titanium

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!

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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.

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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!

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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…

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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…

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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!

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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.

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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!

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Ti Tuesday: Paul’s 1992 Kona Haole Has Been Places!

We’ve got quite the treat for you this Ti Tuesday. Paul Russo recently hit us up to say he’d bought his Haole brand new back in 1992 – and that means he’s had it for 25 years, or half his lifetime! Obviously we were keen to feature the bike, but the story gets even better. This Haole’s been places! We’ll leave it to Paul to give you the goods…

I purchased my Kona Ti Haole in February of 1992, from Roy’s Sheepshead Cycle in Brooklyn, and have been riding it consistently ever since.

At the time of purchase, I was 25 years old and had participated in my first triathlon the previous summer. It was then that I decided I wanted to pursue the sport of cycling on a higher level. After months of research, I knew I wanted to go with titanium, and Roy recommended the Kona Ti to me as a great frame, that was within my budget.

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While I did participate in a few crash-marred local road races, the focus of my riding for the next decade was triathlon. The highlights include three Ironman distance races, a half dozen half Ironman races and many century rides. The most notable of all was when I took my Kona Ti to Kona HI, to race in the 1999 Ironman Triathlon World Championships.

Since then, with my last competitive race over a decade ago, I’ve continued to ride and train. Over the last few years, I my had my Haole set up as a commuter bike, navigating the potholed streets of New York City. While I don’t commute on it anymore, it did hold up well to the abuse. As you can tell from the pictures, the current state of the bike is a bit marked up and some of the associated components might be a bit dated, but it’s still a great ride.

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What’s the future of my Kona? I’ve been toying with the idea of doing a triathlon again at some point. This winter, I’m planning to set up my bike on an indoor trainer for some winter training from the comfort of my basement.

I fully expect to have and ride my Kona Ti for many more years to come. Thanks for making a great frame.

Sincerely,
Paul Russo, 50
Brooklyn, New York

What a testament to the longevity of Ti! Scroll down for more details of this well-traveled Haole, and when you’re done, peruse the Ti Tuesday archives and #TiTuesdaysWithKona on Instagram. If you’ve got a Ti Kona bike, please do get in touch!

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Kona Ti Honzo Reviewed in Singletrack Magazine: “You’ll be giggling for hours…”

Singletrack Magazine has just published their review of the Ti Honzo on the web. Here are a few excerpts:

“Lovely titanium tubes… incredibly easy to get airborne… an incredible bike to ride downhill… you’ll be giggling for hours…”

Peruse a few photos below, read the full review on Singletrack HERE, and check out Singletrack’s subscription options HERE.

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We Want You! On Kona’s Ti Tuesdays…

Want to see your bike on Kona’s Ti Tuesdays? Here’s the step-by-step guide…

There’s just something about titanium, the magical material that looks incredible without paint, resists corrosion naturally, and has the supple ride qualities to back up its aesthetic and functional virtuosity.

Kona has been making bikes from titanium since the way way back… 1991 to be exact. Ti could also be considered short for “timeless”, as our Ti bikes from throughout the years still have that ineffable joy, and can be polished up to their original sheen if you so wish.

Last year we launched #TiTuesdaysWithKona, a weekly feature of the weird and wonderful world of Ti. Each and every build comes out unique, just to the owner’s specifications, often becoming as cherished as a member of the family. We’ve been loving the influx of Ti here at Kona, and we know there’s more out there.

untitled-0648Darren’s Humuhumu is over the top. See more HERE.

So, you want to see your bike featured on Ti Tuesday? Here’s what we need:

What Kind of Photos Do We Need?

We usually publish 8-10 photos so you probably want to submit 15-20 total. Images submitted should be resized to 2000 pixels wide, ideally in landscape (horizontal) orientation.

Details, Details, Details…

We always need one high quality drive side profile shot, and then detail shots to back it up. If you look through the Ti Tuesday archives you’ll see a lot of great examples – and not all of them were shot by professionals!

