I will indeed write to your chap at Kona, while expressing an interest in the history of the company.
Maybe best to say 'is this true, sounds a bit of a laugh?'. I'm not sure whether expressing earnest interest in Kona history is the best way to win them over. They're so laid back that I get the impression they view with suspicion anybody interested in anything other than beer or whether it's time to go home yet.
This is a good page http://www.konaretro.com/articles/catal ... Page04.jpg
97 catalogue, so 96 pictures. What are the bikes? Only one of the riders is sponsored by Columbus, but some clown has got his head in the way of the bike. Dave Wiens is clearly riding a steel bike, with 96 decal and cable routing but in the colour of a 97 Explosif. Ian Cuthbertson appears to be on a 96 Kula, judging from the seat tube sticker, albeit I don't know what the head tube badge is all about. And why has he got cantis and those crazy narrow bars? No wonder he looks alarmed. Dario Cioni's bike resembles Wiens', similar colour to a 96 Kula, but that isn't an aluminium frame.
This supposedly team frame shown below may be what they're riding. Similar colour to 96 Kula and 97 Explosif, but definitely a Columbus Max frame, but no top tube sticker (like Wiens' bike).
No sign of any ti masquerading as steel anywhere here. But then again, what would we see if they hadn't chosen a picture with that ludicrous helmet with very few vents getting in the way? Hmmmm, the plot thickens