Kona Dew-E Review

Kona Dew E Electric Bike Review
Kona Dew E Electric Bicycle
Kona Dew E Active Line Plus Ebike Motor
Kona Dew E Bosch Powerpack 400 Charging Port Abus Plus Key Core
Kona Dew E Flat Handlebar Shimano Acera Trigger Shifters
Kona Dew E Removable Bosch Intuvia Ebike Computer
Kona Dew E Bosch Intuvia Button Pad Kona Rubber Grips
Kona Dew E Shimano Two Finger Hydraulic Brake Levers
Kona Dew E 38 Tooth Chainring With Fsa Alloy Guard
Kona Dew E Project Two Aluminum Alloy Fork With Rack Bosses
Kona Dew E 160mm Shimano Hydraulic Disc Brakes
Kona Dew E Kona Comfort Saddle By Velo
Kona Dew E Atran Velo Adjustable Rear Kickstand
Kona Dew E Bosch Powerpack 400 Ebike Battery Downtube Mounted
Kona Dew E Busch And Muller Lumotec Avy Headlight
Kona Dew E Busch And Muller Secula Rear Light
Kona Dew E 11 34 Tooth Cassette 9 Speed Shimano Alivio Derailleur
Kona Dew E Bosch Compact Ebike Charger 2 Amp
Kona Dew E Stock High Step Blue
Kona Dew E Electric Bike Review
Kona Dew E Electric Bicycle
Kona Dew E Active Line Plus Ebike Motor
Kona Dew E Bosch Powerpack 400 Charging Port Abus Plus Key Core
Kona Dew E Flat Handlebar Shimano Acera Trigger Shifters
Kona Dew E Removable Bosch Intuvia Ebike Computer
Kona Dew E Bosch Intuvia Button Pad Kona Rubber Grips
Kona Dew E Shimano Two Finger Hydraulic Brake Levers
Kona Dew E 38 Tooth Chainring With Fsa Alloy Guard
Kona Dew E Project Two Aluminum Alloy Fork With Rack Bosses
Kona Dew E 160mm Shimano Hydraulic Disc Brakes
Kona Dew E Kona Comfort Saddle By Velo
Kona Dew E Atran Velo Adjustable Rear Kickstand
Kona Dew E Bosch Powerpack 400 Ebike Battery Downtube Mounted
Kona Dew E Busch And Muller Lumotec Avy Headlight
Kona Dew E Busch And Muller Secula Rear Light
Kona Dew E 11 34 Tooth Cassette 9 Speed Shimano Alivio Derailleur
Kona Dew E Bosch Compact Ebike Charger 2 Amp
Kona Dew E Stock High Step Blue

Summary

  • Extremely functional, lightweight, surprisingly comfortable electric bicycle that's based on a proven analog bicycle from Kona called the Dew. Popular with commuters, the frame has front and rear rack bosses, a bottle cage mount, and lots of room for a frame bag in the center. 160mm Shimano hydraulic disc brakes, 9-speed 11-34 tooth cassette, Shimano Alivio derailleur.
  • Five sizes means you can find the perfect fit. Drive unit and battery are positioned low and center for improved balance and excellent handling. The PowerPack battery is extremely proven and compatible with 400 and 500 watt hour batteries which are easy to buy, borrow, or even rent (if you fly your bike somewhere).
  • Uses my favorite ebike display, the Bosch Intuvia! It's large and easy to read, removable for safe storage, and has a Micro-USB port for charging a phone or other accessory. Great puncture-resistant tires with stylish tan sidewalls and reflective stripes. Great integrated lights with side-windows on the headlight... perfect high-up mounting position on the stem
  • Appears to be limited to one color per year. Despite the moderate price point, you get the lower capacity PowerPack 400 battery and slower Bosch Compact 2 amp charger vs. 4amp. Plastic fenders can rattle and the adjustable stays can be frustrating to manage. I wish they had chosen the Shimano Deore trigger shifters with a two-way high trigger so I could use my thumb to shift up and down

