At Kona, we're all about the freedom and empowerment of the bicycle. We have been since 1988. We still have the same founding owners. We're still populated by a staff of keen, active, impassioned cyclists. We're not big, nor are we that small. Just a dedicated group of cyclists making bicycles for people who love bikes-no matter if that love is new or long established.
THE KONA TIMELINE
- Kona is founded by Dan Gerhard and Jacob Heilbron, with offices opening in Blaine, Washington and Vancouver, BC. First bicycles are introduced as Cascade, but changed later in the year to Kona. Joe Murray is the first bike designer/product manager.
- First race team consists of Joe Murray and Dave Turner. Joe is inducted into the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame.
- Distributors in England, France and Sweden bring Kona to Europe.
- Kona introduces the first set of front/rear MTB tires: Maximum/Reaction designed by Joe Murray. Other MTB tire sets introduced include Break/Enter, Equilibrium/Propulsion and Lumpy/Gravy.
- Grassroots racing program introduced in October. More than 3,000 riders have raced for Kona since the inception of the program.
- Project Two, the first straight leg MTB production fork is introduced. Throughout the Kona range today, there are more than 10 versions of this fork produced for 26", 29" and 700c wheel mountain and asphalt bikes.
- Ex-roadie Bruce Spicer (now Brodie) races on the Kona Factory MTB team.
- Doug Lafavor, "Dr. Dew" joins Kona in July 1990.
- Kona line is expanded to 8 models at Interbike Anaheim 1990, first Hawaiian names are introduced.
- Sandvik Special Metals begins production of the Kona Hei Hei in July. 4,000 Kona titanium frames are produced during the next 10 years.
- Kona Hot, the 2nd US-made XC hardtail begins production in August 1990.
- Max Jones of Carson City, Nevada joins the Kona Factory Team in March 1990. He is inducted into the MTB Hall of Fame in 1995.
- World Champion DH rider Cindy Devine joins the Kona Factory Team. She takes the Bronze medal at the World Championships in September 1991 and a World Cup DH victory at Mount Snow, VT in June 1992. She is inducted into the MTB Hall of Fame in 2003.
- The Future Shock fork is introduced, a leading-link design by Joe Murray. In a very amicable agreement with Specialized, the name is changed to Z-Link. The fork is a total flop, is never safe to ride, and all stock is dumped into the Straight of San Juan de Fuca.
- Kona presents Max Jones race clinics at NORBA and World Cup events. More than 200 dealer and 2-day mini-clinics are held, with over 5,000 riders learning from Max's expertise as a racer and from his "Tricks of the Trade" booklet.
- Haole, the first Kona road bike, features a titanium frame made by Sandvik.
- Kona Hahanna and Fire Mountain are the first Kona Asphalt models, designated as, "Mountain Cross" hybrid bicycles with 26 x 1.50 slick tires.
- Kona Kilauea wins 1993 "Bike of the Year" from Mountain Biking magazine.
- AA and Kula are introduced in September, the first aluminum (Easton tubing) bicycles produced by Kona. A total of 20 models are presented at Interbike Anaheim.
- Sex One and Sex Too are introduced in September, the first Kona dual-suspension bicycles.
- Humuhumu-Nukunuku-Apu'A wins out as the name for the Kona single peed cruiser over Unit. It's the longest name used for a bicycle model and the first named after a state fish.
- The great Steve Peat races DH in the UK on a Kona Hei Hei Ti frame. Future NORBA champion Kirk Molday races XC in Canada on the same bike.
- Kona introduces the Buck-A-Bike program on February 14. A total of $80,000 is raised between 1995-1998 by the program which supported cycling advocacy organizations like IMBA, Rails to Trails and NORBA.
- Made by Altitude Cycles, Ku is the first aluminum mountain bike frame produced by Kona in the USA. Altitude produced over 3,000 high-end steel and aluminum bicycle frames for Kona, their first US customer.
