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Kona Bicycles' Parent Company Appoints New CFO, Intends to Sell Brand

Apr 19, 2024 at 9:36
by Ed Spratt  
Process X CR

The parent company of Kona Bicycles has announced the appointment of a new chief financial officer with a history of "improving profitability and operational efficiencies." They've also reiterated a desire to sell Kona in order to "direct its resources toward investment in its key water sports businesses."

Kent Outdoors, the owner of Kona Bicycles since 2022, announced in a press release yesterday (April 18th) that Rob Otto has joined the company's executive management team as the chief financial officer (CFO). The news comes after Kona left the Sea Otter trade show under strange circumstances and staff were reportedly told to expect a town hall meeting yesterday, April 18th. We understand this news is part of what was shared at the town hall.

bigquotesWe are extremely excited to welcome Rob Otto to the Kent team. He is an experienced leader who will help guide Kent as we actively pursue new opportunities. Kent Executive Chairman Lee Belitsky

In its press release Kent Outdoors states Rob Otto has "an exemplary track record in the consumer packaged goods (CPG) space of improving profitability and operational efficiencies along with managing integrations, Otto brings a wealth of experience and expertise to the Kent team and portfolio of brands." In a further state the release shares that Otto has previously been recognised for "his ability to rapidly interpret complex situations" and "business solutions that spur growth and improve operations and profitability."

Kent Outdoors followed up with a second press release today (April 19th) which announced a $100 million credit from Eclipse Business Capital. The press release devotes a sentence to the fate of Kona Bicycles in its 11th (of 12) paragraph, saying that "in connection with the investment of capital and the management team coming onboard, the Company performed a strategic review of its operating units and determined that it would continue to seek a buyer for its bike business, Kona." It goes on to say that this move would allow them to put more resources towards the company's water sports businesses.

So where does this leave Kona and its employees? It's unclear. We know there is at least one interested party, so we are hopeful that it soon finds a buyer. We understand that remaining Kona employees have not been laid off yet, but an anonymous with direct knowledge told us that the fate of the employees will ultimately be up to whoever the buyer ends up being.

We wish the Kona staff all the best, and hope to see the brand return to strength soon.

PRESS RELEASE: Kent Outdoors Announces $100 Million Credit Facility From Eclipse Business Capital to Support Growth Strategy

Financing Follows Earlier Investments from Preeminent Investor Group; Kent to Continue to Invest in Leadership, Innovation, and Operations

SALT LAKE CITY, April 19, 2024 /PRNewswire/ -- Kent Outdoors ("Kent" or the "Company"), which has been helping people in their pursuit of outdoor adventures for more than 60 years, today announced a $100 million credit facility from asset-based lender (ABL) Eclipse Business Capital. The new ABL facility follows recent investments from Goldman Sachs and Comvest Partners. These investments are critical to the Company's efforts to implement a strategy for future growth and success as it continues to market innovative new products for outdoor enthusiasts and adventure seekers.

"We appreciate being trusted to deliver this critical financing on an expedited timeline. It was a pleasure partnering with such a select group - the Company, Arete Capital Partners as well as term lenders including Goldman Sachs and Comvest," said Marty Battaglia, chief executive officer of Eclipse Business Capital.

With the financial support of its backers, Kent expects to make significant operational improvements, as well as bring in new leadership.

"We appreciate Eclipse's partnership approach; their organization worked expeditiously throughout and delivered the financing exactly as outlined. The capital investment is instrumental to maintaining solid partnerships with our key vendor partners and customers while allowing Kent the flexibility to also pursue new growth opportunities," said Kent Executive Chairman Lee Belitsky. "The support also allows the Company to continue to build our market share by attracting new marquee customers and maintaining long-term relationships with key suppliers."

Belitsky joined Kent as part of the capital investment, bringing significant experience in the sporting goods industry as a key executive who helped drive Dick's Sporting Goods growth over the past 25 years. Additionally, Kent recently appointed Rob Otto as chief financial officer. Otto joined Kent after successfully completing the sale of RW Designs, where he served as the company's chief financial officer and chief operating officer, a wholesale and direct-to-consumer business. Prior, Otto held CFO and COO executive leadership roles at multiple CPG companies such as Z Gallerie, Hudson Jeans, Seven For All Mankind, and Affliction Holdings.

"We are encouraged by the commitment to Kent's brands from its employees and stakeholders,"

said Kent Sowell, vice president of Goldman Sachs. "Coupled with new additions to the Kent executive leadership team, we are excited to support the Company as it focuses on its next phase of growth."

While Kent's business operations are evolving with a focus on customer service and consumer satisfaction, its key operating divisions continue to move forward with an eye on the future with new product innovation for the 2024 season. Kent is now in a position to move more aggressively forward in servicing its loyal customers and those entering outdoor sports for the first time with incredible products. Kent's dedicated employees have spent countless hours helping the Company get to this point.

The Company has retained key leaders of core divisions such as Dave Cook in the Outdoors Division and C.J. Vlahovich in Watersports, both of whom have been with the Company for more than 25 years. Additionally, Zack Eckert, who also has extensive experience in the outdoor industry, has been promoted to general manager of the BOTE brand. Eckert has been with BOTE for more than five years, most recently as vice president of sales, and previously held various leadership positions with West Marine for more than 11 years.

"Kent is synonymous with outdoor sports and the pursuit of outdoor adventure," said Cook. "Focusing on the Company's profitable core business lines that provide the greatest promise for long-term growth will help right the ship and navigate the Company into calmer waters."

In connection with the investment of capital and the management team coming onboard, the Company performed a strategic review of its operating units and determined that it would continue to seek a buyer for its bike business, Kona. This move allows the Company to direct its resources toward investment in its key water sports businesses. The bike industry has faced very significant challenges in the post covid world and Kona has not been immune to these headwinds.

"Within the Kent Outdoors family of brands, we pride ourselves on a robust legacy characterized by resilience and an unwavering ability to overcome hurdles, consistently emerging stronger in the face of adversity," said Vlahovich. "While the path to improvement has been demanding, our devoted team remains steadfast in our conviction that Kent Outdoors is destined to continue as the foremost innovator in cultivating vibrant brands that elevate outdoor enjoyment for all."

About Kent Outdoors

Founded in 1959 in New London, Ohio, Kent Outdoors is a diverse platform of outdoor brands with a broad product set spanning personal flotation devices, wakeboards, water skis, towable tubes, snowboards and more. The Company's portfolio of more than 15 iconic brands comprises industry- leading names such as BOTE, HO/Hyperlite, Connelly, O'Brien, Liquid Force, Onyx, Aquaglide, Barefoot/Fatsac and Arbor Snowboards (managed by agreement with the Arbor Collective), which have all contributed to the Company's long-term success in serving a broad base of action sports participants of all ages and skill levels.

About Areté Capital Partners

Areté is an operational improvement and investment firm which provides independent fiduciary and stewardship services to companies experiencing complex organizational change. Areté is proud to serve on Kent's Board of Directors and currently maintains C-Suite and Strategic Finance roles, having supported the Company throughout this period of growth and leading the Company's refinancing efforts.