Video Review

Introduction

Make:

KONA

Model:

DEW-E

Price:

$2,999 ($3,999 CAD)

Body Position:

Forward

Suggested Use:

Urban

Electric Bike Class:

Pedal Assist (Class 1)
Learn more about Ebike classes

Warranty:

1 Year Comprehensive, 2 Years Bosch Drivetrain, Lifetime Frame

Availability:

Canada, United States

Model Year:

2020

Bicycle Details

Total Weight:

43 lbs (19.5 kg)

Battery Weight:

5.5 lbs (2.49 kg)

Motor Weight:

7.05 lbs (3.19 kg)

Frame Material:

6061 Aluminum Alloy, Butted (Increased Thickness Near Joints for Strength with Thinner Material Elsewhere to Reduce Weight)

Frame Sizes:

18.89 in (47.98 cm)20.47 in (51.99 cm)21.65 in (54.99 cm)22.44 in (56.99 cm)23.22 in (58.97 cm)

Geometry Measurements:

Medium 57cm Frame: 21.75" Seat Tube, 22.5" Reach, 31" Stand Over Height, 34.75" Minimum Saddle Height, 24.75" Width, 72.5" Length, 45.25" Wheelbase

Frame Types:

High-Step

Frame Colors:

Gloss Dark Seafoam with Deep Seafoam and Glacier Blue Decals

Frame Fork Details:

KONA Project Two Aluminum Alloy (Straight with Tapered Legs), 100mm Hub Spacing, 9mm Axle with Quick Release Skewer

Frame Rear Details:

135mm Hub Spacing, 10mm Axle with Quick Release Skewer

Attachment Points:

Rear Rack Mount, Front Rack Mount, Fender Mounts, Bottle Bosses

Gearing Details:

9 Speed 1x9 Shimano HG3009 11-34 Tooth Cassette, Shimano Alivio Derailleur

Shifter Details:

Shimano Acera Triggers on Right (One-Way High, Three-Shift Low)

Cranks:

FSA E-Bike, Aluminum Alloy, 170mm Length, 38 Tooth Steel Chainring with FSA Aluminum Alloy Guard

Pedals:

KONA JS2, Resin Platform with Integrated Pins

Headset:

FSA No.10P, Semi-Integrated, Straight 1-1/8"

Stem:

Kona Control, Aluminum Alloy, 70mm Length, 7-Degree Rise, One 15mm Tapered Spacer, One 10mm Spacer, Two 5mm Spacers, One 2mm Spacer, 31.8mm Clamp Diameter

Handlebar:

KONA, Aluminum Alloy, Flat, 620mm Width, 31.8mm Bore

Brake Details:

Shimano RT56 Hydraulic Disc with 160mm Rotors, Dual-Piston Calipers, Shimano Two-Finger Levers with Adjustable Reach

Grips:

KONA Key Grip, Slip On, Rubber, Non-Locking

Saddle:

KONA Comfort Branded, Velo

Seat Post:

KONA Commuter, Aluminum Alloy, 2-Bolt Clamp

Seat Post Length:

360 mm

Seat Post Diameter:

27.2 mm

Rims:

WTB SX19, Aluminum Alloy, Double Wall, 19mm Inner Width 19-584, 32 Hole

Spokes:

Stainless Steel, 14 Gauge, Black with Nipples

Tire Brand:

WTB Horizon Comp, 26" x 1.75" 47-584 (650bx47c)

Wheel Sizes:

27.5 in (69.85cm)

Tire Details:

45 to 65 PSI, 3.1 to 4.5 BAR, Puncture Resistant, Reflective Sidewall

Tube Details:

Presta Valve

Accessories:

Plastic Fenders (Gloss Black, Silver Stays, 55mm Width), Atran Velo Rear-Mount Adjustable Kickstand (40mm Mounting Point), Stem-Mounted Busch & Müller Lumotec AVY Integrated Headlight (40 LUX), Rear Fender-Mounted Busch & Müller Integrated Secula Integrated Rear Light

Other:

Locking Removable Downtube-Mounted Battery Pack, 1.3lb 2 Amp Bosch Compact Charger, Maximum Cadence 105 RPM Motor Support, ABUS Plus Locking Core (Keyed-Alike Code Card), KMC X9 Chain

Electronic Details

Motor Brand:

Bosch Active Line Plus (MY20)

Motor Type:

Mid-Mounted Geared Motor
Learn more about Ebike motors

Motor Nominal Output:

250 watts

Motor Torque:

50 Newton meters (Eco: 35, Tour: 40, Sport: 45, Turbo: 50)

Battery Brand:

Bosch PowerTube 400 18650 Cells

Battery Voltage:

36 volts

Battery Amp Hours:

11 ah

Battery Watt Hours:

396 wh

Battery Chemistry:

Lithium-ion

Charge Time:

5.5 hours

Estimated Min Range:

40 miles (64 km)

Estimated Max Range:

90 miles (145 km)

Display Type:

Bosch Intuvia, Removable, Adjustable Angle, 2.75" Grayscale Backlit LCD, Buttons: Reset, i, Power, Lights, (Hold Reset and i for Settings Menu)

Readouts:

Shift Assist Recommendation (Up, Down), Battery Charge Level (5 Bars), Assist Level (Off, Eco, Tour, Sport, Turbo), Current Speed (MPH/KMH), Odometer, Trip Distance, Estimated Range, Clock, Max Speed, Average Speed, Trip Time

Display Accessories:

Independent Button Pad on Left, Buttons: Walk Mode, +, i, -, 5 Volt 1 Amp Micro-USB Port on Right Side of Display

Drive Mode:

Advanced Pedal Assist (Measures Rear Wheel Speed, Pedal Cadence, and Pedal Torque over 1,000x Per Second, Power Output Relative to Pedal Input: Eco 40%, Tour 100%, Sport 180%, Turbo 270%)

Top Speed:

20 mph (32 kph)


Written Review

To run the forums, host the website, and travel, I charge a universal service fee for most of my reviews (not this one). This in-depth review was not sponsored by Kona. My goal is to be transparent and unbiased with you, this video and writeup are not meant to be an endorsement of Kona products or Cit-E-Cycles… I covered it for the sake of variety and because Doug said it was popular at his shop in Vancouver, Canada. I welcome your corrections, additions, and feedback in the comments below and the Kona electric bike forums.

Observations:

  • The Dew-E is based off of the long-running Dew model, an analog bicycle (human powered) that has been popular with commuters and city cyclists. Kona said that they basically added a drive system to that exact bike, striving to maintain the same beloved geometry and sizing options
  • With quick release wheels, an easy to remove battery with ABUS Plus key (that can be matched to ABUS locks to reduce the number of keys/clutter you require as an owner), and a removable display, this bike is very versatile. No suspension, but the wider 1.75″ tires offer some comfort, and you could get a 27.2mm suspension seat post and suspension stem to reduce vibration without adding too much weight (as with a full suspension fork). The narrower handlebar is going to be easy to fit through doors and between cars or crowded cycling areas.
  • This ebike uses the lightest weight Bosch battery pack (the PowerPack 400), but is also compatible with the 25% higher capacity Bosch PowerPack 500. Both packs are known for being reliable, durable, and easy to replace or borrow/rent, which means you could fly with the bike and find power on location much easier than a lot of competing products. Ebike batteries usually aren’t allowed on commercial flights

Pros:

  • The bike comes in five sizes to really let you optimize fit… which is important for a high-step only frame. The geometry is comfortable (more upright than I was expecting from a flat bar)
  • Even though the frame and fork are aluminum alloy (known for being light but stiff), the geometry and wider 1.75″ tires made it feel pretty comfortable. This is an active bike frame with a more forward geometry in general, but it didn’t feel as harsh as some competing products I’ve covered in the past, like the Raleigh Redux iE for example
  • Kona used butted tubing for the frame, meaning that the wall thickness increases towards the ends for increased strength. The wall thickness decreases towards the middle of tubes to help keep the bike weight down
  • This ebike is fairly lightweight at just 43lbs (19.5kg), and most of the extra weight is positioned low and center for optimal balance and handling. The Bosch Active Line Plus motor only weighs 7.05lbs and the PowerPack 400 is 5.5lbs
  • The Bosch PowerPack batteries are interchangeable, so you could buy or borrow a PowerPack 500 and it would work with this bike! These packs have been around for many years now (at least 5 in North America) and are easy to borrow or rent. They are known for being reliable and I love the integrated handle for safe transport
  • I love all of the attachment points on this ebike! The fork has bosses for an optional front rack, the rear seat stays have two threaded eyelets, and there’s a bottle cage mounting spot on the seat tube. This frame also has room in the main triangle for a frame bag… and this triangle can be used to lift and hang the bike more easily on car and bus racks
  • Even though the frame looks fairly generic to me, it’s very purpose built. Note the custom bottom bracket interface, internally routed cables, and stepped-down battery mounting spot on the downtube. This frees up the center triangle and provides a big flat spot for more secure mounting of the battery interface
  • I love the ebike display that Kona chose for this model, it’s the larger Bosch Intuvia! This display is easier to read, offers more readouts (like shift recommendation), and can be removed for safe storage and reduced tampering. It even has a Micro-USB port built into the top right side for smartphone or other electronic accessory charging.
  • Note the custom B&M accessory adapter that replaces the standard Intuvia lower bracket and allows for a headlight! This positions the headlight perfectly, up high, out of the way from the display, and it can still be aimed independently. The headlight points where you steer and has side window cutouts. It’s perfect in my book.
  • Great kickstand choice and placement, towards the rear of the frame to eliminate pedal lock. The stand uses a standard 40mm mounting provision and offers length adjustability. You need a Torx driver to adjust length (vs. a standard hex wrench) and I think they chose this because you can work at it from an angle vs. having to be straight on with most hex wrenches… can still be a little inconvenient if you’re in North America where Torx is less common
  • Decent brake setup here, the Shimano 160mm hydraulic disc brakes work fine for a lightweight Class 1 urban-oriented electric bike… and by not going with 180mm rotors, there’s less chance that they will collide with bike racks and get bent
  • Great attention to detail here: black spokes, hubs, and rims, co-branded grips (with removable plugs so you could add a bar mirror) and saddle (comfortable saddle from Velo), sturdy aluminum alloy chainring guard (bash guard) from FSA, clean durable plastic cable wraps
  • Unique 650B wheel size strikes a balance between the low attack angles and smooth rolling momentum of a wide 700c 28″ wheel and the approachability and wider tire compatibility of a 26″ wheel. The 650B 27.5″ setup became popular on mountain bike products around 2017, and it works well here as versatile urban setup
  • Both wheels have quick release skewers, making them easier to take off for transport, flat fixes, and secure locking at racks. It fits with the easy to remove display and battery pack, making this a convenient very utilitarian electric bicycle
  • Great tires, I’m familiar with the WTB brand and appreciate the beautiful tan sidewalls, puncture resistant layer, reflective stripes, and smooth finish. The wider 1.75″ design makes these stable and adds comfort, thanks to increased air volume
  • The motor is very quiet and efficient, I’m glad Kona went with the Active Line Plus vs. just Active, because it provides that extra bit of torque and pedal cadence support that most active cyclists can appreciate and enjoy
  • The Bosch Active Line Plus motor lets you cycle the chain backwards through the drivetrain which can be handy for lubing the chain and performing bike maintenance without a stand
  • The Bosch electric bike motor controller measures rear wheel speed, pedal cadence, and pedal torque over 1,000 times per second and is one of the more reliable and reputable ebike drive systems around. Bosch has partnered with Magura in North America to provide great customer support if issues arise. The motor even offers shift detection, which reduces chain and drivetrain wear by easing power back when it senses gear changes in motion
  • Since it’s so easy to remove the battery pack, I feel like this ebike could be great for people who have to park outside… they can bring the display and pack in to protect from the elements. I have been taught that storing the battery at half full and away from extreme heat is best for lithium-ion cells. Extreme cold will temporarily stunt the battery, and limit range, but isn’t as damaging as extreme heat
  • The battery pack locks into the frame using an ABUS core with PLUS keys that can be matched to ABUS locks, it’s a great setup and one of the highest-end locksets around, more info on the official ABUS website.
  • My understanding is that Kona launched in the mid-1980’s and probably had its first bicycles in 1988 or 1989. They’ve been around for a long time, and their staff was very easy to reach and very friendly even in 2020. Apparently it’s still owned 50/50 by the two original founders and the team has grown to around 75 people. They launched their first three ebikes in 2010, so I feel like they are very committed to the space and stable compared to some newer less proven brands
  • Kona launched in Kerrisdale British Columbia (near Vancouver), so if you’re a Canadian or live in the Pacific Northwest like Washington State, these guys are local. They feel authentic to me

