About 2ish months or so ago I was cleaning my Process X outside my house. I happened just to jump on Facebook to check Marketplace for houses while I let the soap do it thing. But it wasn’t houses that dragged me in.
Top of the suggested list was what I had been looking for months. It was perfect. Was it too good to be true? What was in front of me on the screen was a Kona Jake. $200, based in Wellington. Listed 34mins ago. Surely it was too good to be true? I took a closer look at the pictures. It wasn’t stock. Had a riser bar, HS33’s, and thumbies. It looked in good condition from pictures. Size 54… I contemplated it in my head for a couple of minutes. “Is it worth buying this? You’ve been looking for something to replace the 2wheeldeath machine for months now. Just do it, Pull the trigger!’
I messaged the chap straight after that and told him I’d take it.
For months I’d been on the lookout for a new town bike. Something that was going to be more versatile than what I was riding. Something that wasn’t going to kill me when I jumped off a curb. Last year I had been boasting about town on a 2000 Gt ZR2000 road bike. It was slightly to small. I had stripped the paint off it and made it single-speed with a flat bar. It was a lot of fun but every time I rode it I thought it would be the last day of me having teeth. The big issue was it had a carbon 1” threaded fork. Yup. Carbon 1” threaded fork. Somehow it didn’t snap, trust me it should have. I did so many sketching things on it.
My other thing was I wasn’t something a little more versatile than the GT. I wanted to be able to take it on gravel tracks around town but still be speedy and nimble enough that it was good to ride through town.
This Jake seemed like the perfect platform to start with to build a great town/gravel bikeend them enough!! If you are in Wellington NZ make sure you check them out.I can’t wait to see what adventures I have on this fine steed. I’m sure there will be plenty. Why put a sticker with you name on your bike when you could just buy a bike with your name on it.
It looked sick and was everything I was looking for. A practical quick nippy town bike that I could ride anywhere and put some bike kms in on. It wasn’t flash. It was low-key. The sort of bike if you knew what it was you would be like “that’s sick” but to the average person, it just looks like a bike. Perfect.
If your bike is flashy with expensive stuff on it it will be far more likely to get stolen, Not what you look for in a bike for riding round town and locking up places. Low key is what you want.
With the flat bar and 90mm stem, the position felt much better. Way more stretched out but still upright and enjoying for bombing around the streets. It is such a joy to ride. Smooth and comfortable.
The first proper ride on it was on the Sunday following getting the bike built. It was a dusty morning after the nights before “a couple of beers” turned into a tour of late-night bars in Wellington. I woke up early and wasn’t going to let the hangover get me. Get up early and get into stuff is the best way to get over them. I rolled into town. The morning sun just grazing the tops of the buildings, The usual hustle and bustle seemed dead for it was Sunday. There was a chill in the air but pleasant at the same time. My bike was smooth and quiet. No weird vibrations. No odd noises. Everything was just working in harmony. Very peaceful ride through town.
Over a breakfast sandwich and coffee, I contemplated what I was going to do that day. I knew I needed to get out and seemed like the perfect excuse to put some kms on the Jake. I’m not the sort of person that can waste a day being hungover. I left the coffee shop and headed over Brooklyn to the coast. Heading up the road to Brooklyn it suddenly dawned on me that I could ride thru the park. I didn’t just have to stick to the road so threw the beautiful dense park I went. Pedaling the bike around the coast was great. It didn’t feel much slower than the deathtrap I was riding. The position was much more comfortable. You could just eat miles on it. I was loving it. Further round the coast I pedaled up a mountain bike climb and down into Miramar to pick up some treats to look after my hungover mates that were struggling. I thought to myself. This bike really opens up a lot of places to go. It was a game-changer for me in Wellington.
After about a month of owning the bike, I got my hand on some DT240 hubs that were going stupidly cheap. I polished them and built them up on some cheap DT road rims as I wanted to go tubeless to increase the versatility of the bike. I slapped some Maxxis Receptors in tan wall on it and it’s really finished off the bike. 800grams drop in the wheels and now it’s so nippy and fast-rolling. My final little change after the month was swapping the brake pads out to Koolstops. The stock pads didn’t do much but the Koolstop. Well, they stop on a dime. Fantastic.
The Jake is one of the funnest things to ride. I ride it every day. I flipping love it. It’s transformed the way I think about getting around Wellington. I’ve taken it on 100km gravel rides and had planned on doing our 2022 shortest day ride on it before Covid screwed my lungs. It’s going to be a bike I probably keep forever. Gradually upgrade things to slightly better. You know like maybe a nicer bar, or a Thomson post. Maybe down the line, I’ll get some Paul brakes for it.
I just love the fact this bike kind of just came into my life out of nowhere. I love how it has all the old standards that all kind of stuck. Like I can’t put brakes that actually work on it but that’s why it’s great. Superbike parts of old (like 240 hubs) are dirt cheap as no one wants them anymore as they don’t fit on their new bike. It’s a bike that doesn’t look like anything special but to the right person, it is. It’s just a basic bicycle but it is more than that. I can’t really think of the right way to describe it but it’s almost like it’s got soul and character because it’s never going to be as good as these superbikes of nowadays but it can do so much more. It’s a bike for getting out, going on adventures, and doing the shopping. Just going out for a spin. Riding somewhere taking a picture. Pesting about gravel tracks. The list is endless.
It’s pretty crazy how much of an impact this bike has had on my life. It’s the perfect machine for getting about town. You can often beat the traffic. You can go anywhere on it. An absolute joy to ride. It’s made me appreciate Wellington so much more.