Hello All,
Thought I would share some pics and thoughts about my new bike the Kona Rove AL  I only had it 5 days and put up 107 miles on it in 3 rides, the latest today clocking in at 40 miles.
It's a 59cm and fits me well at 6'2" and a longish reach. I got the next to last one in the warehouse and the last one is gone too so I've been told.

IMAG1063[1].jpg The Path bike shop in Clearwater has the Pinellas rail trail at their doorstep. After I paid and BS'd I  rode up to Tarpon Springs for lunch and back 30 miles R/T with the stock set up and adjustments. Fits me nice even with the guestimation of seat and stem.
I had a shakedown ride in between and fast forward to today I rode my local county park called Flatwoods in Tampa FLorida area. Very nice place if you are in the neighborhood, water stations rest rooms are well kept. There is a paved 7 mile loop with some arteries you can get 12 miles paved riding in. Nice place to train. Intertwined throughout the park is around 14 miles of easy to medium single track trails to get you out of the heat. Set in pines and oaks.

I am familiar with the trails from riding my 29er so I know which ones are rooty muddy etc. I wanted to test the toughness of the bike and it passed with flying colors tougher than me. I took it easy thru the trails enjoying the scenery all while learning my new bike. Toe overlap on the twisty stuff but no other complaints, I can count on it to take a shortcut thru the woods.
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I replaced the stock 32c tires with WTB 40 Nanos which seem to be made for this bike. This improved handling comfort and stability a whole bunch. As you can see from the pics there is plenty of room leftover but this will be my size of choice for now. I ran them at 60psi today and thought they did a great job on and off road. There is about a 6 mile shell,gravel road here that I rode 2x and they did good. WIll play with pressures along the way. A small quality pump with gauge would be a nice piece of kit to have. Currently using cartridges.

Also changed out the stock stem to a 95mm I had in the bin from 90mm stock and I like it better and might go to 100mm.
What's not to like about this bike? 
Well for me the tires got ditched quickly. The front Der is harsh, I hope it smooths out over time but it takes what seems like to much effort to shift to big ring, then click clingk to small ring? I had to raise the der and lube it up after first ride because it was to low. Improved a little, maybe I am not used to this since the last drop bar bike I rode was years ago...

What's to like about it?
Well everything else! It is a simple bike with geometry comparable to other more expensive high end models. The fork is really smooth and the ride is planted and stable. 
I feel pretty good after 40mi and that means a lot to me.

I also emailed Kona before I bought it and Joe actually replied and we had a nice back and forth chat.

Oh and I love the badge
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Just a few more talking points and a couple nice surprises before I move on to the 1000 mile update. 
I was on it for about 5 hours the other day logged more miles and am now confident with my rig and set up. 
One benefit to a base spec model is having money left over for gear, more on that in another segment. 

My bike shop is out of the way so I did all the tweaking myself which consisted of bringing the front Der into compliance and it now shifts normal. Boeshield T9 works great, I put some on all pivots on the Der and in the shifters and it shifts normal. Not quick I might add but reliably. 

The brakes are okee dokey they bedded in quickly and provide all the stopping power I need. Not many long descents where I ride so ymmv. 
The drivetrain does not suck! Smooth, no noises, just keeps going as it should do. I really like the big 50t upfront as it allows me to diesel along quite comfortably in the midrange.  The 34t  on loose,climbing or when legs tired nice to have. 
Cockpit ummm works for me.

 Here are the surprises.
The fork: The Kona project 2 lives up to its name. Very nice ride on pavement and not bad on shell roads and hardpack dirt. No real gravel rides under my belt yet but I will keep you posted.

The rims: The front wheel had a slight wobble after 60 miles or so. I put it on my truing stand and checked tension to discover 4 spokes were under spec. I trued it balanced tension and 100 miles later it is still straight. 
While I was doing all this and peeling off the useless stickers I noticed the spec sticker which says I 19  and sure enough it is. They are freedom cruz rims which merged with wtb. Double wall nice profile and 19mm! Not sure about tubeless conversion just yet. 

