Kona’s Race Light butted Scandium frame. FSA Gossamer cranks, KMC chain, Formula hubs on Alex rims, Continental Speed King Cross tires (700 x 35), WTB Rocket V Comp seat and FSA Mega Exo bottom bracket. Kore Sport brakes with Tektro R200A levers.
From Kona's Website:
If you thought CX guys weren't eccentric enough, there's also the singlespeed contingent. Oh glorious masochists! Designed for simplicity, durability and function, the Major One caters to those social deviants who have to do it differently. Raceable, commutable, light, fast, and beautiful, you asked for it so we made it. Here at Kona, that's what we do. Bikes for everyone, no matter how weird you may be.
Strengths: Light, responsive, great control and climbs like a goat. Great in cornering and built to race. She's beautiful in that dirty utilitarian way Angelina Jolie is in Gone in 60 Seconds. She's beautiful, and she's changing your oil, and now she wants to go very very fast.
Weaknesses: Brakes are a little weak, but may be more attributed to the racing conditions (rain, snow, ice) applied to canti-brakes than the actual brake performance.
The price is high for a single speed specific cyclocross bike. This has no future for gearing conversions, but adjusting the chainring and cog combinations can be a good way to build up to single speed riding. If you don't enjoy riding SS, do not buy this bike. I also tend to hop on my road rig for distance or even Alley Cat races, and anything more than CX type off-road will take its eventual toll on your wheels, so CX racing and local commuting is kind of a small niche of use for a $1000 bike.
The only other suggestion which may be a possible after market addition is a rear wheel tension adjuster. For racing, this would completely encumber a tire change, but during training rides or commuting, it would help get the rear wheel centered easier and get the perfect amount of chain tension set.
This review is for the 2009 Kona Major One which has inexplicably escaped a presence on the internet. If it were not gleaming from the garage, I would be hard pressed to prove it existed. The only difference I can find between 2009 and 2010 is the paint scheme. It's a beautiful metalflake rootbeer brown with white banding.
I bought this bike from TVB, my top choice of LBS in Knoxville, just before the 2009/20010 Cyclocross Season kicked off. I had raced for the first time in 2008 on a SS converted 2001 Schwinn Homegrown and a 2006 SS Raleigh Rush Hour with road tires. It was time I took this cyclocross racing a bit more seriously.
I picked up the bike the day of a Mud Sweat & Gears race and literally walked it out of the shop, drove it to the race, and rolled out on the start line. No setup, no seat adjustment. Just plug and play... and play she did!
It honestly took a little adjustment to get used to racing on an authentic cyclocross-purposed machine, but once I dialed in the right body position, she responded to every move. The pure power transfer to the wheels felt like I was hard-wired to the tires, and though part of that is just the difference between the geared and single speed experience, it just felt better on this bike.
Climbing was solid, though I am still trying to find the right tire pressure for varying conditions as it got a bit slick in the turns. Downhill was stable, and control was a second thought in all but the most technical sections. The almost unbelievable lightness of the full build made barrier crossings quick and smooth and after a few laps, the steep hill carrys were a cinch with ample clearance under the top tube and a solid grip on the downtube.
Braking in dry to slightly damp or dewy conditions was good, but in the nasty slush of rain and snow, you begin to wish for disc brakes. That being said, even the gearies with disc brakes had issues in the snow as ice built up around everything that was supposed to move.