Just over two years ago our friend Justin Simoni sauntered into the shop (Salvagetti Bicycle Workshop in Denver) and declared he planned to race the Great Divide. This declaration excited us, but we knew one thing for sure- Justin’s bike wasn’t going to make it to the Mexico border. A new bike was in order, and on the wages of an artist/musician his budget was tight. Now, there’s an important thing you should know about Justin; he loves riding bikes but he’s not the kind of guy who gets excited about the bike itself. Adventure is his main objective! Taking this into consideration we worked on finding him a bike that was not only going to handle well along the route, but one that would hold up to extreme conditions and fit within a budget.
The Kona Big Kahuna fit the bill and in 2011 Justin set out on a stock bike with one upgrade-a Rock Shox Reba. Justin rode strong for nearly 2,700 miles in his first attempt at the divide. Unfortunately, in dramatic fashion Justin crashed less than 100 miles from the Antelope Wells, NM border station and suffered a broken collarbone and a taco’d front wheel. After a stint in the hospital and a long bus ride back to Denver a big question loomed. Should he try again?
As June of 2012 approached Justin made the decision to race again. This time he would convert the Big Kahuna to single speed. June 8th 2012 Justin (under the pseudonym “The Long Ranger”) took off to conquer the divide, 22 days later he was the first single speed rider to make it to the Mexico border. Now we have his Big Kahuna on display in our store to ensure that everyone knows that you can sure put a Kona through it’s paces. -Maggie Thompson, Salvagetti Bicycle Workshop