.e. from an old tube) over the hook rivets and plastic elements that hold the bungee cord on the back! I've written to Kona about it two weeks ago, still awaiting their response. Hopefuly thay will come up with something reasonable in this regard.

    Nevertheless, a brilliant bike!
  • fnegronifnegroni Posts: 794
    WHat's the pannier rack's tubing diameter?
  • alkosalkos Posts: 2

    (19,6mm exactly for all rack tubing)
  • Hi,

    I have just purchased a 2012 Minute and love it - but hear you about the kickstand; it's hopeless! It just about does the job if the bike has no load on it, but with any shopping it simply topples over. Very disappointing.

    I was wondering if you had found a solution or a replacement kickstand that you could suggest.

    I have just ordered a wheel / steering stabilizer to stop the front wheel from "flopping" annoyingly when the bike is on the kickstand, too.

    Also - about the panniers - they have a little loop of strap on the bottom which you can feed the strap through, to hold the pannier up in a folded up / flat position. Not a perfect solution as your two choices are flat as a pancake or fully expanded, but I wasn't sure if you were aware of this.

    I've been doing a lot of riding with my 48-lb 3 year old on the back as well as panniers full of stuff, and have been very happy with the bike's handling as well as it's ability to comfortably climb hills.


    Melbourne, Australia
  • daniel_bdaniel_b Posts: 11,412
    Resurrecting an old thread, as I have just this minute ordered one from CRC as they have them on a pretty awesome deal at the mo.

    Couple of questions - do you do anything to protect the wooden rack bit at the back?

    Will the bike take a standard childseat in the way a usual bike would do you know?

    And what is the name of the bit that keeps the wheel straight when it's on the stand - I notice 2013 bikes have it as standard.

    Many thanks

    Felt F70 05 (Turbo)
    Marin Palisades Trail 91 and 06
    Scott CR1 SL 12
    Cannondale Synapse Adventure 15 & 16 Di2
    Scott Foil 18
  • daniel_bdaniel_b Posts: 11,412
    I have found this as a steering stabiliser on another website, would this do the job does anyone know?

    Felt F70 05 (Turbo)
    Marin Palisades Trail 91 and 06
    Scott CR1 SL 12
    Cannondale Synapse Adventure 15 & 16 Di2
    Scott Foil 18
  • Hi Lisa and Dan

    Having had this bike for a while now - through a British winter etc. I can now make the following observations.

    I'm still pleased with it - there are issues (for me).

    Firstly, the brakes are a pain - they stop you sort of OK, but are difficult to adjust - different size allen keys, in awkward positions - and I never seem to be able to get them to not bind (read squeak). The adjustment is made more difficult by the rear carrier. It's not a five minute job - more like half a day in the workshop! So consequently, they don't get adjusted as often as they perhaps should. When I have the money, I'll consider changing them. The front brake causes a judder when applied - a design problem probably, due to the length of the forks. There is quite a flex in them. I'd rather have rim brakes. I fear for the long term durability of the forks with that amount of force being applied during braking...breaking? I hope not! It doesn't make sense to try and stop a wheel from the centre, when the forks are this long. I'm hoping better brains than I have worked it all out.

    Secondly, the tyres aren't wide enough for a bike designed to carry such loads. I changed the tyres fairly soon after buying the bike, for some fairly 'bomb proof' Continental ones - sadly, I replaced them with the same width as the ones the bike came with. The rear tyre walls are cracked - I shall have to find out if I can fit something like 1.75s on the same rims - in future.

    Thirdly, I'm on my third saddle - trying to find one that suits - I've also fitted a suspension seat pillar from another bike. I'm finding the ride a bit rough on the stony towpaths I tend to use - another reason where wider tyres will help. I also changed the pedals for some very cheap BMX style, which suit my work boots. I accept that saddles and pedals are peronal choices, and not really a fault with the bike.

