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PostPosted: Sun Mar 17, 2019 10:26 am 
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Can anyone expand further on what we know regarding the serial number format on Kona Titanium frames?

Recap:
The Kona Titanium frames from 1991 to 2000 were made by Titanium Sports Technologies (TST or Ti Sports) in Kennewick, Washington State. My understanding is that Ti Sports were responsible for the frame’s serial numbers. This information comes from someone at Kona, Vancouver who was relying on his memory after I contacted him recently. He was working for Kona when these frames were made, so let’s assume that his memory is correct.

From 1991 to 1997 the Hei Hei has a prefix of a capital letter “B”. The next two digits are the frame’s size in inches, and this is followed by a 3 digit sequential serial number: e.g. B18456.

It appears that Ti Sports ran out of the 3 digit serial numbers at 999 in 1997, so rather than going to 4 digits, they started again in 1998 with a different prefix.

From 1998 to 1999 the Hei Hei had a prefix of “KH”. The remaining digits follow the same format: e.g. KH18068

As far as we know, there are no 2000 Hei Hei frames.

The King Kahuna started production in 1996 and was made until 2000. The 1996 frames have the same B prefix as the ’91-‘97 Hei Hei, but the 3 digit serial number has a suffix of “-64” to signify the 6Al – 4V rear triangle ; e.g. B18789-64.

The 1997 King Kahuna frames have a prefix of “K” and follow the same format as all of the above; e.g. K18123

The 1998 to 2000 King Kahuna frames have a prefix of “KK” and follow the same format as all of the above, although my records show that Ti Sports zeroed the 3 digit serial number again; e.g. KK18034

The ultra rare Score was made for the 2000 line-up, but had its production halted mid-season, so there are very few examples out there. These have a prefix of KS, and then follow the same format: e.g. KS18009.

Ti Sports used the 3 digit sequential number through the years of production, but there seems to be no particular start number or end number for each of those years: i.e. if 1994 frames happened to end at number 725, then the 1995 model would commence at 726. This explains to some extent why it is not possible to directly date a frame from its serial number – just a general collection of knowledge of what numbers ended up being used during any particular year of production.

Stop yawning :roll: - Nearly there :) :

Kona have documented on a Timeline that they produced 4,000 Titanium frames over the 10 years from 1991 - 2000, which average out at 400 per year. This would vary greatly from year to year during the decade, particularly when the King Kahuna was introduced. I will reference that figure later.

Here’s The Rub:
Did Ti Sports use each 3 digit sequential serial number only once across all frame sizes?,
OR
Did they repeat the 3 digit serial numbers but with the frame size prefix keeping it unique?

To date, I have never seen any 3 digit serial number repeated across two (or more) frame sizes, but this causes an issue that I recently discovered…….

Incidentally, despite some of the catalogues from 1991 – 2000 documenting 14” and 21” frames in the Spec pages, I have only ever seen 16”, 17”, 18”, 19” and 20” frames, so I will go with that assumption for now. I will use real examples of Hei Hei frames with confirmed serial numbers that I have pictures of.

So taking three examples from the middle years of production ’93 – ’95, and using 19” as one of the more common sizes, I have on file:
1993 – B19463
1994 – B19655
1995 – B19762

All is clear so far; you can see how the sequential numbers progress through the years.

What confuses matters is that I have a good set of pictures for both a 1994 16” frame that has the serial number B16054, and a 1995 17” frame that has serial number B17436 :? .

Question:
How it is that serial number 054 hadn’t been used until 1994 on a 16” frame, and likewise serial number 436 hadn’t been used until 1995 on a 17”, when both those serial numbers had already been exceeded earlier historically (by 1993) on the 19” frames?

Is it case that the serial numbers are indeed use more than once over the various sizes, and as 16” is a less common size, that it took until 1994 for the number to be used on a 16”; i.e. there had only been 53 of the 16” frames made from 1991 up to and including 1994?

This sequence method would mean that serial number 054 is also on a 19” frame, presumably made in the first year of production as they got to serial number 463 by 1993 as seen on my example on file. Referring to the 4,000 total again, we can assume that the numbers produced of each frame size in an average year of 400 are approximately:

16” – 15 off | 17” – 70 off | 18” – 125 off | 19” – 125 off | 20” – 65 off…. or thereabouts.

