The 2021 Kona Rove DL bicycle

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Kona’s 2021 Rove DL steel gravel bike is fitted with 650B wheels and a 1x drivetrain 1 “1x” (pronounced one-by) means that there’s only a single front chainring and no front derailler. This is only made possible by wide-range cassettes that a long-cage rear derailler can shift through and quickly take up slack in the chain with, from mountain bikes.. I bought one in 2021 for commuting because I wanted something more comfortable than the narrow-tire road bike I had pressed into service a few years earlier. The wide tires provide a nice cushion and the smaller wheels reduce the likelihood of toe overlap with fenders. The simpler drivetrain means less maintenance and fiddling to find the right front/rear gear combination. A few months after I bought it, I built a new front wheel to add dynamo lighting.

There are a ridiculous number of eyelets, especially on the front fork, for mounting gear carriers like the King Manything. A rear rack fits without QR axle adapters or a brake bolt mount. There’s even an extra set of bottle cage mounts on the bottom of the downtube.

It comes stock with a 40T front chainring and 11-42T rear cassette, providing a gear ratio range from 3.64 to 0.95. The wheels and tires translates to a range of 98 to 25.6 gear inches, which is a good range, but not enough for some of the climbs near me at my current fitness level.

Fitment

A proper bike needs a way of carrying gear, so I added a Tubus Stainless Logo rear rack. For the bottle cage on the bottom of the downtube, I fitted a King Cage and use REI’s K.E.G. Bike Tool Storage Bottle to store a flat tire kit, multi-tool, and small first aid kit. A King Iris Cage is on top of the downtube and holds either a Klean Kanteen classic brushed 27oz with a sport cap or a Klean Kanteen wide 27oz bottle. On the seat tube, a Klean Kanteen wide 40oz sits in a Velo Orange Mojave cage. A Silca Tattico Mini Pump is mounted alongside the seat tube bottle cage.

To keep the drivetrain clean and make it suitable for inclement weather, PDW 650 Beast fenders wrap the tires. They were a pain to install, mainly because both the front and rear eyelets don’t fit the mounting hardware. For the front, I had to shave down the plastic safety clips (so the front fender can detach if it gets caught in the wheel) with a utility knife. On the back, I couldn’t get a good fit and had to mount them to the rack’s extra set of eyelets. But they look really nice and otherwise fit well, with a slight rattle in the front fender at times.

A Busch & Müller Lumotec IQ-XS headlight is connected to a Schmidt SON 28 dynamo hub and regulates power sent to the rear Busch & Müller Line Plus taillight. It works well, but the built-in wires aren’t very durable and I’d prefer a physical switch. I’m going to replace it with a blue Schmidt Edelux II headlight soon.

I have a Wahoo ELEMNT BOLT for pairing with sensors and recording rides. Just in case, a Cycliq Fly12 CE on the handlebars and a Cycliq Fly6 CE on the seatpost record any crashes or oddities. A Garmin Varia RTL515 radar mounted to my rack detects any overtaking cars.

The bike comes with knobby tires, so I replaced them with a pair of slick, 48mm-wide Rene Herse Switchback Hill tires. These ended up being a bit too wide, even, so I may downsize once these wear out. I also replaced the saddle with a Brooks Cambium C17.

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