First of all I would like to say a big thank you to everybody who has contributed an opinion or given advice, if I hadn't of stumbled across Retrobike this time last year I wouldn't be back MTBing again.
I am sure there have been many Kona's featured before and my bike may just be another one, but to me this is my dream bike from BITD when I first started MTBing as a teenager. I always wanted a Cinder Cone as realistically back in the mid nineties £500 was as much I could hope to get as a B'day and Xmas present from my parents. It never happened and Moto X bikes, cars girls, beer and pubs eventually took over my love of MTBing.
Roll on 15 years and my LBS had a red Kona Explosif that had been part exchanged by a regular customer who had used it to race for a couple of seasons. I paid £180 7 years ago for it and up until last year had used it to commute to work mainly, occasionally riding off road. The paintwork was very bad, there was more touch up paint left than the original ! All the drive train was worn out and after a shoulder injury riding off road using solid P2 forks were not helping. The riding position was very racey, flat bars and 130mm stem meant I was stretched out and uncomfortable.
So what to do ? I knew the bike must be worth something for the frame alone as I knew they were that good that Kona gave them a lifetime repair or replacement guarantee. Even if I sold it it, it wasn't going to be able to afford a decent modern XC/Trail MTB with the money and I didn't have the money to buy a new bike. Then I found this site, hallelujah ! After posting some questions and polls I realised that the 95 Explosif was something special and I was told I would regret selling it by other people who had done the same.
I decided to restore, replace and rebuild it into my dream bike. I chose not to do a factory spec rebuild as there are many good examples already. Instead I wanted to use period correct brands such as Race Face, Kore and Mavic, even if the parts from those manufacturers I used wouldn't have been on sale when the bike was originally sold. Think upgrade parts when the originals have worn out. The Project 2 forks were swapped for Marzocchi Bomber 2's, and the bars, stem and headset then became Aheadset compatible. Almost all of the components are the original XT Groupset apart from the shifters and the freehub.
Since I have built and ridden it I have fallen in love with my Explosif all over again, the forks work so well and are a perfect match for the frame. I have loved ridding the North Downs in Kent and Sussex all summer long. I will be buying a modern F/S disc brake bike next year for more trail riding/Wales etc and keep my Kona for local rides. Then I will have the best bikes for both worlds. I can't imagine I will ever sell this. There will be some photo's of the bike for those who are interested. What do you think, good enough for BOTM?.
My colour, my design, my choice, thank you.