This would be in keeping with relatively low serial number of B16054 on the 16” frame not appearing until 1994.

Go figure!

Pip

Edit to alter thread title


Last edited by pipmeister on Fri Aug 02, 2019 1:22 am, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 17, 2019 11:10 am 
Old School Grand Master

Joined: Wed Feb 26, 2014 8:20 pm
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Thank you for the info pip, very detailed and informative :)

So my 1991 Hei Hei frame number B17001 may not be the first made of that year but certainly the first in that size?

If only we could source every one made.


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 17, 2019 11:24 am 
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Minifreak wrote:
Thank you for the info pip, very detailed and informative :)

So my 1991 Hei Hei frame number B17001 may not be the first made of that year but certainly the first in that size?

If only we could source every one made.

I would say that your frame was indeed made in the first batch produced by Ti Sports, and for that reason alone is something to be cherished :D .

I hope that it doesn't deter too much from its uniqueness, when I say that Ti Sports did start at "000" - well at least they did when they zeroed the sequential serial numbers for the King Kahuna in 1998. I almost didn't want to show you this but......

Image17 inch KK17000 by Philip Mock, on Flickr

Pip


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 17, 2019 11:33 am 
Old School Grand Master

Joined: Wed Feb 26, 2014 8:20 pm
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No worries, doubt B17000 will ever surface ;)

Always wanted an early 90’s Kona as to me as a young teenager they were the bike I wanted, having a Ti one is the icing on the cake!


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 17, 2019 3:03 pm 
Dirt Disciple

Joined: Mon Apr 28, 2008 6:24 pm
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Own a 19" Hei Hei sold in Germany 05/92, the serial is close too 500.

Cheers


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 17, 2019 3:06 pm 
Old School Grand Master

Joined: Wed Feb 26, 2014 8:20 pm
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sovereign wrote:
Own a 19" Hei Hei sold in Germany 05/92, the serial is close too 500.

Cheers


Interesting, maybe it was sequential per frame then and not by each size :wink:


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 17, 2019 3:28 pm 
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sovereign wrote:
Own a 19" Hei Hei sold in Germany 05/92, the serial is close too 500.

Cheers

Thank you for your help with my thread.

Are you saying that you currently own a Hei Hei that was sold new in Germany in May 1992?

If it was new in 1992, it is likely to be a 1992 model, but could even be earlier.

Are you able to post a picture of the frame / bike to this thread, and can you take a picture of the serial number?

If you struggle with adding pictures to a post on here, or if would prefer not to reveal the serial number to the www, you are welcome to my e-mail address.

Cheers, Pip.


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 Post subject: Re:
PostPosted: Sun Mar 17, 2019 3:31 pm 
.o.T.M Triple Crown Winner
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My first HeiHei serial number was 16007. But the rear dropouts got bullets like 1993 and really early 1992 HeiHei got different dropouts with Mc Mahon/ Sandvik design


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 17, 2019 4:12 pm 
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Interesting. I too understood the serial number was a TST thing. The DBR Axis TT serial number is the same format.

So, are the last three digits infact a simple TST sequential number for whatever frame they produced regardless of brand?

When it hit 1000 , they simply started again at 000, and at 2000, 000 etc. etc. It may explain the weird patterns.


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 17, 2019 4:40 pm 
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Woz wrote:
Interesting. I too understood the serial number was a TST thing. The DBR Axis TT serial number is the same format.

So, are the last three digits infact a simple TST sequential number for whatever frame they produced regardless of brand?

Mmm, yes I was going to add something to that effect, but I didn't like to clutter up my original post too much!

My Score frame has a really high serial number considering how few they made. The chap at kona who I chatted with came up with a suggestion as to why that may be, but you seem to have pre-emptied what I was going to add to this thread regarding what he told me.

Woz wrote:
When it hit 1000 , they simply started again at 000, and at 2000, 000 etc. etc. It may explain the weird patterns.

Crikey, I hadn't considered that as an explanation. I'll do a bit of calculating, and get back to you on that one!

Pip.


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