Art and words by Ambassador Barry McWilliams.


The Private Jake is probably my favourite Kona – but only probably because I never owned one.

The closest I’ve come to a Private Jake is a root beer-coloured Major One that I left in LA when I moved to Berlin. I miss that bike every time I rip through the Brandenburg single track, over-loaded with gears, feeling like I brought a gun to a knife fight. The simplicity of a single-speed bike, and the versatility of a single speed cross bike, just can’t be beat. Want to go faster? Pedal more. Need to climb? Well, you just have to climb. The thing I found was that climbing with one gear never hurt any more than climbing with multiple – and it was sometimes faster! The only place it ever felt like the ‘wrong’ bike was on the stretches of pavement you had to get through in order to reach the dirt – and who cares about those parts anyway?


So why isn’t the Major One my favourite? Well, the Scandium was maybe a bit chattery and disc brakes beat canti’s in pretty much every category that counts. The Private Jake felt like the more grown-up, even more laser-focused older brother to the Major One – and now that they’re both out of production well…I still have my old root beer coloured Kona waiting for me whenever I visit LA.