Ti Tuesdays

Ti Tuesdays with Kona: Jame’s Ti Humuhumu is a Triple Threat

Caleb Smith | KONA COG

I’ve been into mountain biking since I was a kid and to this day still have some sort of working relationship in the industry. From hanging out at local shops to working at local shops to managing a local shop, then repping top products and now owning a company that deals directly with most of the major and not so major brands. I’ve always loved the Canadian manufacturers and Kona was always the bad-ass brand and just seemed to fit me just right.

Caleb Smith | KONA COG

Back in the day I splurged for a 26er Ibis Ti Mojo that I loved and rode in every condition. I fell in love with the durability of Ti but the suppleness of steel. A friend of mine still has that bike and rides it with his kids.

Caleb Smith | KONA COG

With some old school Tomac influence I put a drop bar and some Retroshift / Gevenalle brake levers on a steel 650B 1×9 mountain bike and answered discovered that yes, it is possible to have two bikes in one.

Caleb Smith | KONA COG

Keeping my eyes out for something unique in Ti bike and something I could utilize for all riding seasons I came across a Ti Humu Humu in the Kona booth at Sea Otter Classic and new I just had to have one. I had a steel Kona Unit at home with sliding dropouts built up as a sweet XC machine. I quickly got a hold of legendary Kona sales rep Dik Cox and found out if I could get one of these bad boys. Within a couple weeks I had the frame delivered to my local shop. It took some tinkering and swapping parts and pieces out, but it all came together.

Caleb Smith | KONA COG

The bike pulls triple duty now, some days it’s a cool cruiser to kick around the city and commute to work on, in the spring its a gravel bike until the trail dry up then its a full on XC trail machine for the summer months.

It’s so cool to have such a fun riding iconic looking bike with up to date specs and a wheel size that does it all. All this wouldn’t have been possible without the simple and elegant design of the frame and its sliding drop out and single speed or geared hanger.

The Cruiser set up uses Kona Project 2 fork, Stans Arch MK3 rims set up with purple Hope Pro4 hubs mounted with Maxxis skin wall Ardent 29 x 2.4 tires and a single speed conversion kit. The cockpit has a Kona stem, Humuhumu cruiser bar and Key grips. The Race Face Next SL carbon crank is used for all options and they are paired with the sweet light weight Wah Wah II composite pedals. The build is wrapped up with a Easton EC90 Carbon post along with a traditional Brooks b17 saddle.

Caleb Smith | KONA COG

The Gravel set up gets a unique set of very light Holzfelgen wheels, they are a wood rim inlaid with carbon and they are laced to DT Swiss 240’s with a 29 x 2.0 Tufo XC2 plus to make the ride smoother than melted butter on the roughest terrain. An Easton EC70 carbon handlebar and Retroshift CX brake levers and shifter allow me to run a single speed or 9-speed cassette. Recently I picked up a Dura ace 11 speed bar end shifter for more gearing in the future.

Caleb Smith | KONA COG
Caleb Smith | KONA COG
Caleb Smith | KONA COG
Caleb Smith | KONA COG

The Mountain Bike set up gets a Fox 32 Anniversary edition with beautiful top cap. A Shimano XTR 1 x 11 drive train and brakes with the Crusier Stan’s and Hope wheel setup and a Ritchey carbon Bull Moose one piece bar for nostalgia with the EC 90 carbon post and Chromag saddle. 

Caleb Smith | KONA COG
Caleb Smith | KONA COG

Kona Dream Builds: A Raijin Ti that’s sure to catch your Eye

If you are a fan of Titanium Hardtails, then brace yourself as this one is set to make you go weak at the knees!

This Raijin Ti 29er Singlespeed custom build was put together for one very lucky customer by the guys at the Kona Bike Shop in the U.K. Rich the mechanic there said that it was ‘built with love’ as he spent hours carefully slotting together the pieces of this pretty awesome puzzle. Only the finest parts were used and the result is most certainly an eye catcher.

Rich also mentioned that the customer wanted a lightweight, simple hardtail and that he was set on it on the Raijin as thanks to the sliding Dropouts, it allowed him to run it Singlespeed.

