Kona Bikes Remote 160 2020 Mountain Bike Review

Kona Bikes Remote 160 2020

Reviews / Electric Bikes

Kona Bikes 106,925

At A Glance

Kona has built upon the foundations of the Process 153 and created what is effectively an e-MTB version of the popular enduro bike. At first glance, it is easy to see where the comparisons come from with the progressive geometry and slack head angles that the Process is well known for, being evident in the design. There are some slight differences, but overall the bike has the same characteristics and rides in the same fun, playful manner that we have come to love from Kona bikes. Only now you get to travel further and faster than before and get those extra laps in on your favourite trails!

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The legendary Canadian brand has of course given us an e-MTB bike before in the form of the Remote Ctrl which used an internal battery with a 3rd generation Bosch motor. This time we see a change to the Shimano steps E8000 70nm motor, paired with the integrated Shimano 504Wh battery pack, which sits nicely into the downtube for a stealthy, natural-looking design. This is a keyless system which means all you need is a 4mm Allen key to remove the battery quickly. For charging there is a port on the non-drive side of the seat tube. This design is excellent for giving the bike a sleek look and offering ample space for a bottle cage if required.

The bike is specced with a 160mm RockShox Lyrik Select Charger RC DebonAir fork and RockShox Super Deluxe Select rear shock with 160mm travel. This offers a very solid and reliable suspension combo when descending challenging terrain on this burly machine! Talking of burly, the 160 is also specced with Maxxis Minion 27.5 x 2.8 plus-sized tyres on WTB KOM Trail i35 rims with Formula hubs, with the rear featuring super-boost 12x157 hub spacing. The bike will accept 29 x 2.5, but I found the plus-sized tyres to be an ideal match when descending, especially when in more tricky conditions where the extra traction was needed.

The gearing features a mix of SRAM GX and NX components, with the SRAM NX 1x12 Eagle system and e-bike specific SRAM NX shifter. For stopping power we have the four-piston SRAM Code R brakes with 200mm centerline rotors, offering substantial stopping power. Once the brakes where inevitably worn in, I never had any issues with stopping while using these brakes and felt they complemented the bike well. In house, products finish off the cockpit with Kona 800mm bars and 35mm stem. A WTB Volt Pro saddle fitted with an internally routed TranzX dropper post rounds out the package.

The Remote 160 comes in two unique colours, Gloss Seafoam and Charcoal/Indigo with dark Seafoam decals. The Seafoam on test was a real head-turner on the trails. Sizes are available in Small up to XL and price point for this bike comes in at $5999.

On The Trail

The Remote 160 felt roomy and comfortable with it’s long, low and slack geometry. Add to that the stout build and what you get is an incredibly well planted yet agile e-bike that rides more like a traditional bike when descending steep, technical terrain. There were a couple of occasions where I made a mistake and would have been over my bars and in a ditch when riding on many other bikes, but here I was able to ride it out with the Remote’s ruggedness bailing me out. It’s a confidence-inspiring bike to ride, especially when the going gets tough on the steeper, more challenging trails and in that respect is one of the most impressive eMTB’s I have ridden to date. Not all ebikes are comfortable when riding steep trails and so this is a testament to the impressive design that has gone into this bike. It is clear that their focus was to descend with the confidence of a standard bike, hitting lines and jumps you may not have before, and they have achieved that very well with the Remote 160.

Climbing back to the top of the trails is a smooth and effortless affair, with the natural and predictable feel of the Shimano Steps motor. With three modes available to use on the E8000 system, Eco, Trail and Boost you have enough options at your disposal to help you back up the hill for more laps. And if that wasn’t enough option for you, then each mode is customizable through the etube app. Here you can change the setting of each type of assistance to suit your preferred riding style. I found that with the default setting there was only a minor difference between Eco and Trail and then a huge jump up to Boost. After changing this around a bit in the app, I managed to find a happy medium where the changes were more noticeable. Having the option to customize the way the Shimano motor performs and to be able to do it so easily out on the trails is a huge plus.

Overall

Kona has done a fantastic job of building on the foundations of the Kona Process’ proven platform and adding in the reliable and natural feeling Shimano steps motor to create a unique performing e-MTB. While it is a solid bike for climbing and general trail riding, the Remote 160 comes alive when the trails are more vertical and when you want to push yourself to your limits.

It may not be the lightest e-bike out there on the market, but that does not stop this bike from flying down the trails and popping off jumps like you would on your analogue bike! That is mainly down to the Process’ DNA that is embedded into this bike to give it a huge upgrade over its predecessor, offering a well balanced and planted ride that feels at home on the toughest of trails and breeds confidence every step of the way. Add to that the cool Seafoam/Charcoal colour options, solid spec and competitive price point, the Remote 160 is a real candidate when considering a new ebike.

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This review was in Issue 62 of IMB.

For more information visit Kona Bikes

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By Ewen Turner
Ewen Turner is a self-confessed bike geek from Kendal in the Lake District of England. He runs a coaching and guiding business up there and has a plethora of knowledge about bikes with an analytical approach to testing. His passion for bicycles is infectious, and he’s a ripper on the trails who prefers to fit his working life around his time on the bike.

Tried this? What did you think?