From the Top: The Kona Collective

Nov 15, 2013
by Mike Kazimer  
 
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(From L to R): Jacob Heilbron, Doug Lafavor, Dan Gerhard, Paddy White, Maurey Olsten


Kona's office in Ferndale, Washington, is about as nondescript as it gets. There's no sign or billboard announcing the company's presence, just a blue warehouse situated in a small industrial park. Step inside the front door and the low key image remains – vintage photos, race memorabilia, and old catalog photos are scattered about the walls, forming a random collage of all things Kona. The warehouse space is vast and well lit, full of towering stacks of cardboard boxes containing bikes ready to be shipped out, and various bikes are on display, hanging from the bright orange walls, artifacts from bygone eras of mountain bike history. There's even the first Stinky prototype, circa 1997, a 1995 special edition HumuHumu singlespeed, and a 1992 Fire Mountain hardtail, complete with the ill-fated Kona Z-link fork.

Kona's history dates back to 1988, but the origins go back even further than that, to the formative years company founders Jacob Heilbron and Dan Gerhard spent working in bike shops, years that inspired their decision to try running their own bike company. The two met in Vancouver, BC, during the early days of mountain biking on the North Shore, and they eventually decided to start Kona with Joe Murray onboard as a designer. As luck would have it, mountain biking was enjoying a growth in popularity, and the North Shore was on the cutting edge of technical mountain biking at the time as riders began to seek out more and more difficult trails. Kona's first bikes were steel hardtails, but as riding evolved on the Shore they were there to meet the demand, introducing long travel, full suspension bikes with three chainrings that were meant to be pedalled up and then ridden hard and fast down the trails, the first “freeride” bikes to hit the market. Kona's reputation as a “freeride” brand stuck around a little longer than the term itself, but the last few years have seen Kona broaden their product lineup, introducing carbon fiber into the mountain bike line, and making bikes more in tune with what today's mountain bikers are looking for.

We sat down with Kona's owners and a core group of long-term employees that have been with the company for over twenty years to find out more about the company's history, as well as its future. The group included Jake Heilbron and Dan Gerhard, Kona's founders; Doug Lafavor (Dr. Dew), industrial designer; Paddy White, head bicycle product manager; and Maurey Olsten, production manager.

• Founded in 1988 by Dan Gerhard and Jacob Heilbron. Joe Murray is the first designer / product manager.

• Doug Lafavor, "Dr. Dew" joins Kona in July 1990.

• 1994: Steve Peat races DH in the UK on a Kona Hei Hei Ti frame.

• 1995: Kona Europe is founded by Jimbo Holmstrom. It's now the largest division of Kona.

• 1998: The Stinky Dee-Lux is introduced, the first production freeride bike, with 5" of travel and a triple front chainring.

• 2000: Stab Primo DH bike with 8-inches of rear wheel travel is produced.

• 2005: Fabien Barel wins the DH World Championships aboard his Stab Supreme.

•2008: Graham Agassiz joins the Kona Clump.

• 2011: The first carbon Konas are released - a 26' hardtail and a cyclocross bike.

• 2013: The Carbon Operator makes its debut.


What made you decide to start Kona?

Jake: We were already in bikes. Dan and I spent our school years in bike shops – mechanic, manager, stuff like that. Dan was working in St. Louis and I was working in BC, and that's where we met. We had been at Rocky Mountain Bicycles – I was one of the founders there, and Dan became the sales manager. After we left we decided that we wanted to have our own bike company. There's a time element involved in working in bike shops; it's very intense, and of course when you're working in a shop, especially 30 years ago, there was a lot of really bad product - we kept thinking, "We can make better bikes than this."

I was working at Marin Bikes, and I met Joe Murray there. Dan had already started a company distributing Brodie Bicycles. Then he picked up Marin for Canada. Things weren't going so well for Joe and I at Marin – things were really scattered and confused. Anyway, Joe and I said, “Let's get together with Dan – we can do better than this." That was really the impetus – knowing that we could do better.

Dan: And Joe came up to the Northwest, to Vancouver, and said, “This is a groovy town.” He was looking for that kind of town. He rode on the North Shore with Dewey and the Cove boys, met Brodie, they synced, so a lot of ideas came from there. Being in the Northwest changed his ideas about bikes a little bit.