    Forthly? Those bloody panniers! They are still HORRIBLE! They might be fine in California or Oz - but in the UK, they fill up with water through the gaping gaps. I spent ages modifing mine, which was ver difficult, even to someone like me who is used to using an industrial sewing machine (I'm a rocking horse restorer). I've improved them - but still hate them. I've had stuff ruined due to rain entering.

    Due to the diameter of the carrier (rack) tubing, few panniers will fit (without modification). I've sort of got used to the width of them now - and a bike like this need big panniers. To be honest - the panniers could be bigger. They don't use the full extent of the carrier. They could be longer.

    Fithly?? The chain still has the annoying habit of coming off and getting well and truely jammed...touch wood - I may have adjusted it now to stop this - or perhaps it's waiting for those dark wet night of the winter before it gets up to its tricks again.

    Sixthly...oh what the hell - I'm not the least bit bothererd about protecting the wood on the carrier, or scratching the paint or anything else - this is a workhorse of a bike - I use it when I'm out collecting feathers for dreamcatchers (a duty it performs excellently) to carrying home logs or lengths of steel etc., and of course heavy loads of shopping.

    To me, a steering stabiliser is a bit namby pamby - I just lean the bike against a wall or a hedge - as the stand is useless. The steering is very light on this bike, there is a tendancy to 'wobble' when riding slowly up hill - it doesn't have the straight line characteristics of something like a roadbike - would a stabiliser help this I wonder?

    Lisa - I didn't realise that's what the loops on the underside of the panniers were for - although I couldn't be bothered to use them for that. What I did do, is cut the stiffener in the base of the panniers in half 'long ways'. This stops the sticking out quite so wide when empty, but still does its job.

    I was going to talk about fitting lights - but I've said enough.

    Best wishes to all


    PS. I like the 'loop' frame - a girls bike. I do now tend to mount the bike 'girly fashion', having skinned my ankle a few times getting my leg over - due to the added length of the carrier, and in my case, a lamp bracket on the end of it.

    PPS. I've never used a child seat on the bike.
  • Hi,

    I ordered a steering stabiliser through the bike shop from which I purchased my Minute; it was very inexpensive - maybe $20 or less? They fitted it for me. I'm in Australia, but presumably any Kona dealer would be able to help you with this. It makes a HUGE difference not having the front wheel "flop", particularly when the bike's loaded. And Tony, I do think you'd find it might help with that light steering, esp at low speeds - I have been really happy with difference it's made overall.

    As for the wooden deck - it's made of marine ply and is treated with something to make it weatherproof; it's not something I've ever worried about to be honest!

    Bike seats - huge issue for me. I could quite honestly write a book about bike seats... I have a heavy 4 y.o who was too big for standard bike seats; so she actually sits right on the deck, with a handlebar installed under my seat and I got little foot posts for her too. If you have a smaller / younger / lighter child, there are seats that work with the Kona deck, but they are limited. Check out the Yepp seats; you can actually get a plastic deck which replaces the wooden one (you can store it for later on) and which is pre-drilled with holes for attaching Yepp seats. There is another brand of seat which works with the Minute but I can't remember the name; maybe just Google Kona Minute child seat or similar.

    Other / most brands DON'T work with the Minute. The deck is too wide to accommodate seats which typically attach to the wheel beneath (sorry - not technical on my bike parts!) or ones that attach to the bit below the seat post (eg. OK Baby).

    My biggest / and real only gripe with the Minute is the bloody kickstand - so woefully inadequate. Just look at the bike and it topples over... I've emailed Kona a million times to see about getting a 2013 kickstand shipped out - it's better than the 2012 model - but nothing's happened yet. There ARE some alternative kickstands which you can fit, but it will take a bit of research. I went through all of it last year and then life got busy and I never followed up. It's something I'll revisit when I have the time - esp. as we are heading into warmer weather here (I'm a bit of a wimp and don't ride nearly as much over winter, even though it's just an Australian winter! Also we got a dog, so I find myself choosing to do trips on foot more often, so she gets a walk...). Happy to stay in touch about that. There is a particular brand that the London letter carrier bicycles are fitted with - they're available, but I can't remember what they are called and I'm not certain they will fit... Also the Dutch, not surprisingly, are pretty active in that space. If you can find yourself a good bike shop, with knowledgeable people (who really know cargo bikes), they are worth their weight in gold.