The only thing I am considering upgrading is the seat but I am getting used to it after a couple hundred miles, I'll know for sure after 1000 miles I like to get my moneys worth out of it before replacing. The same goes with all the other components. 

I would like to see Kona explore this aluminum model line, perhaps offer a thru axle version with a racier fork and of course a mid level spec but still keep it affordable. But for me for now I am happy just dieseling along...
Comments Welcome!
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* I thought I would give a brief summary update after about 800 miles of mixed riding on my Rove AL to benefit anyone thinking about this bike. There is little to no information available for it on the net. Plus I will be making some mods to the drive train so I want to get this out while the information is fresh in my mind.

Ok so overall I am very happy with the bike, it is a true all around cycle. I ride everything with it and have explored more places and gone farther than any bike I have owned previously. 

 I am not a racer and do not know how well this would do in a gravel type race. That said the components are entry level Claris drive train with Wtb Freedom ryder wheels and Hayes comp brakes. The bike is not slow and I can cruise nicely with it.

  • Frame and Fork fits me well and is comfortable even after a 100 mile rail to trail ride 90 degrees heat and humidity. The geo is similar to other gravel bikes 70mm bb drop etc. Can fit a 40c tire no problem. The bike is not light either but is very stable. The rove is more comfortable than a nice hybrid I had and even my ex 29er.
  • *The Claris is OK mechanically( no issues other than barrel adjustments for the rear) At 500 miles I needed to tweak the rear der. Had to reset the front der after first couple rides. (lazy bike shop oversight) Works fine now. The ergonomics of the shifters for me seem a tad wimpy. I have big hands and fingers so you need to hit your marks accurately and no granny shifting. Something I had to get used to. I would like something with wider paddles and adjustable. I am confident I can get 2000 miles plus out of them.
  •  Hayes comp brakes are serviceable and I learned how to set them up coming from hydros. Very easy to work on. Where I ride it is mostly flat and they work   fine.  Riding big long descents I would upgrade but for now I am going to use them up.
  • *Wheelset, well it is a price point wheelset with inner width of 19mm. WTB freedom Ryder, I weigh 225lbs and ride somewhat hard not aggressive but I will take the path less traveled. This path has roots and rocks well you know what I mean. Put on a rack with some weight or frame bags and they need truing touch up more often than I care to do.  I swapped out the 32c that it came with and tried 40c nanos. I thought they were slow for mixed riding and switched to Clement 35c USH and they are the best tires I have owned. I would consider the 40 Mso but I am happy with these for my current riding.
  • Saddle is not to bad I got used to it and not changing it any time soon. That's a first for me.
  • Bars are Konas wet bar shallow drop with a little flare to them. Not bad I got used to them but I might tinker with different bars later on.
I am now faced with a crossroads situation brought on by my interest in the newly released 2016 Kona free range models. I see myself upgrading in a few months to maybe the  Touring Sutra(similar Geo but steel) or steel Rove(same Geo). So my plan is to use the heck out of this bike in it's current configuration without investing in higher end components.. I can live with the components for more miles and when the time is right upgrade the bike.                                                                                                                            

 Current Mods to bike are DTSwiss RWS QR'S,Clement 35c USH tires,120mm fsa stem and a pending Chain ring change to 46-36. This gearing change should help the fatigue factor after big miles. Also considering WTB Frequency I23 wheelset 
That all for now, thanks for looking!

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I'm considering getting a rove al or a raleigh roper. Was wondering why you may go steel next? I mainly do paved paths - bad roads mainly - with small sections of off road - curb hopping, riding grassy parks and dirt paths, no single track.
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My reason for wanting steel is because I got caught up in the you need steel to do tours mantra, maybe for heavy loaded tours yes but that's not me. My plan was to score a Rove Steel frame and build it up swapping some parts taking my time and saving a few bucks. The new Roves 2016 have a slightly tweaked geometry which I think would be more suitable for me. Longer TT etc However after  riding close to 2000 miles on my Aluminum Rove I have a different outlook now based on what my kind of touring is. Which is basically exploring maybe an overnight and not heavily loaded.  A gravel bike!

