Custom Build: a Pony Express Van Inspired, Totally Over-the-Top Kona Process 153 29er

Dec 26, 2018
by Kona Bikes  
The Raddest Process Ever.

Chainline Bikes in El Cajon, California aren't your average bike shop. Located amidst an industrial area filled with body shops and mechanics that are there to pimp your other ride (the one with an engine) Jason Guthrie and his crew has found a niche building one-off custom bikes for their customers.

Some of these are simple, changing out a bike's wheels from the stock ones to a set of Enve's laced to Chris Kings. Some are a little more involved and require swapping out a few more parts, but then there are the truly one-off custom builds where Jason and his team provide custom paint and decal finishes to the frame. On top of that, every single part is swapped out, some receive custom paint and decals much like the frame, the attention to detail is meticulous, and the results are always mind blowing.

The latest bike to receive that treatment? This absolutely over the top 1970's Pony Express van inspired Kona Process 153 CR DL 29 affectionately named "Fez".

Frame Kona Process 29 153 CR/DL
Rear Shock Fox Float X2
Fork Marzocchi Bomber Z1 170mm
Crank Arms SRAM X01 DUB 170mm
Chain Ring SRAM Eagle 32t
Bottom Bracket SRAM DUB PF92
Pedals Kona Wah Wah II Alloy
Chain SRAM Eagle XX1
Cassette SRAM Eagle XX1 Gold
Rear Derailleur SRAM Eagle X01 Red
Shifters SRAM Eagle X01 Red
Brake Rotors Hope Floating Disc
Brakes Hope Callipers E4
Brake Levers Hope Tech 3's
Headset Cane Creek 110 Series
Handlebar ENVE M7 40mm Rise
Stem ENVE M7 50mm
Grips Ergon GD1
Top Cap One Up EDC Orange
Seat Post Fox Transfer 150mm
Saddle Ergon SME3
Hubs DT Swiss 240 DT Swiss
Rims ENVE M730
Front Tire Ibex 2.4 FRC Onza BF
Rear Tire Ibex 2.4 FRC Onza BF


Fez

Jason has gone to town with his tribute paint job, the front to back stripes, the colors, and the gold leaf inlay. That's right- what looks like wood paneling in the photos below is actually 22-carat gold leaf. The red in the stripes is taken from the Marzocchi forks and then tied back in via the grips and the custom ENVE decals.

The Raddest Process Ever.
You read it right, that is a 22-carat gold head tube badge!

The Raddest Process Ever.
The gold just looks right surrounded by the ENVE Carbon M7 bar and stem combo.

The Raddest Process Ever.
But it does not stop there. The gold leaf is also laced throughout the top tube and...
The Raddest Process Ever.
...It goes all the way back to the seat tube. Damn!

The Raddest Process Ever.
Even more gold leaf in the Kona down tube graphics.

The Raddest Process Ever.
I am not sure if reflective gold vinyl stickers are an everyday option for your ENVE M7 hoops.

The Raddest Process Ever.
While the red in the Marzocchi Bomber Z1 forks forms the basis of the colors used in the bikes new paint job, the gold comes in here in the form of a custom graphics package

The Raddest Process Ever.
Jason just can't help himself. Even more custom decals, this time on the SRAM XO1 Cranks.

The Raddest Process Ever.
At this point it would be rude not to spec a XX1 gold cassette, right?

The Raddest Process Ever.
SRAM's hard to match red XO1 rear derailleur finds the perfect home on Fez
The Raddest Process Ever.

The Raddest Process Ever.
Nothing on the build goes untouched.

The Raddest Process Ever.
Well, maybe not nothing. The Ergon SME3 saddle is stock.
The Raddest Process Ever.
An orange One Up stem cap and EDC tool rounds out the cockpit.

fez
Fez would be proud



141 Comments

  • + 86
 I actually really like it..

Hope everyone’s having a great Christmas/Boxing Day period.
  • + 21
 Not quite my 'time of the month' yet
  • + 3
 So, what is the Cost?
  • + 44
 @endurocat: when you get truley custom work like this done- you don't ask. The old saying if you have to ask, you can't afford it.
  • - 63
flag scott-townes (Dec 26, 2018 at 6:35) (Below Threshold)
 @endurocat: $1,200, give or take a few cents. Its only a Kona, after all.
  • + 9
 @scott-townes: That is for the head badge right?

Given quotes i got in the past, I'd say the frame alone was arount 3k ( for the paintjob), probably more if the frame was brought stock and the artist had to sand it first. etc...