Ben Hazell | KONA COG
Ben Hazell | KONA COG Beautiful in it’s simplicity . . .
Ben Hazell | KONA COG The combination of Silver/Gold and Orange works so well
Ben Hazell | KONA COG The super Lightweight XC Focused Raijin Titanium
Ben Hazell | KONA COG Fox Factory 34’s provide some serious squish at the front end
Ben Hazell | KONA COG The golden Kashima coat ties in nicely with this colour theme
Ben Hazell | KONA COG Carbon Sram XO Crankset keeps the weight down
Ben Hazell | KONA COG Sliding Dropouts allow the Raijin to be set up Singlespeed without the need for a Chain Tensioner
Ben Hazell | KONA COG Orange Hope kit is plentiful on the Raijin, including V4 Brakeset & Pro4 Hubs
Ben Hazell | KONA COG Braided Hoses too for that extra stopping power
Ben Hazell | KONA COG Rotors that perfectly match up to the Hubs – perfection
Ben Hazell | KONA COG Maxxis Ikon Skinwalls not only look fantastic, but also keep the weight and rolling resistance to a minimum
Ben Hazell | KONA COG Kashima coated Fox Transfer Dropper Post looks well at home on this build
Ben Hazell | KONA COG Renthal Bar & Stem make up the cockpit
Ben Hazell | KONA COG

Ti Tuesday: Sean’s Slime Throwing Ti Honzo

We don’t know a whole lot about Sean’s head-turning Ti Honzo. We know it means business, what, with the Minion/Assegai tyre combo, the Custom RockShox Pike and the fact that it’s set up single speed. The slime green bottle cage and green ano cranks are the only real odd items out, but it’s not like Race Face are making cranks in anodized yellow. The rest of the build echoes those main specs choices with a slammed 170 Reverb, custom Stans Flow MK3 rims and a Chromag BZA bar/stem combo. Check the end of the post for the full detailed spec list.

Handlebar: Chromag BZA Tight Green
Stem: Chromag BZA
Grips: RF Grippler in Orange
Front Brake: XT 8020 Trail
Rear Brake: XT 8000
Fork: RockShox Pike RCT3 120mm Travel custom decals
Crankset: RF Atlas in green
Chainring: RF DM cinch 32t in Orange
Chain: Shimano XTR
Rear Cog: Surly 21t
Front wheel: Stan’s No Tubes Flow MK3 custom decals
Rear wheel: Stan’s No Tubes Flow MK3 custom decals
Front Tire: Maxxis Assegai 2.5
Rear Tire: Maxxis DHRII 2.3
Seatpost: RockShox Reverb Stealth 170mm drop
Seat: Chromag Lynx DT tight green

Ti Tuesday: Alan’s zippy Single Speed Ti Raijin

Alan’s Ti Raijin isn’t a big showy head turner of a bike. It’s been built up as durable zippy single speed for Alan’s local trails at Sports Swap in Toronto. Closer inspection reveals a thoughtful parts selection that will truly go the distance and perhaps last as long as this Raijin Ti frame will. The Stan’s Crest wheels laced to Paul Components hubs are a case in point. The Cane Creek 110 headset and Spank Subrosa bars are another.  The smattering of SRAM and Avid bits and pieces show their age, but also an element of if it ain’t broke… The carbon Truvative XO cranks (with North Shore Billet spider and ring), Avid Juicy Ultimates and 100m Reba forks are all super solid and reliable choices that round out this solid single speed steed.

Ti Tuesday: Visa’s Ti Honzo 2.0

When the Ti Honzo original build had it’s first birthday recently we decided it was time to make some upgrades and tweak things even further. The first version was specced with always in-stock parts, so we wanted to go a bit wild and this time, we really went to town!

The original build was a ton of fun and has travelled with me from the Austrian Alps to the Lofoten islands in Norway. And never failed to deliver. We just wanted to see if we could make it even better, we sure did!

So the old wheelset had to step aside, the crankset went flying out the window and the cockpit was changed. The rims are 27.5” 45mm wide carbon rims from Whisky Parts paired with Hope Pro4 hubs (orange of course), oh that sound when blasting downhill. The XT crankset was replaced with a Raceface Next SL set and an oval ring from Absoluteblack. The Cockpit got a makeover to with a Carbon Sixc 35 handlebar from Raceface as well and a new Fox Transfer dropper post to match the Kashima fork. The fork travel is now 140mm compared to the original 120mm.

The bike is now lighter (around 12 kg, roughly 1kg less compared to the original build, depending on the tyre choice), it’s snappier, accelerates faster and the overall feeling has improved, thus earning the 2.0 title. The tyres are now WTB Rangers 3.0 light high grip front and 2.8 tough fast rolling in the rear. The Rangers have performed really well in all conditions and held up for the challenge, I’ve torn to pieces my share of lighter Trailblazers.

