Let me get this straight; people around here complain about bikes from a company that always wanted to look as if it didn't take things too serious that they aren't serious enough? Bike Hot Rod? Ute? Cruisers? Oh, come on! Who else would've built those bikes? Thumbs up to Kona for pulling that! Specialized had interesting concepts almost each year, but very few made it to production.
"Badge engineering" or not, Kona had a few decent bikes in the last couple of years (Stabs, Operators and Magic Link bikes come to mind) and, as a matter of fact, they always did and always chose a different route. I like that. Weird-beard bikes such as the Dudu or the Bass wouldn't be made by other companies that are as big as Kona. Who else would do a bike such as the Humuhumunukunukuapua'a??? See, I'm not a Kona fan and still know this by heart! That means that their strategy worked, whatever it was. What about the Mama and the Kuku BMX'es and all the other one season bikes that are at least interesting?
And we all love steel and know that "steel is real", but if it's unfair to point the finger only at Kona for not keeping a quality steel range. What about Marin? What about GT? What about all the other brands? Things move forward, companies change and not always for the better. But as far as Konas go, I think their spirit is still present.
At some point people booed Kona for not keeping a World Cup program anymore and forgetting overnight that Mosley and Barel won races and even Championships on those bikes. Few of those people realized that Kona put all that money in bikeparks and grassroots programs that the little guy benefits in the most.
These being said, I say "Chapeau!" to Kona for having the balls of being a "different" company! Different is good. It's what makes our sport good. It's what makes this site exist. If it wasn't for "different", we would all ride functional but plain boring bikes from Giant and Trek. So cheers to "different"!
Have a nice weekend everybody!
1990 GT Karakoram 20" Purple Haze (urban project); 1993 GT Karakoram 20" Ferrari Red (classy beater); 1993 GT Karakoram 14.5" Black Light (almost original); 1994 Breezer Jet Stream 18" (unlikely story); 1995 Winora full suspension (a fine riding mistery); 1997 Kona A'Ha (anniversary edition); 1997 GT Arrowhead 18" (poisoned gift); 1998 Stevens 6.1.2 (true warrior); 1998 GT Moto cruiser (just google it!); 1999 Santa Cruz Chameleon (the heartbreaker revived); 1999 GT Lobo 1000 (retired with works Super T); 2000 GT Lobo (turns original); 2001 Klein Attitude Comp 19" (ultralight project); 2001 Cannondale Jekyll 1000 SL (better that a lot of "fresh" bikes); 2003 Intense Tazer (close to factory team spec); 2003 Intense M1 (old dream on hold); 2007 Crupi Pro XXL (pumptrack teacher)