2021 eMTB SHOOTOUT
KONA REMOTE 160 DL REVIEW
Photos by Dusten Ryen
Video by Brian Niles/Treeline Cinematics
Back for another year, the Kona Remote 160 DL made a strong showing at last year’s eMTB Shootout and the updates made for 2021 were sure to keep this bike high on our list. Along with the Remote 160 DL, Kona Bikes has continued to refine their eMTB lineup. New updates to the Remote 160 DL include Shimano’s new EP8 motor, 29” front and rear wheels, lowered the bottom bracket, and a burly 160mm Zeb fork upgrade.
Kona is known for building burly aluminum frames, and the 6061 on this bike feels like it’s ready to brawl. Just like last year, the Kona Remote packs 160mm of rear travel and some of the smoothest lines around an EP8 system we have seen. The frame has over-molded protection around the chainstay and the battery cover doubles as a bash guard on the down tube. The skid plate is plastic, which we damaged and cracked, like many of the other bikes in our eMTB Shootout.
Geometry is comfortable for an enduro eBike without being cumbersome. On the size large we tested, the wheelbase is 1,254mm, reach is 467mm, and the stack height sits at 635mm. Kona gives the Remote 160 a 64-degree head tube angle and a seat tube angle of 74.9 degrees. These numbers translate to a very neutral and well-rounded bike that had the angles to climb steep and tight trails but enough reach and head tube angle to take you down the gnarliest of descents. We could see some more aggressive descenders wanting a longer reach, and some of our testers noticed the shorter reach on super high speed chunder, but as it sits now, the bike handles those instances without feeling too sluggish on the more commonly ridden terrain.
A RockShox Zeb Select sits up front and a RockShox Super Deluxe Select rear shock is buttery smooth. Drivetrain on the Kona Remote 160 is a mix of SRAM GX and NX Eagle with 165mm Shimano cranks. The cockpit is all in-house Kona XC/BC components but has a nice rise and sweep. Braking duties are managed by SRAM Code R four piston brakes and 200mm rotors. A TranzX dropper had 150mm of travel, which was a little short for our crew. The Remote 160 comes with Maxxis Assegi tires front and rear but for our Shootout we ran a Schwalbe Magic Mary front and Big Betty rear as they were our official test tires.
Kona used the Shimano EP8 motor system with a 504wh battery. The system provides up to 85nm of torque and we found the tune to be on the more powerful side in Boost mode. All motor settings can be custom tuned through the Shimano app, but we rarely felt the need to change it. The few times we did were on big days where the 504Wh battery would be an issue as many other test bikes have 630Wh batteries. Cable and battery management is all internal on the main triangle but externally routed on the rear.