The first and simplest trick to ensure you get decent images is to find a nice wall to lean the bike on: something clean visually that won’t distract from the bike. Then make sure the bike’s in the big ring, medium rear gear, with cranks level.

It’s all about the details with Ti. The beauty of a weld, of the finish, and of the custom build that adorns it. Head tube, headset, cool parts… get in there close! Or medium…

eddy_honzo_titues-2731Eddy’s Ti Honzo and the classic Ti shine.

What Kind of Camera Should You Use?

The best case is that you shoot with a DSLR camera, and have the lens zoomed in beyond 50mm focal length. This will help separate the bike from its environment and keep the focus on the details.

If you don’t have a DSLR camera, here’s our recommendation: shoot the bike in the least distracting environment possible. As noted above, a clean wall can go a long way toward getting great images from a smaller camera.

JohnKendalRaijin-17John’s Raijin is living proof that there are no rules when it comes to Ti builds.

What’s the Story Behind the Build?

How did you get the bike, what do you plan to do with it? Is this your all mountain shredder, your dual duty commuter, or your grocery getter? Is there something about this build that’s particularly worthy of attention?

Have you been lusting for a Ti Kona for years, and finally went for it? Did you pick the bike up at a consignment shop, or score it from the original owner on Craigslist? Did you finally convince your dad to let you bring his old bike back from the dead?

Alright, You’ve Convinced Me… How Do I Submit?

Ready to submit? Have some questions? Send an email to morgan@konaworld.com and we’ll get you sorted out.

Dew_Ireland-8978Garry’s Di2 Ti Rove… mmmmm…

Ti Tuesday: Matt’s Ti Esatto

Okay I have a confession, I hadn’t organised a Ti Kona for this weeks #TiTuesdaysWithKona. Luckily though, the good folk at Kona dealer Sellwood Cycles in Portland already had one for me to “borrow” from their blog. They posted  up this sweet build last week and I figured it would be rude not to re-post it here on the Cog.

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If you haven’t had the joy of riding a Kona Esatto Ti yet, you should. Or guy Matt rides his nearly every day, and for good reason: it’s SO smooth. The Esatto Ti is one Kona‘s first disc brake road-specific offerings, and though it’s been out for a couple years now it’s like most Kona “road bikes”: it’s a do everything kind of ride that doesn’t take itself too seriously. Kona did a good thing with the Esatto, but making a titanium version of the bike really sends it over the fence.BWR_TiEsatto_sm08

The Esatto Ti comes standard with a 12×142 rear thruaxle and a Kona Carbon Race Disc fork. Clearly a solid foundation for any bike worth getting rad on.

Matt built his frame up around a Shimano Ultegra 6800 group (compact cranks, and an 11-32 cassette). The wheelset are handbuilt 28t DT Swiss 240 hubs laced to Stans Grail rims all wrapped in Specialized Roubaix tubeless tires that measure out to 33.3 (yes, “.3” because “every little bit counts” so says Matt). He’s also running the Shimano Road hydraulic disc brakes which, other than the fact his front brake probably needs to be bled, provide ample stopping power.BWR_TiEsatto_sm02 BWR_TiEsatto_sm03

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Some of the other creature comforts you can’t possibly miss is the FULL-SIZE frame pump (Matt’s particularly proud of it…) and titanium bottle cages.

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Lastly this bike is topped off with a Bontrager saddle, Bontrager XXX seatpost, and Bontrager Iso-zone bars with EXTRA padding under the bar tape. It’s like riding a pillow! A PILLOW I SAY!

BWR_TiEsatto_sm05This is a solid build that we’re stoked to see in the shop nearly every day. Been thinking about pulling the trigger on a fly new bit of Titanium to add to your stable? You should come talk to Matt about it, he’ll help convince you it’s a darn good idea.