But when you are doing something of this caliber you don't really discuss petty things like price. Razz
  • - 15
flag Beez177 (Dec 26, 2018 at 9:35) (Below Threshold)
 @scott-townes: what do you ride? besides your boyfriend's backside?
  • + 4
 @TheOriginalTwoTone: it’s a legit question regardless of whether or not one can afford it
  • + 4
 “The gold leaf weighs too much”. Says the XC racer. Personally if I had this bike I’d be too scared to ride it. Ether that or I’d chain it to me so it can’t be stolen.




I’d rather go for performance than looks, though it’s awsome if you can afford something that looks like this.
  • + 4
 @TheOriginalTwoTone: It wasn't a negative comment. There are some people who may be interested on a job like this.
  • + 3
 @endurocat: over 12k
  • + 1
 @endurocat: That's totally fine. What I said still stands, people that get custom work know they don't bother asking. They come in with an idea and say do it. If you or anyone else is like man that's cool how much- it's too much for you.
I'm telling you this from years of experience working at a shop restoring pre-74 Mustangs. Not trying to be an ass- just how it is.
  • + 4
 @TheOriginalTwoTone: Not sure I completely agree.. I've had custom work done to a jeep jk... I did say... What am I roughly looking at ball parkish to get this done?....Doesnt mean I couldn't afford it.. It means I need to know where I can allocate other funds to in the build process and what needs to take a back seat... Its money management and there's nothing wrong with it...
  • + 5
 @TheOriginalTwoTone: Only a fool doesnt get an estimate! Has nothing to do with how much you have in the bank.
  • - 2
 @Beez177: That's not true, but believe what you want. This isn't going in to get a quarter panel fixed.
  • + 0
 @TheOriginalTwoTone: on point. I know a lot of guys like this.
  • + 2
 @TheOriginalTwoTone: neither was my jeep... I don't care who u are other than say the richest of the rich.. 90% of the time money talk always comes into the equation.
  • + 0
 @TheOriginalTwoTone: agreed, when you go to this extent on a mountain bike money isn’t an issue.

I’m glad that other people can afford it. Because I really enjoy seeing what can be done artistically when money is no object. It is a shelf queen but it is sick.
  • + 1
 @bohns1: Just curious what you got done on your Jeep?
  • + 1
 @TheOriginalTwoTone: custom fab Ed roll bars, axles, sleeves, axle support gussets, re gear for 37s, intricate rhino liner exterior and inner tub, fabbed roof rack, ripp super charger and more to come..
  • + 0
 Van is rad, bike a little off. Needs black fork and different colors on wheels
  • + 1
 @endurocat: the company is a 30min drive I asked for a custom m16 paint job a while ago. It’s $1000 per different color. There’s another company in San Diego that does custom paint jobs as well. But chainline is also the same company that painted Kyle Straits Rampage bike. The problem I have is the example bikes I saw that were custom painted didn’t have the original paint removed. And they have about 3 customs on display. They painted on top of the factory paint.
  • + 73
 This is the bike I expect for the prices Pivot, Evil and Yeti are charging.
  • + 24
 By which you meant you expect the lowest shelf Fox fork, right? :-D
  • + 4
 BOOM!!!
  • + 5
 @FuzzyL: Shots fired
  • + 59
 When I see these pimped out reader rides based on what seems like a limitless budget, I think another article should be written about the opposite end of the pool, just to balance things out.

Let's get a spotlight on the dad or mom riding a clapped out, barely hanging on, early 2000s Kona Stinky or Rocky Mountain Slayer. This version of the "custom build" is a series of old components gifted from friends or giveaways from the local bike shop's dusty parts bin.

Instead of a matching custom Sprinter van, they're stuffing that same bike into the back of the family mini-van, right next to the car seats, mis-matched kids socks and long-forgotten french fries.

Now that my friends, would be a hoot.
  • + 0
 @Feideaux: Yeah, but no mini-van.
  • + 25
 I’d be afraid to ride it the way it is meant to be ridden because I’d cry when I scratched it. But it is cool to look at.
  • + 3
 I know - I was washing my bike yesterday, and it is NOT pretty under all the dirt. Give this thing a triple coat of clear or something, might help it last a little longer if it ever sees dirt.
  • + 1
 I would ride it, cry a little the first time I crashed it and then were all good. Won't be a problem though because I'm sure my next bike will be about half of this.
  • + 25
 That van would be a badass shuttle rig.
  • + 2
 Or a shag wagon. Now you get to ride on the way up and down.
  • + 10
 Gold leaf... because Kashima is too expensive
  • + 5
 Great looking bike! Paint job is amazing. I appreciate the Marzocchi fork.

