Friday, 29 June 2012

Kona's new utility bike - the MinUte

Kona have released a new utility bike.

You may already be familiar with the Kona Ute (look here if you are not), and now there is another utility bike from Kona, too!
It's called the MinUte, and is a shorter wheelbase version of the Ute (and is priced at 200 pounds sterling less as well!).

The MinUte has a full 5 inches shorter wheelbase than the Ute (45 or 46 inches for the Minute, depending on frame size, compared with 50 or 51 inches for the Ute), although it is still about 2 1/2 inches longer than Kona's third utility offering, the AfricaBike Three.

While the AfricaBike Three is considerably cheaper than the MinUte, the Minute comes with a pair of fairly large-sized pannier bags included, and thus makes an easy choice for someone looking for an off-the-peg bike for grocery runs, etc., and with its claimed 300 pound load capacity (including rider), most folks, except perhaps American Footballers, will be able to carry a good amount of cargo.
To get that into perspective, I weigh about 200 pounds (a touch more than 90 kg), and on my little Italian folder I can get 11 or 12 pounds (5 kilos or so) in each of our two clip-on hard-sided pannier boxes, and another 11 or twelve pounds (another 5 kilos or so) in my little clip-on front basket. Throw in another eleven or twelve pounds for a backpack on my back, and my little machine has to handle a maximum load of no more than 250 pounds - and I've broken two spokes and a rear luggage carrier so far.
So the Kona MinUte's 300 lbs performance is pretty decent!

The Kona Minute is available from a number of dealers, including the erstwhile Evans Cycles (in the UK) - click on one of the frequently occurring adverts for Evans, or Google "Evans Cycles" - the Kona MinUte is listed by Evans as a "Hybrid" bike, and is priced at 750 GB Pounds.

Update 1st August 2012:
Evans still have the Kona MinUte at 750 pounds sterling, in either an 18" or 20" frame size.
Delivery is Free in the UK.
Delivery to the rest of Europe looks like it is 40 pounds - even to the remote (and non-EU) bits like Albania and Belarus.
Delivery to the USA is 150 pounds, but remember you don't have to pay the sales tax if you are outside the EU, so the price becomes 625 pounds plus 150 for delivery (775 pounds total). Do remember, however, that import taxes may also be charged on entry to your country, depending on local regulations.

Update 5th August 2014:
For a similar price, or maybe a bit more, one could buy a Pashley Pronto (aka Mailstar).
Having had the pleasure to complete the 2014 London to Brighton ride on a Pashley Mailstar, for my money, I'd buy the Pashley, which has a 150kg (330lb) load rating, and competes in the "shorter cargo bike segment". The Pashley doesn't have a matching set of large panniers available, but the extra-long luggage rack would allow a pair of large panniers to be mounted far enough back to avaoid heel-clip issues, as well as the front "tub" on the Pashley providing a useful large luggage space (I moved a cake for my daughter's birthday in the Pashley's front "tub" because the cake box was too big to fit flat in our panniers or baskets!)

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