Photo John Gibson 1998
This iconic photo, shot by John Gibson in 1998, captured Kona's Dik Cox mid-fall somewhere on the North Shore.



Where were the first Kona bikes made?

Jake: We were making some bikes in the US, there were some frames being made by Tom Teesdale out in Iowa, and then we were making the titanium frames in Kennewick, Washington, at Sandvik Special Metals. But we had been making bikes in Taiwan right from the outset. The original bikes, which were called Cascade for about four months, were made in Taiwan at a factory that we still use today. It was always a combination of the two. We were familiar with overseas manufacturing - with Rocky we'd done manufacturing in Japan, and I'd worked with Tom Ritchey for a little while on Japanese fabrication. We recognized that the center of the bicycling world was moving to Taiwan.

Dan: Well, and the whole mountain biking thing was going off. People from all over the world were contacting us, saying, “Hey, can I get some bikes?” So that gave us the impetus. We were quite small – we did 600 bikes the first year – but we were able to go to the factories because the guys in the UK wanted some, the guys in Switzerland wanted some. We were able to be international right from the beginning, and overseas manufacturing was the key.

Jake: The original Konas were custom – there were frame kits, and you picked the parts group, you picked the fork.

Dr. Dew: We used to assemble the headsets – they came in parts, and we put them into plastic bags, but you'd get to the end and be one bearing race short. So you'd have to go through all the bags and find out which one had the extra bearing race. It was great though.

Pat: My first job at Kona was polishing titanium frames in between road and track racing, being on the National team, working on a fishing boat, and then going to school at Western Washington University. I'd come up for a couple of days and polish the frames. That was maybe 1991-92, then I came back as a sales person in 1994.

Dan: I think we all had a go at polishing titanium frames. In the early days you had to do everything.




Was there a certain time period where the company really started to grow?

Jake: It was, and always has been pretty steady. It's almost like we've had some reins on the company, not wanting it to get too big, and trying to keep the fun aspect at the top of our minds. That's always the balance in work – how much fun is it going to be if you're a really big corporation? Although, there was a spike when “Stinky fever” really hit.



Kona was at the forefront of the "freeride" mountain bike scene, with some of the earliest bikes intentionally designed to handle the abuses that riders were subjecting their bikes to. Can you explain how this came to be?


Paddy White on one of the original Stabs.
Jake: Well, when we turned Paddy from a sales guy into a product manager he started bringing in ideas about longer travel, downhill oriented bikes. That was the first Stab, then we added a triple chainring to a Stab and made it a Stinky. We brought in the Chute hardtail, kind of the forerunner to the Honzo.

Pat: I'd see people at 4x races using XC hardtails, and I realized that if we changed some tubing around, changed the geometry, we could make a bike that could handle stock trials, dual slalom and urban assault. This was when we were starting to go up to the college campus and hucking off structures and stuff.

Jake: Being in this region put us in the right place to know what these bikes were all about. The North Shore trails started getting more and more extreme, and the riders started doing more and more, and we happened to be making the bikes that worked ideally for that type of riding. It's never been our goal to be a big outfit. We are spread all over the world, but it's not real deep. We're constantly throttling back the number of models, keeping it at something we can manage, focus on, and do really well. That's been a consistent philosophy. In the beginning they were all steel hardtails, and then it became freeride, and we became a little pigeonholed, but we've always been accepting of different styles. We keep bringing in fresh people, fresh ideas, people like Chris Mandell and Jack Russell – that keeps things evolving in the company. This group sitting here is the foundation, what keeps it really balanced and focused, and moving forward in a controlled way.

Pat: I could see there was a need for downhill bikes in the market. Sure, there were guys like Nicolai and Turner, I was racing a Turner at the time, and I could see that it was growing. I was frustrated, and I didn't think we (Kona) had the resources to do it, but Dan pushed me, he said “you can do it.” And then with Doug's help we were able to put together a product that was successful and addressed the needs that I wanted to see.

