My History With the Dr. Dew

the-geekFrom the reasoning of the Dawg name to the best comic book authors, from the history of the Hot to a timeline of industrial music, Cory has the trivia, and the opinions to mouth off about it.

Everyone has their favorite bike. My personal favorite bike is either my Big Unit, or my single speeded Major Jake. But sometimes a bike emerges as an institution, and becomes something bigger than the individual bike. The Stinky has done that, and the Africabike certainly has. But for me, the Dr. Dew holds a special place.


About 7 ½ years ago I was working in a shop and not at Kona yet. We sold Kona, and one of the bikes that I thought was really cool was this obnoxiously green bike called the Dr. Dew. It looked like the perfect bike to get around town on, without all the comfort bike accouterments seemed to prevalent at the time. My boss, however, thought the bike was way too ugly to sell in relatively conservative St. Louis, so we didn’t stock any. Over a couple of months, I sold a few as special orders, and Ron relented, letting me stock the bike. I sold 22 of those neon green Dr. Dews that year.

Fast forward a few months, I’m working at Kona and my wife needs a bike. Lo and behold, a Dr. Dew that had been used once was languishing in a corner of our warehouse. Being one of my favorite bikes, I had to get it for Amy.

A year later, my mom wants to buy a Kona for my dad as a Christmas gift, and I suggest the Dr. Dew. (Now a grey color) One of the owners at Kona rode in through the whole year on the same bike to work.

Jump forward again a few years, and I’m now a proud papa of a little guy that likes to Go! I need a bike that’s good for towing a little dude in a Burley, and good for getting around town in the wet winter months of Bellingham. What else but the Dr. Dew? (Now another shade of green)

Kona makes and has made a lot of very cool bikes, but something about the Dr. Dew shines through to me as the essence of what Kona is all about. It’s cool but simple. It’s functional and fun, built to last. And every time I ride mine, I think of all the people in St. Louis I turned on to a cool bike, my dad, a cancer survivor, riding his, my boss, riding in the rain and the grime, my wife, riding with me to a bbq or to a friend’s with our son in tow or my son, happily waving at dogs and singing to himself in the back of his Burley.

What’s your favorite Kona?

31 thoughts on “My History With the Dr. Dew

  1. Michael says:

    I have but one bike, so by default it is my favorite. Scott’s dented old Dr. Dew. Thanks for the sunny picture of Bellingham, by the way. Only 8 months to go until its back.

  2. Dwayne says:

    I have about 2500 miles or so on my Kona Sutra, I love it. I use it to commute, pull my kids and run some errands. I’ve had it on asphalt and dirt, and it rocks.

  3. Mike says:

    Hard to pick a fav, I have a 2001 and a 2006 Explosif built up from framesets. It’s like picking a fav child….

  4. Marc says:

    Whoah man, I don’t think I can choose! I spend more time on my ss mtn bike so it is probably my Big Unit, which until recently was a Kula 2-9. But my ss Major is a close second.

  5. Pat says:

    Tough decision here as well, I have 4 Konas. 96 King Kahuna Ti Hardtail, 01 King Kikapu, 01 Team Jake, and an 08 Rad Jake. Each has it’s own reasons for being my favorite. If pressed for an answer I would have to say the King Kahuna Ti Hardtail. the welds are exquisite, it is a beautiful frame.

  6. Milo says:

    Easy call…My 2003 Kona Stuff. Original drivetrain..Yeah it might skip and a few teeth are bent. So what if the back wheel never stays true… I have beaten that bike up and it always got me home. (45 days in the Whistler Bike park to boot!) I built a 2008 Stinky Dee… Hadley Hubs, 888, Atomlab rims, X9, Hone and E13 drive…..Rides like a dream, but just doesn’t have the same soul as my old beater. If times got tough, the old Stuff would be the only ride in my garage!

