2018 Kona Sutra LTD

The New 2018 Kona Sutra LTD OffRoad Touring Bike

Over the last few years, Kona has divided their dedicated touring bike range, the Sutra, into two distinct categories. One is a long-distance touring bike ready for world exploration, and the other an offroad touring bike ready for bikepacking. While it was a specification and colour difference that previously separated the two different models, the 2018 Kona Sutra LTD now has its own unique steel frameset.

The 2018 Kona Sutra LTD

2018 Kona Sutra LTD

The LTD comes with all the mounting points necessary for both bicycle touring and bikepacking. We’re talking rack and fender mounts on the fork, as well as 3-boss mounts for large cargo cages (which didn’t appear on the 2017 model – it was just a bidon mount either side of the fork).

2018 Kona Sutra LTD

12mm thru axles have now replaced the quick releases. While some claim to feel an increase in front end stiffness, the biggest benefit here is that your wheel always sits perfectly flush in the dropouts. ‘Flat mount’ brake calipers are now used on the LTD, a brake caliper standard we will be seeing a lot more of in the future. Again, no significant performance advantage, but a future-proofing to the bike if you will.

2018 Kona Sutra LTD

The rear dropout is particularly clean, offering a neat disc brake mount, as well as space for both a rear rack and fender. Kona has opted for SRAM Rival hydraulic brakes with 6-inch rotors on the Sutra LTD. These brakes are more powerful and better suited to adverse conditions (than a cable-discs), and they’ll have ample grab in all but the wildest conditions.

2018 Kona Sutra LTD

The Raceface crankset is mounted using a regular bottom bracket shell (praise!), making it easy to service and replace almost anywhere in the world. The 2018 Kona Sutra LTD comes stock with 2.00″ Clement MSO tyres, and as you can see there’s still ample mud clearance. It looks as if you could even go a tad wider with a slick, although if you were thinking of fitting some fenders you may need to drop to a 700x45c tyre to guarantee the clearance.

2018 Kona Sutra LTD

The rest of the drivetrain is a SRAM Rival 1×11 setup with a wide range 10-42t cassette. With the 36 tooth front chainring, this yields a 25 to 104″ gear range, a little high for off-road touring, but quite ok on flatter terrain. Switching the front chainring out to a 30 or 32t will likely be necessary if you like big mountain roads like me.

2018 Kona Sutra LTD

Want To Compare This Touring Bike With Dozens of Others?

Check out The Touring Bicycle Buyer’s Guide which compares touring bike steering, sizing, gear ratios, specification, pricing and more. The Bikepacking Bike Buyer’s Guide does the same thing, however, with a focus on lighter bikes and models with more off-road capability. Both of these guides are updated annually with the latest models at no extra cost!

Helpful Resources

All About Touring Bike Brakes
Frame Materials for Bicycle Touring
How to Select Touring Bike Gearing
Understand Bicycle Frame Geometry
What’s the Difference between Cyclocross and Touring Bikes?

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  1. Looks like this has a wider bottom bracket shell at 73mm.

    Alee, from your experience, does this wider q factor matter for pedalling long distances?

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