Kona, traditionally better known for its heritage of top-notch mountain bikes, has been offering the affordable Paddy Wagon for several years. For 2009 it looks even more the business for those seeking to get onboard the singlespeed/fixed craze sweeping the streets of London.
There’s a lot to like about fixed bikes, and Kona’s offering is an attractive package. First, it’s well priced at less than £550, and secondly, you get a smartly finished bike – something which Kona are renowned for – with a slick grey frame, stealth black components and dizzyingly bright yellow rims. Eye catching it certainly is. You might just be the envy of all other cyclists on the road with the Paddy Wagon.
The grey paint covers a butted chromoly frame with a spindly Retro Road steel fork. Kona branded items fill the bar, stem and seatpost spots, and there’s an FSA Gossamer chainset fitted with a 42t chainring, matched to a choice of 16t fixed sprocket or a 16t freewheel on the rear hub. Tektro brakes bring you to a halt confidently.
Wheels are a sturdy combination of Formula deep-flange hubs laced to Alex Race28 rims with Sandvik Stainless spokes, and wrapped in Continental Ultrasport 28mm rubber – a good combination that shrugged off the rigours of daily London commuting without flinching, and the yellow rims, while a pain to keep clean during the winter, do look smart fresh out of the box.
Versatility is also apparent with the Paddy Wagon. There’s eyelets for mudguards, drillings for two brakes (Kona ship with two brakes fitted anyway) and there’s two sets of bottle bosses. If the urge to escape the city limits and venture out into the countryside takes you, a couple of easy modifications will have the Paddy Wagon entirely ready, suited and booted. Unlike some ‘fixed’ bikes, the Paddy Wagon could easily fall into the role of winter trainer, with some ‘guards, lights and bottle cage setting it apart.
It’s a great handling bike too. It’s reasonably lightweight but Kona have erred on the side of toughness and durability, particularly evident in the choice of chromoly forks, but together with the geometry it all works together to produce a fine handling machine. It’s well-mannered and stable enough for pottering around town riding to work or to the pub, and even fast tempo riding along country lanes isn’t a stretch too far for the Paddy.
Kona make going fixed a doddle with the fitment of both a fixed sprocket and a freewheel, so all you need do is remove the wheel, turn it around and pop it back in and you’re away. A nice touch for those who prefer cycling in casual clobber such as trousers is the chain guard on the FSA chainset – beats transferring oil from the chain onto your clothes/leg.
The Kona Paddy Wagon is available in six sizes from 49cm to 60cm.