Jake: That's where things originated, out of the North Shore and Deep Cove. Doug (Dr. Dew) was one of the founders of the Cove bike shop. He kind of stepped out of it for a while, and I said to Dan, “Let's phone up Dewey, let's see what he's doing.” He was cutting grass, right, so I said, “Why don't you come and work for us?” He'd never drawn bikes before, he'd never even turned on a computer, so we said, “here's your computer, here's a CAD program, figure it out.”


Do you think that having everyone do a little bit of everything helps keep employees around?

Pat: Oh yeah, I still unload containers and take out the trash.

Jake: It's that kind of a company – everyone is capable of doing everything. Obviously, Dan and I started out doing everything.

Pat: A real well known story is that when the company was starting out and it was getting bigger they kept interviewing industry guys for the sales position in Eastern Canada. I introduced Dik, and during the interview he took a shit and plugged up the toilet. He came back into the interview and asked where the plunger was so he could clean up the mess, and they thought, 'That's the kind of guy we're looking for – someone that can make a mess and then clean it up.'

Dan: Or what about Willy (Willy Warren, Kona's outside sales rep - Ed)? I came into the office and there's a Columbia one speed out front, and this guy in his snow pants who's been working in a gas station all night so he can get up to snowboard at Mt. Baker. I asked him if he'd ever worked a 9-5 before and he said, “No, but I'm willing to try.” He's a nut, right, but that's the kind of person we like.

Pat: I'd seen him doing downhill and dual slalom races, so I knew he could ride, which was a big part of why he fit in so well.

Dan: And then to put him at a desk and teach him how to use a computer... He could barely write a sentence, but he did it. We kept him in house long enough to show him how things worked before we said, 'You can leave now,' and sent him out onto the road.

Jake: Maurey came from unconventional beginnings too – he was a fisherman. We needed someone to keep our building organized, and now he oversees all of our production. He's at the factory every month watching our bikes get built and making sure that we're not shipping problems around the world.

bigquotesBeing in this region put us in the right place to know what these bikes were all about. The North Shore trails started getting more and more extreme, and the riders started doing more and more, and we happened to be making the bikes that worked ideally for that type of riding. It's never been our goal to be a big outfit... We're constantly throttling back the number of models, keeping it at something we can manage, focus on, and do really well.


  Willy Warren, one of Kona's outside sales reps, flying high on a Stinky circa 1999.


Kona's factory riders seem to have unique personalities - they're a little different. How do you find them?

Jake: I think it's like almost everything we do – it's being at the ground level of things. We've always thought that everything in cycling develops from the grassroots level, and that's how we found a lot of riders. Geoff Kabush is one that came out of grassroots, plus Tracy Moseley, Graham Agassiz, Steve Peat, Greg Minnaar. It's the same with bikes – it's happening at the grassroots level, and you can see what people are doing to modify their bikes to make them work for the kind of riding they're trying to do. That's really how you find out what's happening – this industry has never worked from the top down. That's why we're out there trying to figure out what people are doing with their bikes.

Dan: And our sales guys aren't traditional sales guys. They're riders, and they love going out and doing events and riding, and that's where they find out what's happening - because they're out there. They might be going to Vermont to sell, they'll do three events when they're there. A lot of it comes from our sales guys - “you've got to see this kid – he's unreal kind of thing.” It's getting the right personality type.



Double one eighty.
  Kona factory rider Graham Agassiz doing what he does best at the Red Bull Rampage.



Any thoughts of growing the World Cup team?

Dan: We had Barel and Moseley, and we love doing it, but it's hard to financially support something like that.


For a number of years, Kona was a major supplier of bikes for the Whistler Bike Park. What was the reasoning behind ending this relationship?

Jake: At the outset it was beneficial; we were making good bikes that the parks could count on in their fleet. After a while it changed and seemed like Kona was just supplying rental bikes – we were the Ford Taurus of the mountain, and we didn't want to be that. We wanted people to bring our bikes to the mountain, not go to the mountain and ride our bikes. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but we stopped being the core bike because of that. When we introduced the Operator we decided we didn't want that to be the rental bike, so we backed off a little bit. We've always tried to stay away from the race to the bottom of the price point. It's not about the price point. Obviously, you need to make commercial bikes that are going to sell, but when everybody is focusing on one category, that game is not one that we want to be in right now. It doesn't make commercial sense to just give away your bikes.


bigquotesAfter a while it change and seemed like Kona was just supplying rental bikes - we were the Ford Taurus of the mountain, and we didn't want to be that. We wanted people to bring our bikes to the mountain, not go to the mountain and ride our bikes. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but we stopped being the core bike because of that. When we introduced the Operator we decided we didn't want that to be the rental bike, so we backed off a little bit.



