Ryan Trebon and fellow Kona Cyclocross Team rider Barry Wicks have always ridden custom bikes. It’s not that Kona’s stock bikes don’t perform, but rather that both racers are just too tall for them. However, that's all changed with the new CX Major Jake.
In the past, Kona simply sized up their alloy bikes for the Twin Towers – “They made a stock 62cm frame,” said Trebon of his previous scandium Major Jake. “And they just enlarged ours by a centimeter in the top tube and a centimeter in the seat tube."
But it's a completely different story when it comes to carbon fibre. That's why Kona have added a new 63cm size for the CX Major Jake. It's based on the geometry of Trebon and Wicks' scandium bikes, with a 63-degree seat tube and 61cm top tube, but the chainstays are a centimeter shorter.
This change serves to stiffen things up and offer quicker acceleration and better handling on tight courses. “It makes the wheelbase shorter and the rear end tighter so everything feels a little snappier,” said Trebon, adding that these improvements come with no discernible loss of stability. “What stability?" he said. "I mean, we’re not descending at 50mph. When you’re going downhill and it’s muddy, you’re already all over the trail. You can’t really tell if it’s less stable – you’re sliding all over the place anyway.”
The new bike’s frame and fork stiffness is what really makes the difference, according to Trebon. “We wanted a lighter bike but we also needed it to be stiffer, in both the front end and the bottom bracket area. That was my main thing," he said. "If we’re going to do a carbon bike I don’t care if it’s 2lb lighter if it gives up any stiffness. That does me no good; being tall and pretty powerful I feel like I need something super-stiff.”
Trebon said the tapered head tube and BB30 bottom bracket were game changers for him. “The tapered head tube makes a huge difference on the bike,” he said. “It’s amazing. This is the first week I’ve actually put a ton of miles on the bike… and I’m stoked with it. It rides awesome.”
He also commented on the new fork and how, especially for ’cross, frames and forks that have been designed together seem to be the way of the future. “The fork has really stiff lowers and huge crown clearance,” he said. “It allow you to run larger tires for training… you can run a big 40c tire in there, which is nice because there’s less chance of flatting and you can ride mountain bike trails and stuff too.”
Because he favours 177.5mm crank arms, Trebon uses an FSA SL-K MegaExo crankset with BB30 adaptors, since the brand doesn’t make a BB30 crank with arms longer than 175mm. “I’d prefer to run a BB30 crank, but it’s a lot to ask of FSA – to make me a special BB30 crank,” he said. FSA also outfit Trebon’s bike with their XC190 alloy mountain bike seatpost, Omega alloy bar, carbon wrapped alloy OS-99 CSI stem and SL-K cantilever brakes.
Aside from the new frameset, the other big change to the Kona team’s kit for 2010 is their switch from FSA to Shimano wheels. The team are mostly using C50 carbon tubulars, but as production ramps up on the new C35 wheels, Trebon expects to ride them more. “I really like the C35s,” he said. “I think they ride better than the C50s… Shimano will even tell you themselves. They’ll never be the lightest thing out there, but you won’t ever have any problems with them; for me that’s as important as weight.”