So we’ve come pretty far from the original idea of a moderately priced and specced bike but hey that’s the way it always goes right?

And for those of you wondering if the bike is still able to take a beating, I have an answer for you guys. It is! I participated in the Finnish National Enduro Series with it and took third place in hardtail category (yes, there were more than three riders in hardtail). Absolutely no issues apart from the rider not being fast enough!

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!

Ti Tuesday: Bendik’s Kona Esatto “Black and Ti”

Photos by Mads Oliver.

How do you make titanium even better? Dress it up in black carbon. Bendik Been, from Kona’s Norwegian distributor Sykkel Butikken, says his Esatto Ti‘s build kit is pretty straightforward, but we think it’s pretty damn sweet. SRAM RED HRD, 3T Discus 60mm carbon wheels, 3T bar and stem. All black, with the Ti doing its job and standing out as always.

“I always lusted after the Ti Esatto but wanted disc brakes. And then Kona made it! But I didn’t have the money. When I finally decided to do it there were no more frames in Europe. I made some calls and sourced one from the US – big thanks to Ian and the team for sorting me out!”

Nice and clean. Ti is always worth the effort. Well done Bendik. 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!


Ti Tuesday: Cam’s Leave-No-Stone-Unturned Ti Honzo

Leave no stone unturned. That’s the idea with Cam’s Ti Honzo. This bike has so many details that you’ll keep finding more the more you look. Cam’s story is also one that might resonate: selling a previous bike and immediately regretting it. Fortunately, Cam’s day to day at Joy Ride Bicycles in Lacey, WA keeps him in the loop, and he was able to atone for his past mistakes.

“A couple of years ago I sold my Steel Honzo for something that I thought ‘was a better bike’ and I’ve been regretting it ever since. Turns out there may not actually be a better bike than the Honzo, so when the stars aligned earlier this year and the prospects of affording a Ti frame became feasible it was a no brainer. While the initial build is focused on shreddy and durable, there is a ‘B’ build in the works for bikepacking so stay tuned for an update on the most versatile Honzo in the PNW.”

Scroll down to pore over the details on Cam’s Ti Honzo covered in Pacific Northwest loam. 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!


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!


Ti Tuesday: A Beautifully Restored 1990 Kona Titanium

This week’s Ti Tuesday feature is extra-special, with a beautifully restored vintage Kona and a great story to go along with it. Daniel Landsberger collects and restores vintage mountain bikes, and – unlike some collectors – actually rides them too! Daniel shares his collection through the Cult MTB Facebook and Instagram pages, and recently sent through this great photo set and story of the original Kona Titanium. We’ll let Daniel take it from here…

cultMTB Kona Titanium 1990 by Merlin _03

Words and photos by Daniel Landsberger.

In 1990, I had little money and big dreams. A friend of mine wanted to buy a Brodie and suddenly I had this catalog at home, where I whirled quite enthusiastically. And then I saw on the last page the Kona Titanium, the madness, built by Merlin, geometry by Joe Murray, decals from Kona and Merlin, solid equipment, no CNC parts, exactly my taste… but just no money.

Some years later, I was still in love with the old bikes, the money was there, but no matter how hard I tried, I could not find a 1990 Kona Titanium – only the catalog picture. I talked to other collectors and traders from that time, and their stories were very different. One said the Kona Titanium was out there, the others said they were never delivered, or if they were, only to team riders…

cultMTB Kona Titanium 1990 by Merlin _012

After a few years, a friend of mine, Adrian Forde, found one and lovingly restored it. He restored it part-for-part from the catalog, with the result exactly as the Kona Titanium should look in the 1990 catalog picture! Finding all of these parts was time consuming & expensive, but it was worth it. This bike is exactly as seen in the catalog – he even found the Joe Murray tires!

It came as it had to come, one day as from nothing – I would not have expected in my whole life that he would really sell it – Adrian offered it for sale. It took only a few minutes, then it was sold… TO ME!

For me personally the end of a very long search! But, as with so many other bikes I have, the story is good for me: it is worth it to continue to search and NEVER give up!

