The first MTB I (@lewislikesbikes) really wanted was a 1994 Fire Mountain, I never got one but I’ve never stopped thinking that those mid-late 90’s steel Konas were great-looking bikes. I was looking for something to build up for general riding about, a bit of everything, and the Explosif frame came along at the right time.
I can get a bit geeky about tubing, and I think 1998 is the only Explosif that is full Reynolds 853, which appeals to me – even if I don’t really think I can tell the difference between it and other steel! It took me ages to find the Project 2 fork to go with it – there aren’t many of the triple-butted, threadless ones around these days, but it was the only fork I’d have been happy using.
The build is supposed to be practical and reliable and also just mix and match some of the best bits from the first time around with some more modern components too. I really like mixing the new and old to get something with a bit of a retro feel but keeping some of the modern advantages.
• The Nitto Bullmoose bars are a bit of a retro nod, but they’re new versions with a more modern width
• 1×10 drivetrain with clutch mech and narrow-wide ring because I like the simplicity of no front mech but don’t have the legs for singlespeed!
• Shimano XT V brake levers – these just have the best feel in the hand of any lever I’ve ever used.
• Colour matched DMR Vault flat pedals which are probably the blingiest part on it, but also just really solid, usable kit
• One of the best things about it, although you have to look hard to find it, is that the saddle is a Kona Race Light one from one of those 94 Fire Mountains.
It rides great, and I use it for everything from popping to the shops to local off-road. There’s always going to be a place for simple, light and nimble bikes that are really fun to ride, and that’s exactly what this is.