Just wondering why they went with a Cane Creek headset instead of a Chris King headset, at this build legel? Seems like a mango or red Chris King headset would fit with the theme.
  • + 4
 ...or a gold Chis King headset.
  • + 5
 I'm guessing if this is the bike you own to ride, you can afford the highest level bling parts out there - but you choose the parts you want. The Marz fork, the CC headset, the Kona pedals..... on a bike this custom speaker to owners desires/preferences rather than the blingist shit. I respect that. To me, it indicates that it's to be ridden, not just looked at!
  • + 1
 @FatTonyNJ: What is the point of this crazy awesome paint job if it's not meant to be looked at? I just think, given the cost of everything and the desire to go all in, that a Chris King headset is a given. Besides, Chris King headsets not only look great, but they last a really long time even when ridden.
  • + 1
 @sriracha: if the desire was really to go all in the damper on the fork would be swapped out with red and gold ano hsc and lsc. Honestly that damper is pretty out of place here.
  • + 4
 This is actually a super nice build. Half of custom paintjobs look just expensive, they don’t look good. Oh thank you for your manifestation of how you can misalocate resources, coming out as a dork, rather than conneseur. Oooh, you got colored gear cable and anodized pulleys. Woooow
  • + 7
 Will be hard to find clothing matching this when going for a ride.
That Fez´outfit doesn´t look mudproof.
  • + 3
 Great job to the artist. Very creative work. But pump the brakes kids. Gold leaf is not very expensive, is not heavy, and is not that difficult to apply. Just trot on down to any decent art supply store, or go online, and you can get a gilders kit right quick. the imitation gold leaf is super inexpensive, and difficult to identify as fake once it's applied. Again, great paint job, love the 70's shtick. You know, a big old fire chicken in gold leaf on a helmet would do a righteous honour to Burt Reynolds....
  • + 6
 I think if you have the money to paint it like this you wouldn't mint for warranty issue????
  • + 6
 Was this today’s Vital MTB bike of the day?