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  • 310 1
 I would love to see Kona come back as a smaller volume brand with a few great/interesting bikes instead of a swathe of mediocre ones. Here's hoping this news can end up as a positive change for them.
  • 15 12
  • 19 0
 That means downsizing, which is always painful, costly.
  • 66 3
 My fantasy would be Kona is sold back to the original owners an goes back to being "the biggest little bike company*
  • 36 1
 To be fair… How many versions of beginner hard tails do they need… Not 38. One. Honzo…

…and Honzo ESD please. And the Wo. Ok 3.
  • 19 0
 Kona Unit is also a great bike & history. Kona just needs to offer a version with a 110mm fork that it's corrected for. Good for those who just want to ride fire roads & xc trails.
  • 13 0
 @iduckett: I thought you were exaggerating, so I went and checked their bikes page (which is two pages):
$> $(".product-card").length
And there are _two_ full pages. Why do they have 72 models?! They're not quite as bad as Trek, but they're close, and they're a much smaller brand.
  • 20 45
flag chumba17 (Apr 19, 2024 at 22:32) (Below Threshold)
 Kona has always been a swathe of mediocre bikes
  • 18 0
 @iduckett: I'd say three hardtails but they need to for fill completely different use cases even.

1) The cheap beginner aluminium
2) The hardcore steel hardtails
3) The carbon XC racer

This thing where they sell one frame with 15 different specs is no good for anyone. It confuses newbies, takes up too much space for resellers and bike shops, leave consumers disappointed that the exact spec they set their heart on isn't at the shop they wanted to buy it from and only really benefits OEM parts manufacturers.
  • 8 30
flag flexorcist (Apr 19, 2024 at 23:00) (Below Threshold)
 *ears folded out and eyes crossed holding my nose back with my finger high pitched squeal “I would love to see Kona come back as smaller voloom brawnd with a few great great great great great **passes out and flatlines
  • 5 0
 @MxMizrahi: yeah Unit is quality have a rigid and love it for longer non-tech but still off-road rides. So much better than a gravel bike
  • 6 1
 @chumba17: maybe delete always from your comment
  • 5 1
 @chumba17: has it really , i remember steve peat doing really well on his rigid kona hei hei , he lived just up the road from me and rode for langsett cycles , they havent by any stretch always been mediocre bicycles , everyone wanted a hei hei
  • 7 1
 Honzo Steel and nothing else
  • 3 0
 @naptime: I agree, but a possible fallback "could" be a model similar to when KTM rescued the Husqvarna and Gas Gas nameplates. Today, all three brands are pretty much the same vehicles, but all three seem to be thriving. As a legacy brand, it's been sad to see Kona bikes becoming such poor values, and some new energy and associated deep pockets could only help.
  • 56 2
 I get your desire, but no companies that are PE-funded groups bankers & accountants bought bike companies in 2022 to focus on "small batch, slow-cooked artisanal bespoke bicycles". They kinda buried the lede on this one: the parent company took on 100M in "asset-backed debt" and this new CFO's job will be to cut costs to make the cut-off limbs like Kona look better before they sell them. That probably means less people and non-revenue generating activities (like R&D) and an intense focus on sales & brand value extraction, ex. "Kona Bicycles - available from Canadian Tire this Christmas". I'm not just bitter; I've seen it before, and if there's anything more predictable than how these robber-barons destroy companies with their greed it's the playbook when they try and cleanup & still cash-out on the debris.

OK... pretty bitter.
  • 21 1
 @plyawn: I hate it but you're probably right. Note the press release says absolutely nothing about bikes, or any vaguely product-oriented language at all. It's just "we got this bloke with experience in [no actual industry] who is good at [sloughing off as much cost as possible so we can sell this thing]".

Imagine your life's work being *extracting value*. Not "I helped make a bunch of sick bikes and people had a great time riding them", just, "I extracted value, my employers were pleased". Depressing shit.
  • 5 0
 @plyawn: I am afraid you're right. They will strip Kona as far as possible. Unless someone will buy Kona very soon, Kent will get rid of all the Kona staff they can't use for their other brands, and sell the stock and inventory. So that all is left is the IP for someone to buy.
  • 1 2
 @HardtailHerold: I love how you and Iduckett feel there is massive redundancy but still can't live with out redundancy. It seems to be how kona ended up with so many models and how my garage is so hard to walk through. Things need to be let go. Hardtails are a dieing breed. Let Specialized, Trek and Giant sell the cheap aluminum models and Kona will never be seen at the pointy end of a race. Honzo is a cult following bike. Hardtail lineup, a Honzo frame and a slx or gx model.
  • 8 0
 I wonder how Marin’s financials are. They seem to make good products for a good value. I don’t how well it is working for them, but I’m a fan and paying customer of theirs. Maybe that’s the way Kona should go?

Every Kona bike I’ve ever looked at in the store was the worst value for the money.
  • 1 4
 @Compositepro: that was a century ago. You could say the same think about mongoose
  • 9 0
 @knightmarerider: Well, the downsizing is already done at least. Kent stripped the company to almost nothing, both in terms of personnel and real assets.

I just don't want to see the Kona name slapped on a Huffy sitting on a rack next to the Lego aisle in my local Walmart.
  • 4 0
 Yeah they've had some shining moments. The iconic Stab and Stinky, my Coiler was years ahead of its time as a pedally mid travel trail bike and the Process line left its mark in the industry. And we can't forget they've supported countless legends!
  • 4 0
 @chumba17: no mate it was the 90s its 2024 now
  • 4 0
 @chumba17: nonsense, my stab deluxe was amazing. Granted, the seat tube snapped when I bunny hopped off a curb, but nonsense I say
  • 3 3
 @Compositepro: yes, last century
  • 1 0
 Totally agreed on this.
  • 3 0
 @iduckett: and a Humu cruiser with retro graphics special edition.
  • 6 0
 @enki: If only the Kona guys would hang out more on PB threads, they'd have it all sorted in a heartbeat Wink

Just in case they are... I'll take these, please:

Explosif 853
Process 111
Abra Cadabra
Jake The Snake

In all seriousness though, I hope they find a buyer who understands what Kona is really about. Back in the day, when you bought a Kona you were buying into a way of thinking. It was a tribe. I'd love to see that back again.
  • 1 6
flag Compositepro (Apr 23, 2024 at 9:25) (Below Threshold)
 @chumba17: wrong again ,your implication was that it was a century ago , a century being 100 years , keep back peddlin, as you seem to be shit at maths 2024-2000 is 24 years 2000-1990 = 10 years add the 10 to the 24 and you get 34 years, not even half a century. in fact Kona were tearing it up and winning races 3 years before you were even being fired out of your fathers penis , bet you blame them for not being able to get on the housing ladder next
  • 3 0
 @Compositepro: You know, you're both right.

In Number of years past, you are correct.
On January 01, 2000 at 12:00:01 the 21st Century began, and events from before that were, in this context, from the previous century.

Just sayin'.

  • 3 0
 @Compositepro: the fact that you took the time to write that is sad
  • 3 0
 @Gazzamatazzzz: Yes. The Explosif and the 111 were two of the favorite bikes ever in our garage.
  • 166 2
 It really sucks to have these large parent companies taking over bike brands. You have a COVID scenario come along, massive demand outstripping supply, rapid production scaling built on debt, and based on future perceived value.


Then the bubble pops, the market returns to normal levels (we're actually slightly above pre-COVID levels right now for new bikes purchases) and these poor brands that just got leveraged to the nines are left with a lot of overhead, and not enough demand to fit the 1000% scale they just made a few years ago, mostly built on (at the time) low-interest debt. Cash dries up fast when you're in that scenario.