- Kona Design Group creates first original dual suspension design-a unified, linear-rate design named Sex (for suspension experience) One, Too and Three.
- A two acre parcel is purchased and a 15,000 square foot office/warehouse is built in Ferndale, Washington, expanded to 30,000 square feet in 1998.
- Kona Europe is founded with headquarters in the Black Forest region of Germany by Jimbo Holmstrom. After moving to Monaco and finally Geneva, it's now the largest division of Kona.
- Dave Wiens, 1993 US National champion, joins the Kona Factory Team. Inducted into the MTB Hall of Fame in 2000.
- Kona Factory rider Tomi Misser wins two World Cup DH races, the European DH championship and finishes 3rd overall in the World Cup during 1996 on the Kona Misser DH bike with 5 inches of travel. Limited production Kona DH Misser replica bikes are produced. The Stab Production DH bike is introduced in July 1997.
- Dario Cioni of the Italian Mapei-Kona MTB team takes 2nd in the St. Wendel, Germany World Cup and 2nd in the European championships.
- Roland Green of Victoria, BC signs with the Factory Racing team and has an outstanding year: he wins the Canada Cup, Canadian MTB Championships, is 5th at the Norba Finals in Mammoth Lakes, and is 4th Espoir at the World Championships in Australia.
- Jake the Snake cyclocross bike is introduced. Peter Wedge of the Kona Factory team wins Canadian CX championship, the first of seven.
- Canadian Olympian Lesley Tomlinson joins the Kona Factory Team.
- Mapei-Kona cross-country MTB team is formed. Team leaders are Dario Cioni and Roland Green. Dario finishes the season with an 8th place result in the World Championships. Roland is 3rd overall in the NORBA National series. Stefano Migliorini of Italy races the 7-inch travel Stab Dee-Lux on the World Cup DH circuit. After retirement, Stefano becomes "Mr Kona Italy".
- The first production Freeride bike, Stinky Dee-Lux is introduced, a 5-inch front and rear wheel travel "Out-of-Bounds" machine, based on the Stab design, with triple chainring.
- The first IMBA-Kona Funraiser is held at the Interbike show in Anaheim. In the ten year lifespan of this even, the annual bowling event has raised over $100,000 for IMBA as well as $10,000 for the purchase of the "Vietnam" trail network by NEMBA.
- Former BMX World Champion Scott Beaumont (UK) races a Kona Mokomoko to 3rd place in Japan Dual Slalom World Cup and finishes 4th overall in the 1998 World Cup standings.
- Kona website (www.konaworld.com) is launched.
- John Gibson of Canmore, Alberta is appointed Kona Lensman. He breaks open the North Shore freeride story in Bike magazine (May 1998).
- Kona-Mapei team back for a 3rd year with Dario Cioni. Geoff Kabush of Victoria, BC replaces Roland Green who heads south for GT's big bucks. Ryder Hesjedal of Victoria, BC is a 1st year Espoir for Kona. Andreas Hestler spends a year with Kona. Washington rider Dale Knapp wins Seattle Super-Cross national cyclocross event, finishing 3rd overall in the US National series.
- Stab Dee-Lux is named "Downhill Bike of the Year" for 1999 by Mountain Bike Action.
- Kona "Feel the Flow" demo tour is started. The new 29 foot RV with a 20-foot trailer full of Kona demo bikes tours 20 states and provinces around North America. During the next 10 years, over 40,000 riders have had an opportunity to take a free Kona test ride.
- Chute "Out-of-Bounds" hardtail bike for dirt jumping/dual slalom is introduced. Mountain Biking magazine calls it "The Future of Mountain Biking".
- Kona Europe moves its' headquarters from Germany to Monaco.
- The Kona Clump Freeride team is formed, consisting of New World Disorder riders John Cowan, Wheely King Bobby Root and Graham Kuerbis.
- Glow in the Dark. Need we say more?
