Monthly Archives: February 2017

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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Kona Super Grassroots Rider Jan Deenuwelaere Smashes World Record on his Major Jake

Kona Super Grassroots rider Jan Deenuwelaere had a pretty good weekend at at the Souldal Cyclocross Masters in Waregem, on top of finishing the race itself in sixth place, he went on to smash a world record onboard his Major Jake.

If you couldn’t guess from the photo above, the world record in question was won at the Cyclocross Bunny Hop World Champs. The previous height, set by Tom Meeusen at 75cm was smashed by Jan, as he easily cleared the insane height of 80cm and rode right on to primetime national Belgium TV!

You can find more info here .

Graham Agassiz in Digging for Galena – Full Film

From the peaks of the Selkirk Mountains above Retallack Lodge comes a new project from Graham Agassiz and Mindspark Cinema: Digging for Galena is a short film exposing the new Texas Peak trail through parallel storylines of exploration and adventure. Grab a cold one, sit back, and enjoy a great short film…

For thousands of years we have been scratching through dirt and rock looking for our fortunes. Over a century ago, pioneers carved deep into the mountains surrounding Retallack Lodge, risking ruin in exchange for an ore rich in silver, zinc and lead. They were Digging for Galena.

Today, exploration and adventure comes full circle with the building of Texas Peak, one of the most adrenaline-packed gravity trails ever created. Join Graham Agassiz as he takes you on a journey that blurs the lines between here and yesteryear — a story of risk, adventure and great reward.

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Credits:
Cinematography and Editing by Mind Spark Cinema
Written and Directed by Mitchell Scott
Starring Graham Agassiz
Produced by Retallack Lodge and Mitchell Scott
Sponsored by: SRAM, Kona, and Retallack Lodge

NSMB.com Reviews the Kona Wozo: “This bike was so much fun!”

Interested in reading an in-depth review of Bluto fork and fat bike tire setup as well as three riders’ experiences on the Wozo on dirt and snow? NSMB.com has just published their three-rider review of the Wozo, and they’ve done a great job of encapsulating the Wozo experience during an unusually cold North Shore winter.

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“With some mostly clear trails, I upped the pressure in the tires a few pumps to resist roll over and hit dirt with much more consistent results. It’s actually crazy how far a mere mortal – such as myself – can lean over the Wozo without actually laying it in the dirt. Even in flat corners. Even at slow speeds. Uphill on steep and tight switchbacks! Wheelbase is not an issue when you tip the bike over at a 45 degree angle.” – Andrew Major

“I loved carving lines in snow banks to the side of trails, going through trees off- piste (on top of snow so I was not damaging forest floors) like I was tree-boarding. It was great fun when snow turned to dirt and I was hound-dogging friends on trails ranging from intermediate flowy to advanced gnarly Shore tech.” – Trevor Hansen

Rider: Cam McRae |  Location: Mt Seymour | Bike: Kono Wozo

“There isn’t too much for me to add except to say that the Wozo is a surprisingly fun bike on dirt and snow. Anywhere except perhaps pavement actually. I would even recommend it to friends considering adding a hardtail to their collection – independent of snowy climes. The big tires, with their correspondingly large cushion and grip, encourage aggressive riding, and the geometry and fork play along nicely.” – Cam McRae

Read the full review at NSMB.com.

Rider: Cam McRae |  Location: Mt Seymour | Bike: Kono Wozo

Photos by Dave Smith.

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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Graham Agassiz in Digging for Galena: Trailer #2

At the turn of the century the wilderness surrounding Retallack Lodge teemed with fortune seekers, their lives bound to the rich ore hiding deep underground. We unearth those jewels in the creation of Texas Peak, a trail to end all trails. Watch the story unfold February 24, 2017 as we launch “Digging for Galena,” starring Graham Agassiz.

Credits:
Cinematography and Editing by Mind Spark Cinema
Written and Directed by Mitchell Scott
Starring Graham Agassiz
Produced by Retallack Lodge and Mitchell Scott
Sponsored by: SRAM, Kona, and Retallack Lodge

Helen Wyman Goes 2nd at UCI C1 CX in Hoogstraten, Belgium

Kona’s Helen Wyman Claims Podium Result in Belgium

Words by Helen Wyman, photos by Marcel Hilger and Kristof Bruers.