Then the multicorp firms dump you, liquidate assets, and then we lose legacy bands like Kona, or innovators like Pole and Guerilla Gravity. Pro riders get dropped, industry folks lose their jobs, and the bike world as a whole is undeniably worse off because of it.

The short term pump-and-dump for 2-3 years of mega profits just to say "oh too bad, no more demand lol, have fun with liquidation!" makes me genuinely angry as hell, but it's happening across not just the bike industry. These people are f*cking tearing apart good businesses and building a financial elite world you're not invited to join.

Yes, even you Yeti riders Wink

Good brands make cool bikes, employ dope people, and genuinely make this amazing sport all the better for everyone. What we can do is support them, buy their products, and reject this weird-ass corporatism that's trying to do its best job at killing the stoke on our sport this year.
  • 26 2
 So much this. This is precisely why I always choose to support smaller brands, which 90% of the time offer better value anyways. With scale like Trek has, they should be industry leaders in value. But nah, they're leaders because they're incredible at maximizing their profit margins.
  • 25 0
 Yeah it definitely sucks. And unfortunately it’s not just limited to the bike industry. Rather, it’s a broad distortion of what is a reasonable expectation for profit margins from what has developed over the decades with tech, which has always been incredibly high and easily scalable. Businesses/investors now just expect the same sky high profit margins in every industry, even though quality tangible products never had, and never will have, the same scalability as software.

I certainly don’t blame the business owners who want to cash out after pouring their energy into establishing a rad brand through devotion and love for the product. However, once an original owner sells I will absolutely not patronize a private equity owned brand if I have the option. In my mind, there is not a single product or brand that has ever been improved by the sale to a private equity/investor group. Without exception, such developments always end up with a shittier product.
  • 19 1
 Support smaller brands!
  • 6 1
 You make short term pump and dump sound like it’s a bad thing…
  • 18 0
 @bskip: According to your mom it is. She prefers it longer term.
  • 8 3
 As sad as it is, isn't that just capitalism...
  • 36 0
 @ethanrevitch: A ton of "smaller" brands are owned by big conglomerates. People hate on Trek and Specialized but they've managed to create long term success while remaining completely bike-focused and not selling out to private equity.
  • 1 0
 Bingo. They don't give a sh*t about the company or heritage. $$ over everything - it's the corporate way. Same goes for nukeproof.
  • 2 0
 @WestwardHo: and worse, they're concentrated within those portfolios. We lost Nukeproof, Ragley and Vitus in one go when Wiggle went under. Whatever those brands come back as will not be the same thing.
  • 3 0
 @refried-noodle: yes, that is what they are criticising.
  • 1 0
 @WestwardHo: underrated comment.
  • 10 0
 You’re absolutely right. Business people are ruthless as they ever have been, doing anything to give shareholders a few bucks.

CEOs should lose their life savings when they do stuff like this. They always want a government handout to bail them out of their poor decisions too. We need to stop socializing corporations when they go broke.
  • 6 0
 @ethanrevitch: I did, and then GG went under and still hasn’t told us that. It’s hard to want to justify supporting a smaller brand if you don’t know if it’ll be around in 4 years.

I really want to check out Revel, I lived in the RFV and have a connection to that area so the brand really appeals to me. But the GG thing left a super sour taste in my mouth.
  • 3 5
 Couldn't agree more. Although it's simply a problem with capitalism. Pretty much every problem people complain (rightfully) about these days is a direct result of capitalism.
  • 4 0
 To be fair, Kona was sold by its owners, not by the shareholders in a takeover (hostile or not). They didn't have to sell to a huge corporation. Large multi facet corporations are in business to make money, full stop.
  • 1 5
flag truehipster (Apr 20, 2024 at 18:48) (Below Threshold)
 @ethanrevitch: why? Small brands like Kona never support local riders!
  • 1 0
 @ethanrevitch: yep, love my 27.5 Soma B-Side
  • 4 0
 @truehipster: Are you kidding me? The North Vancouver High School series had some major sponsorship and swag donated under the thoughtful eye of Dick Cox for years. Does it get more local?
  • 1 0
 @woofer2609: Dick Cox?

Edit: Thoughtful eye?
  • 1 0
 @everythingsucks: Yup, he saw what was needed and helped provide it. He's the guy in a lot of late 90's early 00's Kona ads and was the sales rep in North Vancouver.
  • 1 1
 Some smaller brands have treated people like crap and you should revel in their downfall.
  • 1 0
 @WestwardHo: They may not have sold to PE holding corps but I believe both companies have raised funds from both or either of the VC and private investment communities. I would be doubtful if they got to this scale fully bootstrapped. Ad it looks like S is preparing to sell out soon. New management team, cost cutting/layoffs, scaled back ambassador stores, they seem to refocusing on the core business... all the tell tale signs of polishing the apple before a sale. I'd bet if the market hadn't corrected so suddenly it would have happened by now.
  • 2 0
 @truehipster: I know at least in Utah, Kona donated about 4 bikes to each NICA team to give to those who would have a hard time affording it otherwise...
  • 100 0
 From inside the Kona team on bike rumour.

“I’m posting anonymously due to potential repercussions, but as someone who works at Kona under Kent Outdoors, I feel compelled to share the distressing realities we face and urge you to take action.

Kent Outdoors is currently run by short-sighted individuals who are utterly disconnected from the communities, sports, and people attached to their brands. Their lack of understanding and interest in cycling and any other sport has not only led to poor decision making but also to a toxic corporate environment where Kona and their other brands are suffering greatly. Under their management, Kona has accumulated millions of dollars in unpaid debts to our suppliers (Fairly and Hodaka), with no attempts made to negotiate or even communicate, effectively planning to stiff them. This strategy isn’t limited to Kona; it’s a disturbing pattern that is evident across all brands under the Kent Outdoors umbrella. I urge all suppliers and partners across the board that do business with Kent Outdoors to be careful. Everyone should be seriously concerned about this pattern of non-payment and poor business ethics.

The working conditions here are more than just poor—they’re abysmal. Communication is practically non-existent now under the new management, creating a chaotic environment where decisions are made without transparency or employee input. The stress of potentially not getting paid has been a reality for some of us, adding to an overwhelming sense of job insecurity. Long hours, and weekend work, is the norm all without additional compensation or even basic recognition of our hard work.

The only individuals who seem to survive and even advance under the current regime are the “yes men” those who align too readily with a flawed agenda, lacking critical engagement or genuine passion for the brands. This has caused significant unrest among other brands under the Kent Outdoors umbrella, who are equally upset about these new leaders. Their inability to effectively manage people, combined with a lack of fundamental understanding of the communities they serve, is rapidly destroying the companies. These leaders are not just failing; they are actively dismantling the very essence of what made all of these brands successful.

The company is not just being led poorly; it’s being led by individuals who don’t seem to care about the damage they’re doing to the brands, communities, or people. Any company considering a partnership with Kent Outdoors should seriously reconsider. Any customer should consider carefully buying products from our companies since who knows if we will even have the parts to support them.

In light of these issues, I am calling on all community members to join us in boycotting all Kent Outdoors brands. We need to demonstrate that these destructive practices are unacceptable. By uniting and applying public pressure, we hope to initiate a significant change in Kent Outdoors’ direction and leadership to a model that values the employees, respects the community, and truly understands the sports industries they are part of.

