There’s a few classic Kona’s hanging from the walls in our Vancouver offices, normally I don’t give them to much thought, but when a colleague pointed out this very cool bike gathering dust in the far corner I had to find out a little more. Turns out it is Kona co-founder Jacob Heilbron’s old 1992 race bike. We gave it a dust and tried to inflate the rear tire but the 20+ year old rubber didn’t look like it could take it. I then cornered Jake to get the lowdown on this timeless classic.
It’s a 1992, pretty much the same bike as in the postcard with Parker. These were Kona’s first road bikes, the Haole. Yes we know what a Haole is. The decals are more recent, after a few years I re-brushed the tubes with a scotch brite pad and put some fresh Lemon Pledge over the decals to make it look a little newer although it looks a little dated now with that 1″ headtube. On the other hand the frame is titanium so it really will never wear out. The fork is a steel Kona road design very similar to what we use now on the Paddy Wagon. In fact this frame may have been originally polished by Paddy White, that was his first job with Kona. In the beginning, we’d take delivery of a fairly raw frame from Sandvik, and then run a polishing brush over the tubes before the scotch brite pads in order to give it a machine “works” finished look.
It was made by Sandvik Special Metals in Kennewick, Washington. They also made the tubing out of 3-2.5 Titanium alloy, and also produced titanium tubes for the aerospace and nuclear industry. Plus some golf shafts for a start up from that era called Callaway. Over a 10 year period they made nearly 5,000 Kona Ti mountain and road frames.
The parts are a bit of a mixed bag, because we supplied them as frames only. Shimano Dura-Ace with a Campagnolo Super Record seatpost, Cinelli 1/A bar & stem. All it needs is a little air in the tires and some step-in pedals and I’ll be ready to take it for some early spring laps in the park.