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Kona Jake the Snake frame - any good? weight? proper size?(11 posts)

Kona Jake the Snake frame - any good? weight? proper size?anaerobic Max
Oct 2, 2003 12:44 PM
hey guys!

I was hit by an ambulance (!) three weeks ago, my roadbike was totally wrecked (wheels, frame, fork, handlebar,...) and now i'm about to build a new road bike. as i'm a professional XC-racer and do some cyclocross-races during the wintertime as well, i have been thinking of building up a nice cyclo cross bike that i would mainly use for road (endurance) training, a few road races and cyclo cross races as well (i might also take the bike for fun rides off road from time to time). i suppose i simply like the looks and have always wanted to own a cyclo cross bike.....

there is a KONA JAKE THE SNAKE CX frame offered at a very low price (299 euros, almost the same sum in dollars). model year is '99, frame size is 49 cm (19,3"). i'm 173 cm tall and used to ride a 56 cm (22") road frame, so was the top tube length. the handlebar was only about 1-2 cm below the saddle, but the position was kinda stretched (which i like for road riding). maybe i should go for a smaller frame with a lower handlebar?


1) is the 49 cm kona the right size for me? what is the top tube length? should CX frame have a slightly shorter top tube?

2) what does the frame weigh? i wanna keep it as light as possible....

3) any opinions on the frame? stiffness, overall performance,....

re: Kona Jake the Snake frame - any good? weight? proper size?flyweight
Oct 2, 2003 1:29 PM
My team races on Kona cross frames and they've been great. As far as weight goes, they're more than light enough. With Tufo tubulars and Ultegra components most of our bikes come in around 20 lbs. They're lighter than the bikes being used by some of the pros. The frames are plenty stiff. One of our guys is national track champion and he hasn't complained about his Kona. Only thing custom about our Konas is the paint and the forks (WoundUp - not the lightest choice but strong and they ride nice)
thanks! ans what about the frame size? (nm)anaerobic Max
Oct 2, 2003 8:52 PM
thanks! ans what about the frame size? (nm)flyweight
Oct 3, 2003 10:05 AM
A 49cm would be way too small.
re: Kona Jake the Snake frame - any good? weight? proper size?swimbikerunjump
Oct 3, 2003 5:11 AM
i'm 174 cm with long legs and ride a 54. It tried a 52 and it was too small. The bike fits great and I love it. changed the stem and wheels and it rides great.
Jake frame sizingDale Brigham
Oct 3, 2003 8:53 AM
1) The top tube length on the 49 is 20.9", according to Kona's website ( The 54 and 56 size frames have 21.7" and 22.1" top tube lengths, respectively.

2) Based on your height and road frame size, the 49 seems to me to be way too small for you. In fact my 5'5" (165 cm.) wife rides a 49, and she could easily ride the next size up, the 52. I think the 54 or 56 would be better choices for you, in my opinion.

2) The main problem in getting too small a frame size for cross is that it is hard to get the handlebars up high enough in relation to the saddle. A properly setup cross bike typically has 1-2 cm or so less drop (vertical difference between saddle top and bar top) than a road racing bike. A small frame will have a short head tube, which makes getting the stem and bars up high enough difficult.

3) While there are many opinions about how CX frame sizes compare to road frame sizes, I'm of the school that says go with the same frame size for both, or at most, only one size smaller for cross. Matching top tube length is how I size my bikes (all 57 cm top tubes, in my case). I use a 1-2 cm shorter stem on my cross bikes compared to my road bikes to shorten the reach and shift my weight distribution slightly toward the rear of the bike ("endo-proofing").

4) A good article on cross bike frame sizing follows here:

Kona Jakes are great bikes. I've had mine since '98, and it's pretty much my all time fave bike in my 30+ years of racing and riding. You can't go wrong getting one (as long as it's the right size for you).

I hope this helps!

I like my JtS.MShaw
Oct 3, 2003 10:21 AM
I don't have all that much experience with 'cross frames, but do with road frames. The JtS seems to get the job done with minimal fuss. If I were racing it in road races, I'd think about a carbon fork to get some of the weight off, but otherwise all I'd do is change over to either a 50t or 53t big ring.

I've been told that you should run about 1cm shorter 'cross frames than your road frame. My road frames are already a little short, so I just went the same size and don't have any problems.

If you were riding a 56cm road frame, I'd see how close I could get to that and just run with the bars a little higher.

That help?

yeah, it helped, thx! frame weight? (nm)anaerobic Max
Oct 3, 2003 12:59 PM
Guessing about 3 lbs (1.4 kg) or less. Plenty light! (nm)Dale Brigham
Oct 3, 2003 1:09 PM
I don't know about yours, but my fork is an anchor! (nm)MShaw
Oct 3, 2003 3:46 PM
Anchors aweigh! (Jake forks)Dale Brigham
Oct 6, 2003 6:00 AM

I jettisoned the steel fork that came on my '98 Jake just after I got the bike. The OEM fork was poorly aligned (wheel did not go in straight). I replaced it with a Kinesis aluminum fork, which served me well for 5 years. Much lighter, but not a forgiving ride (non-compliant). I replaced the alu fork a few weeks ago with a Winwood carbon fork, which seems to give a smoother ride on bumpy terrain..

The newer Jakes have nicer forks than my old '98 came with. I'm sure they weigh a bit more than my carbon fork, but they look to me to be quite a bit leaner than my OEM steel fork.