Thank you for taking the time to read this and for any support you can lend. Let’s stand together to save Kona and the other brands we cherish.”
  • 12 0
 Hopefully this gets some attention.

Other Kent Outdoors brands besides Kona: Arbor Snowboards, O'Brien, Freedom Foil, Aquaglide and BOTE.
  • 10 0
 I doubt know it will have any effect, but I’ve posted on Kent’s LinkedIn about the new CFO appointment. Maybe if enough people voiced their concern it wouldn’t look good on a business platform
  • 3 0
 This is such a fantastic description of working in the industry at a public ally traded company, "The only individuals who seem to survive and even advance under the current regime are the “yes men” those who align too readily with a flawed agenda, lacking critical engagement or genuine passion for the brands."
  • 2 0
 @way2manyhobbies2keep: Harrowing.

Could you imagine selling a business that's existed since the 80s, that in my opinion has a great niche potential as a product position, it's got that personal feeling of a local bike shop bike yet is a relatively big but not huge brand. The problem I can imagine with Kona is high price for what you receive, but on the flip-side aluminium frames come with a lifetime warranty, and people that buy Kona are on the higher end, loyal repeat customers. Kent outdoors literally have a golden egg of an account they've purchased, albeit probably at the bust of the Bike Boom industry. The industry will pull out of the hole - yet Kent Outdoors and it's investors still could screw it up. by being extremely short-sighted and wanting direct gains.
  • 1 2
 this is exactly how I imagine story would unfold, not just with Kona but every bike brand that got purchased by big equity firm during COVID.

Now I have only one question - why do these companies are being sold in a first place? How do they end up with such shitty owner?

Basically what I am saying, if you are into small bike brand, and it get's sold, f*ck that brand... they chose that way, and I am no longer interested. So technically I give 0 shits about Kona moment it was sold lol Big Grin
  • 3 0
 @valrock: on one hand, valid point - to the owners that sold it, they made a decision to that would ultimately no matter who buys your company - put the staff on a completely unknown territory. on the other hand the backbone - the staff, get discarded like trash and definitely do not deserve that. My experience with Kona has personally been up front and available, the workers and culture is very unique in the industry.

My customer service with Canyon for instance is very different - Buying an in-stock bike only to keep lying to me, telling the bike was in transit when it wasn’t, because they oversold their product.

So from that aspect, if you are a Kona worker, thank you for the best bike I’ve ever purchased and ridden. Hope things work out for them.
  • 2 0
 @tplambert: I worked at a corporation that went public in 2013, currently that company is almost at its IPO price after bubbling to 5x the ipo, a series of questionable acquisitions is not helping, I am wondering if the people whom took over have a long term plan to sell to private equity.

in 2013 they brought in shady wallstreet types for the rollout, and then visionary CEO's whom retired with incredible options and in their place went failed tech CEO's whom kept bringing in their own teams. While the company soared and new people were hired at market rates, the existing employees were gaslit and abused. Only the yes men and the liars did well, a few select people made strategic moves that leveraged their worth when they were irreplaceable but the rest of us just had to take it.

Ive been gone 3 years and the stock price is back to where It was when I started, I am so grateful for the experience I gained and the friends I made but damn its good to be free.

From my perspective this all needed to happen. Companies needed to sell to bloated corporations during the supply chain crunch for the corporations to fail. Hopefully the original owners have a takeover clause or at least a way out of a non-compete.

Either way the employees were gonna get screwed, hopefully the original owners have something lined up for them.
  • 72 0
 “a new chief financial officer with a history of ‘improving profitability and operational efficiencies.’” Sounds like a rad dude.

Here’s what I don’t get — they paid for a spot for a tent, shipped products and materials, paid for travel and lodging for multiple staff members, set it all up and then pulled the plug. How does this even happen? It’s not like an event this big can happen without extensive planning and forethought and approvals from management. And at that point, why bother pulling the plug at all? Why? All the money had been spent — at that point, just let it ride. They even released a new gravel bike the same day. Do they realize how inept it makes them look? And then their plan is to sell their shit show?
  • 30 0
 @TheR: that's right. Moreover it seems like more of an emotional decision than a tactical, reasoned one.
Like somebody had a hissy-fit...
  • 21 0
 @RayDolor: Yep, agreed. Like some higher up was like, “What are they doing there? Who told them they could go? Get them out immediately!” I can hear it now.
  • 21 0
 I’d rather think this is to get the staff on site to get out of the firing line. They will have been equally surprised by this move and suddenly be bombarded by questions from the press.
  • 5 0
 Probably wanted to bring them home before they got the bad news from the all hands while still at the show? I imagine they might have been loose lipped after, and there will be a ton of press around all weekend.
  • 10 0
 @enki: Yeah, but they could have waited to announce their intent to sell until after Sea Otter. No one would have taken note of a new CFO of a big water sports conglomerate. They drew attention to themselves by packing it up. Otherwise, Kona would have just been another company there with a new gravel bike.
  • 10 1
 @enki: And also, wouldn’t you think they’d know about their intent to sell before they shipped everything out and sent everyone to California? Like on Monday before everyone ships out say, “guys, we are calling off Sea Otter.” So they either knew then and never should have sent a team, or they decided Wednesday, in which case they could have just kept it quiet for another four days after spending all the resources to be there. Absolutely weird management of the whole thing.
  • 3 0
 Clearly Kona and mountain biking are a footnote to K(U)ent outdoors, why delay a minor decision like this when the board have more important things to focus on?
  • 11 1
 @TheR: No one would've taken note of a new CFO, provided they didn't have to turn up with armed guards to remove the old one.
  • 3 0
 Kent is a company who bought a bike company and decided two short years later it was a bad idea. They don't sem to have a track record of making logical decisions.
  • 5 0
 @Sscottt: in mild defense of Kent, I just don’t think they knew what they were getting themselves into and the previous owner’s had already made some really poor decisions that they were able to pass the buck on.

I’ve heard ‘credible’ rumors that Kona (under the old owners insistence and against some employee’s objections) doubled down on purchasing extreme inventory quantities during the height of the pandemic. By the time that product arrived Kent owned the company and bike sales had substantially declined and they got caught with their pants down.

Arbor snowboards, which Kent also owns and which is closer to their core competency in water ski/wakeboard is seemingly doing quite well. They’ve hired life-long well respected industry veterans
To management roles, build a solid team of core snowboarders from heritage and current generations (Bryan Iguchi, Pat Moore, Mike Liddle, Erik Leon, etc), and have to most relevant product line in the history of the brand.

