There's been a steady trickle of hot new rigs coming from the Kona faucet the past few weeks, but this one made us stop in our tracks.
Kona has had two killer all road/gravel/touring set-ups for a couple of years now. The gravel grinders among us had two flavors to choose from, the relaxed Sutra and the slightly twitchier Rove. The Sutra leaned touring, the Rove leaned toward speed and perhaps a little closer to the cyclocross-centric Jake line-up. But the Rove and the Sutra shared one trait; they were metal.
Sure, you can choose from aluminum or steel, but even the best of those can only be made so light. With other brands offering lighter options it was only a matter of time before Kona brought out an all-road carbon option. And now they have.
The Libre, on first inspection, looks like somebody slipped a Rove into a vat of Kona Race Light carbon (we know that's not how it works) and kept all the little bits touring riders like; mounts everywhere for bottle cages, fenders, and racks, clearance for 45c tires, and a head tube that doesn't hurt your back to look at.
With two models, the Libre and Libre DL, you've got choices, and since Kona is smart, there isn't the redundant spec overlap you see from some brands. The Libra is Shimano 105 with a 2x drivetrain and 650b WTB wheels with 47c Byways, while the DL goes SRAM Force 1 with 700c 45c WTB Riddlers.
The bike offers perhaps Kona's most well-rounded drop bar bike yet; a platform for all your touring adventures that can also handle a race number at events like Barry-Roubaix or the Lowell 50.