2019 Kona Sutra

The New 2019 Kona Sutra & Sutra LTD Touring Bikes

Kona has always been a progressive bike company in terms of design and specification. Whether it’s playing with the steering speed, developing a progressive size range, adding small frame details or simply fitting parts that people like – Kona tend to keep tabs on the market and innovate regularly. The 2019 Kona Sutra and Sutra LTD have received a raft of changes for the next product year.

Let’s take a closer look.

The 2019 Kona Sutra Touring Bike

2019 Kona Sutra
The new 2019 Kona Sutra touring bike.

The big news for this model year is a new frameset for the Sutra. Well, it’s not quite new – it’s just now the same frame as the Sutra LTD. This means the Sutra features 12mm thru axles front and rear (100mm and 142mm), as well as flat mount disc brakes and bidon mounts on either side of the fork.

Are these changes good for a dedicated long distance touring bike? That’s up for debate. Thru axles of this size are certainly common on modern disc brake road bikes in developed regions of the world. The biggest benefits here are that your wheels always sit perfectly flush in the dropouts, and that the axles rarely loosen themselves. But getting a replacement hub in Africa, Central Asia or South America will likely require getting it shipped in. I personally don’t find this a problem as I find that good quality gear needs to be shipped in any way, but some might find it offputting. It’s worth noting that the Formula hubs spec’d with the bike are quite unlikely to fail.

2019 Kona Sutra

The Sutra uses a Shimano Deore crankset with 48-36-26t chainrings. This provides a gear range of 21-119″ – good enough for most hills and certainly enough gears for the flat. Should you need smaller gear ratios, you can easily switch out the chainrings to size 44-32-22t to make this a climbing machine (this is an upgrade I would make as I love cycling in the mountains).

2019 Kona Sutra

Kona spec’d a 9-speed drivetrain (27 gears) with the Sutra. It’s still easier to find 9-speed stuff in developing countries, although these parts are actually becoming harder to find in developed countries. A full-length cable outer keeps the inner shifting cables crisp even when exposed to water and grime.

2019 Kona Sutra

The Sutra frame accommodates 29×2.2″ (700x55c) tyres due to the slightly wider bottom bracket shell than the outgoing model. There’s not a lot of space past 700x40c if you use the stock fenders, however, I can see 700x45c rubber fitting with a wider/flatter fender profile.

2019 Kona Sutra

There are ‘flat mount’ disc brakes with the new frameset which are another common disc road bike standard. The calipers themselves have been upgraded to the excellent TRP Sypres, which are renowned for being some of the best available. These brakes operate by pulling both pads in at the same time like a hydraulic caliper (most cable disc calipers pull one-sided).

2019 Kona Sutra

The handlebars are slightly flared on the Sutra to suit road touring. At the ends of the bars are some rock solid Shimano barend shifters which should outlast the next ice age. Kona has fitted the classic Brooks B17 saddle to the Sutra for the last couple of years which is certainly a favourite amongst long distance bike travellers.

2019 Kona Sutra

The 2019 Kona Sutra features bidon mounts (NOT 3-boss) on either side of the fork to give you the option of fitting Problem Solvers Bowtie Strap Anchors or Blackburn Outpost cargo cages, in lieu of panniers. The fork will still fit standard front racks like the Tubus Duo (a favourite of mine) or Tubus Tara – it’s quite versatile.

2019 Kona Sutra

With a rear rack and fenders fitted as standard, the Sutra is almost ready to tour straight out of the bike shop. Just add pedals and a front rack if you need it, and you’re good to go. You’ll find the Sutra for US $1499.

The 2019 Kona Sutra LTD Off-Road Touring Bike

2019 Kona Sutra LTD
The 2019 Kona Sutra LTD.

The LTD is relatively unchanged from the previous model year. A new lick of paint and a set of WTB Riddler tyres round out the changes. It’s still worth going over the features of the 2019 Kona Sutra LTD in any case.

2019 Kona Sutra LTD

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 really, but 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.

2019 Kona Sutra LTD

Like the standard Sutra, the LTD also has tyre clearance for 29×2.2″ without fenders. Word on the street is that 27.5×2.6″ tyres squeeze in too. You will need to be careful when using tyres this wide because they have a significantly reduced ability to shed any sticky mud.

2019 Kona Sutra LTD

The LTD employs a wider and more flared handlebar (16-degrees) than the standard Sutra model to provide additional steering leverage for the off-road stuff. If you’re spending the majority of your time on rough trails, I’d suggest going even wider with any of these alt handlebars.

2019 Kona Sutra LTD

Hydraulic SRAM disc brakes pull the 2019 Kona Sutra LTD up on a dime. They’re the kind of brakes you can set and forget once they’re bedded in. The price of the 2019 Kona Sutra LTD is US $2099.

Want To Compare These Touring Bikes 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?

Touring & Bikepacking Bike Overview

2016 Advocate Lorax
2018 All City Gorilla Monsoon
2016 Basso Ulisse
2016 Bianchi Volpe and Lupo 2016
2016 Bombtrack Beyond
2017 Bombtrack Beyond
2018 Bombtrack Beyond
2018 Bombtrack Arise Tour
2019 Bombtrack Beyond
2016 Brodie Elan Vital
2016 Cannondale Touring
2019 Cannondale Topstone
2020 Cannondale Topstone
2016 Cinelli Hobootleg Geo
2018 Co-Op ADV 4.2
2017 Curve Grovel V2
2017 Diamondback Haanjo EXP Carbon
2016 Fuji Touring
2017 Fuji Touring
2018 Fuji Touring
2018 Fuji Touring Disc
2016 Genesis Tour de Fer
2016 Giant ToughRoad
2017 Giant ToughRoad
2018 Giant ToughRoad and ToughRoad GX
2016 Jamis Aurora and Aurora Elite
2019 Jones Plus SWB
2020 KOGA WorldTraveller-S
2016 Kona Big Rove
2016 Kona Roadhouse and Sutra LTD
2016 Kona Sutra
2017 Kona Sutra
2018 Kona Sutra
2018 Kona Sutra LTD
2019 Kona Sutra and Sutra LTD
2020 Kona Sutra and Sutra LTD
2020 Kona Unit X
2016 Marin Four Corners
2017 Marin Four Corners
2018 Marin Four Corners
2016 Masi Giramondo
2018 Masi Giramondo
2016 Niner RLT9
2016 Rawland Ulv and Ravn
2016 Salsa Deadwood
2017 Salsa Fargo
2018 Salsa Fargo Ti Frameset
2018 Salsa Journeyman
2016 Salsa Marrakesh
2017 Salsa Marrakesh
2018 Salsa Marrakesh
2020 Salsa Marrakesh
2017 Salsa Vaya
2019 Salsa Warbird
2016 Specialized AWOL
2017 Specialized AWOL
2017 Specialized Diverge
2018 Specialized Diverge
2019 Specialized Diverge
2017 Specialized Sequoia
2018 Specialized Sequoia
2019 Specialized Sequoia
2018 Surly Bridge Club
2017 Surly Troll
2016 Traitor Wander
2019 Trek 520
2016 Trek 920, 720, 520 & CrossRip
2017 Trek CrossRip
2018 Trek 920
2018 Trek 1120