My new fat bike

I got a new bike, a Kona Rove NRB DL

I managed to buy my bike for only $2,400! This might seem excessive, but it is normally $2,999! I pick it up Friday, June 15.

Kona Rove NRB DL

My fifth decade on this earth is approaching and I am getting a little wide in my girth. I have a perfectly good touring bike sitting in the garage, a Bike Friday Pocket Lama:

Bike Friday Pocket Lama

The only problem is because it is a foldable bike, there is a weight limit for the frame. I am over that limit :-(

I need a new bike to ride my plus size me and the Kona Rove NRB DL fits the bill.

So why this bike?

The marketing spiel for the bike starts with:

what does a modern road bike look like? If you ask us, it would be quick on the pavement but completely capable of putting in time on a variety of surfaces. Thru-axles, hydraulic brakes, and room for big tires.

SO:

  1. A road bike with drop bars, thru-axles, and hydraulic brakes
  2. Room for big tyres: in 700c > 40mm and/or 650b > 45mm
  3. A wide range of gears with a low gear suitable for cycle touring
  4. Must be able to mount a rack and mudguards (fenders)
  5. At least three water bottle cage mounts (two in the frame, one underneath)
  6. A steel frame
  7. On the front fork, attachment points for water bottle cages
  8. On the top tube, attachment points for a top tube bag.

Bikes with these attributes are usually aim at the gravel market. This is for cyclists who like to ride on unpaved roads or even technical single track like a mountain bike.

Bikes in this category are often used for bike packing

The bike I have purchased meets the first five categories, but instead of steel uses aluminium for the frame.

Despite the ease of putting points 6 and 7 on a bike they didn't do this for my bike.This would be down to two factors, cost and market differentiation.

Bike designed for the bike packing scene have lots of attachments points everywhere. This is incrediably versatile, but a little ugly. An excellent example of this type of bike is the Surly Troll.

While my dream bike entails images of cycling a heavy ladden bike through a desert or mountain pass, reality is moving around quickly, comfortably in a busy city with the occassional foray into the bush.

This is best served by a Road+ bike, which is essentially a comfortable road bike with fat tyres, in my case 47mm 650B (27.5")

One of the bikes I was considering was the Surly Midnight Special which epitomises the Road+ category. I didn't get this bike because

  1. It wasn't on sale! So $600 more then my Kona Rove NRB DL
  2. No hydraulic brakes.
  3. Rims are not tubeless compatible
  4. No closed through axle dropout due to the frame supporting QR and thru axle wheels, see THE SURLY MIDNIGHT SPECIAL IS TRULY A FAT TIRE ROAD BIKE

On the plus side it did have mounting points on the front fork. I love their marketing spiel which is just as applicable to my Kona Rove NRB DL:

Today’s road bikes are tricky little buggers. Sure, there’s still a place for super narrow, pizza cutter-esque tires that save watts and shave grams or whatever. There’s probably still even a place for a road racing bike. Those places still exist. We just don’t know - or particularly care - where they are. When it comes to road bikes, we just want to toss a few bananas into our pockets and see where the road takes us. We seek out varied surfaces on our rides and frequently go from pavement to gravel to shittier pavement.

Enter: The Midnight Special - a Road Plus bike designed to provide comfort and speed on those all-day rides that extend well beyond fresh pavement. It rides like a cloud on smooth pavement. but that’s expected. Any bike can do that. Where it truly shines is on pot-holed, deteriorating pavement and the occasional long stretch of gravel. The Midnight Special’s 650b Road Plus tires eat up road chatter and absorb all the bumps in the road like the champion it was designed to be.

If you’re some masochist who is unfazed by the thought of a bumpy, chattery eight-hour road ride, you should know that the benefits of Road Plus go beyond just comfort. They also create a wider contact patch, thereby increasing your traction. And traction is a good thing. Additionally, higher volume tires allow you to better fine tune your tire pressure on varying surfaces. Let a little out on bumpier roads and pump those suckers up on smooth ones.

Want to know what bike packing is? .. have a look at bikepacking.com for lots of great photos and stories.

SPECIFICATIONS

FRAME MATERIAL Kona 6061 Aluminum Butted
SIZE 56
REAR SHOCK n/a
FORK Kona Full Carbon Flat mount CX Race Disc
CRANKARMS Shimano RS510
CHAINRINGS 34/50t
B/B Shimano 68mm
PEDALS n/a
CHAIN KMC X11
FREEWHEEL Shimano 105 11-32t 11spd
CHAINGUIDE n/a
F/D Shimano 105
R/D Shimano Ultegra
SHIFTERS Shimano 105
BRAKE CALIPERS Shimano Hydraulic Flat Mount
FRONT BRAKE ROTOR Shimano RT54 160mm (centerlock)
REAR BRAKE ROTOR Shimano RT54 160mm (centerlock)
BRAKE LEVERS Shimano Hydraulic
HEADSET FSA No. 57SC
STEM Kona Road Deluxe
SEATPOST Kona Deluxe Thumb w/Offset 31.6mm
SEAT CLAMP Kona Clamp
GRIPS Kona Cork Tape
SADDLE WTB Volt Comp
FRONT HUB Formula 100x12mm (centerlock)
REAR HUB Formula 142x12mm (centerlock)
SPOKES Stainless Black 14g
RIMS WTB Asym i23 TCS
FRONT TIRE WTB Horizon Road Plus TCS 650x47c (650x40c size 46)
REAR TIRE WTB Horizon Road Plus TCS 650x47c (650x40c size 46)
PAINT COLOR Matt Metallic Sand w/ Charcoal & Red Decals

Geometry for 56cm Frame Size

mm inches
1 ST LENGTH 560 22.0
2 TT LENGTH 579 22.8
3 REACH 392 15.4
4 STACK 610 24.0
5 STANDOVER 803 31.6
6 HT ANGLE 71.5 71.5
7 HT LENGTH 186.6 7.3
8 ST ANGLE 73.0 17.1
9 CS LENGTH 435 17.1
10 BB DROP 70 2.8
11 BB HEIGHT 273 10.7
12 WHEELBASE 1050 41.3
13 FRONT CENTER 624 24.6
14 FORK LENGTH 395 15.6
15 FORK OFFSET 45 1.8

Kona Rove NRB DL Geometry

References:

Road Plus - Brought to You by the Midnight Special

KONA’S VERSATILE ROVE LINE EXPANDS WITH 650B, REYNOLDS 853 – ROVE LTD, ROVE NRB DL, ROVE NRB

Riding the new Kona Rove NRB gravel bike in southern Spain

pelotonmagazine article

Riding Gravel Forum Post