Are there any bikes you wish had never made it to the market?

Pat: For me it was the Stinky 9. It didn't ride right – to me it just felt wrong. We definitely had a request from several of our markets to do such a beast. Just putting it together and then riding it, it was one I didn't really want to see come to market.

Dr. Dew: I think there's a number of bikes we made that just weren't quite right, but I don't regret any of them. I think the fact that you f*ck up and make mistakes makes you a little more sharper and a little more grounded. If you just rolled along and everything turned out perfect all the time it just wouldn't be that much fun.

Dan: At one point we had this great idea for a way to grease the bottom bracket called the 'Grease Sealer.' You could push new grease in and purge out the old, but the problem was it wouldn't seal that well, and we had a guy call up wondering when to stop pumping – he'd filled his chainstay up with grease. And then there was the Z-link fork. We had all the parts and stuff, but started riding it and realized we had to destroy it.

Dr. Dew: An interesting thing about the job that we talk about a lot is that you can do something really well, and it's not like dealers phone you up and say good job – it doesn't happen. But you do anything wrong and you hear it. It's a tough part of the job. As the expression goes,'you have to build 100 bridges to be called a bridge builder, but you f*ck one goat'...




What does the future hold for Kona?

Jake: We used to look forwards about six months at a time, and have never spent that much time on long term planning. Not that it's reactive, we try to stay just a little ahead of the curve, but I think we have been forced to look a little bit further ahead because it takes longer to develop products now. That happened about five years ago – the way that we had been developing bikes just wasn't good enough anymore. When the big four started making really great high-end bikes in a category that they hadn't concentrated on much before (they'd been concentrating on making lots of volume, lots of cheap and middle priced bikes), and then all of a sudden they were making really great bikes at a higher price point that was our domain for a long time. They started surpassing us, so we had to reorganize the way we develop products and look a little farther into the future, a couple, three years ahead, recognizing it took longer to make a really great, perfect product. So that's been the evolution of the company, planning a little farther in advance, and it's starting to show now. For a time we said “our bikes aren't good enough,” and I think now we're at a point where we are starting to get a little bit ahead in some categories and being right there in some others. That development cycle too is really helping us get to where we really want to be.

Dr. Dew: We've always been relatively conservative as far as development goes – we have to feel really convinced about something before we get behind it, but at the same time we've sometimes been so far ahead of the curve that people haven't understood it. A lot of stuff is driven by guys that are enthusiasts within the company.

Jake: As far as what's happening in the company in the long term, fresh ideas keep coming in. People keep getting drawn to Kona, they want to be a part of it. We have people in the company that haven't had the opportunity yet, and that evolution will continue, with people that understand the way Kona works continuing to bring in those ideas – they'll keep pushing us.

Dew: There are no plans to sell to a bike factory or anything.

Jake: (Laughing) Nobody wants to buy us.... It's a little bit of a quirky operation I think. We just keep attracting oddballs and weirdos, but that's how it continues to exist, with a little bit of weirdness.



www.konaworld.com
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105 Comments

  • + 36
 "1994: Steve Peat races DH in the UK on a Kona Hei Hei Ti frame."

