Reader’s Ride(s) – Kris’s Custom-built Kona WO



Two years ago, we posted some pictures of Kris’s first Kona WO that he built up from a frame into one sick machine! It was a great first fat bike for Kris and it saw many adventures, on and off the snow. He knew there was so much more potential for the WO if it only had front suspension!
So Kris was really psyched when he found out the latest WO would fit a Bluto! Check out the new build and we will let Kris take it away in his own words:

My lovely wife and the voice of reason told me that I better build this bike just right from the start cause I won’t be getting another one anytime soon. So I think I built me a real keeper!

The weather up here in Vermont can be pretty damp, especially this time of year so I have always been a big fan of Hope hubs and BB’s. If it’s built to last in England, you can bet it’ll hold up to anything mother nature can throw at it. I had the guys at HED build me up a set of the sexy Big Deal’s with the Fatsno hubs. The frame came with standard QR rear dropouts so I got a pair of the Kona CC dropouts in order to run the 197x12mm hub with an XD driver. Up front, Kona built the new aluminum fork with a  150x15mm thru-axle so one hub rules them all and swapping over to run the Rock Shox Bluto for the warmer 3 seasons is a cinch.


Another Cinch is the Race Face Turbine Cinch cranks. I really like the clean look and decided to run a 28T chainring for bushwhacking and bikepacking. No brainer for the rest of the drivetrain for me is SRAM X01.

Stopping duty is handled by Guide RSC’s and I’m running 180mm Centerline rotors front and rear.

Right now I have a KS LEV 150mm dropper and love it. I will say, they don’t really like super cold so I have a regular post with a saddle (Fizik Aliante Gamma XM) for winter.

Race Face Turbine 35 (70mm) stem and Next SL 35 bars with Ergon GE1 grips round out my perfect cockpit fit and feel.

Finally, a Cane Creek 110 headset with a tall top cap to hold the front end together.

One other favorite for 20 years now are Time pedals. The MX8’s are just simple and awesome!

For tires, I went with the tubeless 45NRTH Flowbeist and Dunderbeist’s and for icy conditions I have a set of studded Dillinger 5’s.


I’ve ridden the bike now enough to say that it is true to Kona’s roots of a bomber build and a mortar couldn’t knock this WO off it’s line! Such a stable bike. I don’t think I’d take it out to the races but I don’t think that’s the intention of this bike anyway. It will go anywhere you point it.  grew up riding Moto’s in the woods and I keep having to catch myself throwing the bike ahead of me in a manual into a pile of downed trees like I’m just gonna smash thru it cause it does afterall, have those delicate bicycle bits like a rear derailleur hanging off it.


I’d like to say I’m looking forward to hitting the snowmobile trails on the snow but living in the now is plenty fun on the new WO

About Greg Smith 1127 Articles
Greg Smith, known to many site visitors as Sven Hammer, founded in 2011 and the site quickly became the #1 online community for all things Fat. You can currently find Greg outfitting Everyday Cycles; a Milwaukee, WI retailer of gear for fatbikers, adventure cyclists and urban assault riders.


  1. Hi Kris,

    Very nice bike.
    I ride the same frame in france, with Hope hubs too (and Hugo rims).

    I’m not very happy with the cranks and bb and would love to have a real 1×11 one.
    Can you please tell me the width and reference of both bb and cranks please ?
    Thank you very much.
    have nice summer rides.

  2. Sorry Nicolas,
    Just read this now so I am sure you already have this figured out
    It’s a Race Face Cinch 30, 100mm wide bb and the cranks are for a 190/197 rear hub spacing.

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