In our first installment of My Bike, where Kona staff wax poetic on their favorite Kona ride, we get the drivetrain from Chief Executive Plate Spinner (Marketing Manager) Eddy Marcelet
Eddy’s 1994 Kona Kona (Prototype)
History: In 1993 Kona decided to get into making high end road bikes and began testing different frames made of Easton Scandium with carbon seatstays and Easton EC50 carbon fork as well as Columbus Airplane aluminum frames with carbon seatstays and Columbus Muscle carbon forks. Dew and Jake had the honors of testing the first prototypes we got in. The first frames up for testing were the compact geometry Columbus frames. The prototypes were made using Columbus’ Airplane tubing and had a compact geometry, something new-ish that was sweeping the road bike world, basically just the road bike equivalent of the sloping top tube MTB, but really different handling for a road bike compared to classic road geometry. The frames were stiff as hell and light. Jake and Dew liked the ride, but weren’t crazy about the compact geometry and complained about how stiff they were, so those test bikes were hung up after a season. The tubing spec was changed to a more compliant Columbus Altec 2 frame material for production. The Euros, who were more into the trendy geometry got the Columbus frames and North America went with an Easton equivalent. Both frames were called the Kona Kona, which means strong and muscular in Hawaiian.
My Bike: In summer of 2004 I ended up getting the North American Easton frame, but after a few years riding I broke in a crash and I needed to get it replaced, so I got one of Dew’s old proto Airplane-tubed Columbus frames that was hanging up in the warehouse, built it up with my winter bike parts kit and I’ve been using it as my ‘rain’ bike ever since. I use the Kona Kona only for wet Vancouver fall/winter/spring riding and it’s been a great ride. I equipped it with some nice, light SKS carbon stay & fork-friendly fenders, cabon bar & post, ti-railed saddle, FSA SLK carbon cranks, Campy wheels & cheap Campy groupo, an old-school HP pump, repair kit and lights, and aside from the odd flat and a replacement set of break pads, I’ve had two years of flawless commuting in all sorts of conditions. It’s dealt with rain, snow, sleet, salt and even mud from the odd rip through the UBC endowment lands over the Salish trail just to see what a beating a racy road bike with 16-spoke wheels could handle. It’s amazing the abuse the thing has endured between the conditions and terrain. Jake and Dew were right, the frame is super-duper maximum stiff, but unlike them I love the ride. The bike accelerates like a bat out of hell and feels great in corners. It’s true it can be jarring over rough terrain, but I never got the thing with the intention of riding the Paris-Roubaix, so it’s fine. My only complaint is the pedal overlap with the front wheel (something we fixed for the production frames). It can be a pain in the ass when you’re track-standing, waiting for a traffic light to change and eat shit in front of a bunch of pedestrians and drivers when you go to take off. That did only really happen once, so big deal.