Daily Archives: 11/01/2018

Kona Dream Build: Jouko’s Killer Kilauea

I’ve been planning on building a nice steel 26er hardtail for a while now. Why? I recently ended up with an old 26″ enduro bike and was reminded of how fun this obsolete historical wheelsize can be. I saw this repainted Kilauea for sale this summer but missed my chance and the bike was sold. Luckily the frameset popped up on a forum soon after and I bought it late this August.

Based on my quick research, I’d say the frame is from ’93 or ’94. I’d prefer the original paint, but this powdercoat is of reasonably high quality and desert tan color scheme has some Radavist type of street cred. I slapped some decals on the blank frame as a finishing touch.

I’ve been keeping my eyes open for a Kona P2 fork but haven’t found one yet, current fork is a Rockshox Psylo SL from the early 00’s. The group set is a bit of a mix ‘n’ match, as these bike-shop-back-room builds tend to be, parts range from a classic Shimano STX RC front hub to a brand new oval chainring. My favourite part without a shadow of a doubt is the Tioga Alchemy stem.

So what’s it like then? On a fast xc trail it’s damn good fun, a really nimble and playful bike – it turns around on a coin and accelerates like nothing else. Compared to larger wheeled modern bikes you kind of go around rocks and roots instead of over them, or you fall down trying. My future plans with the bike include installing a bottle cage and riding like I stole it.

You can follow Jouko here and get updated when he finally adds that bottle cage. If you’re in Finland you can even check out the bike in person at Fillarikellari bike shop.

Specs
Frame: Kona Kilauea 20″ Tange Prestige
Fork: Rockshox Psylo SL
Headset: Cane Creek S-8

Stem: Tioga Alchemy
Handlebars: Funn Flat Out
Grips: Lizard Skins Logo Dual Compound
Shifter: Shimano M7000
Brake levers: Avid FR-5

Seatpost: Origin 8 PROFIT
Seat: WTB Volt

Pedals: Shimano PD-M324
Brakes: Avid Single Digit 3 V-brakes
Rear derailleur: Shimano XT M781
Crankset: Shimano XT M752
Chainring: Blackspire Snaggletooth Narrow Wide Oval 36t
Chain: Shimano XT HG95
Cassette: Shimano 11-36t

Front wheel: Shimano STX-RC / Sapim / Mavic XM 117
Rear wheel: Novatec / Sapim / Mavic XM 117
Tyres: Michelin Wild Race’R2 Advanced set up tubeless

Dr Dew Does Madiera

Kona’s legendary Dr Dew recently skipped across the Atlantic with product manager Mark “Donny” Allison to help launch our line of drop bar/gravel bikes to the European media. The setting was the ever-so-scenic island of Madeira- the perfect terrain for Libres, Sutra LTDs, and Roves. We’ll be rolling out reviews from the press as they come in, but for now, please enjoy this recap of riding and local culture by the doctor, himself.

I was aware that I had a work assignment coming up in the second half of October. I would be attending a gravel launch in Madeira with Mark Allison, a.k.a. Donny, Kona’s most junior product manager. As I pondered his recent 21,000 vertical single day achievement, I began to think of the story of the old bull and the young bull only we wouldn’t be walking down the mountain. We met in Vancouver airport and three planes later landed at the Christiano Ronaldo airport in Madeira. Known as the most dangerous airport in Europe it was good to be on terra firma.  Once at the hotel we were warned of the impending hurricane forecast for the next day. I thought back to the plane landing somewhat relieved that our flight had been so smooth. Timing is everything.

The following morning, we awoke to a pleasant hurricane. The brunt of the storm was passing us to the north and we were looking at a promising day with light rain, wind and high seas. After breakfast, we were introduced to the guys from Madeira who would be our guides for the launch. The morning was spent assembling bikes. During the afternoon we weathered the storm and checked out one of the planned rides on the west side of the island. The following day was much the same spent detailing bikes in the morning and riding another trail in the afternoon. Trail guide Joe Sanchez would clear trails and Kona lensman Joonas Vinnari scoping the best photos opportunities. The riding reminded me of California meets Hawaii. It was going to be exciting to have a large group on the ride.