Big picture, it was just terrible luck all around for Kona and I hope some version pulls through with good management.
  • 2 0
 Reading below, I might be totally wrong and it really is all on Kent!
  • 1 0
 Yeah pulling out right when they were launching kind of an interesting new bike seems crazy. Can’t imagine how frustrating it would be to be on the marketing team knowing this was supposed to be their launch for the new bike.
  • 56 0
 KONA. Kent Outdoors Nukes Assets.
  • 3 1
 Drop this Stinky Operator. Kona needs a new Process to compete in the modern bicycle market.
  • 46 0
 Definitely tough news, but we want to extend our gratitude to Kona for letting us take over their booth location. We would otherwise not be at Sea Otter this year! Our best to the team amidst these challenging circumstances.
  • 3 0
 Best meme account (turning non-meme??) in MTBing right now.
  • 34 0
 Hopefully a buyer can be found that actually has interest in making good bikes and not just pillaging the company for any remaining assets and bankrupting it. Hate to see a venerable brand like Kona waste away into nothing.
  • 34 0
 They went to Sea Otter but actually were supposed to go see Otto -that's why they had to leave early. Understandable mistake.
  • 4 0
 We have a winner here!
  • 32 3
 Gotta give it to Dan, Jimbo and Jacob, they knew when to sell.
  • 34 6
 What a Process. I hope they Dew find an Operator to keep the brand going. This could get Stinky Dawg.
  • 3 1
 Awww. Now you made me miss my dawg.
  • 9 0
 Even if they just keep the Honzo & Process & bikepacking Unit open that would be cool as those names have good Karma in the market.
  • 2 0
 @MxMizrahi: Agreed. I don't know what the sales were like since COVID, but their urban bikes have always been excellent as well, and they used to sell bucketloads. Dr Dew is a classic.
  • 1 0
 @MxMizrahi: exactly the three Kona's I own (and love so much)
  • 23 2
 Man, that release is a masterpiece of corporate jargon. I wonder how soulless you have to be to write it:

Rob Otto has "an exemplary track record in the consumer packaged goods (CPG) space of improving profitability and operational efficiencies along with managing integrations, Otto brings a wealth of experience and expertise to the Kent team and portfolio of brands." In a further state the release shares that Otto has previously been recognised for "his ability to rapidly interpret complex situations" and "business solutions that spur growth and improve operations and profitability."
  • 7 0
 When I read the name Otto immediately I think of Emilio Estevez.
  • 1 0
 When I read the name Otto I immediately thought of Emilio Estevez.
  • 7 0
 @EricHarger: Waddabout : My name is Otto and I love to get Blotto
  • 10 0
 synergies! of vertical integrations and breaking down silos! cross-platform operational efficiencies! scaling!
  • 22 2
 Sell to a big conglomerate like PON, Accell, Kent etc., and it's not the question if, but when stuff like this happens.
You're basically on life support from the moment of sale, and it's completely up to them when they pull the plug.

F*ck those 'groups', they don't give a shit about bikes.
  • 2 0
 Accell is basically a Dutch city bike brand that bought a bunch of other brands. They're not bike nuts with a machine shop in the garage but they are not vulture capitalists either. Same for PON, though they got big by importing cars, they are mostly leaving the bike brands to do their business. These people at Kent though, what I am reading about them sounds like classic "suck 'm dry and sell off the remains" type of holding.
  • 3 0
 I’ll dispute that. I work with two companies owned by PON and none of the staff have ever made comments like the staff at Kona have. I’m happy with both as suppliers as well!
  • 1 0
 @ak-77: I am from The Netherlands, and I've worked in the cycling industry, so I know both companies quit well.
PON doesn't care one bit for bikes, they are (yes, still are) a car company at hart. They only took an interest in bikes when they realized they could profit from it. They see it as a part of the 'urban mobility solution'. Yuk.
Accell was indeed always a bike brand, but as soon as a company starts buying ' a bunch of brands' you know they have become greedy and just want to milk those brands.
  • 1 0
 @WhateverBikes: Clearly you have better information than me. But my impression of both companies is that at least they want their daughter companies to make them money by selling as many bikes as possible. That is not the same as being passionate about bikes or building the bikes that core riders want, but to me it's miles away from holdings that only buy a brand to sell the assets, load it with debt, get rid of the employees and then sell the carcass for as much as possible. Would you agree with that or is my view too rosy?
  • 1 0
 @ak-77: I partly agree.
Accell is about bikes. They were, and they probably will be in the future.
PON is horrible. They will drop bicycles the minute something else pops up that is the new 'future of urban mobility'.
Neither of them is acting like the holdings you describe, that is true.
Problem with both companies however is that the bicycle market is changing rapidly and radically. Ebikes is where it's at, normal bikes are already an afterthought. Subscription models are popping up, leasing ebikes will be the new normal, because those big, complicated, heavy bikes are getting too expensive to buy, and need very regular professional maintenance. Swapfiets, Lease-a-bike etc. are examples, and many more are already here, and many more will follow.
And that leaves us, people who are in to road bikes, gravel bikes, mountain bikes, touring bikes etc. in a bad spot. A brand like Cannondale (PON owned) will need to focus more on the bikes that fit in to that new model, or else PON will probably lose interest in them. It basically comes down to how long companies like PON are willing to sponsor our hobby. Because it most definitely isn't there core business.
  • 2 0
 But the people who owned the small bike company (the folks that everyone here says are so great and for bikes) made the decision to sell to the big awful company. I guess my point is everyone is in it to make money in the end. Isnt it just as much or more the fault of the small company owners selling as the big co doing a shit job of management
  • 1 0
 @axelsand5: Agreed.
I do understand that if one starts a bike company, and it organically grows, and grows, that at some point you end up with a type and size of company that is totally different than what you ever had in mind. If at that point you decide that that is not what you want for yourself, that it has just become too much of a burden, too corporate, too stressful, too busy, or you don't feel competent to lead such a company any longer, then it is maybe better to sell the company.
It would be nice however if, at that point, they wouldn't go with the highest bidding awful company, but to a company that is more in line with their values. But I'm pretty sure those are not standing in line to buy companies.
  • 19 1
 I mean their bikes were incredibly expensive for the build kit offered. They weren’t even competitive in any segment. And this is coming from someone who’s first MTB brand new was a 2003 Kona Stuff when I was a kid and my email address at the time had Kona in it LOL.

Otherwise a Process X in that pink/salmon colourway should have been in my possession…
  • 6 1
 The Kona Unit & Karma Sutra (U)LTD were pretty competitive in their class. The (U)LTD cost less than the comparable Salsa Fargo & Cotic Cascade. Not many rigid(sus or not sus corrected) steel MTBs like the Unit for under $1500. Plus, I hear it rides nice & it has some mud clearance with 29x2.6 tires, great for bikepacking.
  • 1 2
 @MxMizrahi: This is what I've noticed. Kona has already set its sites on competing in the gravel/bikepacking market even before covid. And it's precisely what any new owner is gonna take from this acquisition. Basically Wish dot com level Salsa/Surly.
  • 2 0
 @MxMizrahi: The Unit is an amazing bike to ride, well built and very versatile. For a great price. But unfortunally with crap brakes on the SingleSpeed version: Alhonga brakes.
Nevertheless, love my Unit.
  • 1 0
 Looking at he specs, their bikes aren't really a bargain generally speaking. You can buy bikes with better specs for the same price. But there is something special with Kona, at least for me, that I am willing to pay for it. My first ride on the Honzo in 2018 was amazing to me. Since then the first brand I am looking at for a new bike is Kona. Though their specs aren't on par with other brands. Wished that they offered more frame kits.
  • 6 0
 To fully appreciate and understand Kona you have to be older than that
  • 2 0
 @lepigpen: Agreed, except the Wish part was a bit too harsh. The adventure cycling market (not counting in the generic "gravel" in it) is probably the only place where there is some breathing space for a brand like Kona. And unlike QBP brands, you can find Kona adventure rigs on the shop floor outside the US.
  • 8 0
 @lepigpen: Wish dot com? They're higher-end than Surly, and are everywhere in the gravel and bikepacking scenes. The Rove and Sutra LTD are wildly popular bikes that easily compete with Salsa in their respective categories. The Unit nails a niche, and as a consequence is very highly sought after. For the last few years the trouble has been finding them in stock.

