The Hei Hei has been a staple in the Kona lineup for more than two decades. In that time it has evolved from the original steel hardtail that graced the trails
in 1996 into a titanium hardtail, then into an aluminum
dually, and then into the carbon machine you see on the
pages here. The Hei Hei name has always graced bikes
that were cross-country-oriented but also not afraid to hit
the trails aggressively. In fact, we’d be willing to say that
not a single version of the Hei Hei, as different as they
may have been over the years, could be pigeonholed as a
cross-country, race-day-only bike.
When we ventured to the Kona headquarters in
Bellingham, Washington, last spring to spy on the company’s latest projects, we spotted a carbon prototype on
the trails that had no decals and was obviously far from
production. We immediately suspected it was the new Hei
Hei. Now our suspicions have been confirmed, and the wait
for the production version is over. This is the test of Kona’s
latest Hei Hei.
WHO IS IT MADE FOR?
Between the aluminum and carbon Hei Hei, Kona offers
a range of suspension options and price points. The carbon
Hei Hei DL Race is made for aggressive cross-country
riders looking for an effective race bike, but also something
that has the ability to be ridden as a trailbike. The carbon
version is available in a Trail version that comes with a
longer-travel, 120-millimeter Fox 34 fork and dropper post,
while our test bike was spec’d with more XC-oriented tires
and no dropper.
The DL Race will appeal to riders looking for a
competitive race bike or riders who want a solid platform to
upgrade parts in the future. Trail riders will be drawn to this
bike for its quick handling and all the benefits of a versatile
WHAT IS IT MADE FROM?
The Hei Hei uses a full-carbon frame and rear triangle
with the same suspension design as its aluminum sibling.
Kona built the rear triangle with flex stays as opposed to
bearing pivots and with Boost spacing to give the Hei Hei a
From XC to trail—ride it