www.vitalmtb.com/community/chainlinebikes,31215/setup,38118
  • + 7
 You forgot to say "Bike of the Day!" - Iceman
  • - 1
 @pdxkid: I am an alcoholic and cocaine addict - I no longer use meth/ice. Thanks for playing bro.
  • - 1
 @pdxkid: thank goodness for vital. Where somehow images render correctly on mobile. @pinkbike how have you still not fixed this. And don't tell me to view it in desktop, that's not a fix
  • + 3
 @freestyIAM: or maybe it's your phone? Pics look great for me?
  • - 1
 @stiingya: possible
  • + 7
 Marzo fork and kona, classic combo.
  • + 6
 Does it void the manufactures warranty when you paint a carbon frame?
  • + 4
 Yup.
  • + 7
 depends on the manufacturer. kona has authorized painters and so does specialized and several others.
  • + 4
 And just like a custom motorcycle you can park it in garage and wait for it to go out of style and devalue since it's too nice to ride
  • + 2
 This bike was riding and sending directly after the shoot
  • + 4
 That's a damn beautiful bike! I'd probably remove the rim decals or keep 1 instead of 3. The Z1 fork gives the bike attitude. Wow.
  • + 4
 I appreciate the craftsmanship and artistry but it's not my personal style, nice job on the tribute though.
  • + 2
 Awesome build and paint job; I agree that riding this bike like it’s meant to be ridden would scare the hell out of me though. I know the first ride would mess up the paint job.
  • + 5
 It's a beautiful thing. I'd be vinyl wrapping the frame straight away but not sure you could prevent some expensive crank arm rub.
  • + 4
 so sick. this is right there with the Bryn Atkinson's 'Snake Bike' in the Too Beautiful to Ride category.
  • + 0
 All that work for a custom paint job and spec but they leave the cables routed all willy-nilly. Details really finish off a custom build and this one leaves much to be desired. Step your shit up the next time you gold leaf a frame, Jason.
  • + 1
 Too expensive to trim hose/housing
  • + 2
 If you keep them a little long and zip tie them out front they don't touch the frame or rattle
  • + 2
 I don’t think I would have the balls to ride that bike on a trail. Would probably hang in my living room above the fireplace
  • + 0
 you wait until u scratch ur frame a thousand time and then.. get a paint job. Now u get a felling that u have a new bike so u dont need to buy a damn bike every two year or less.. get suck on this f****ing company that this is a new geometry or 29er is the future or this thing basically ride it and can do it self.. Just have fun on ur old bike and ride it hard..lol
  • + 2
 You good man?
  • + 1
 @treymotleyDH: Haha can I have some of what he's on?
  • + 3
 Just got a flash of "Napoleon Dynamite" when I saw the van! Uncle Rico would be pimp riding that bike
  • + 3
 How much you wanna make a bet he can jump over them mountains?
  • + 2
 Shocks, pegs, lucky!
  • + 4
 This is not making me want a 153 CR any less. That's for sure
  • + 4
 Badass bike.
  • - 1
 Boom! Drool worthy. Reminds me of the awesome custom padded frame wraps that Turner did on our DHR's but had to discontinue due to cost. But man, our bikes were beautiful. And when you peeled them off, they looked BRAND NEW.
  • + 2
 Dam that's nice.... Would be terrified to ride it though.... Scratching that gold leaf would be sad
  • + 2
 Frame is gorgeous but i would have blacked out everything else to focus on that....amazing work tho
  • + 1
 Exactly
  • + 3
 A bike for someone who will never ride it..
  • + 3
 I think there may already be pics available of it catching plenty of air.
  • + 2
 Yeah, she’s been catching air
  • + 2
 You obviously do not know us
  • + 4
 nice build
  • + 2
 Well, I added some orange vinyl tape stripes to my rear triangle to balance out the color of the Fox 36 decals. So there.
  • + 2
 Can we do a charity auction with this bike too? Please? I can't imagine how hot that would be in real life
  • + 3
 that has to be the most beautiful bike i have seen till now.
  • + 2
 does it come with van....
  • + 2
 Sick. Photos make the frame look gray. Is it gray ir tan?
  • + 2
 One of the hottest rides I've seen in a long time!
  • + 1
 untill they have English thread BB- kona full sus bye bye ( i have 2 honzos...)
  • + 1
 Damn that is nice Drool the 22-carat gold is a little to much though. I would hate to see that bike crash!!!!
  • + 1
 would rather have that sweet-ass van! too much going on with all the colors on the bike.
  • + 1
 Tires are the only that are not generic everyday tires. Everything else has been done over and over already.
  • + 0
 While I appreciate the attention to detail and so forth involved, I think that Kona logo over the three stripes looks like an absolute mess. But each to their own.
  • + 2
 Kinda like a lowrider, hideous and beautiful all at once.
  • + 0
 Kinda surprised so much money and effort into customisation but then they keep 240 hubs and didn’t put on either red or gold Chris king hubs
  • + 2
 Whatever you do, don't crash
  • + 3
 This. Is. Phenomenal.
  • + 3
 Wow!
  • + 3
 Taste the rainbow
  • + 3
 Pure love...
  • + 1
 nice bike, although back in the old days cutom built meant built and not painted....
  • + 1
 How is that bike not built!? Custom parts everywhere...
  • + 2
 @gnarnaimo: Build, as from tubes up with user-specific geo. This bike is nonstock spec w/ custom paint. You mean assembled.
  • + 1
 Now this is bespoked custom.....not some supreme crap
  • + 1
 K2 should re-release the cheeseburgers...
  • + 2
 DOUBLE WOW!
  • + 1
 Fez won't be like'n that tool cap if he happens to stop short on it!
  • + 1
 This is the definition of kitsch in pictures, it's ridiculous.
  • + 1
 that's some serious bike porn right there Razz
  • + 1
 Want that gold decals for my Raijin soooooo bad.
  • + 2
 That is beautiful
  • + 1
 I guess it's a classic example of how money cannot buy taste
  • - 1
 Read all the 50 comments above and was quite surprised that noone had spotted that before… Looks totally like session, doesn't it? #suchar
  • + 1
 Straight up pimpin'!!!
  • + 1
 Dammmmmmmnnnnnnnn
  • - 1
 Never let your dog eat your kid's paint set and then shut him in your bike shed to sober up.
  • + 1
 PIMP Bike
  • + 1
 that looks amazing!
  • + 0
 Bet the paint adds the weight of an Enve bar. Nicely done nonetheless.
  • + 1
 The Tires are junk
  • + 0
 Does this guy actually ride?
  • + 2
 Check out the Chainline instagram. He rips
  • - 1
 *doesn’t actually ride the bike on dirt once
  • + 2
 * doesn't care
  • + 2
 It’s been ridden. Jason takes the custom rigs to the trail
  • - 1
 When i see new z1 it is like milking death cow :-( (rc3 ti 4life)
  • - 1
 For a custom bike need to start with custom Nicolai frame.
  • - 2
 Ha, anybody that zip ties the cables together in front of the bike doesn’t know how to build bikes.
Hack.
  • + 2
 Considering he builds Kyle Straits bikes for rampage, Ima bet he knows what he’s doing
  • + 0
 @treymotleyDH:
He clearly doesn’t.
  • + 2
 @jflb: How come putting zipties in the front cables of your bike makes you a hack? I shred super hard and I do it to all my bikes bro. You clearly suck balls bro because any tru shreddr knows that putting zipties on the front of your bike adds just enough weight to keep you from shralping your tires broh!
@treymotleyDH
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