- John Cowan and Graham Kuerbis ride the Ford Focus promotion tour in California and Texas. They are doing 40 foot gaps over a Ford Focus but Ford asks for a Ring of Fire.
- Kona Europe holds 1st Kona Festival in Elba, Italy for media, distributors and dealers. There is much riding, and grappa flows freely.
- Two BMX models are produced: Kuku (means "jump" in Hawaiian) is a dirt jumper and Mama (means "race") is, um, a race bike. Being cute does not sell in BMX.
- Stab Primo DH bike with 8-inches of rear wheel travel is produced. Tracy Moseley joins the Kona Factory Team and goes on to win 10 World Cup races during her career with Kona.
- The first Kona Scandium-tubed bikes are introduced on the Explosif MTB and Kapu and Haole road bikes. Geoff Kabush races the Scandium Explosif to 9th in the Sydney Olympics-top North American.
- The Rasta color Stinky Dee-Lux epitomizes the new Kona. It has a co-starring role in a Walt Disney movie: Max Keeble's Big Move.
- Greg Minaar races DH in South Africa on a Kona Stab.
- Kona Ring of Fire chainguide/double chainrings is the set-up for dirt jumpers.
- We introduce the Hula, a 24-inch wheel aluminum kid's mountain bike with shock fork, our first Kona kid's production bike.
- Bear and Bear Dee-Lux, 4-inches of front and rear wheel travel, 28 and 30 pounds, pioneering the All-Mountain MTB category. A trademark dispute changes the name to Dawg
- Jake the Snake is inducted into the MTB Hall of Fame.
- The Whistler MTB Park opens, featuring a fleet of 135 Kona Garbanzo special edition high-performance downhill machines. By the end of the season, each bike will have been ridden more than a million vertical feet without a single frame failure.
- Kona's Queen of 'Cross Ann Knapp marries Dale and goes on to win 5 Supercross races before overcoming a back injury to take her and Kona's first ever US National Championship in Napa, California. Young Kona 'crosser Barry Wicks takes 2nd in the U-23 event.
- Stinky fever continues to rage and the first production kid's Freeride bike, the Stinky JR with 24-inch wheels and 4-inches of front and rear wheel travel is introduced for Kona Kids.
- Asphalt is re-introduced. Dr. Dew goes disc, Tiki and Tiki Deluxe complement our growing range.
- A is the shortest model name in the bike biz, a dual suspension bike with more shocks than it's singlespeed gear.
- New components include the JackShit freeride pedal and grips, Cromoly Bulge ISIS crank, and the Ring of Fire Rockguard.
- John Cowan released Higher Learning, a 30-minute how-to Dirt Jump DVD produced by girlfriend and future wife, Stephanie Drinnan.
- The Kona-Clarks Team of Champions is formed with Fabien Barel (French DH), Tracy Moseley (English DH), Geoff Kabush (Canadian MTB) and Peter Wedge (Canadian CX).
- Dave Watson makes history in July by jumping over the Alp d'Huez stage in the 100th Tour de France. The event is immortalized by Scott Markewitz's award winning photograph and in New World Disorder IV. Dave goes on to be named the Guardian (England) newspaper Sports Personality of the year.
- Kona is named Industry Advocate of the Year by BRAIN, awarded to National Advocacy Director Mark Peterson by Bikes Belong Director Mike Greeham in recognition of many advocacy activities including Buck a Bike, Freeride Grants, Bear Bell Program, IMBA Bro Deals, Collegiate Scholarship and IMBA "Above and Beyond" supporter for 7 years.
- Fabien Barel wins the World Championships in Les Gets, France on a bike that was re-designed and re-developed by the quadrumvirate of Fabien, team mechanic Paul Walton, product manager Paddy White and technical director Dr. Dew.
- Asphalt continues to expand with the Smoke, an urban workhorse and the BikeHotRod, an out-of-the-box chopper machine.