Man I'm often caught off guard by how little pinkbikers know about cycling outside of mtb. Maybe it's just mountainbikers in general.
  • 3 0
 @mmcvl: People are misreading my posts. The BUYERS of Kona may be looking to turn it into a Wish.com level business simialr to what is happening to Chain Reaction right now.

I'm literally a Kona fan (riding a Process) who did some bikepacking during Covid.

It's so hard to convey info online. I thought I did well mentioning its WHAT NEW OWNERS ARE GONNA TAKE FROM THIS ACQUISITION. But... Alas. People will always read the most negative context possible from a message instead.
  • 18 0
 I worked for them for a few years before all this happened. I was a warehouse guy and then helped open the Kona bike shop in Bellingham and was a manager there. That’s when things started going down hill. When I started it was like working with your best friends and everyone was treated like family. Once the worthless bike shop was opened, literally 2 or 3 blocks away from an established long time dealer, all Kona cared about was money. Jake was rad. Dan was very dishonest and couldn’t give a crap about his employees. Everything special about Kona is gone.
  • 2 0
 This is truth.
  • 1 0
 Sounds like what happened at a Colorado Brand once the OG staff left and the owner even bounced getting a CEO, Money Money Money
  • 1 0
 This is interesting as I started to notice (as a customer) that something took a wrong turn around 2016. They stopped to act as a small cool brand that has it's own ideas and started to follow the trends. Gravel and Eunduro sells? Let's make 20 models for these disciplines and do not care about the rest.
  • 13 0
 Still wondering how retiring from Sea Otter Classics should help their situation. Surely it doesn’t make it more attractive to potential buyers, and what cost shall it reduce? Seems like a panic move rather than something that was thought through.
  • 8 0
 Looks to me to be a case of Kent's pre-emptive damage control, trying to get their (now former?) employee's away from a very public forum knowing that in24hrs time they would be "distressed" post all hands meeting.
  • 21 7
 Just pure, unadulterated capitalism in action. Their loyal employees and customers end up as collateral, nothing more. Nothin'.
  • 9 16
flag stonant (Apr 19, 2024 at 19:31) (Below Threshold)
 Why would you be loyal to a brand that has been shit for 6+ years?
  • 13 22
flag SchalkMarais (Apr 19, 2024 at 20:29) (Below Threshold)
 Nothing wrong with capitalism. This is just corporate soulless culture and greed !!
  • 31 5
 @SchalkMarais: You literally described exactly what's wrong with capitalism. It not only allows, but encourages greed. Depends on it.
  • 4 9
flag RayDolor (Apr 19, 2024 at 23:36) (Below Threshold)
 @no-good-ideas: Greed is Good!
  • 11 15
flag TwoNGlenn (Apr 20, 2024 at 8:00) (Below Threshold)
 Capitalism giveth. Capitalism taketh. I’ll take capitalism over any other system. It’s the reason we have so many brands and continued innovation.
  • 13 4
 @TwoNGlenn: it’s also the reason we have massive income inequality with working and middle class wages totally stagnated for years while CFO’s make more and more money improving “profitability and efficiency” (firing people and cutting wages)
  • 7 7
 @xciscool: for sure there are downsides and bad actors. Despite all that, capitalism has powered the growth and prosperity we all take for granted. There are no perfect systems out there.
  • 6 8
 @no-good-ideas: I disagree… Capitalism promotes competition and there is nothing that prohibits you from being a capitalist and running a sustainable business… Exploitation for max profit and a short term view is not the norm.
  • 10 8
 @TwoNGlenn: 100% with you. Capitalism may not be perfect, but as sure as hell it is better than socialism or communism !!
  • 19 2
 @SchalkMarais: Unchecked capitalism promotes monopolies, not competition. Capitalism only works for the greater good of a society with significant guard rails put in place by the state.

The neo-liberal economic style that has been prevalent in the last 30 years has been bad for regular people and great for the ultra wealthy. No one is suggesting full-on socialism, but we should definitely be slapping the shit out of these corporate leaders for how they manage their companies, and should be trying to reduce the perverse incentives that drive short term stock price growth and quarterly-profit seeking behavior.
  • 4 6
 @jayacheess: by the looks of the downvotes above, it would appear some of our venerable commentariat would actually prefer full socialism or communism.
  • 1 3
 @jayacheess: Cannot agree more on some corporate leaders deserving good hidings. Blind focus on short term stock price growth and quarterly profits is really a race to the bottom.
The ultra wealthy should pay their fair share and that is what a proper tax system should be for.
Unfortunately Socialism is pure evil. It promotes mediocrity and removes incentives…
  • 3 2
 @SchalkMarais: Dismissing an economic system as 'pure evil' isn't a logical take. There are economic systems that work well and some that don't.

Socialism has only been truly attempted in countries that have already have major cultural/societal problems with corruption. Corruption, as we know, can cause any system of government or economic system to fail.

These countries, given these endemic issues with corruption, were ripe for the kind of total revolution needed for the implementation of a new economic system, hence why we have seen socialism pop up in countries that are already unstable due to corruption.

The real test of socialism would be to see how it functions when implemented by a relatively stable, non-corruption prone society. That said, no one really wants to be a test-bed for a radical systemic change. And as long as a large portion of the population isn't starving in the street, large scale revolutions like that are unlikely.
  • 5 3
 @jayacheess: ReAl SoCiAlIsM has never been implemented. And it never will, because it ignores human nature. There will never be a society that is not prone to corruption.
  • 2 0
 @TwoNGlenn: There are degrees of corruption, depending on the society we're talking about. I honestly don't expect socialism to ever be properly implemented for the reasons I just outlined above, but I also think it's silly to dismiss it outright when we don't have an example of it being implemented under the best possible circumstances for its success. Put another way, capitalism implemented in countries where 'socialism' was previously tried would have still caused the countries to have poor outcomes due to endemic corruption. Look at Russia right now, for example.
  • 2 0
 @jayacheess: by your logic, then capitalism has never been properly implemented. The world is a mess and always will be. If we can’t implement a system like socialism successfully, why keep trying? Capitalism ain’t perfect. It’s rife with corruption, greed, and the rest, but at least it doesn’t carry the baggage and body count of 20th century socialism. So yes, it is wise to dismiss socialism as a viable system. As an aside, since this is a bike forum, can you imagine what type of mountain bikes the Soviet Union would have produced compared to USA or Canada? Lol. There’s a reason the Lada collectors market is nowhere near old Mustangs or Chargers.
  • 1 0
 @TwoNGlenn: "by your logic, then capitalism has never been properly implemented" - no, by my logic, capitalism has been implemented 'successfully'(at least in as much as it hasn't resulted in terrible living conditions) in most developed countries.

I never suggested that the test for whether an economic system is working is that its implementation needs to be in a country with ZERO corruption. I said that the test should be in a country that isn't already overwhelmed with systemic corruption, as places like Russia are.

You seem to be either ignoring or misunderstanding the points I'm trying to make here, so I'll just end this discussion.
  • 1 0
 @jayacheess: you were making an academic argument for socialism, which I dismissed as unrealistic in the real world, no matter the level of corruption. Happy trails!
  • 12 0
 "improving profitability and operational efficiencies." I'm betting I'm cheeper than Mr. Otto.

