We were already familiar with Kona’s entry into this year’s testing, having sampled it at Kona’s dealer unveiling in Squamish, British Columbia, then later at Retallack Lodge. The Hei Hei Trail DL is an evolution of Kona’s XC-race platform, with a full-carbon frame, 27.5-inch wheels and travel bumped to 140 millimeters at each end. It’s designed to fill the gap between Kona’s XC-race offerings and the plusher enduro range. Rear suspension is handled by Kona’s FUSE, a single-piece rear triangle pivoting from just above the bottom bracket, with a small amount of seatstay flex compensating for the change in arc that the rocker link needs to swing. Following the geometry path Kona has been pursuing in recent years, the Hei Hei has short chainstays, a steep, 75-degree seat angle, rangy front center and an almost-sharp 68-degree head angle.
At the $6,000 price point, our test bike came suitably equipped: XT brakes and shifter, XTR rear derailleur, Fox 34 Factory Float Air fork, Fox Factory Float DPS shock and WTB carbon ci31 rims laced to Hope Pro4 hubs, Kona XCBC bars and stem and a KS Lev Integra dropper post.