Now that's pure awsome Smile
  • + 24
 Sure it is! Check it out now!
www.pinkbike.com/photo/9780119
  • + 1
 Crazy
  • + 1
 The Kona Collective must have stopped smoking dope, because all of the Kona funky colors are gone now.
  • + 2
 I've been riding kona since 2000 and the colors back then were great.

www.pinkbike.com/photo/2844552
www.pinkbike.com/photo/1533401

And for the people that liked the glow in the dark logos
www.pinkbike.com/photo/781938
  • + 0
 I dunno, I'd take a chrome front tri/black rear over the played out 2012 lime green or intenses tracer orange.
Only one color option per bike is kinda weak. Hopefully a repaint doesn't void warranty.
  • + 1
 I got a 2001 Kona Stnky 5 with the glow in the dark decals and boy are the cool.
  • + 29
 just to say it again: aggy crushed everyone at rampage
  • + 19
 Such a hilarious article. Nice writing but great guys at Kona too... i didn't imagine them so laid back. still laughing my ass off the Bridge joke.... Smile ))))
  • + 17
 Dear Kona, please please bring back the awesome Hawaiian colour schemes from the late 90's!
  • + 14
 Great story..KONA-please don't stop making the ENTOURAGE..IT...IS..THE MOST ..FUN...BIKE..I've ever owned (my first Kona)
THANKS!!!
  • + 6
 You can thank Aggy Wink
  • + 7
 I've never ridden an entourage but from what you see and hear it should be on super sick bike. If only i had the cash to buy it...
  • + 3
 I have and I'll tell you one thing, it's awesome. Super fun and flickable but can handle the big stuff
  • + 1
 And Chris Mandell ;-)
  • + 1
 sorry but ill never buy one after my friend did this to his..

www.pinkbike.com/photo/10333943
  • + 4
 thats an operator not an entourage and i don't trust carbon anyways. good thing the entourage is out of solid metal not some funky plastic thing
  • + 1
 ridethree...I realize that's an Operator..and Carbon Operator is Glorious!!!..IF you haven't owned or ridden carbon bikes, don't knock em..they are sweet.
  • + 1
 The carbon is sweet. So much stiffer feeling then the Alum. frame.Scrub - My question is how big was the jump that he nose tagged on to F that carbon frame?
  • + 1
 not very big at all ahahah www.flickr.com/photos/52535299@N08/10791695994/in/set-72157637539030046

poor bloke only got it like 3 weeks ago
  • + 1
 K so then he had to have hit that tree or there was a flaw in the carbon. How did Kona handle it?
  • + 1
 he went over the bars on the jump (dont know how) and not sure how kona are handling it, havent spoken to him since
  • + 1
 They have always been great taking care of their customers but carbon is a whole new world to everyone
  • + 11
 Wow! I can't believe those guys didn't give any major props to Chris Mandell for being one fo the primary reasons Kona's have become sexy again. Nice job Chirs! Keep 'em coming!
  • + 4
 My initial response as well! Carbon operator/process=future vision.
  • + 4
 Nothing about mentioning Paul Bass either..
  • + 9
 Whoever is responsible for the Operator and Process is responsible for bringing Kona back from the year 2000.
  • + 4
 Mandell and Russell are the designing great bikes.
  • + 9
