Introducing the Kona Ute

kona uteThere was a six-year period through my college years, and after, where I lived car-free. I stayed fit, had fun, and saved a lot of money by doing so. Lets be honest, going to college while working at a bike shop pay scale simply didn’t leave much financial wiggle-room for things like automobiles.

My car-free years certainly would have been much easier, and more productive, with a cargo bike in my fleet of bicycles. In days past i would ride my "track" bike to the grocery store and fill my XL messenger bag to the brim with heavy groceries and then punish my shoulder, back and prostate on the short ride home. Took me longer than I care to admit to realize that I could haul more stuff with far less pain when I allowed my bicycle to carry the weight of my loads. Never claimed to be a quick learner.

Many of you are familiar with the different genres of cargo bikes, but here’s some interesting Wikipedia reading on the subject.

My current test ride, Kona’s Ute, falls into the long-tail category of cargo bikes recently popularized by Xtracycle. Just like a pickup truck, these long-tail bikes carry their junk behind the pilot rather than in front. As such these long-tails look and handle much like a stretched version of a traditional bike and use traditional 26" or 700c wheels.

Kona Ute

The 2010 Kona Ute (my test bike is actually a 2009) retails for $900 which includes one of the large panniers pictured and an second can be purchased for and additional $110. I talked Kona into sending me a 2nd pannier for the review and I feel strongly that most owners will want the 2nd bag in order to balance you load.

Kona Ute rear view

I’ve been riding the Ute for urban missions and fun rides around town for quite some time now, and I can say that I really dig this bike. Being able to cruise over to the grocery store and pick up 4 large bags of groceries without thinking twice is a liberating feeling.

Look for the full review of the Ute in issue #5 of Bicycle Times. Be sure to subscribe by January 27th to begin your subscription with issue #5, or pick up issue #5 on the newsstand after March 10th.

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