The Shape Shifting Bike

This cycle’s shock adjusts itself to suit the ups and downs of your terrain

Get It: Kona Coilair
From $2,000; konaworld.comSatoshi

To power up a mountain, you need a stiff bike frame that transfers pedaling force straight to the wheels. But zooming downhill without jolts or spills calls for more cushioning. So Kona's Coilair bikes feature a lever that automatically shortens the shock when you pedal and lengthens it when you coast. The lever also pushes the seat closer to the ground, lowering the center of gravity to match the stability of a dedicated downhill racing bike.

The Kona Colair
Satoshi

How it Works

On an ordinary bike, the chain stay [A]—the bar connecting the rear wheel to the rest of the bike—is fixed to the frame. But on the Coilair, the chain stay attaches to a pivoting link [B] under the shock [C]. The link lets the angle of the shock and frame change.

UPHILL
Pedaling pulls the rear wheel forward and brings the chain stay along with it. The chain stay, in turn, pushes the link, locking it in an upright position [left]. This makes for a stiffer, easier-to-pedal frame.

DOWNHILL
When you stop pedaling, the rear wheel can move backward when it hits a bump, yanking the link back with it. This lets the link bounce against a secondary shock [D] that provides extra cushioning. The tilting link also pushes the seat tube [E] down to lower the bike's center of gravity and provide better stability.