    Tony - that's a good idea re. the stiffener in the base of the panniers - they protrude an awful lot!! I don't think I've ever ridden in pouring rain so am not sure about their waterproof-ness. That's interesting to know, but makes sense, now that I think about how they are designed.

    Good luck - I've had my Kona for a year now so quite happy to help where I can. The bike's been a good choice for me; I do have my quibbles, but I don't think the perfect bike exists!

    I'm going away for the week so won't be able to respond until next week, but hope this helps and am happy to weigh in with any more info / suggestions / opinions.


  • daniel_bdaniel_b Posts: 11,412
    Thankyou Tony and Lisa for your replies, I realise you do not post on here very often, so do appreciate your time.

    Tony - looks like you are mostly content with it, but have understandable issues, some of which are down to the bike/design.
    I too live in blighty, so suspect the panniers will be an issue for myself also.
    Irritatingly I have 4 Ortlieb backroller classic panniers, but feel pretty sure they will not fit as default, so may just have to stick with the stock ones, or see if I can fabricate some other kind of fitting system for the Ortliebs.

    A censored about the brakes, but hopefully as Hydraulic ones seem to pop up on offer for around £60 for a pair on occasion, this could be a relatively cost effective upgrade for the future.

    Interesting note on tyres - I see an online review also suggests 37 or wider as default to get a better ride.

    Lisa - thankyou for your reply all the way from Oz :-)
    I will contact a local shop, once I have established if the stand is usable (Sounds unlikely...) to obtain one, hopefully it will not cost much if required.
    As you say, an aftermarket one will almost certainly fit, but as to how you ascertain that is a different matter.
    A small LBS is unlikely to stock a large range of stands, not exactly a 'buzz' item are they!

    It was only after I ordered it that i fully realised how likely the limiting factors were going to be regarding childseats.... I did see a post from someone to say he had managed to fit a halfords seat and had bolted it directly to the deck, but otherwise your right, it seems to have to be the Yepp maxi seat with the rear rack thing - I can't quite fathom why it needs the additional rack thing, as this seems to bolt to the original rack, or as you say the plastic deck if you want to add yet more expense:

    The cheapest I can find the seat and rack for is around £95.

    Once I have the bike and we do various bits to it, hopefully I can make some useful contributions to this thread as well.

    One upgrade I am already considering is some 38mm tyres:
    They seem to get excellent reviews, and as it will be used down a canal towpath fairly regularly, they could be spot on - and are also cheap which is a bonus.

    Thanks again

    Felt F70 05 (Turbo)
    Marin Palisades Trail 91 and 06
    Scott CR1 SL 12
    Cannondale Synapse Adventure 15 & 16 Di2
    Scott Foil 18
  • Hi Dan and Lisa

    All interesting stuff - thanks for taking the time. As you say Dan, I don't look in very often, it's a good idea to send a PM.

    Just picking up on something Lisa said about fitting a child seat. I know she didn't suggest bolting the seat to the wooden platform, but I've found the bolt heads which secure the wood to the carrier, tend to bed into the wood - I suspect it wouldn't take much for them to pull through the wood (mine isn't marine ply) - I just have this dreadful picture of a child seat parting company...wood an' all.

    I have had lots of experience over the years, carrying children on bikes, tandems, trailer bikes and even a sidecar. Most of my experience is way out of date to be of much use though!

    I once owned a two wheel recumbent - it had a 'double sided' stand - it too was useless.

    Post bikes (now being phased out in the UK), do have stands, but I have seen many a post bike fall over whilst on its stand. I wouldn't trust any stand.

  • Big_PaulBig_Paul Posts: 277
    I have a Ute and a lot of the same things apply.

    Firstly, the brakes are woeful, I got rid of mine after 100 miles and stuck hydraulics on, I use the bike as it was intended and I've had well in excess of 100lbs on it, I weight something like 230 lbs so good brakes are my top priority.