Ti Tuesday: Eddy’s Ti Honzo brawler

Ti Tuesday this week brings the winds of change. For the past few weeks we have focused on pavement orientated titanium beauties, but today we are changing that up and giving you the monster truck of hardtails, Eddy’s Ti Honzo to be precise.  Now don’t be fooled, this particular bike isn’t brand new (although it’s a new 2016 model), Eddy’s been riding and testing this work of art for a while now, and despite being ridden daily, after every ride, it looks this clean. I’d expect that to be a trait most Ti owners share. eddy_honzo_titues-2704 Okay the bike. As you can see from main picture no expense has been spared in this build, from the SRAM XX1 drive train though to the carbon WTB hoops Eddy’s Ti Honzo is the perfect mix of function and bling. On a side note why can’t all cable guides be that rad!

eddy_honzo_titues-2703 A 74.5 degree seat tube is one of the only numbers on the Honzo that differs from its full suspension Process 111 cousin (the Process features a 74 degree seat angle). The head tubes angles are the same at 68 and the reach again is the same at 460mm on a size large. And like the Process range of bikes, the Honzo features massive standover clearance and as you can see, just the right amount of Titanium (in all the right places).

eddy_honzo_titues-2708 Although with no linkage to get in the way and that super funky curved seat tube, the Ti Honzo pulls off ultra short 415mm rear stays with ease.

eddy_honzo_titues-2713 I Probably should have broached this earlier in the #tituesdayswithkona series. What does 3-2.5 Titanium actually mean? Well 3-2.5 Titanium is an incredibly strong and lightweight metal consisting of 3 percent aluminum, 2.5 percent vanadium, and 94.5 percent pure titanium. It’s characterized by excellent fatigue life, lightweight property consistency, form-ability as well as corrosion resistance.

eddy_honzo_titues-2714The drivetrain that started it all off, SRAM’s XX1. There is not much left to be said about this, I mean it changed the way we ride. Oh and by looking at that 28t direct mount SRAM ring Eddy is running, you’d be correct in guessing he lives where the climbs are steep and the desents are well and truly earned.eddy_honzo_titues-2712 Gears not your thing? Just like the steel Honzo the Ti version comes complete with sliding dropouts should you want to enter that single speed pain cave.

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eddy_honzo_titues-2727 Tried and true SRAM Guide RSC brakes slow things down and SRAM’s new centerline rear rotors eliminate that pesky squeal. Unlike the 2016 alloy Honzo (which features 148 x 12) the Ti model sticks with a 142×12 rear axle configuration.

eddy_honzo_titues-2711 The always reliable Maxxis Minion EXO DHF is wrapped around WTB’s latest carbon 29″ hoops, the Ci24’s (that would be C for carbon and i24 for an internal rim width of 24mm).eddy_honzo_titues-2733 Chromag’s carbon BZA bar holds things down in the cockpit. Its 800mm width and 15mm rise are all held in place by a matching 35mm bar clamp Chromag BZA stem. It most certainly is business time.

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A straight 44mm head tube keeps things classy up front.
eddy_honzo_titues-2731 I just can’t get enough of that cable routing.

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Ti-Kona-2723The Ti Honzo has tire clearance for days.

eddy_honzo_titues-2738I didn’t even know Hope made headsets? Well they do and Eddy has them on his bike. Stainless ball bearings and a bunch of seals will keep these puppies running smooth all winter long.

eddy_honzo_titues-2737 Eddy put a Pike on it.

eddy_honzo_titues-2705Titanium Kona owners seem to share a few things in common. A love for King cages is one of them. Oh I Almost forgot to mention the Ti Honzo is stealth dropper compatible.

eddy_honzo_titues-2736There you have it. Eddy’s Ti Honzo and now my dream bike. Production models of these works of art are literally on their way to our distributors now and will be at dealers very soon. Numbers are limited, so if you like what you see here you best get a pre-order in with your local Kona dealer soon. In the mean time you can find even more info on the Ti Honzo here.