Cons:

  • The bike only comes in one color option, though it appears they update it yearly because 2019 was black vs. metallic blue?
  • In my opinion, the bike doesn’t look as cool or integrated as some of the other city/commuting products I’ve seen recently that have internal batteries and more custom fenders. The Dew-E looks more like a bike that was converted to ebike vs. a purpose-built electric bike… and that’s one of Kona’s talking points actually, that they tried to preserve what people love about the Dew, so this is kind of a mixed “con” and you do get the benefits of a lighter more accessible battery. Maybe it’s just the fenders that I’m not super impressed with
  • Kona has grown to a 75-person company since 1988, but might not be as easy to find in shops as some larger brands. They offer a lifetime warranty, support the two-year Bosch drive systems warranty, and have a one-year comprehensive warranty on this bike
  • As shown in the video review, you have to be extra sure that the battery is clicked into position or it could tumble out. I test rode a brand new Dew-E, so the battery interface might have just been a little tight, push down and listen for a click and maybe pull up to double check before riding
  • The grips are Kona branded and felt okay, but aren’t locking. I like the size and style of the platform pedals, they felt grippy but were made of plastic vs. aluminum alloy or magnesium
  • Not a huge complaint, but the battery charging port on the bike is positioned pretty low. It’s almost hidden beneath the base of the PowerPack battery casing, so you might have to bend down to see clearly and plug in. It’s on the non-drivetrain side of the bike, so the bike will probably be tipping towards you onto the kickstand, and this position is directly in the path of the left crank arm which can collide and snag the charger cable. This design setup is just the Bosch default and is convenient because it doesn’t require extra cables on the bike or extra frame holes
  • I didn’t see a slap guard on the right chainstay. You could easily purchase a clear sticker chain protector on Amazon, or a neoprene wrap. You could even use some clear box tape to make your own… I was just surprised to not see it standard, since the paint is so beautiful and they were so detailed with the aesthetic
  • Honestly, it would be nice if the bike came with a rear rack that could attach to the rear fender. This would reduce a lot of bouncing and give you a nice matching part for hauling trunk bags and panniers… it’s something that most commuters buy anyway, so why not include a high quality matching rack from the git-go?
  • This is a minor thing, but Kona is using the older rear wheel speed sensor and spoke magnet on this bike. Bosch has a new design that positions these near the disc brake caliper and rotor mount so your spoke won’t get loose and the magnet won’t get bumped out of position as easily
  • The Bosch Active Line Plus motor is very quiet and efficient, but it doesn’t offer the same high torque power as Performance Line motors and cadence support is limited to 105RPM vs. 120RPM. That means, if you downshift while heading into a big climb, the motor might not be able to keep up with your fast pedaling. If you slow down as a result of this, you might need to downshift again and again until your pedal strength and the motor RPM equalize for support… this isn’t the end of the world, it’s just not as flexible for high-cadence pedaling and sporty riding. For context, I think the older Dew-E did use a Performace Line motor, but with the Bosch reduction gearing that introduced some drag. You get a standard sized chainring with the MY20 motors, but they opted for the Active Line Plus vs. the more expensive Performance Line with upgraded chainring setup
  • The Bosch Active Line and MY20 Performance Line motors introduce a sort of “clunk” feeling when I stop pedaling. It’s like there’s some inertia built up in the motor or drivetrain that dissipates with a feeling and sound that the higher-end Performance Line Speed and CX motors do not have… perhaps this isn’t as noticeable with time if the motor breaks in? I mainly test brand new ebikes but almost always notice this “clunk” feeling, which I describe in the video review above
  • The steel chainring is very standard, there’s no narrow-wide tooth pattern or guide element to help retain the chain. It could hop off inwards towards the motor casing on very rough terrain, but this is a minor concern for an urban/city ebike with smooth tires and no suspension
  • Considering the relatively high price of these electric bikes, some people might wonder why Kona didn’t opt for the higher capacity Bosch PowerPack 500. Perhaps it was a weight savings choice? They are using the more efficient Active Line motor and included the smaller/lighter Compact charger as well, so it all sort of matches in that sense.
  • The Bosch Active Line and Performance Line motors have a larger q-factor than competing mid-drive units from Shimano, Yamaha, and Brose. The width is 175mm, and that spaces the crank arms out a bit further… not that big of a deal, but worth mentioning because a standard analog bicycle q-factor is usually 145mm to 157mm on road, city, and gravel bikes

