Kona Dew Drop 62cm, photos and thoughts

I took the Dew out for a spin this morning and the nature of the trip prompted me to write my initial impressions of this machine.

On the menu were main roads, country lanes and forest/fire tracks and towpath, and such variety of conditions underline the rationale behind the Dew… a do-anything-pretty-well machine, while not necessarily excelling at anything.

So, what’s it like…

The ride

Some reviewers (notably Cycling plus) have complained that the ride of the Dew Drop is harsh. Having ridden the bike on a number of surfaces, I can’t agree with this conclusion.On the road, the bike is fantastically sure-footed and ‘straight’. Although not recommended, you could ride for hours no-handed if roads allowed.

Over potholes and cruddy road surfaces, the bike is comparable with my Thorn Audax (a supposedly silky smooth steel frame) although not as plush as my tourer. I have ridden without padded mitts for two hours with no signs of numbness, suggesting a lack of frame ‘buzz’. Despite the gas pipe front fork, this hefty steel unit does help iron out the bumps along with the long seat post.

The riding position is excellent for me at 6ft 6 ins

. It’s upright, useful for edging between cars in the city or negotiating a rutted track, while the excellent Kona swept back, shallow drop bars allow you to hunker down out of a head wind without troubling the chiropractor. Indeed, these 46cm bars are so good I would like to fit a set on my tourer. The swept back tops offer a wrist-friendly position for taking in the view.Another important contact point, the saddle, is also good. It’s no Brooks, but a couple of hours on this perch posed no problems. Others may find it too soft, though.

Overall, the set up is distinctly mountain bike, with a higher bottom bracket, but the Dew doesn’t share the energy sapping characteristics of its knobbly-tired brethren.

Gears

As for the drive train, well it’s pretty rudimentary given the bike’s price point. The FSA chainset it ‘bling’ and I’m rather enjoying Shimano’s entry-level shifter with the separate thumbshifter. The Deore rear mech is a trusted personal favourite.

The front mech is not so good, though, and I’m really missing the option of trimming provided by my other mounts. It will do for now, but the more I ride it, the more I miss this feature.The cassette is straight from Shimano’s trekking stable with a ‘Mega Range’ large cog, but I can’t help feeling the bike is over-geared. Given its heft and off-road ambitions, a mountain bike groupset with smaller front triple would be a better choice overall.

Brakes

The Avid BB7 road drops are excellent. Still bedding in (I am getting some moan from the front)they’re easy to set up and adjust, and provide good modulation. Mountain bikers used to hydraulics will be unimpressed, but those used to V or traditional cantilever brakes will enjoy the reassurance provided by these excellent units.

Wheels

These are a disappointment on the Dew Drop. The 32-spoke Alex rims are substantial enough for most riders, perhaps, but I really need something with more lateral stiffness. Stand up in the pedals and the wheels are immediately squashy. They were also hopelessly out of true when the bike was supplied (they’d obviously not been checked properly) but my LBS soon got them straight and they’ve remained so.

The Continental tyres are a good compromise for mixed surfaces.

Ideally, I would change the wheelset to Rigida Sputniks on 36 spokes with Deore hubs all round rather than the Formula front. I would also spec a slightly more road-friendly tyre such as a Pasela Tourguard and the ride would be even better.

Apart from the wheels, the bike was supplied well finished and set up. The frame welds are neat but not filed which adds to its ugly-ducking attributes, and the frame features chain stay protection. It could do with more patches to counter cable rub and I will fit more to protect the paint in these all-too-vulnerable zones. That said, paint appears to be good.

I’ve also installed a supplied barrel adjuster for the front brake to help to counter cable stretch and ease adjustment.

Summary

The Dew is the tough commuting bike as the manufacturer intended. However, it’s also a light tourer, a National Cycle Network muncher and a trip-to-the-pub cruiser.

With a decent set of wheels and some meaty tyres, it could be a day-long ‘29-er’ (almost)  machine for forest tracks while carrying a fair bit of luggage. Conversley, with a more road-friendly set up, you could use it for Audax.

A ‘jack of all but a master of none’, then? Yes, but it does have a bit more appeal than this badging might suggest. As I ground around a local reservoir this morning before pushing along some rough forest tracks, I had smile on my face as the Dew took it all in its stride. Whatever you use it for, it’s great fun.

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10 thoughts on “Kona Dew Drop 62cm, photos and thoughts

  1. It is great fun. I've been using my Dew Drop for commuting for about two weeks and I love it.My route includes about 24 miles of city street, 5 of gravel road, and around 1 mile of cobbles. I couldn't have asked for a better multi-use machine. I've been a mtb rider for 20+ years and a part-time roadie for the last 12 or so. I love the fit and feel of this bike.It may not be as fast as a carbon RB, or handle as well as a suspended MTB – but it's not supposed to. It does hall my big ass over many surfaces with a solid comfortable ride!replaced the seat (Selle Turbo) and pedals (of course). Wheels will definitely be next once they wear out.

  2. Hello, I am a 63 year old returning cyclist in Australia. I did a lot of research before buying my 2009 Dew Drop (I like the colour) and have been very impressed. I like the quirkiness of the bike and find that it will do everything I want it to. I have fitted 28mm tyres which roll a little faster than stock and also SKS mudguards. Also have a Topeak rack and bag as well as a B17 special saddle. Bike looks really smart. I use it for leisurely rides in hilly country up to around 50km……the granny gear gets used, Tasmania is hilly! Will increase distance as I get fitter (that was the reason to return to cycling) with 100km as my goal at the moment. Really like this bike, functionality is what it is all about for me.

  3. Tasmaniablue,Thanks for the comment. Took mine on holiday the other week and it was great for blasting along the bike paths of North Yorkshire.I'm liking your sharper spec… I bet it really rattles along. Good luck with the 100 click goal!

  4. Hiya,I have been commuting on a 2010 Dewdrop since last November. I have covered 5000 miles on her since January.What a great bike, I bought her specifically to handle a rough mixed commute and to be as bombproof as a bike can be. I have had to change the chain a couple of times obviously, but other than that everything else is still performing brilliantly. I put a set of SKS mudguards & a Topeak DX rack on for load carrying and I have gone through a set of Crank Bros pedals and am not starting with a set of Shimano SPDs.The super cheap bottom bracket is definitely starting to grumble now but after 5000+ miles who could complain!?I really enjoyed reading your post, thanks.

  5. Thanks for the comments Mark. Sorry it has taken me so long to reply (ahem). I am still very happy with my Dew… although I note that Kona no longer have it in their line up. Shame.

  6. This bicycle has now been sold. I’m delighted to say that it has gone to a very good home and will be well looked after : -) The sale was part of a rationalisation of ‘stuff’ in my life and to fund some upgrades on my other two machines. I’ll be a two horse rider for a while now… see how it goes!

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