Day one of the launch started at breakfast with introductions. Some of the journalists arrived late and were a bit groggy. Everyone’s spirits were high. Madeira has had good riding reviews lately and everyone was anxious to get on the bikes. After bike assignment, we were shuttled off to the east side of the island. We arrived high in the hills above Machico and had a light rain to contend with. Twisting mountain roads gave way to a modest gravel climb. We ascended up the gravel road until we entered a single track that was part of an old aqueduct system. Banana trees, eucalyptus and sugarcane provided a cover from the wind and rain as we wound our way across the side of the mountain.  About a dozen mountain bikers shot us bewildered expressions as we passed them on our drop bar bikes. After maybe 24 kms of singletrack we came out into dry warm skies and continued onto more twisting roads traversing the mountainside. An exhilarating decent led us to a piazza with great views of the ocean. After a quick traditional lunch, the bikes were loaded into the van and it was off to the west side of the island. The west side had slightly denser vegetation and was the same area where the enduro trails are located. This ride was more open and led into some sweet single track. The single track turned into urban trails and finished with a stunning steep descent down to the ocean. At the beach, we hung at two little Rasta bars. Everyone relaxed and reflected on the day’s riding with beer and poncha. Poncha is Madeira’s traditional drink and can help to cure a cold among other things. One of our guides named Alex had his board shorts and convinced everyone to jump into the Atlantic. As we were bobbing in the Atlantic he gave us some advice. “Go where the current takes you,” and, “The waves come in sets of seven. Don’t panic.” After the swim it was back to the hotel for dinner. Everyone looked content after dinner and we retired soon after. Tomorrow would be an early start.

Donny-not working on his tan.

Day 2 started with a 6:30 breakfast. By 7:15 we were off on our bikes equipped with lights heading to the ferry terminal. A 1.5-hour ferry ride ensued as we headed to the island of Porto Santo. Northeast of Madeira this island makes for a great day trip. Porto Santo “Holy Harbour” has lots of sandy beaches that are sheltered. The stark landscape is a result of feral rabbits that were introduced back in the 1400’s. They decimated the island and left it sparse with vegetation. We set out and really experienced what these bikes are all about. Smooth twisting tarmac got us to the top of the island where we rode off into gravel singletrack that circled the island. Singletrack opened into “German Gravel” that was smooth and fast. The riding was excellent and the views unbelievable. It wasn’t until mid afternoon that we completed the ride down at the beach, exhausted. Lunch was relished. Soon after the lunch Donny, Joe, Henry and Joonas took the journalists to a small airport where Tourism Madeira had them booked on a hopper flight back to Madeira. I settled on a swim with Alex, Jim and Bart before boarding the ferry back with the bikes. At dinner everyone seemed to be glowing. Two good days of riding left everyone feeling content. Most of the journalists were talking about the next time that they would be back to ride. We chose to walk back to the hotel from the old town and enjoy the night air. A lot of journalists had early flights so there was no time for any shenanigans.

For our last day in Madeira we had been invited to play a round of golf at the Palheiro golf club. Despite this tempting offer I graciously declined so that I could spend the bulk of the day riding the bikes and exploring Funchal. Joe was kind enough to take some of the remaining journalists along with Donny and myself on a little tour. Tight cobbled roads, coffee bars, the fish market, old forts were just a few of the spots that we visited. It was like old world meets Hawaii as we finished watching the sun traverse the ocean. As we shared a beer and some beans the journalists were comparing the hours that they had between this launch and their next. I was reminded that this was their work and in fact it was our work as well.

I would like to thank everyone but especially Joe www.bikology.pt and tourism Madeira for their hospitality. Everyone else I hope to thank in person next time I am back in Madeira. Oh yeah there better be a next time.

Bicycling Mag Loves the Hei Hei CR DL

“It can be difficult to find an impressive bike to race on, but trying to find a bike that’s built for racing and handily capable of much more is a grander task—the Kona Hei Hei CR DL is a solution to this search. -Gabriel Lodge, Bicycling

Bicycling Magazine recently took the Hei Hei CR DL out for a spin to test its capabilities on the warm, humid trails of Bentonville, Arkansas. Writer Gabriel Lodge enjoyed the Hei Hei’s innate ability to climb with ease while being pleasantly surprised at how it handled downhill sections- including a jump line he wasn’t intending to hit.

Check out the full review here.

Ready to buy a Hei Hei? Visit your local dealer today or check konaworld.com for purchasing options in your area.