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2012 Dirt 100: Kona Operator

09:00 26th February 2012 by Dirt HQ

What a difference a clean sheet can make. It’s fair to say that after years of constant tweaking Kona’s DH bike started to look, and at times feel like a bit of a dogs dinner, but they went back to the drawing board with this Operator and they’ve come out with a corker.

It’s so much neater than before and the angles are bang up to date, plus although the suspension design is of a similar ilk it seems a whole lot more effective. Weirdly after back–to–back testing on the two different models we actually came away preferring the much cheaper of the two.

It just works, everything is well balanced, and unless you really want to go to town there’s little need to change any of the components. Admittedly the non–integrated stem is a bit of a strange inclusion, but even that you can live with. All in all, a massive step in the right direction and it still appears to be every bit as dependable as any other Kona DH bike has been.

Price: £2550.00


  1. Tepid

    What dissapoints me about these new Konas is the finish. Sure, the most importannt aspect is gonna be how well it rides, but if you are creating bikes for a living there isn’t much pride in making it look like a bulldog licking piss off a nettle is there? It seems Kona care less and less in terms of trying at least to make their bikes look good. They somehow look unfinished, unloved and to me, unjustifiable to buy.

  2. Kennyboy

    I think it looks great. Everything matches, throw your team sticker kit on and botta bing! Really though, if it was faster and it got me on the podium more, it could be pink for all I care.

  3. 4xlego

    I think it beats the Uzzi DH bike for looks anyway and the Canyon !

  4. Loons

    @Tepid do you mean “finish” or sticker choice! When it’s a frame with nearly all separate company components how can you call it on the finish or is Rock Shox, Maxxis etc. up for the same criticism?
    Maybe you choose bikes based on sticker colour.
    Most of us get over that by the time we are 12.

  5. Munzy

    I know looks are subjective and I’m biased but I really like the look of mine – really low slung and slack looking. Above pic is not very flattering, and mine has the white wheels and black bash with the above paint job and is a great bike for the cash.

  6. Jamie

    Imo the Operators and Entourages are some of the best looking DH bikes atm. But, as always when it comes to Konas, haters gon hate.

  7. Dale

    I’ve ridden a demo of this Bike and it shreds! It feels great in the air, at high speeds, going through rock gardens or root sections, ect. For what little your paying (compared to other DH bikes)your getting one of the best bikes on the market and the reliability to shred all day every day. Hands down a great buy for anyone but Kona haters are going to hate but my message to them is until you ride one then don’t put your foot in your mouth…

  8. craig

    @dale whats a shred? is that were you keep your bike ?

  9. craig

    seems to me that a lot of dirt 100 full builds, are towards the cheaper end of the market, which can only be a good thing. lets hope more bike companies take note

  10. Tepid

    @Loons: Jeez chap, didn’t think that ‘finish’ would be that difficult to understand, bu here goes: The frame shape is OK, not my cuppa but, but it seems well thought out. It definetely looks sorted in terms of angles. What i mean by finish is the style of graphics, the placement of the graphics, the colours they have chosen…….i could go on. Compared to say Intense or Lapierre, there isn’t much love going on from a design aesthetics perspective. And this has nothing to do with price or prestige, i think The Saracen Myst is a good looking bike, as is the Scalp. These Konas just look unfinished.

  11. Big Al

    Tepid, your luke warm opinions don’t wash…..

  12. Tepid

    They wash with me. And thats good enough for you.

  13. danny

    i think the new finish on the 2012bike is not that inspiring,i got the 2011 just cause the new paint schemes look awful,i know some will say its how the bike rides,but i like a nice paint job as well,great bikes any way.


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