1996 Kona Hei Hei - The First King Kahuna

Mortonm

Kona Fan
This was a bit of a roller coaster acquisition. I first saw this on marketplace back in May. Around 3 hours from me. Price was fairly high but the bike was largely shimano M960. So a lot of the parts were not that interesting to me.

I offered to buy the frame only but to no avail and I let it be. A few months later I noticed it was still for sale and sent another message. They seller was posting on behalf of his father and asked for my number so he could call.

A lot of back and forth and assumptions I didnt know what XTR was or what this bike was (he actually thought and still think it's a 1994...but I digress).

Last week we had reached a deal and I was going to get it on the Wednesday. He called me tuesday night and said he couldn't do it. He had owned the bike since new and was too attached...Where was this info before the 5 phone calls we had. He said he was ordering a new bike and it would be in come spring and he would call me back. So I let it go knowing that it may have slipped through my hands. I have a 97 explosif and Kilauea so I am not exactly short on nice bikes.

I had a feeling i hunch i would hear back from him sooner than later and sure enough he called me back 4 or 5 nights later. I knew I had to strike out as soon as possible so I drove out to get the bike today.

The bike came with a treasure grove of spare xtr parts and maguras some syncros wheels and other things.

As soon. As I got home I set about changing parts. Swapping in some Z2 atom bombs. Titanium handlebar, syncros seatpost (it had a USE suspension post) as well as a Thomson stem.

Here are a few pics most as received.

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Mortonm

Kona Fan
I hope Pip and others will chime in to the rarity and history of the bike, but it was the only year they made the King Kahuna with 6-4 rear stays in reaction to complaints from the pro riders.

Here are some pics from a quick maiden voyage tonight before the thunderstorms rolled in.

Plans are M950 controls. M950 rear and front derailleurs. Mavic 517 wheelset with M950 XTR hubs. M950 v brakes. Gunmetal grey race face turbine cranks with black chainrings. Unsure on the stem but something vintage eventually. Mayne a controltech if I can find one. New tires as well these continentals are pretty old.

Oh and to make Al-onestare happy I quickly replaced the gaudy bolt on v brake cable stop for a stock Kona unit with a thread cable stop bolting it to the seat tube. Much cleaner

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Pipmeister

Senior Retro Guru
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Well done on getting hold of this fine example. With this new addition, we now have fourteen examples on the List of the 1996 King Kahuna 6-4. I believe that there were not many more than 100 of these produced.

They were indeed made in response to some Team Riders claiming that the Team Issue Hei Hei frames that they were riding gave too much flex; this probably also in conjunction with the improvement in suspension forks, which led to pushing the bikes to new limits. 6Al-4V Titanium is notoriously difficult to work, and horrifically expensive, but Kona always seem to try to make the best frame possible for the end user, rather than putting profit first.

There was a rumour at the time that the U.S Military snapped up vast quantities of 6-4 Titanium, which made it difficult to source - I'll see if I can dig that out sometime.

These frames came in the Gold Decals that you see here, and also in Pale Blue. Anyway, I'm looking forward to seeing some more pictures of this one.

Pip
 
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Mortonm

Kona Fan
Well done on getting hold of this fine example. With this new addition, we now have fourteen examples on the List of the 1996 King Kahuna 6-4. I believe that there were not many more than 100 of these produced.

They were indeed made in response to some Team Riders claiming that the Team Issue Hei Hei frames that they were riding gave too much flex; this probably also in conjunction with the improvement in suspension forks, which led to pushing the bikes to new limits. 6Al-4V Titanium is notoriously difficult to work, and horrifically expensive, but Kona always seem to try to make the best frame possible for the end user, rather than putting profit first.

There was a rumour at the time that the U.S Military snapped up vast quantities of 6-4 Titanium, which made it difficult to source - I'll see if I can dig that out sometime.

These frames came in the Gold Decals that you see here, and also in Pale Blue. Anyway, I'm looking forward to seeing some more pictures of this one.

Pip
Thank you! I knew you would chime in with the details. Best to leave it to the experts.

I will update the thread as more parts come in the next couple of weeks
 

Mortonm

Kona Fan
A couple more changes today, one permanent and one temporary.

I am going to out on a raceface crankset in the near future so I swapped out the octalink and xtr set for a square taper and a set of sugino mighty 900s I had laying around.

I have swapped in the M950 v brakes for the M960 which are actually identical except for the finish. There is a bit if play in a couple of these so I might need a cleaner set at some point but they stop really well.

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romanrinos

Kona Fan
It's really great that you got an example with the original decals and Kona seat collar. Would love to read a ride report and see how it changes with the tweeks to suit your needs. There is really a lot you can do here in refinement of the build :- a straight bar, a Flite or Vetta SL, less chunky rims and perhaps some SPDs. Catalogue had Cook Bros, which would also look awesome.

I'd also be tempted to go earlier with a M900 groupset and the P2? Thrilled you got this Michael!
 

Mortonm

Kona Fan
It's really great that you got an example with the original decals and Kona seat collar. Would love to read a ride report and see how it changes with the tweeks to suit your needs. There is really a lot you can do here in refinement of the build :- a straight bar, a Flite or Vetta SL, less chunky rims and perhaps some SPDs. Catalogue had Cook Bros, which would also look awesome.

I'd also be tempted to go earlier with a M900 groupset and the P2? Thrilled you got this Michael!
Sandor, thank you!

Hard to tell from the pics but I have swapped the bar already for a Titec/Bontrager Titanium one. The wheelset will be swapped for the same as on my explosif. Mavic X517 SUP and M950 hubs.

Crankset will be raceface. I have a couple deals in the works for an all black and another that is gunmetal with black chainrings. I think it will balance the black and grey theme.

Although M950 aasnt widely available during 96 it was available for race teams and as this frame was designed for extra stiffness for racing I feel that still fits the theme.

The Thomsom stem is nice but too new and bulky I think. I would love to find a black control tech for looks and that is what the catalogue shows, though I have proven I am not too concerned with that.

Forks I am torn, but the bombers will stay for a bit. Unsure on colour. Maybe some black period SIDs ? I am tempted to try a P2 on it even though I know Al-onestare will be on the first flight to Canada to be some sense in me. I am curious to test the ride difference of steel vs titanium as most have said it rides better. Hard to tell the difference with a plush couch on the front end!
 

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