    The seat is garbage, it was ditched too in favour of the one off my hybrid, if it was my everyday bike, I'd be getting a Brooks for it.

    The Ute uses 700c x 47 tyres, I found a set of Marathon Plus that size so they went on, having a puncture when loaded doesn't bear thinking about.

    The panniers are rubbish on the Ute, I actually thought about fabricating mounts so I could use BMW motorcycle ones, as it in, I have bungees holding the Kona ones in when they're not loaded.

    The stand is rubbish too, lean the bike against something when you're loading it, don't worry about the deck, it's acacia wood, it's damn tough, same stuff as skateboards according to the stepson.

    Finally, I experimented with the 26' wheels off my MTB, they went straight in and the thing handled the same, That was running 2.4 tyres, it was tight, but nothing rubbed, might be worth a try if you have a disc braked MTB in the house.
    Disc Trucker
    Kona Ute
    Rockrider 8.1
    Evil Resident
    Day 01 Disc
    Viking Derwent Tandem
    Planet X London Road
  • About panniers, I remember reading a few threads on other (?) forums some time ago about alternative panniers for the Minute (and presumably the Ute). I wish I could remember the brand, but some fellow had found a kind that fit - and were very waterproof. Maybe you could Google it...

    Dan - even though the child seats that work on the MinUte are very limited, keep in mind that the Yepp Junior is rated to carry kids up to quite a substantial weight, so you will get your money's worth out of that seat. They are also great quality. I've had the extra rack thingy (to bolt the seat to) explained to me though for the life of me I can't remember why it's needed - surely something to do with placement of bolts etc. It's basically an adaptor. Kind of a pain, though.

    It's interesting / fun chatting about the bike; I'm happy to contribute to threads, though I don't think I had my notifications on - missed a few earlier on??

    Happy riding!
  • daniel_bdaniel_b Posts: 11,412
    Thanks for all the replies, all useful reading :-)

    Well I am delighted to say it has arrived, and I got to unpack it today.
    Came with a crc water bottle, multitool and pedal spanner.
    Mudguards slightly off centre, but should be easy enough to fix.
    Have fitted the stand which feels very solid, and due to the location of the bolt was quite a swearfest to manage to get it tightened properly.
    Brakes feel pretty loose at the mo, hope they are not too bad to adjust.
    Delighted to see it does come with a steering stabiliser not that unlike the one I pictured above.
    It does seem to have too many parts though.
    The spring, plastic cover, which I guess is optional.
    2 of the little L shapes bits of metal, I can only see need for one of these, and a threaded rod which I believe would go through a lug on the downtube into a supplied nut.

    I was also surprised to see that although it has 700c wheels, it has holes for schraeder valves, and I have already bought presta ones.
    Should I return and get schraeder ones?
    Felt F70 05 (Turbo)
    Marin Palisades Trail 91 and 06
    Scott CR1 SL 12
    Cannondale Synapse Adventure 15 & 16 Di2
    Scott Foil 18
  • daniel_bdaniel_b Posts: 11,412
    Just to update this thread, our Minute is still doing sterling service, some 3 years on.

    The bottom bracket came loose, and I managed to roger one crank arm completely, so had to buy a new arm :oops:

    And the factory panniers are nearly on their last legs now, and were not that good to start with.

    However after some googling, and this might be what was mentioned above, I came across this post, that I had seen before, but was unable to locate a distributor:

    Anyway, the long and the short of it, is that the panniers he buys on there are now labelled as Crosso, and have a hook that is meant to be big enough.

    I have just ordered a pair in Yellow for the princely sum of £60, which seems pretty good value to me.


    I will update once they have arrived and I have fitted them.

    I have also bought some hydraulic brakes for the bike, not not gotten around to fitting them, as well as a leather saddle and leather handlebar grips.
    Felt F70 05 (Turbo)
    Marin Palisades Trail 91 and 06
    Scott CR1 SL 12
    Cannondale Synapse Adventure 15 & 16 Di2
    Scott Foil 18
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