I’ve always had a soft spot for Kona bikes, even though I never owned one. They seemed to abandon the XC race bike market years ago. They used to have a great XC team and I thought they were pretty cool looking bikes. I even remember a year where they teamed up with Ford motors, and if you bought a Ford Kona car, you got a free mountain bike with it. 

A friend who owned a bike shop ordered a custom titanium hardtail with USA painting and graphics on it, back in the mid to late 90’s. That was one beautiful bike. He put the very first Mavic Crossmax wheels on, which was a big deal at the time. They were very expensive, and some of the first prebuilt wheels, and had all black spokes and rims with Ceramic coating on the brake track. Just a really cool bike.

But when I was searching for my first complete bike back in 2016, I wanted a lightweight carbon XC rocket, and Rocky Mountain, Kona, and a few others were all on my radar. But the least XC racey bike was the Kona. It looked like they were more going for what we call “down country” way back then. Then when I wanted a gravel bike, they had a really cool 650B wheeled bike that I actually test rode and almost bought. Not to mention the Jake the Snake cyclocross bikes that were so cool for many years. I really love CX racing, even though I’ve never done it on a cross bike. My first choice would have been a Jake though.

And youtube dude Kerry Werner seemed to do well on his Kona Hei Hei. Until they dropped him after many years.

So all in all, hearing about the original two owners of Kona buying the company back from Kent, really didn’t move the needle much for me. This would be the same management team that ditched the XC focus to begin with. I doubt they are suddenly going to dive back in now. More long travel bikes is in their future. I wish them luck, it’s a historically important brand in the bike world.