  7. big jonny says:

    When I go out to my garage, the Kona I like best of the lot is the one with air in the tires. If that plan fails, whichever one is closest to the pump will work. There are four of them, all mountain bikes, only one has gears. I only wish I had more time to ride them…

    I should add this: The old school orange HumuHumu has a large front basket. If I’m heading up to the corner store to grab a twelve pack, the rack takes precedent over low air pressure considerations.

  8. Bikergrl says:

    I love both my currently functional Konas equally (the third, a Scab, has been stripped and is hanging out waiting for its next incarnation).

    My Hot is the sexiest little bike I’ve ever owned, 23 pounds of pure steel hardtail racing sweetness. It’s getting a little retro with its vee brakes and one inch fork, but when it sees a hill you can feel the power go straight from your pedals to the climb. It’s probably the most responsive bike I’ve ever ridden. My Hot is one of a few frames that Kona ever painted in “Fishbelly” – an iridescent purple to pearl fade that, at least at the time, was said to be an experimental paint scheme that turned out to be exquisite but far too expensive for production. Despite its ancient components, scratched paint and minuscule stature in a world of big bikes, people still comment on how beautiful it is, 14 years after the fact!

    My Bear Deluxe is my do-everything bike, and it definitely spends the most time between my legs. Despite years of hard riding, it’s still going strong, but I am starting to feel sad for its aching joints and general aged-ness. I think, very soon, it may have to move over and make room. The deep despair I feel when i think about retiring the Bear becomes a little less upsetting when I boost my spirits by peeking at the Candy Apple Red Hei Hei on Kona’s website. I’m hoping that will be next.

  9. Ed says:

    We own a few bikes here, but the oldest Kona in the house is my favorite bike.

    I have a Hei-Hei hardtail built in the mid-late 90’s (titanium). I had to put a collar stop on the top tube just to put v-brakes on it… it pre-dates v-brakes.

    The only thing original is the head badge decal at this point. I’ve raced it a few times with some success and ridden countless rocky, root covered New England miles on it. The wrench at my favorite shop has asked me more than once to let him know if I ever plan on selling it.

  10. simona says:

    I started with a Lavadone, then one Aha. Then I started working for kona and I have a Paddy myself but when my 3 grown up kids needed a bike well a dr dew for my everyday commuting girl, a smoke for my “i need to be cool and I do not bike that much” teen, and a jake the snake for my sailor son. The father wanted a bike too, he has a dr dew now and he loves it. And the commuting girl she’s got a Japanese boyfriend that bikes a lot, he has a sutra. Yes because the sailor son did actually rode between Shangai and Hong Kong with a Sutra last year and he loved it. Well well so many Konas so little time …by the way my next one will be the rat!

  11. koekiemoon says:

    I just adore the Dr. Dew. I use it since 2006 as an ultra-fast commuter and love it for traveling. I was looking for a rigid frame

  12. Rembo says:

    No doubt it’s my ’04 King Kikapu with some improvements: DT 1540 wheels with Michelin latex tubes, XT crankset, DT 190 damper, Hope Mono mini brakes, Easton Monkeylite handle bar, Ritchey CS stem, Chris King headset, Thomson seat tube, Selle Italia SLR XC gelflow saddle, KMC 9SL-X chain. Finally only the frame, fork and shifters are still here and now it’s less than 11.5kg (or 23lbs).

  13. Gotta say, mine is my 2009 Big Unit out of the four Konas that I have. Granted, none of them are that old, but this Big Unit is the best mountain bike I’ve ever had in over 15 years of riding.

    Kona has the most character out of any company out there.

  14. It’s hard to pick just one… but if I must, it’s going to be my 2004 Jake the Snake. I’ve owned it since new and it’s served me very well. It’s been a road bike (before I bought my Zing Supreme), a mountain bike (before I bought my Cinder Cone), a commuter and of course a cyclocross racer. It’s since seen a total makeover as I’ve stripped it down and re-painted it, then adorned it with all new parts. The frame geometry just suits me so well and is super-comfortable.

