Bike Check: Connor Fearon’s Kona Operator CR – Val di Sole DH World Championships 2021

by | August 28, 2021

We’ve all had that sinking feeling overcome us when you’re the last person at the baggage carousel, dubiously waiting for that precious cargo to appear from behind closed doors. Well, Connor Fearon’s custom painted, freshly built World Champs bike fell victim to the air travel system. Luckily, he had his regular season bike on hand for the first day of practice.

We caught up with the Kona squad and got the details on the Australian’s green and gold decked out ride after team mechanic Mathieu Dupelle drove six hours to retrieve the bike. I feel like he might jokingly hold this over Connor’s head for a while.

Connor rides his size large Operator in dual 29″ mode most of the time, but has swapped for an mixed wheel setup this weekend and chosen the longer 440 mm chainstay length.

There are a couple of outliers on the bike when we get up close. First, he’s running organic brake pads on 220 mm rotors. Sintered pads deal with heat better, but Connor prefers the crisp bite at the start of a braking zone that the organic pads offer. Secondly, the headset is offset, but not in reach. It’s actually a touch steeper, most likely to preserve the geometry when running the 29/27.5″ wheel combo. Connor also runs his bars on the narrower side at 760 mm and opts for a smaller diameter, 31.8 mm alloy bar.

Wheels don’t get more premium than this – Enve rims and Chris King hubs. There is a CushCore in the 27.5″ rear wheel.

Only a handful of riders are rocking flat pedals this weekend. Mega pins do their best to keep his feet in place on this relentlessly rough track.

A One Up Components Bash Guide guards the chainring. The lack of a lower roller and the O-Chain system will make the suspension feel more supple.

The front end sits fairly low combined with the shorter 46 mm offset fork and steeper offset headset cups.

220 mm rotors front and rear with organic pads for a crisp bite. JAB Ti bolts everywhere.