Sellwood Cycle Repair

Ti Tuesday: Erik Tonkin’s Historic Hei Hei

We’ve been making Ti bikes for a long time. Last week’s Ti Tuesday was a perfect example of that. And because of this history, many of the bikes that are still out there have great stories to go along with them! This week’s Ti Tuesday comes from Erik Tonkin, long time Kona family member, and owner of Sellwood Cycle Repair in Portland. As usual, the stories are best from the source, and this is a good one!


Words by Erik Tonkin, photos by Jake Ryder.

This is MY bike. It is my Kona – the one that means the most. I love this thing. (I don’t often feel that way about things.)

This was my first team bike. I got it in 2001 – the last rim-brake titanium Hei Hei made by Sandvik, out on the tiles of eastern Washington. Thanks to the post-Cold War peace-dividend, some military-industrial contractors made nice bike frames! Then Mike DeSalvo down in The State of Jefferson added the tabs and the guides – so now it’s got a shock and discs, as Wicks would say.

This bike – this individual frame – has won more OR and WA XC races than any other – and yet it’s lost a lot more than it’s won. That sounds about right – I can relate.


It was stolen a few years back. I was heartbroken – and upset with myself because I hadn’t been careful. But then I got an email from Kona. A kid had it but couldn’t figure out exactly what it was – he was unfamiliar with the “Tonkin” model. They told him, “That’s because it’s Tonkin’s bike. You should probably give it back.” The kid did, and I’m so thankful.

It’s often a town bike now – an erstwhile commuter, kid-hauler. The 650b wheels give that away, but I guess that could make it a gravel bike, a bike-packer, or maybe just a touring bike, too. It’s hard to keep up with what’s up. I still have the 26″ XTR wheels. Maybe I could ride it for some blue jeans CX – or XC. It can do it.

It is just a bike – but it’s the bike, timeless and timed-out, perfect and flawed. I hope I can be like that.

Scroll down for the full photo set of Erik’s Hei Hei. 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!


Sellwood Cycle Repair is Giving Away a Kona Honky Tonk!

Sellwood Cycle Repair in Portland, Oregon has been a Kona dealer since the beginning of time. And as with all long-time Kona dealers, their passion for the brand has resulted in some neat collaborations along the years. Shop owner Erik Tonkin is the namesake behind our Tonk, a steel road bike offering great value and durability.

To celebrate the Honky Tonk’s 10th year, Sellwood is giving away a fresh bike to a lucky recipient by way of a photo contest. Whether you’ve gone far and wide and documented it, or simply rocked around your home town and have a great photo and the story to complement it, here’s your chance to win a brand new Kona. Read on below for contest details…


One of Sellwood’s customers sent through this photo from Russia. It’s a very clean example of a custom Honky Tonk with Campagnolo components. Nice!

Sellwood Cycle Repair’s #10YearsOfTonk Contest!

Where have you gone on your Kona Honky Tonk? For the next two weeks we’ll be hosting a social media contest for folks to post photos of the great places a Honky Tonk has been. Here are the rules:

  • Photos must be of a Honky Tonk bicycle (any model year) ideally somewhere cool/interesting. Be creative, have fun!
  • Photos must be posted to either Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook and tagged with both @SellwoodCycle and the hashtag #10YearsOfTonk.
  • They do not have to be recent photos (maybe you took a trip somewhere cool a few years back), but they do need to be posted between now and the contest deadline.
  • Photos must be posted no later than midnight PST on Midnight, Tuesday, November 15th!
  • Entries limited to Canada and US only.
  • The Grand Prize 2016 Kona Honky Tonk will be limited to sizes on-hand. There is a full size run as of this writing.
  • We will cover shipping charges up to $75 for the grand prize, and $30 for the runner up prizes. Taxes and Duties not included.
  • Photos will judged on creativity, artistic merit/radness, and originality.
  • Winning entries will be posted to Sellwood’s social media channels the following Saturday, November 19th!
  • No purchase necessary, post as many different photos as you’d like!

For the longer story on the history of the Tonk, head over to Sellwood’s blog. And get posting your photos – you won’t win if you don’t enter!