Kona never made a full production run of the frames I wanted so I just kind of held off. I couldn't afford the $1500.00 Sutra touring machine and I came close to buying the Steel Jamis expat$1200 same geo but didn't because this is a really good bike and I am having fun riding it. I upgraded wheels, cranks seatpost, bars and cassette and it is just the way I want it. SO I want to get my moneys worth before buying a new bike.

The Rove will do everything you said with alacrity except I can't speak for the curb hopping though because I am not a hopper. With 40c tires it has a nice cushy ride. Solid well built frame lifetime guarantee by the way. Performs well in all conditions. Really shines with tubeless tires. Great entry level bike for me  and I even got comfortable with the 8 speed claris which hasn't missed a shift yet! One cable adjustment since new. The brakes are good too. I thought I was going to have to replace but not the case.

The roper looks nice and is same price but with flat bars. Personally I prefer drops but like this Giant Tough Road
for a flat bar bike. 
Currently I have my eye on a Raleigh WIllard 1 smoking hot deal. Looks like a great bike A very modern bike at a great price point more on that later.
I can highly  recommend the Rove as a great entry level bike for not a lot of money. Just one mans opinion. If your in the Tampa area swing by for a test ride.

I also think the modern steel versus modern aluminum debate is overthought rove.jpg 
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I am dying to see the clearance of the 40c nano in the rear stays, but it seems to be the one picture my computer won't load.

Do you think you could fit a 42c tire in the back? I am looking at trying the 42c specialized sawtooth tire, but my shop doesn't stock them so I can't just try them out, if they order them, I have to keep them.

I have a steel rove, bluish purple, I think it's a 2014, I bought the frame used from a guy online - I'm not sure if the clearance has changed much.
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mtbvt888 wrote:
Do you think you could fit a 42c tire in the back?

It's been over a year since I owned the Rove and I can't recall the clearance but the WTB's fit fine and the fork had ample room for more. 
Your bike is an earlier model which has different frame geometry but I think the same fork. P2 touring fork.

What I have done in the past is turn the bike over and carefully measure the stays at the narrowest point and add ~6 mm to tire size for side clearance and see what that gives you. It is an accurate method to go by.

I got it to load by zooming in then clicking on it.Can't really tell how much clearance but I would guess an extra few mm might work.The picture Doesn't reveal a whole lot.
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Hello. I'm interested in a 42c tire as well. Please upload photos if you can fit larger tires that 40. I want to use the maximum possible but i'm not sure if a tire larger than 40 will fit on the back or will touch the seat tube.
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So to my surprise, specialized 42c sawtooths fit on 25 inner width rims in my 2014 kona rove. There is no room for fenders, I had 38c's before and fenders would have fit, I'm not sure about 40c, would probably mostly depend on the tire/rim width combo
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Pics please? 
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they fit, no pics, end of story, good luck
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I managed to put 45C tires on my Kona Rove Al (2017) - they are Kellys Radius 700x45c - a cheap option, wanted to try if they fit. And they seem to.  Not the best image to show tyre clearance, but if anyone needed more detail, I ll be happy to take better one.IMG_0481.JPG 
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Wow! This is just awesome. Do you have any idea if the frame is different than 2016 model? I want same size on my 2016. [biggrin]
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Not sure about 2016 frame. My guess is that fork is the same P2. Maybe these images will help. I would've gone for 48 (just to try them), but my buddy didn't have any in his store. 
45 is great for a autumn riding, still won't work in deep mud, but for that I have Cube Stereo. Great for riding on damp forest paths or roads.

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The picture helps me a lot, thank you!
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Hey RoverAl,

Resurrecting an old post, I'm wondering about your impressions of your Kona Rove Al.  I'm sort of looking at one now and have read some of the reviews but value your impressions of the Rove as a gravel bike.  I'm not a competitive rider; just ramble around our Ozarks gravel roads.  I'd appreciate any thoughts you have.


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Ah ha!  Just found your ride report.  -Doc
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