It’s hard to believe that’s it’s February and I’m only just getting into my first weekend of races in Belgium; it was great to be back however. Saturday we raced in Lille, which is full of sand and if I’m honest I don’t really like sand. So I was thrilled the weekend was a doubleheader and I got to race in the mud of Hoogstraten on Sunday.

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My “incident” in October has set me back in the World Ranking, so the start of the race is a new challenge for me now, coming through traffic, albeit world class traffic. Ellen van Loy got her trademark rocket fast start making it all the harder to get back in contention, but after a couple of laps I was moving through and picking up spots. I got on the back of the Katie Compton Express, direction finish line, held on for grim death, then we started to see the next riders.

Highlights Video: 

Passing the greatest rider ever, Marianne Vos, kind of gives you wings. Then I passed the World Champion, Sanne Cant, and the podium was on. I had young gun Maud Kaptheijns chasing me down, but I wanted 3rd. I wanted to finish the season with something to remember aside from disaster. With only 300 metres to go, Maud passed me, but I immediately passed back, and we saw Ellen on the final running section. That was it, I went into Usain Bolt mode, and pushed my tired legs to catch Ellen and pass her for second on the line.

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I’m not back to where I could have been, but I’m certainly further forward than predicted. I’m back racing wheel for wheel with the worlds best. I can now look forward to next season with excitement and anticipation.

Result

1 – Sophie de Boer
2 – Helen Wyman
3 – Ellen van Loy
4 – Sanne Cant
5 – Maud Kaptheijns
27 – Amira Mellor

Event – Superprestige Hoogstraten 5 February 2017

Keep up with Helen on Twitter and Instagram.

Bicycling Magazine Reviews the Kona Private Jake: “More than a cyclocross bike…”

Bicycling Magazine has just published their review of our versatile and capable Private Jake. Just as we hoped it would, the Private Jake’s character as more than just a ‘cross bike shone through, and reviewer Hannah Weinberger found herself well beyond the race course with the bike.

“At $1,999, with the given spec, the Kona Private Jake is a decidedly affordable bike — especially if you aren’t planning to buy other bikes to supplement it. It’s capable and confidence-inspiring in techy terrain, and incredibly dependable between the course tape.”

“The Private Jake makes easy work of mountain bike trails, road rides, gravel paths, commutes, and (naturally) ‘cross courses. It took pushing the bike to the edge of what it can reasonably be expected to tackle to even see it flinch.”

Read the full review at Bicycling.

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Winter Bikepacking with the Kona Sutra LTD and Unit

Words and photos by Morgan Taylor.

This past weekend being a long weekend here in BC, myself and some friends decided it would be a good idea to head out for our first overnight of the year. With overnight temperatures near freezing it was sure to be a cold wake up call, but the weather forecast was for sunny days, and we headed out with good spirits to meander the Sunshine Coast and hang out with good people.

I’ve recently put together a Sutra LTD, which happens to be the perfect size for my sweet polka dot Porcelain Rocket frame bag. Add the matching seat pack, a front rack with Monkey Wrench Cycles basket bag, my trusty Ortlieb panniers, and a set of full fenders, and the Sutra is quite the all-weather hauler!

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My friend Pat was stoked to get out for the first fully loaded trip on his new bike, which happens to be the only European-model Unit on this side of the Atlantic. He’s outfitting the powder blue Unit for an extended trip on the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route this summer, with an 11-speed drivetrain on the way and a dialed bikepacking setup coming together piece by piece.

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To see the rest of the portraits from this set, head over to The Radavist.

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Out of the Box with Connor Fearon and the Kona Hei Hei Trail

Out of the Box

All too often we can get sucked into the same old habits. Same trails, same bike, same everything. Sometimes you’ve got to get out of the box. Live a little. Breathe. And then shred.

The Hei Hei Trail is an out of the box thinker, like many of Kona’s bikes. Everyone who swings a leg over one notes that it outrides its numbers, surpassing their expectations of a trail bike’s capabilities. Light and efficient with its full carbon frame and Fuse suspension design, snappy and playful on the way back down.

While the Fuse suspension design is shared with our race-ready Hei Hei cross-country bike, the Hei Hei Trail, with 140mm of travel and 27.5″ wheels, is a completely different beast. It’s the kind of bike that challenges preconceptions, and redefines what a bike in this class can do.