- Introduce the 24-inch wheel Stuff JR, the first kid's production Dirt Jump bike.
- A whole new category is introduced with the Hoss and Hoss Deluxe, inspired by Maurice Tierney of Dirt Rag magazine, the originator of the Clydesdale category. Bikes for the 200+ pound rider.
- The Kona Factory Team adds Les Gets mountain bike resort as a title sponsor. Ryan Trebon and Barry Wicks combine to build the Twin Timbers. Ryan takes 2nd overall in the NORBA series and 5th in the US National XC. Ryan and Ann Knapp both take the US CX series championship, then Ann travels to Belgium to the World's CX championship and finishes just out of the medals in 4th.
- The first 5 winners of the Kona-IMBA Freeride grants are announced to clubs from Colorado, Florida, Oregon, Illinois, and British Columbia. The 7th annual Kona-IMBA Funraiser raises another $8,000 for the 2005 grants.
- Kona Bike Park Leogang, Austria holds their first Out of Bounds/Kona Festival where John Cowan pulls off the world's first backflip on his own Cowan signature DJ frame. Fabien Barel and Tracy Moseley win the Top to Bottom Eliminator DH.
- The Kona Global 24 Hour series is launched, with Kona sponsored days of pain in the UK, Australia and Colorado. It continues to expand to Finland and Switzerland, and moves to the Arizona desert in 2007.
- Fabien Barel struggles through the race season, finishing in the top three in most World Cup qualifiers, but crashes out and suffers mechanicals for most of the season. He becomes the first Frenchman since Nicolas Vouilloz to win back to back World Championships with a perfect ride at the World Championships in Livigno, Italy. The Stab Supreme is the #1 bike on the World Cup circuit once again.
- Dan Gerhard and Dr. Dew are inducted into the MTB Hall of Fame.
- "Yesterday my old pal Leonardo and me we had some beer together. Then he started telling me a strange story. A few years ago when he was out on the trails, he said he met a beautiful Italian girl in black clothes riding a Kona. When she passed him, she gave him a mysterious smile. He fell in love immediately." Three women's specific models are introduced: the Lisa HT, DS and RD.
- The Velo Bella Kona women's team rides the new bikes, including Wendy Simms from Parksville, BC who goes on to win 3 Canadian CX championships for Kona.
- Ryan Trebon wins the US National MTB XC race, with Barry in 2nd place. Barry wins the Short Track Nationals, Ryan takes 3rd.
- Czech rider Kamil Tartakovic joins the Factory Team, riding the 4X specific Howler, winning the Schladming World Cup and taking 3rd overall in the WC series.
- The Kona Africabike and Bicycling's Biketown Africa heads to Gabarone and Bobonong, Botswana in November. The Africabike is specifically designed for the needs of the mostly female healthcare workers where HIV and AIDS patients are currently serviced by walking. Built around a sturdy steel step-through frame, featuring heavy-duty tires and tubes from Continental and singlespeed coaster brake hubs from Shimano, this pilot project is likely to become the most important bike we've ever made. 3,500 Africabikes have been sent since the beginning of the program.
- Three new riders are added to the Clump by the end of the year: Grant "Chopper" Fielder from the UK, and the biggest new names from Spain, Andreu and Lluis Lacondeguy-who were already on Kona.
- The Kona Groove Approved Bike Park program adds Verbier (Switzerland), Livigno (Italy), Levi (Finland) and Killington (Vermont). There are now 20 parks on 4 continents featuring custom-built Kona Garbanzo park bikes in their rental fleets.
- A total of 79 models for 2007 are introduced, including a complete Cowan signature dirt jumper, high-end women's specific Queen Kikapu MTB and Lisa RD Supreme road machines, as well as Kula 2-9 and Unit 2-9 MTB 29ers.
- On the Asphalt side, the Dews are joined by the full suspension Dew FS, the Paddy Wagon-a singlespeed drop bar track bike, and the Major Jake, a CX race machine.