  15. Chris Forsyth says:

    06′ Stinky

  16. Mel Majoros says:

    I love my Kona smoke. I bought it used from the local bike shop (with winnings from the local casino) I staked out the bike shop for about a month. They had a new Kona smoke and a used one. I kept driving by thinking to myself I will get that bike. One day they sold the new Kona. I immediately got on the phone and told them to hold the used one and told them I would pick it up the next day. This was in the summer of 2007. I was diagnosed with breast cancer in September of that year. For a year and a half I thought about riding that bike, we have a great bike path here in town, but I couldn’t because of constant fatigue, low white counts and being in treatment,(which lasted from Nov 2007-Dec 2008.) I am a big sports fan, I play hockey in the winter and bike in the summer. The thought of riding that bike on the bike path kept me going. This summer I have averaged about a 12 mile ride each time I have gotten on that bike. I love my Kona.

  17. Marpman says:

    Not sure I have a particular favourite as it depends much on what I am doing. The bike I ride the most these days is my 2007 Jake. I threw panier racks on the back and I use it relentlessly for groceries, errands and just about everything else. We also own a 2008 Dew which my son uses for school, with panniers as well. He loves it as it just rocks on the hills.
    Where I live, in Vancouver we have a few of these and the Dew makes short work of them…it really is a well-done machine. And it is not that expensive, making it perfect for core commuting tasks such as going to school.
    We also have a 2006 Caldera and Cinder Cone and a 2009 Blast for when we are booting around the trails.
    I am a little challenged for room in my house, but I would love a Paddy Wagon..ah, always time to dream.

  18. j darby says:

    Titanium Score…… who wouldn’t want to rock out on a titanium first generation free-ride hardtail?? If anybody has one in good shape… I’m lookin’

  19. Mike Olson says:

    My favorite was my first, a Munimula. I was told something about it being named after a Hawaiian cartoon character, only after a couple of years found out it is actually Aluminum spelled backwards.

  20. Rhys Jones says:

    Well, I think my favorite is the 1996 Kilauea – those Columbus tubes give a truly fantastic frame that just seems to give a real spring to the ride no other frame I’ve ridden gives. I also own a 1992 Kilauea, and now have just yesterday bought an old new stock Leroi frame, in recognition that I wanted to finally go full suspension. Looking forward to building the frame up and getting up out on the trail – who knows I may well then have a new favourite bike. Until then the Kila gets my vote

  21. Robortion McStankles says:

    My 2005 Kula primo was by far the fastest bike i’ve ever owned. However my favoite kona is the 2002 Caldera which was my first mountain bike. I loved it so much i bought it back and reused its part to build an SS. Wish it still fit.

  22. mitchell says:

    Hey there, send us some photos and a longer write-up of your favorite Kona and we’ll put it up. Thanks, Cogmeister

  23. I would have to say my favorite bike is the Kona Major One 2009. This bike is my best built bike I own. I have had 3 kona bikes in my arsenal at a time- 2008 Kona Unit 2-9, 2009 Kona Paddy Wagon, and the 2009 M.O. The paddy wagon was a special bike to me, now a friend owns it, riding to work as his commuter bike and all around fun town bike! That bike was the first nice commuter/fixie I ever owned. It even was so perfect I raced an entire track season with 48/15 gearing for 3 months with the paddy. It still is something special.

    The Major One is the ALL AROUND ANYTHING ANYWHERE bike! I love it. I race it, commute with it, hop a curb with it, get muddy with it, live with it! IT IS AWESOME! The root-beer tubing color finish isn’t to bad either.

    As for the Unit 2-9: Something that I give thanks to every season for keeping me connected with nature and why I love bikes so much. One bike that will stay with me, forever.