Right out of the box and under our World Cup racer

With the Hei Hei Trail’s lineage, it may have been expected of us to produce a video featuring one of our Endurance Team racers. But the reality is, this bike may just get you out of your box, thinking differently about the Hei Hei name from which this bike found its lineage, and pedaling to places you previously considered outside that box.

So, we sent World Cup downhiller Connor Fearon into British Columbia’s Selkirk Mountains with the Hei Hei Trail. And what we came out with was exactly the proof we needed that this bike doesn’t belong in the box, but up in the hills, getting loose. We tend to think you’ll agree.

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Hei Hei Trail Details

All three Hei Hei Trail models feature the same Kona Race Light full carbon frame. From the top-spec Hei Hei Trail Supreme through the Hei Hei Trail DL and the Hei Hei Trail, you can expect to find wide rims, great tires, and high quality suspension components. No matter which model you choose, you can be assured it’ll be ready to shred right out of the box.

HEI HEI TRAIL SUPREME

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Frame Material: Kona Race Light Carbon
Wheel Size: 27.5
Wheels: WTB Ci31 TCS
Suspension Platform: Fuse
Front/Rear Suspension: 140mm/140mm
Shock: RockShox Deluxe RT3
Fork: RockShox Pike RCT3
Crankset: SRAM XX1 Eagle
Drivetrain: SRAM XX1 Eagle 1x 12spd
Cockpit: RaceFace Next 35 bar and Turbine stem, ODI Ruffian MX Grips
Brakes: SRAM Guide Ultimate
Front Tire: Maxxis Tomahawk EXO TR 27.5×2.3″
Rear Tire: Maxxis Tomahawk EXO TR 27.5×2.3″
Saddle: WTB SL8 Pro

HEI HEI TRAIL DL

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Frame Material: Kona Race Light Carbon
Wheel Size: 27.5
Wheels: WTB Ci31 TCS
Suspension Platform: Fuse
Front/Rear Suspension: 140mm/140mm
Shock: Fox Factory Float DPS
Fork: Fox Factory 34 Float
Crankset: RaceFace Aeffect
Drivetrain: Shimano XTR 1x 11spd
Cockpit: Kona XC/BC 35 Riser bar and stem, ODI Ruffian MX grips
Brakes: Shimano XT
Front Tire: Maxxis Tomahawk EXO TR 27.5×2.3″
Rear Tire: Maxxis Tomahawk EXO TR 27.5×2.3″
Saddle: WTB Volt Comp

HEI HEI TRAIL

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Frame Material: Kona Race Light Carbon
Wheel Size: 27.5
Wheels: WTB STP i29 TCS
Suspension Platform: Fuse
Front/Rear Suspension: 140mm/140mm
Shock: Fox Factory Float DPS
Fork: Fox Factory 34 Float
Crankset: RaceFace Aeffect
Drivetrain: Shimano XT 1x 11spd
Cockpit: Kona XC/BC 35 Riser bar and stem, ODI Ruffian MX grips
Brakes: Shimano SLX
Front Tire: Maxxis Tomahawk EXO TR 27.5×2.3″
Rear Tire: Maxxis Tomahawk EXO TR 27.5×2.3″
Saddle: WTB Volt Comp

Kona Dream Builds: Joonas’ Explosif

Today we’ve got a little bit of “you can also get it in Ti” Tuesday for you, featuring our steel Explosif.

Like many in the Northern Hemisphere, our Finland-based in-house filmmaker Joonas Vinnari is stuck under a ton of snow right now. Desperate to ride, he ordered up a pair of WTB’s 2.8″ Trailblazers and fattened up his classic root beer-flavored Explosif. It’s no Wozo, but the 2.8s have enabled Joonas to get the pedals turning this winter – and by the looks of it, he’s having a great time!

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While Joonas was able to squeeze the 2.8″ tires into the Explosif frame on the narrower rims he’s running, it’s not something we can officially recommend. For warranty and safety purposes, the largest tire we can recommend in the Explosif frame is a 27.5×2.5″.

If you’re curious about 27.5+, we have four bikes designed with the larger tire clearances needed to get the most out of wide rims and high volume tires: the UnitBig Honzo DL, Big Honzo, and Big Kahuna.

We’re just getting rolling on some regular Kona Dream Builds features here on the Cog. Do you have a rad Kona you’d like to show off? Use the #KonaDreamBuilds tag on Instagram and hit us up to submit your bike to be featured here on the Cog.

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