Anthony, my frame is a 97 frame as in the catalog and other than being a couple of sizes larger than the catalogue bike has the same head angle with the the 100mm Z1. The 97-00 Hei Hei and King Kahuna frame have exactly the same geometry are where not changed to suit the evolving fork travels. (A bit off topic but the geometry was only rejigged to suit the 10omm forks around 2005, so you'll find that side by side a 97 18" frame is identical in all geometry respects to a 2004 frame).
The fork in the 97 catalog photo is a pre production Z1 (steel stanchions not eastern Al) which could also be the cause of some minor differences. The fork in the 98 catalog is the 98 z2 Bam which has 65mm travel.
In 97 you had two basic options from Marzocchi the 100mm Z1 and the 65mm Z2. In my opinion the Z2 makes the head angle too steep and the handling rather sketchy whereas the 100mm gives about a 70 degree head angle and is perfect for the bike.
I was initially concerned that the Z1 may give a choppered effect but in reality I find it better than an 80mm Z2 fork which would fit approximately halfway between the older 65mm forks and this 100mm.
Anyway, if you should find yourself in my part of the world I may let you have a test ride so you can judge for yourself
Interesting comments Andrew, but itâ€™s still the case that that was the only Kona catalogue picture ever to show a xc bike with a 68 degree head angle, and I find it hard/impossible to believe that frame was designed with a 100mm fork in mind. Any more than the Explosif was. If you look on Konaretro, the 97 Explosif had a head angle of 70 with a short suspension fork, which is what I think it was designed for, and the Kilauea (which I have) had a 71 angle with P2s. I now run 80mm SIDs, which is kind of ok, but a bit too long so not that snappy. IMHO.
Thatâ€™s not to say that an extra-long fork is always a disaster â€“ you just lose some of the steering qualities that the designer envisaged, but you gain in terms of the extra travel, and it depends which you prefer. Youâ€™re a big guy, you like lots of travel and it works ok on a big frame, so thatâ€™s fine for you. But I still say if you went to a custom builder and said you wanted to use a 100mm fork, he wouldnâ€™t design you that frame â€“ heâ€™d design one that had a 70 degree static angle with your chosen fork, or maybe 69.5 if you like it slacker. But not 68, surely?
Thanks for the kind offer, but I think if anything the chances of my ever being in Oz are greater than my chances of clambering onto a size 20, not without a ladder anyway!