  24. Jim Valentine says:

    22 lime-ass green bikes, none of which were ordered with approval, i’m sure!!! I remember those numbers dude!! From the NOS Hei-Hei that I bought(and cherished) in 2000, to the Big Unit that I f***ing love to ride today, and even the vintage beater Cinder Cone that endured the trek to the Florida Keys a few weeks ago, one theme radiates…pure fun on two wheels…that is what it’s all about. Keep it up Kona–no doubt you will!

  25. jrcFLA says:

    Kona Stuff — circa 2007, but not 100% sure. (My wife ride’s a Kona Blast from same year.)

    Picked them both up on a whim, very lightly used, from a downhill racer from California that re-tooled once he got to mountain-less Florida.

    I first started riding in January this year, AFTER purchasing the bikes. Living in Florida, though, that pretty much equates to trail riding. But I can find some technical trails and decent stunt sections here and there.

    And I’ve found enough of that to notch several goods spills and 1 broken collar bone.

    Every time I get up after a crash I check out my Stuff to make sure nothing’s wrong. Needless to say, I’ve stopped looking; the Stuff is a tank and I am more than satisfied with this impulse purchase.

    I’ve also got a beach cruiser and 1986 road bike of different makes. But I’m so impressed with Kona’s line-up that every new addition to the quiver from here on out will certainly be Kona. It’s good to hear such positive testimonials from those of you who’ve been part of the Kona clan for so long.

  26. Jerry Bilek says:

    My jake the snake. I think Kona named this bike after my cat Jake. for 22 years I shared a beer with the little dude. such a great ride, such a great pet.

    pics:
    http://monkeyread.wordpress.com/2009/11/02/fall-ride/

  27. Brad Titzer says:

    Favorite Kona bike? I think I have owned too many to remember all of them. I didn’t really have a favorite until recently, but just like that stupid cliche, “You don’t know what you’ve got until it is gone,” now I do. My 2009 Dawg Supreme (one of several I have had even from the Bear days) mysteriously grew feet and walked away with another of my steeds right out from under my quaint Louisville, KY early 60’s subdivision carport. And yes, before you ask, they were locked and not visible from the street. My sub 30 pound Dawg with a Fox 36 was the most capable bike I have ever owned. I raged, crashed, skid, and sailed my way down Whistler this summer on a bike that was clearly not made for that kind of abuse. From the rock drop on A-Line, the container drop on Freight Train, to double black torture fests like in deep and goats gully the bike preformed flawlessly (outside the fact of its not being a DH rig). Sorry Ed. Alas she is no more. When she left me I wished buckets of bad karma on the thief but that didn’t last long. I now hope whoever ends up with that gem has the time of their life aboard, I know I did! Good times and more Magic to come. Did someone say “Abra Cadabra?”

  28. stacy says:

    Hi, we came here after a fast yahoo search. Neat blog you got here! Keep it up!

  29. Eric S says:

    Been lovin Kona since my 1993 (ish) Kona Fire Mountain was stolen while I was at the arcade at my local mall back in the day. Happy to say I still have my 1st full suspension, the 1996 Kona Sex One. I’ve replaced about every part on the bike aside from the frame. Still rocking, just placed 3rd riding it in a climbing competition 🙂 The lower seatstay bushing holes are wearing so its off to a machine shop to replace the bushings with some sealed bearings. After 16 years I’m stoked to say that this old frame should last me another 16 years! Hopefully some more podium finishes at the local riding spot!

  30. Mike Bird says:

    Bought a Dr Dew in 08. Two months later a moving van hit me from behind. I was out for a while and when I came to I couldn’t move or see the bike. After about a week in the hospital and a couple of weeks in bed I talked someone into retrieving the bike from the police station for me. I expected the worst. Amazingly, it still rolled. In fact, in looked fine. I had the wheels trued and the derailleur hanger tweaked (I tried to order a new one, but the LBS thought their tweak job was good enough, and it was). One sweet ride, as good as new, and tough too. Still rolling.

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