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Ti Tuesday: Alex’s Custom Hei Hei

Photos by Caleb Smith.

Alex’s Ti Hei Hei is a great example of how a seemingly simple project can spin its way into complexity very quickly. Alex’s first mountain bike back when he was a teenager was a Kona Lava Dome, which his family still has to this day – though it’s on the small side these days. The Kona hardtail fire continued to burn for him, though, and last year, looking for a fun cruiser project, Alex started the hunt for a Ti frame from the same era.

He found the Hei Hei frame basically as you see it here, a blank slate on which to lay his own brush strokes, and the beginning of a search for just the right pieces to finish the build to perfection. The mango Chris King hubs and headset started a landslide of orange, including the King bottom bracket and the Salsa seat clamp that we’re seeing pop up on many a modern Ti Kona build.

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The orange theme continues with the Chromag cockpit and orange cable housing, leading to a 9-speed XTR group. The XTR parallelogram brakes are, to many, the pinnacle of v-brakes, and Alex was able to separately source an XTR drivetrain with the requisite titanium cassette. Add to that a Chromag single chainring, Paul Component brake levers, and skinwall Maxxis DTH tires, and Alex’s vintage Hei Hei build has just a bit of modern flair.

With the build being so fresh, Alex’s Hei Hei drew an audience when he dropped by our office to show it off. We pored over the details, but because the bike doesn’t have its original decals, we were unable to exactly pinpoint the year of the bike. With its signature bullet dropouts we do know that it was made at Ti Sports in Pasco, WA, between 1996-1999. While it took Alex about 6 months to put the build together, the result is clearly worth the effort.

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For more Ti Kona goodness, check out the Ti Tuesday archives and #TiTuesdaysWithKona on Instagram. If you’ve got a Ti Kona bike, please do get in touch!

Bike Magazine on the Kona Hei Hei DL: “Astonishingly Fun.”

Another review of the Hei Hei DL and yet another affirmation that its progressive geometry and balanced pedaling platform is exceeding riders’ expectations. Bike Mag‘s Ryan Palmer tends to favor a 29er that shreds over one more focused on going uphill, but the Hei Hei DL solidly ticked both of those boxes for him.

“In a sport in which a new niche develops every 30 seconds, it comes as no surprise to see a new one emerging out of the cross-country bike category. This still-unnamed sub group is basically an XC platform with a pinch of all-natural trail flavoring. What also comes as no surprise is that Kona, of all brands, would be among the first few to help form this particular niche.”

Read the full review online or in high res PDF and head to Bike Mag to see their subscription options.

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You can also view Bike Magazine’s first look at the Hei Hei DL in the video below:

Bike Rumor Raves About the Kona Hei Hei DL: “This bike is proof positive of XC evolution.”

Here’s yet another review lauding the 2017 Hei Hei platform, this time from Zach Overholt at Bike Rumor. Zach was a big fan of the Hei Hei DL’s 120mm Fox 34 fork and dropper post bringing the bike “from podium to play”, though he noted that the true evolution that has occurred with this bike its long reach and progressive geometry.

“Just because the bike is only 100/120mm travel, that doesn’t mean you have to give up on the fun, playful natures of the bike. There are so many bikes that either excel at the up or the down, but the Hei Hei DL finds balance between the two. It’s still a bike that you could easily use to compete in local XC races, but this is the bike you want for the rest of the year when it’s all about fun.”

Read Zach’s full review over at Bike Rumor!

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Dirt Rag Magazine on the Kona Hei Hei Race DL: “It’s sexy, fast, and handles brilliantly.”

Katherine Fuller of Dirt Rag has just published her review of our Hei Hei Race DL. With its 29″ wheels and 100mm of travel front and rear you may mistake this bike for a pure XC racer, but Katherine was quick to note that the progressive geometry makes the newly revamped Hei Hei much more than the numbers may suggest:

“The Hei Hei Race DL is for people who might race, but who don’t maintain a regular USAC license and who have ridden un-ironically in cutoff jean shorts. It’s for people who don’t need or want a heavy all-mountain rig but who want some rear suspension and enjoy exploring trail nuances. It’s for people who want a racy bike that allows them to relish descents, not just survive them. It’s for people who want to have fun.”