- Brian Berthold of Brake Therapy and Kona conspire to bring D.O.P.E. to Kona fans everywhere with an anti-brake jack system for the Stinkys and Coilers.
- Fabien Barel caps an up and down year with a surprising silver medal at the DH Worlds in Fort William. Despite breaking his foot twice during the year, Fabien also wins the Canadian Open during Crankworx, films a strong segment for New World Disorder Nine, and celebrates 5 years with Kona with a signature edition Stab Supreme.
- Ryan Trebon wins the US Short Track MTB Nats and nabs silver at the MTB Marathon, as well as the overall USGP series of CX.
- The annual All Star Revue is introduced, with features on Kona Factory and Clump riders, Groove Approved bike parks and World Cup racing.
- Magic Link, a patented auxiliary shock dual suspension system designed by Brian Berthold is introduced on the 6+1-inch travel CoilAir.
- Paul Basagoitia's SE bike is one of the hottest new Kona's for 2008. This 4x4 dual suspension slopestyle competition bike has a surf/snow inspired paint job. Paul breaks his collarbone in June, but Andreu Lacondeguy goes on to win Crankworx on the Bass. That makes 3 out of 4 Crankworx wins for Kona. New Kamloops, BC-based Clump rider Graham "Aggy" Aggasiz wins Sick Trick at the Bearclaw Comp.
- Ute is the first Kona longtail, a big load bike with an Acacia wood deck and PVC panniers.
- Kona Switzerland opens in Geneva and also launches Kona Basic Needs, a humanitarian organization to bring more AfricaBikes to Africa, starting with the WWF water project in Nigeria.
- Kona Bike One Million, a 17-inch CinderCone is produced and sold at Bow Cycles in Calgary, Alberta.
- The Dew Files comes to KonaWorld TV, episodes on Kona tech and lifestyle featuring the one and only Dr. Dew.
- Kona signs young gun UK downhiller, Joe Smith, to the Kona Factory Team.
- Lisa TR is the first Kona triathlon bike and Minxy is the first women's specific Freeride model.
- Asphalt drop bar models the Honky Tonk, Dew Drop, Haole and Kapu are introduced.
- Paul Bass is a double winner at the Teva games, also Best Trick at Vienna Air King. Andreu Lacondeguy wins White Style and Sick-O trick at 26Trix.
- Kona Factory Team riders Barry Wicks and Kris Sneddon place second at the 7 stage BC Bike Race. Ryan Trebon and his partner Georgia Gould win the mixed division. Trebon ride the entire race on a hardtail Kula 29er with 80mm forks.
- Kona celebrates 10 years of the Clump, and ten years sponsoring the most influential film series in mountain biking, Freeride Entertainment's New World Disorder Series.
- Kona design engineers put the final touches on the all new 2010 Kona Cadabra, the ultimate trail bike with new Generation 2 Magic Link technology.
- Major One brings single speeding to cyclo-cross, the Honky Inc. retro-road machine adds a modern touch with Avid road discs, the Band Wagon and Grand Wagon bring high-style for fixie riders.
- The first electric-assist Kona bikes are finally a reality with the Electric Ute, Token & Ticket arriving in May
- Andreu Lacondeguy wins Sick Trick at Crankworx and gets a signature steel dirt jump frame, Lacondeguy Inc.
- The Kona COG goes live on KonaWorld.com, bringing news and blogs from all around the Kona world every day
- New Kona Factory riders continue the national championship tradition with Helen Wyman winning the U.K cyclo-cross nationals, Gilles Bertrand winning the Belgian DH champs, and Joe Smith winning the Wales DH. Luana Olivera took the Brazilian DH, and also 3rd in the Pan-Am games.
- 650 Africabikes are sent to South Africa & Tanzania from the 2 for 1 program, more than 2500 sent since 2006.