Useful Resources:

Comments (4) YouTube Comments

AlanK
7 months ago

Thanks you for the thorough, honest review. This model is near the top of those I’m considering. I want something simple, versatile, and reliable that’s also reasonably efficient sans battery power. I really like that this bike doesn’t looks similar to a standard bike. Everything seems functional and purposeful; nothing seems superfluous.

My only minor gripe is the quick-release wheels rather than thru-axle. QR are fine, but since TA are stiffer and more durable they make sense considering the additional stresses and torque e-bikes can generate. Other than that it seems like a great bike.

  Reply
Court
7 months ago

Hi AlanK! Sorry for the little wait on my reply here. The Dew-E has definitely grown on me, but your point about thru-axles is a good one. Please look out for another great ebike review that will go live tomorrow morning (May 12th) that might fit your needs and be worth comparing. It’s similarly priced, does have thru-axles, and is very practical (fenders, rack, excellent lights). That model is going to be one of my top picks for all of 2020, so worth considering. I cannot talk about it yet due to press embargo, but keep an eye on the YouTube channel here.

To be more specific with the Kona here, I think that quick release skewers are fine for most city riding. There can be extreme differences between rider weights and gear, yet these 9mm axles have been employed for decades by virtually all companies without much issue. Ebikes can generate extra torque, but with a 250 watt nominally rated mid-drive, I think you’re probably fine. Many mountain bikes use the same wheel axle setup and they have very low gears, heavier wheels and tires, and can be moving at high speeds on the way down steep sections. Thru-axles are nice, but probably not completely necessary. The other ebike I’m posting tomorrow is also a speed pedelec, so I think that’s part of the reason they upgraded… and one version has a carbon fiber fork, so it might have been for strength there.

  Reply
AlanK
7 months ago

Thanks for the heads-up Court. I’ll definitely look for the review tomorrow. A simple, functional speed pedelec at this approximate price point would probably be as close to my ideal as reality gets.

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