Hey dumbass, don't buy a bike company at the peak of a boom and expect instant profit. Serves you right for thinking you could take advantage of something you don't understand. I feel bad for all the good people that will be with out jobs because of your stupidity. Cheers!
  • 4 0
 Good on the owners to know when to sell to the oligarchs. Hope they got a good payday from the wakeboard group.
  • 11 0

There's the brands you should avoid. Idk why this Rober Baron needed to shut the tent down but looks like they absolutely will kill the brand off.
  • 7 0
 Nothing more disgusting than a brand portfolio
  • 4 0
 @Dogl0rd: "Kent aspires to redefine the outdoor industry by placing consumers at the heart of our endeavors and crafting unparalleled products. We are not merely immersed in the outdoor business; we are motivated by an unwavering passion and limitless potential for it."

"Consumers" lo f*cking l.
  • 14 1
 It was all downhill since Aggy left…
  • 8 0
 Aggy riding the Kona Entourage, good times. Bikes have changed alot since then, such a fun bike to ride
  • 3 0
 @Smokey79: I still have that Aggy vid post saved in my favorites with that Broken Boy Soldier - Raconteurs song from like 12 years ago. So good.
  • 8 0
 I can't even hate on the founders that sold, you'd be a damn fool to NOT given the COVID growth and morons that were baking that into any valuation (and every outdoors company CFO that modeled in that same growth post-free money/sit on your ass at home should be fired...). Maybe the old crew will step back up and buy it for penny on the dollar.
  • 8 0
 To be honest, I dont see how half of the bike companies out there stay in business. Between all the wheel sizes, and frame sizes, and models of each, Its gotta be impossible to stock a decent shop these days. But I get it, that the impulse buyers want to buy it NOW. I'd be OK with going into a shop, deciding which model I want with the components I want, and waiting a few days while they ordered it, or built it. Especially if it was more cost effective to the shop, and they passed the savings along.
  • 9 0
 Welcome to the world of vulture capital and private equity. It’s always about short term gain and no interest in the long term
  • 8 0
 It’d be kinda cool if someone bought all the shuttered bike companies: NukeProof, Guerilla Gravity, Pole, Kona and built something new from the remnants.
  • 7 1
 So the way I read this (after working in finance industry):
Kona is not profitable for Kent
Kent’s water sports business is profitable, but needs assets to grow.
Eclipse (with lots of big finance backing) has loaned kent $100mm to grow.
Part off that loan involves taking on a new executive (Belitsky)
They also announced a new cfo: Rob Otto

My takeaway. Kent wants to grow its most profitable business line but needs assets to do it, eclipse lends them money and a manager for their money (Belitsky). Kent also wants to sell their least profitable business (Kona bikes) after making a terrible decision to buy Kona bikes in 2022.

Missing from all these announcements is the true owner of Kona bikes: seawall capital (everything is owned by private equity) so seawall bought Kona in 2022 because they thought the high would go on forever, it didn’t, so they tried to pivot Kona to a dtc bike company, but effed that up by pissing off their dealers and trying to make up for it by selling bikes during the worst time ever to sell bikes. Cut to 2024, seawall is trying to cut their losses, they hire Rob Otto to make Kona look as profitable as possible (he is a cfo, not an operations officer). Rob is going to hide as much debt/losses as he can, cut costs dramatically and try and present Kona bikes as a sellable asset. They will sell Kona, and its future depends a lot on what financial decisions Rob Otto makes over the next 6-12 months. Kona as a name is a good brand, but their revs/ebitda are probably crap the past few years. Honestly Kona bikes probably isn’t worth more than a few million (realistically, depending on tooling/inventory/debt, I’d guess around $5-10mm) dollars these days, they’ll find a buyer.
  • 1 0
 So does Seawall own Kent? I've seen a couple people mention Seawall, but am unclear on the relationship/hierarchy.
  • 1 0
 @thekaiser: Kent outdoors was founded around 50 years ago but was purchased (in a private deal) at the end of 2020 by seawall capital.
  • 6 0
 Honestly their best bikes were already behind them. The original owners made their mark at a time when the industry was undefined, by creating core-focused bikes that were affordable. Once they started using carbon and the prices went up, it was never going to last. There are too many big fish making better product at better prices. If there's no more room to be innovative (most extremes have been explored at this point), then you have to compete on price, brand image, and/or pure performance. Props to the OG owners getting max dollar for the sale to Kent. If they were motivated, they could probably buy it back for 1/10th of what they sold it for. Use that overall profit to reinvent the brand. Bring back all the old names (Stinky, Stab, etc), go full nostalgia like muscle cars did. If most new bikes (and cars) seem boring and similar, then sometimes the smart move is to rehash the styling/branding of the past in a modern performance package. Just don't do it like Hollywood did by taking all the old cool stuff and making it super lame.
  • 1 2
 Funny you should say that, I posted very recently that if I was given 10k an told to build my dream bike, that there is NOTHING from current mass manufactures I would buy.... I would be trawling second hand for something a good decade old or getting a custom builder to make me a 'Homer'
  • 2 0
 @naptime: there’s nothing? So you’d be looking for something from 2014 instead? I get the sentiment of not wanting a mass produced bike but are you seriously suggesting with 10k you’d buy a bike from 2014? Have you ever spun a lap on a stumpjumper evo? Norco sight or range? Transition spire and patrol? Canyon torque? Commencal meta line up is phenomenal, clash looks like a ton of fun. There are so many great bikes to choose from with 10k. I didn’t even mention a single dh or xc bike!!
  • 1 4
 @gmiller720: that's exactly what I'm saying... bike sizing is Jacked nowerdays! I bought a medium NP scout (at 6ft in me boots the large was recomended) an it feels HUGE like a juggernaught huge. I've felt comfertable on a SMALL from one brand!! Wheel size I just dont want 27 or 29 I have zero interest in big heavy slow handeling wheels. "Standards" I remeber the good ol days, not 'that' long ago when I could cross brand with drive trains, as a 4Xer I could use an ultegra road cassette on an saint mech with an XT shifter an I could even put some sram parts into that mix if I had too..... I have ZERO interest in carbon for off road applications. internal an H'set routed cables an hoses can suck a phat one.

bikes peaked around the 10 speed era an the current state of the industy shows it.....
  • 1 0
 @gmiller720: P.S I love my tranny scout (apart from internal routing & the crank/pivot area is to tight for man sized chain rings) but..... I'd love a supressor even more. The perfedct bike for me an my riding needs.... no longer in production
  • 1 0
 @naptime: you should take a look at Banshee. They still make modern frames in dedicated 27.5" models that can even be adapted to 26" with a dropout kit. They have current head angle and seat angles, but still have reasonable reach numbers and shorter chainstays. Might give you the best of everything
  • 1 0
 @hypermoto: totally, a smaller darkside would be perfect
  • 1 0
 @hypermoto: oop, darkside no longer on the website....
  • 1 0
 @naptime: The Rune is the 160mm do everything setup. It can take up to a 180mm fork for park style riding, and the newer KS2 linkage works way better than the older system on the Darkside. I would argue that better travel is better than more travel if the more travel is worse travel.
  • 1 0
 @hypermoto: not really what I'm looking for tho
  • 6 0
 Will be a shame if we lose a legendary brand like Kona over corporate BS. I loved the company in the 2000s and early 2010s, but they’ve definitely lost their way over the last few years once their prices started inflating
  • 4 0
 I have so many memories of great racers rocking the orange and blue konasl kit. Fabien Barel destroying downhill courses, Tracy Mosley so enthusiastic in winning her DH races, John Cowan airing it out in the Earthed films, Geoff Kabush winning so many XC races including those old Norbas, and the twin towers of Barry Wicks and Ryan trebon. What a racing history!
  • 2 0
 Purple an green foe me, Im old!
  • 4 0
 To be good at selling bikes, I feel you need to be one of the following:

1. Super good value consumer direct brand that makes a decent bike
2. Super cool brand that makes a decent bike, but is extremely cool (looks cool, tells a good story about the brand)
3. Bikes with above average/amazing ride quality

You kind of have to do all three, but you need to NAIL at least one of the options above to survive. The trouble is Kona is currently sort of expensive for what it is, average (status quo good ride quality), and they don't really tell a good/interesting story. It would be great if they could find their stride and stick around. The brand has so much cool history.
  • 7 0
 Word salad, new management that doesn't know/care about cycling. Yay
  • 8 1
 What a kent!!!
  • 1 0
 I thought it, but I didn't say it.
  • 2 0
 “Within the Kent Outdoors family of brands, we pride ourselves on a robust legacy characterized by resilience and an unwavering ability to overcome hurdles, consistently emerging stronger in the face of adversity,"

**openly tries to get shot of Kona, their one bike brand acquired all those eons ago back in er… ‘22

Also, there’s not enough mention of really important details like “synergy” and “vertically aligned horizontal integration” (or something) to make me think these guys at Kent have what it takes to cut it in the real world…
  • 2 0
 Ever since I was a kid there has always been this sort of cool spirit/vibe surrounding the brand- even if it was a mirage/superficial. It felt like a little stoner/skate company vibe. which I could relate to back in the day. but whether or not the Spirit of Kona is relevant to you- It’s just there. cool to have that kind of energy behind a brand- someone will keep that alive. I wish them the best. Love my Kon’Rs.
  • 2 0
 Sad. I had the OG Kona lineup at my shop yearssss ago with the Joe Murray logo. They were a great machine and company to deal with. Never forget the first Ti HeiHei I built. No comment on “investors”. Best wishes to all the employees.
  • 2 0
 I work in the powersports industry and the same thing is happening to Fly Racing. A super cool brand that makes cool stuff that was bought by a huge conglomerate who only care about money and have no relation to the brand they bought, who are now stripping it for parts and killing a legacy just to make a couple extra bucks or avoiding putting the work and money into reviving it. Im tired of seeing people like Kent who have no relation to the market they buy into, get involved, and ruin it for employees, athletes, and customers. I have a Honzo ESD and my brother has a Process. Love this brand and hope that whoever buys it shares the passion for bikes like the rest of us.
  • 1 0
 Wasn't BK on Fly before Leatt? That sucks
  • 2 0
 Konas product line was a total gong show. In a nut shell they were trying to do to many things and the new-ish leadership layer were dicks. Kona, less is sometimes more. If I had the cash, I would love to buy that company, slim the product range and make bad ass affordable bikes that ride beautifully.
  • 5 0
 The whole process seems kinda stinky
  • 5 0
 Yeah, but I'm sure someone will take a Stab at it
  • 4 0
 They'll be humu humu nuku nuku apua... ah fuhgeddaboutit - I can't make a pun outta that one.
  • 4 0
 For some reason I always thought that Patagonia should buy Kona, and make it the first "sustainable" bike company.
  • 3 0
 Pole and Kona are on too opposite ends of the spectrum. One being over innovators, the other being under innovators. Neither of which the consumer appreciates, clearly.
  • 1 0
 Both are innovators. However, the leadership is awful. Leadership, branding, business model, embracing the community etc etc. Yuppies that have never even ridden a bike and self centered mtbers in it to get rich are at fault here. They have no business owning a mtb company.
  • 1 0
 When Kona first came out it was ingenius. I had a stinky and it was the first of its kind. Long travel burly bike you can ride on the trails. The company had good riders, marketing, branding and then wtf…??? Some rando water sports outdoor goober company steps in and thinks, “mountain bikes, meh, no problem. Easy.” Everything went to shit. A good, solid company run into the ground by mainstream yacht rock douches. So sadly, this is the result. Hope someone with business sense and knowledge of mountain biking buys the company and builds it up. So let’s throw Otto the waterski packaged goods guy in to fix it. Sorry bro, this isn’t 1985. Nobody waterskis anymore. Sell Kona to someone that knows what they’re doing and actually gives a damn.
  • 1 0
 Very sad, $100m in debt is huge and pretty much secured their fate, there is no way they're making anywhere near that kind of profit, let alone paying it back with interest whilst operating and investing in the business.

I'd be surprised if Kona turn over much more than $25m, no one rides their bikes not made anything decent in years.
  • 4 0
 CFO at the top means RIF incoming. Get your resumes ready folks.
  • 4 0
 Bring back Robbie Bourdon…
  • 1 0
 I miss the Kona Clump days
  • 1 0
 I miss my Paul Bass signature jeans, (the fit was amazing) & my 1987 Explosive!
  • 1 0
 @dhjacqueline: Golden era!
  • 1 0
 241 bike sale was the writing on the wall. Kona was cool when they were building unique offerings for a decent price, but the value prop went downhill. They also just got uglier as shallow as that may be.
  • 1 0
 These smaller companies gotta quit selling out to bigger companies and equity firms. All becomes about “maximizing operational efficiencies” aka time to cut staff and sell off
  • 4 0
 Please don't wreck Kona!
  • 4 2
 F’ing hate PE groups. Businesses are just numbers to them, but it’s a lifestyle for me. KONA
  • 2 0
 I love Kona. This is where I was a multi multi millionaire to get it out of trouble and back on track. Love their bikes!!!!
  • 4 1
 Return with a rugged E bike called the Stink-E. Your welcome.
  • 2 0
 My first proper MTB was a Fire mountain, with the straight leg P2 fork... I'd love to see Kona considered great again.
  • 1 0
 F'in loved those forks, I had one that I used on like 4 or 5 different bike back in the day
  • 2 0
 shit, I better buy another pair of Kona Wah Wah alloy pedals while I still can!
  • 1 0
 "They've also reiterated a desire to sell Kona in order to "direct its resources toward investment in its key water sports businesses."
WTF? Watersports now?
  • 3 2
 If only they'd moved their pivot to the chaistay like everyone else when Specialized's patent ran out..
  • 1 0
 At least make a bike with a simple suspension design cheaper
  • 2 0
 Request to new owners, bring Willy back!
  • 3 1
 they spelled 'Khunt' wrong....
  • 1 0
 Based on my observations around Greater Van, Kona's have become rare as hen's teeth.
  • 1 0
 The first day the CFO starts to run the company is the day after the last day the company had a vision.
  • 3 1
 Well this is Stinky.
  • 1 0
 Now watch and wait for the C suite for Kent to get a nice payday.
  • 1 0
 Michael Dennison is going to be the next one to get the ax.
  • 1 0
 I give it two years before I can walk into Walmart and buy a “Process”
  • 3 1
  • 1 0
  • 1 0
 well, Thats a bit stink.
  • 1 0
 This is Stinky
  • 1 0
 Fire Sale
  • 1 0
  • 1 2
 Kent got pushed into a kona.
  • 2 4
 Kona put er up fer sale, git sum cash
  • 1 4
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