“In many ways, this bike reminds me of a European sports car: it’s sexy, fast, handles brilliantly and gives you tingly feelings in your bits when you really ramp it up on smooth trails and push it around bermy corners.”

Head over to Dirt Rag to read Katherine’s full review of the Hei Hei Race DL.

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Kona Hei Hei DL Features in Singletrack Magazine’s Fresh Goods Friday

The Hei Hei DL is on the trail-focused side of our Hei Hei 29er platform, with notable spec choices to up your fun on the trail. Singletrack gets it:

“It’s a short travel XC 29er bike, but Kona has added a little drop of radness into this lightweight carbon beast, with a 68-degree head angle and a 120mm travel Fox 34 fork up front.”

Head over to Singletrack to see a selection of photos and commentary on the Hei Hei DL.

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Ti Tuesday: 1997 Retro Ti Hei Hei King Kahuna Commuter

Some of you out there are going to think turning a beautiful bike like this 1997 Ti Hei Hei King Kahuna into a commuter is sacrilege. Bear in mind, that although this seriously tidy hard tail is currently in commuter guise, it only really requires the addition of some 1.9″ knobby tires and the removal of the rack and front fender (that’s just so you don’t have to gouge your eyes out) to bring it back to its glory days.

Ti tuesday dan-2548The frame is a 1997 Kona Hei Hei King Kahuna made by Sandvik. It has a Thomson seat post, Race Face stem, Cook Bros cranks, Cane Creek headset, Mavic Cross Ride wheels and Rock Shox Sid Race fork. All pretty high end parts in their day. Heck, World Champion Cindy Devine and future World champ Steve Peat raced DH on these frames. And of course Joe Murray (the bikes designer) and a lot of other top racers raced XC on them.

Ti tuesday dan-2571They were/are pretty damn versatile, indestructible and forgiving bikes. We made them from 1990 until 2000 at Sandvik in WA. We figure maybe we produced around 4000 over that time period. Most of these are still around.

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Sandvik 3-2.5 Titanium. Nuff’ said.

Ti tuesday dan-2554Bit of a mixed big up front. Top mounted cable routing, a classic 1-1/8th Cane Creek Aheadset and short(ish) Race Face Prodigy Stem.

Ti tuesday dan-255280mm travel Rock Shox Race SID’s from 2000 look after the ride up front. Stopping (slowing down) is taken care of by the always classic (and a little bit squeaky) 1998 Shimano XTR BR-M950 V-brakes.

Ti tuesday dan-2550Oh boy, thank goodness for the Marsh Guard and Mucky Nutz fenders, imagine if we were still running these things. I have to admit I never put one of these Toby Henderson fenders on my bike but a lot people certainly did. You’d have to agree that a commuter bike is probably the best place one of these heinous fenders can be up-cycled to.

Ti tuesday dan-2568Radial spoked Mavic Cross Ride wheels from the same year as the fork add another splash of colour.

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Ti tuesday dan-2569Probably the most desirable item on this bike apart from the frame would be these Cook Brothers E Cranks. I’d trade a whole bunch of carbon bits and pieces for these bad boys. I do highly doubt that there are many people out there willing to even think about selling them though. Call me…

Ti tuesday dan-2567Easton Monkey Lite GT2 carbon bars and Avid Single Digit levers (with adjustable reach) keep the cockpit tidy. Oh and the all important Kona commuter horn.

Ti tuesday dan-2562Looks like somebody misplaced the rear set of XTR brakes for the build so it’s a step down to the slightly louder XT versions.

Ti tuesday dan-2564It’s the little details.

Ti tuesday dan-2561Bullet Proof.

Ti tuesday dan-2555There you have it. What’s your favorite bit about this retro Ti build?