Photo courtesy of Kona Bicycles
Price $899.00 USD/ CAD
Find it at konaworld.com
In US and Canadian stores
This short-haul cargo bike has a 300-pound (136-kilogram) carrying capacity. It comes with front and rear mechanical disc brakes, a Shimano eight-speed drivetrain, swept-back handlebars, fenders, Kona bell, Acacia-wood deck and two Kona UTE bags. It is XtraCycle PeaPod and Yepp-compatable.
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The ease of the ride while I had groceries, flowers, a sack of books and my laptop crammed into the spacious panniers made a huge impression – big difference from other bikes I’ve ridden. The bike doesn’t sacrifice any sleekness for its immense cargo capacity. I got a lot of attention on this bike and although I’d like to think it was for me, I’m pretty sure the craning necks were looking at the wooden deck.
I get why this bike needs a kickstand, but the one it has didn’t work that well for me. I had to spend some time readjusting my loads so the bike wouldn’t topple over. When asked by Kona to comment, they noted that a new, wider kickstand that is has a 300mm base comes with all new models of the MinUte. We’ll see if that makes a difference.
This bike best suits someone with a lot of cargo to haul around on a regular basis and who lives on the ground floor or has a garage. This bike is ideal for a commuter, a parent or anyone who has a lot of gear. I tried to borrow a couple of kids to stuff in the panniers but their parents, oddly, were not really into that idea.
The MinUte delivers a smooth ride only slightly hampered when it has a full load. I was surprised by how carrying a lot of gear would barely effect the handling and effort to ride.
It turns out this bike wasn’t really suitable to my living situation as I had to carry it up two flights of stairs for safekeeping at night. If you have to carry it up a flight of stairs you should know the bike is shorter than the Kona Ute, its full-on utility predecessor, but I still found it too long to comfortably sling it up staircases and around corners. It’s a tradeoff for the carrying capacity and I still don’t know if I’d choose this as my primary ride. This would be an amazing second bike. The thing is a tank and it’s good-looking.
The gear system was a pleasure to use, smooth and intuitive. Riding it home for the first time, the pannier buckle got caught in the gears and I could see what a pain trying to fix this thing on the fly would be. Luckily I got it out after covering myself with grease and attracting a lot of bored stares from passersby.
I was happy riding the MinUte to the store and around town but felt a bit silly on longer rides. I like to take three hours or so to boot around the Seawall when my schedule permits and I have to admit, I missed my other bike when I was churning through English Bay. It’s not that the MinUte wasn’t up to the task of longer rides – it just felt like the bike wasn’t meant to be flying through traffic.