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The Ideal Galbraith Mt. Bike?
Kona Dawg neé Bear Dee-Luxe

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This is Dale Plant's personal Kona Bear Dee-Luxe, which he has tricked out with SRAM 8-speed drive train featuring SRAM grip shifters and "woody" rear derailleur, Magura Louise disc brakes, WTB Laser saddle, and THE fenders.

Model: Kona Dawg neé Bear Dee-Luxe
Category: All Mountain Trail Bike
Suspension: 4 inches front; 4 inches rear (increased to 5 inches in 2005, just like suggested three years before)
Ideal for: The Dawg is at home everywhere on Galbraith Mt., from the sweet single track to Galbraith's technical garden of delights, the optional stump drops, elevated log crossings, boulder hops, etc. 
Over all performance: This bike begs to be thrown in with the cross country bikes and pounded. Three years ago, we said the Dawg (it was called the Bear then) was too heavy for cross country trail riding. We were both right and wrong. The Dawg actually meets a very specific need -- if you're a heavy guy who destroys his cross country gear, the Dawg's the deal! Then a couple years after's initial review, Kona did exactly what we suggested: they deepened the Dawg's travel to five inches.
Front end: The Fox Forx on the Dawg Dee-Luxe is strong performer. In challenging technical scenarios it can swallow deep, so you roll right through it instead of getting body slammed. And it feels like it tracks truer than anything this side of a Cannondale Lefty or Headshock. The Forx doesn't have the on-the-fly adjustability of the latest offerings from Rockshox, Manitou and Marzocchi, but you'll feel good knowing it's up there in the front when you drop into the top of the Tower Trail or the Polaski. 
Rear end: The Dawg's four bar rear suspension provides a lush, fully active ride. And thanks to the excellent Turner-style "walking beam" design, the Dawg climbs like a much lighter bike. The Dawg Dee-Luxe comes equipped with a Fox Float RL shock, but the lockout is largely unnecessary. The big problem with the Dawg's rear end -- like all of Kona's bikes -- is that it stiffens under breaking
Brakes:  Hayes hydraulic disc brakes come stock on the Dawg, which is excellent.
Durability: Compared to most other bikes in its class, the Dawg is built like a tank. It is one of the most durable trail bikes you can buy.   
Geometry and sizing: The Dawg has fairly standard cross country geometry, but the top tube has been on the short side. Some riders may want to consider a size larger in the Dawg than they would normally ride in another brand bike. (Kona lengthened the top tube by 1/2 inch in the spring of 2002.)  
Reviewed: March 2002; updated February 2005
Weight: 30 pounds as pictured.

Mark Belles on the Ridge Trail ridin' the hard line at The Big Gnarly on the Kona Bear Dee-Luxe.

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