A week or so back Todd at Olde Towne Cyclery in Nebraska sent through a snap of this mysterious custom painted 2016 Kona Wo. Our interest was piqued and we quickly replied, wanting to find out more at this very cool paint job. Todd put us in touch with the bikes owner, Robert Altman, and as well as a bunch more photos he came through with the story behind the bike.
Here’s my story. I’m a retired U.S. Air Force veteran. I served for 28 years. Some of that service time I spent on tactical operational deployments, including a few overseas as well as many tactical training exercises here in the USA. During those deployments I lived outdoors in “MASH-like” green tents, drove green 5-ton trucks and green tactical HMMVEEs. I wore Air Force green camouflage BDUs with field packs and ate MREs. I have many fond (and agonizing) memories of my service times. So when I see the Kona Wo I see a tactical two-wheeled bicycle. To me it’s a two-wheeled HMMVEE! In my mind, just like most Army vehicles, a tactical bike should be a light olive drab and black color scheme. The Wo reminds of my combat days, going places where you wouldn’t normally go, pushing through ice, snow, mud and dirt.
Thus I wanted to personalize the Wo. When I purchased the bike I knew Todd at Old Town Cyclery (OTC) had done some previous custom restorations on other bikes. I gave Todd my conceptual ideas with an olive green color scheme and asked if he could do his custom magic on a brand new factory Kona Wo.
Clearly he answered yes. Josh Trail at Trail Performance Coatings did the amazing powder coat job on the frame, rims and did the Kona factory logo and Brett Westcott from John’s Body Company did the frame striping. These guys deserve huge kudos for their craftsmanship. They did amazing work!
I also wanted to keep it as close to a factory Kona Wo template as possible. It required starting from a factory Wo, taking off the factory paint, starting over and doing a new clean complete powder coat. The rest is history, you can see the results of the combined amazing craftsmanship in the photos. To date, I’ve taken the Wo on several Nebraska cross-country “tactical” trips through ice and snow and have throughly enjoyed the bike! It’s my “combat” Kona. A beast, but I love it!