 You get an inquiry from a newb ' want to start DH but haven't got much money'... where do you send them looking ? at 5 - 10 year old Stinkys, Stabs.... I think Kona has been responsible for introducing more people to DH than any other manufacturer. My girlfriend rides a Stinky, a 2010 minter, and she loves it.. Im looking at a winter project around a new Stinky frame... The more recent offerings look really good, loved the Supreme Operator, and the Entourage is looking boss.. Keep it real Kona, a bike company run by riders, don't get much more real than that :-)
  • + 7
 As a Kona fan who owns both '98 and '99 mint Explosifs and a graphic designer, please bring back the late 90's jungle graphic. I dont think you guys realise just how cool and so VERY kona that logo is. Every kona fan LOVES that logo. I even have a retro race top with it on and people like it who dont even own konas. As a logo designer, yours then was as iconic as the Rolex 'crown'.
  • + 1
 I have that logo in vector format...
  • + 5
 I got into mountain biking about ten years ago when I bought a kona shred. Since then I've owned four different konas, I never really considered buying anything else. I love this company, and I never really understood the bad rep they got. I've always thought they make good, affordable bikes.
  • + 1
 same with me, got into biking around 1998, got a paper route and baught my first kona ( fire mountain) and have owned at least a dozen if not more kona's over the time. would sell and buy anther manufacturer, but ALWAYS went back to kona. I'm still running my 08 stinky D, even after 5 different resorts. Been thinking about an 13, or 14 upgrade here soon.
  • + 1
 You bought a brand new (in 199Cool Kona fire mountain! What colour, I got a blue one I got one used 2 years ago and built it up myself,I love it.
  • + 8
 WOW! What a long and excellent article! Seems it will take me some more sleepless nights to put it into Chinese.
  • + 2
 A Kona Stinky 2005 was my first full suspension bike. A Kona Operator 2011 Dh was my second full suspesion bike. And now I have a 2014 Carbon Operator, the bikes just keep getting better and better! Keep making awesome products, and I will keep buying awesome products. Thanks for the bro deal guys! Could't have done it without you
  • + 1
 That was my first bike too Big Grin I ride a 2013 Supreame Operator now! Sick bikes hands down
  • + 2
 Bring back my matte black Kona Hot with externally butted/ribbed Tange tubing, you rat bastard that stole it from my living room in 1995. I loved that f*cking bike, it showed me the potential in riding off-road and how much fun a good steel frame can be. Rock Shox Mag21 SL's and full Ringle parts. Rot in hell.
  • + 6
 That shot of Dik is unreal
  • + 6
 You gotta call no homo on that one...
  • + 1
 LOL DIK COX
  • + 3
 Ha ha someone has too @joalst. But im just suggesting it, i thought this bike would be thier turning point in frame reliability. Im not dissing either, im currently saving for a Kona haha.
  • + 1
 As far as infomercials go that was pretty good. What does something like that cost? Next time More Mandell! He single handedly brought Kona back from the dead, his daring ideas and inventive designs are revolutionizing the bike industry. I've read it here a few times but that's a story worth repeating.
  • + 1
 As a guy who's owned 2 Stinky 9s, I couldn't agree with Pat more, they were stupid bikes, but awesome at the same time. I rode mine everywhere, it probably had as three times as many street miles getting to the trail as actual trail miles, Monster T on the front, Gazzalodi 3.0" tires, and it was just silly.