Scroll down for Daniel’s full photo set. 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!

cultMTB Kona Titanium 1990 by Merlin _011
cultMTB Kona Titanium 1990 by Merlin _015
cultMTB Kona Titanium 1990 by Merlin _06
cultMTB Kona Titanium 1990 by Merlin _04
cultMTB Kona Titanium 1990 by Merlin _05
cultMTB Kona Titanium 1990 by Merlin _017
cultMTB Kona Titanium 1990 by Merlin _08
cultMTB Kona Titanium 1990 by Merlin _016
cultMTB Kona Titanium 1990 by Merlin _09
cultMTB Kona Titanium 1990 by Merlin _018
cultMTB Kona Titanium 1990 by Merlin _013
cultMTB Kona Titanium 1990 by Merlin _010
cultMTB Kona Titanium 1990 by Merlin _01
cultMTB Kona Titanium 1990 by Merlin _02
cultMTB Kona Titanium 1990 by Merlin _014
cultMTB Kona Titanium 1990 by Merlin _07

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.

Alex Ti Tuesday-9756

Alex Ti Tuesday-9757

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.

Alex Ti Tuesday-9785
Alex Ti Tuesday-9786
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Alex Ti Tuesday-9783
Alex Ti Tuesday-9774
Alex Ti Tuesday-9781
Alex Ti Tuesday-9759
Alex Ti Tuesday-9765
Alex Ti Tuesday-9775
Alex Ti Tuesday-9769
Alex Ti Tuesday-9772
Alex Ti Tuesday-9782

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!

Ti Tuesday: Ricardo’s Ti Honzo is Shred-Ready!

Pop quiz: how can you tell a rider is from BC? Well, the first thing you can do is look at the components they’ve chosen for their custom build. Chromag cockpit, check. Race Face, check. Maxxis Minion, check. Rockshox Pike and Reverb, check. Fork fender, check. NOBL carbon rims, check. One ripper of a Ti Honzo? Check.


Ricardo in Vernon, BC, sent through these photos of his sweet Ti Honzo build. Sure, you might choose different components if you built your own custom Honzo, but you can’t argue with this one!

Fork: Rockshox Pike RCT3 140mm
Wheels: NOBL rims on Hope hubs
Cockpit: Chromag BZA bar and stem, Chromag Trailmaster LTD saddle
Headset: Chris King
Brakes: Shimano XT
Shifter: Shimano XTR
Derailleur: Shimano XT
Cranks: RaceFace Turbine Cinch
Seatpost: Rockshox Reverb 150mm

Scroll down the detail shots on Ricardo’s shred-ready Ti Honzo. 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!

Ricardo-Smith-Ti-Honzo-3 Ricardo-Smith-Ti-Honzo-4 Ricardo-Smith-Ti-Honzo-5 Ricardo-Smith-Ti-Honzo-6 Ricardo-Smith-Ti-Honzo-7 Ricardo-Smith-Ti-Honzo-8 Ricardo-Smith-Ti-Honzo-9 Ricardo-Smith-Ti-Honzo-10 Ricardo-Smith-Ti-Honzo-11 Ricardo-Smith-Ti-Honzo-12

Ti Tuesday: Kristie’s Ti Esatto

New year, new Ti Tuesday! This week we’re featuring a clean Esatto Ti from Kristie Holt, owner of Local Hub Bicycle Company in Dallas, Texas. Here’s Kristie’s background on the build:

When contemplating a new road bike I knew what I didn’t want: a full carbon racing bike with carbon wheels. My taste and riding style have changed over the past couple years from trying to beat everyone on the road to finding a good group of strong women to ride with who had more adventurous tastes that included road and off road.

I began by looking at the Roadhouse because of its uniqueness, but that bike was still a few months away from becoming available. When Nate at Kona suggested I give the Esatto Ti frame a look over, it only took me about 24 hours to mull it over and make the decision to go for it. I purchased the frame in September 2016 and the build was ready in October.


Consulting with my master mechanic, John Kendall – whose Kona Ti Raijin was previously featured on the Kona blog – was the most fun part of the build. Keeping in mind my budget, we opted for Zipp Service Course SL stem, handlebar, and seatpost, Cane Creek headset, Shimano 105 group set, and Mavic Ksyrium Allroad wheels. We added a feminine touch with the black and gold polka dot bar tape custom designed by my cycling accessory company Babes on Bikes.

The bike is so comfortable it’s like riding a recliner. It’s still quick and nimble like my race bike, but not as a fragile. I’ve given it a good beating riding Dallas’s pothole-ridden streets and can’t wait to put larger tires and take it on a gravel ride. I look forward to putting many happy miles on this bike.

Thanks for the submission Kristie! By the sounds of it, we’re going to be seeing some more Ti Kona builds out of the Local Hub shop soon. (Also, apparently Dallas has great walls to shoot bikes against!)

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!