First Impression: Kona Humuhumu

I was stopped on the side of the bike path, topping off a slightly underinflated tire.

“Hey nice bike. What’s that extra tube for? Must be heavy duty or somethin’. Is it for extra weight?”

The tube in question is the twin top tube on this here Kona Humuhumu. A retro/cruiser/mountainous/classic/singlespeed/bar-hopping/klunkish/commuter. Why is the extra tube there? Because it can. Why does this bike exist? Because fun. #becausebikes


Note: Leopard print saddlebag and pink Klean Kanteen not included.

The Humu has been in Kona’s line since 1992 and was loosely inspired by the legendary Lawwill Pro Cruiser and Koski Trailmaster. More of a giant BMX bike than an upgraded klunker, the original Humu wasn’t meant to be a hard-edged trail tamer, but rather a less expensive way for fans to fly the Kona flag while getting to class, cruising the neighborhood or generally causing a ruckus wherever they went.


The current iteration was inspired by a custom build and sports the same classic layout, 4130 steel tubing, moto-style handlebars and let’s-go attitude of the original, but updates it with disc brakes, 29-inch wheels and sliding dropouts.

BT-kona-humu-4 BT-kona-humu-7

Unlike a lot of cruisers, the Humu is available in three sizes so everyone can join in the fun. The Schwalbe Big Apple tires measure a massive 2 inches wide so the ride is magic carpet smooth. The rear hub is nearly silent too, letting you roll in stealthy silence. It’s available in orange or lime for $899.


So far I’ve had a blast hopping curbs, blasting through alleys and riding like a hooligan. I’m guessing that’s exactly what Kona was going for.


Watch for my long-term review of the Humuhumu in an upcoming issue of Bicycle Times. Subscribe today and help support your independent voice for cycling.




First Impressions: RSD Catalyst 700+



We recently got our hands on the Catalyst 700+ from Toronto, Canada-based RSD Bikes. The Catalyst 700+ is designed for the urban jungle as well as gravel and similarly surfaced paths. It’s available in three different materials: 4130 steel, titanium and stainless steel. We will be reviewing the 4130 version, which comes in a sparkling dark green. MSRP is $1,399 for the complete bike or $529 for the frame.


I’ve taken the Catalyst out for a few spins around town, and have spent some time on the crushed gravel trails of my local park, and the bike has handled everything well. The 700x45c Maxxis Overdrive tires feel great when rolling on smooth surfaces while also providing enough bite to keep me safe at reasonable speeds on the looser stuff, so it seems like RSD Bikes made a good choice here. If you feel the need for some bigger rubber, there is impressive clearance for up to a 2.25″ in the rear and a 1.9″ up front.


The Catalyst’s drivetrain consists of a 40-tooth front chain ring matched up to a 11/36 10 speed SRAM cassette. So far it’s been adequate for the hilly terrain that I encounter on my daily jaunts. The included bash guard serves up a bit of protection from the wandering pant leg, as well.


RSD outfits all of its Catalyst models with a FSA Metropolis handlebar which features a dramatic back sweep. My gut tells me I’ll probably swap this out for a straighter offering, but that’s just personal preference. That being said, the bars do place my hands in an extremely comfortable position and I understand their allure.


The Catalyst 700+ is relatively simple, good-looking, comfortable bike and I’m really looking forward to putting it through its paces. Look for a full review in an upcoming issue of Bicycle Times. Make sure your subscription is up-to-date so you don’t miss anything! You can subscribe or renew here. Bicycle Times makes a great gift for the holidays, too!



First Impressions: Faraday Porteur


The Faraday is a sophisticated city bike with the classic posture of an English 3-speed blended with the modernist design of the Dutch Vanmoof. With its Gates Carbon Belt Drive and Shimano Alfine 8 internally geared hub, it is a super low maintenance machine designed to get you from A to B in style.

Oh, and it has a motor.

Yes, the Faraday is an e-bike, though you might not notice at first glance. Born here in Portland from a team of industrial designers who wanted to make the ultimate city bike, Faraday first enlisted the help of master framebuilder Paul Sadoff, better known as the guy behind Rock Lobster Cycles. The prototype was entered in the 2011 edition of the Oregon Manifest challenge where it collected the People’s Choice award. The team wanted to give the people what they wanted, so they launched a crowdfunding campaign in 2012 that was fully funded within a week and went on to nearly double its initial target.


That capital led to the bike you see here. Available in three sizes, it sells for $3,499 as pictured, with accessories like a frame-mounted basket, a rear rack, secure axle nuts and more extras (each sold separately). You can custom spec a Faraday just as you’d like it on the Faraday website, then have it delivered ready-to-ride to your nearest dealer.


The steel frame houses a 250Wh lithium-ion battery inside the downtube, though it was originally designed to fit inside the second top tube. The motor is a 250 watt unit at the front hub, which allows the rest of the bike to use conventional, off-the-shelf parts.


The battery is not designed to be removed, though it can be if it needs servicing. This means you don’t have the ability to take the battery with you to charge it while the bike is parked somewhere else. A full charge takes approximately three hours. The charger attaches to the gray box at the rear of the bike, which houses the “brain” of the system. Holding down the button turns the bike on, and powers the full-time LED headlight and taillight.


The thumb switch controls the power boost, with three settings: off / low / high. Next to the thumb switch is the LED battery indicator light, which is fairly difficult to see (and photograph) during the day and impossible to see at night.


At 42 pounds, the Faraday isn’t the massive tank that many other e-bikes can be. In fact, I’ve been riding it quite a bit with everything turned off and it gets along just fine. On terrain that is flat or even remotely downhill, I switch off the motor to conserve the battery.


This is my first time commuting on an e-bike and I am completely smitten by the Faraday’s ability to get me where I want to go with minimal fuss. I think I’m going to have a hard time returning it when I must.

Keep an eye out for the full, long-term review in a future issue of Bicycle Times. If you want to make sure you don’t miss it, order a subscription today.


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