My Kona Bear was the first bike I bought with my own money, and I loved that thing, wish I hadn't grown out of the frame, by the time I switched to hydraulic brakes and some wider tires, it was an amazing trail bike. Also had a Stink Dee-lux after I decided the 9 was too much bike, briefly had a Stab, and had a Cowan I wish I never sold.

Really eyeballing the Process line, just wish they came in the cool color schemes like the late 90s/2000s bikes. A Process 134 in the same black/white/green color scheme as my Bear would be amazing, I'd buy one in a heartbeat.
  • + 2
 Major props to you guys for designing and building the Stinky 24. My 7&8 year old grandsons have been racing NW DH on one since they were 5 & 6. The kids are the future...no other US maker seems to get that!
  • + 2
 my first mountain bike was a stinky with an xc gearing I rode it everywhere loved that bike then brought a 6month old kona coilair with the magic link it was such an under rated bike I loved it Smile
  • + 1
 My first real mountain bike was a kona blast, still ride it today and still love it. So many great memories of getting my shit kicked out of me bombing down rock gardens and everything else... The bike has always felt just right and comfortable from day one and just flat out fun to ride. Now i've upgraded it, put it on a diet and it's even more fun, faster and still the same awesome bike I got back in 2009.
  • + 1
 I used to have a 2009 Stab Dee-lux! never thought I would get to own one at the time.
But it was an awesome huck/drop bike - it just weighed a ton, I shot out the top of a berm a couple of times on this one haha.
www.pinkbike.com/photo/639991
  • + 1
 Well, I considered going back to kona. Maybe having the only 153 in Laguna that I've seen (or rather, havnt seen),
But word on the inside is that 2014 153 models ars sold out already. Huh, not enough ordered?
weld some more,...
Guess I'm going to gt force or scott lt, then maybe canfield balance.
Tuff to make a comeback without bikes available!
  • + 3
 Dik Cox?........hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahzhaHhHHahahahahahahahahahahahahahaa
  • + 8
 wasn't he the guy who ended up marrying Pussy Galore?
  • + 3
 That's his real name.
  • + 5
 Don't be dissing Dik man!! He's a legend!! Often in the background of Kona!! Stellar dude!!
  • + 6
 You'd be pickin' your teeth off the ground, if you said that to his face. Guaranteed.
  • + 3
 Any time he came to the shop where I worked, he had colourful life stories to relate. I'm not sure he would punch people in the mouth about a name. Words don't control us.
  • + 5
 Thats My Dad Dik Cox , Razz Legend indeed.
  • + 1
 Heh heh...I had the opportunity to ride a new Stinky 9 with Supermonsters at Deep Cove bike shop. It was just up and down the street in front of the shop but it was enough to realize the ride was "interesting".
  • + 1
 question for Jake Heilbron: do you remember Rod Moulton? he said he used to race road and cross with you, apparently you were quite a beast with the cross bike (jake the snake)
  • + 0
 My first Kona was a sweet split pea soup colored Kapu road bike with glow in the dark logo. Sweetest looking bike ever. Still ride a Kona road bike, but have never owned a Kona MTB... go figure.
  • + 1
 Great article. About to head out to Pisgah on my '06 King. Fox Fit fork, 650b front wheel, still crazy after all these years. And yes bring back the jungle !!!
  • + 2
 Great read, bunch of down to earth dudes, still ride and love my Cowan DS !
  • + 1
 started on stinkys and stab primos circa 2002...now ive been lusting after a process 111.. the stinkys were definitely ahead of their time..
  • + 3
 Enjoy this kind of interview very much!
  • + 1
 I love the prices and the quality of the frames are great. I with they were made in the USA, But then they would be double the price... Sad really.
  • + 2
 Dew is a legend. Hall of famer, and visionary in the MTB world. He helped get it all started.
  • + 3
 I loved the flame paint job on those old Stabs!
  • + 3
 Great read. I like kona they seem the real deal less marketing bs.
  • + 1
 I would love to see them get the world cup dh campaign going again, success in world cup really shuts up the haters!
  • + 1
 I remember lusting over the Coil Air. Air front and back. Sometimes a company can be too ahead of the times.
  • + 1
 That Stinky Delux circa 1999 was my first dual suspension bike and what a sick bike it was!
  • + 1
 Nothing about the 2nd place Antoine Bizet to redbull rampage, really strange !!
  • + 1
 Still riding 2007 Stinky! Old but really good! But someday it will have to retire! Big Grin
  • + 1
 @Turtle: Tell us exactly how the frame broke.

You're making HUGE assumptions by assuming the rider was JRA.
  • + 1
 Now I'm really impatiently waiting for my carbon operator to come over on the boat.
  • + 1
 Portuguese translation available here / Tradução para Português disponível aqui:

ge.tt/2grNrh71/v/0
  • + 1
 Kona make bikes not to be the fastest but to be the most fun! Please keep the fun rather than fast idea Kona!
  • + 1
 Was reading the article and realized 'Starts with One' was the song playing on my AudioStream; haha wanna go ride now!!
  • + 1
 Kona should do a "Limited classics" re-run of a few special models.
  • + 1
 Getting the new entourage this Christmas so excited!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • + 1
 I'd like to own a shredFrown
  • + 1
 Thanks Kona for all the good times on your bikes!!
  • + 1
 Still riding my 2002 Kona Stinky 6 frame!
  • + 1
 I'm an unabashed Kona fanboy. Loving the new Process 153 DL!
  • + 1
 Kona, please make the 153 in carbon for spring 2014! Otherwise ill have to buy a bronson I guess.
  • + 2
 So I put a 153 thru the proving grounds of laguna throughout the "radical" trail system today.
(As I did yesterday on trance sx/fox 34/140 rear sucks). My bike is a 2010 gt force carbon/150, 28lbs.
Wow! Kona is back. Dh feel- confidence enducing bike. Reviews have been spot on for its poppy playfulness (16.9cs), deep rear susp. AND, IT CLIMBS! Kept up w/sum rad goats, fireroads and quick up down single.
Very well spec dl. Weight unknown, but it didn't feel hefty.
Now give it some up to date paint schemes (new gt, carbines, range/sight) and make this in carbon stat!
  • + 1
 Great Read.
  • + 1
 YESSSSSSSS
  • + 1
 love kona 3
  • + 1
 Shit happens!!
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