Sneak Peak – Kona Rove DL 2018


2018 brings a whole host of new bikes from the big American company founded in Vancouver BC. The company’s MTB, gravel and touring bikes have all been reviewed through the off season and we’re really excited with what they’ve produced. Amongst the new updates is an all new Kona Rove DL. Retailing at just shy of £900, the Rove DL sits comfortably in the category of sub £1k bikes.

The Rove became an instant classic in the Kona line as soon as it was introduced. Whether it was commuting or gravel racing or whatever you can imagine in-between what people have done with their Roves has carved a niche at Kona. It may sound like a cliché to call the Rove DL a versatile machine but that’s all your fault.

Available in Gloss Mustard or Gloss Orange, the bike is certainly a punchy edition. With a specification just above the standard Rove, the Rove DL has been designed to commute to work monday – friday, then hammer races at the weekend. The bike comes with the same aluminium frame, same geometry, but this time it has Shimano Sora 9 speed gears. On top of this the new Rove DL comes with high performance disc brakes in the type of TRP Spyre C, known as some of the best mechanical disc brakes on the market.

Already set up with mudguards & space for wider tires, Kona have really realized what people are doing with these bikes. They’ve opened up the frame to allow a greater variety of use, so whether you want to keep the 35c gravel tires on, or add a slightly thinner road wheel, even thrown on a couple of 650b wheels and the Kona Rove will accommodate that.

The Rove DL is stable without being too muted, although it’s still got enough liveliness to live up to the Kona reputation. The bike does roll very well through the flatter, more stable sections of a ride, but comes with enough durability to take the bashing of the grittier descents. With gravel bikes making a much greater impact on the cycling market, we can begin to see why. These machines have a much more MTB approach than the new thicker tired road bikes such as the Cannondale Synapse.

Granted the speed isn’t at the top end, and you lose a slight bit of handling on the smooth concrete surfaces. Mixed with a reduced gear set designed to get you round the much rougher courses than a cobbled section of an all day road classic. Although this is all countered in the freedom of the bike, being able to get out and play in a more natural setting will keep a smile on anyone’s face.

We really enjoyed the flexibility of this bike. The Rove DL Clearly has a much more commuter/gravel focus with more tire clearance that could still be used to race cross on the weekends if you wanted to. Making this an ideal bike for anyone looking to enter the cyclocross world!