Kona KK 98'


Kona Fan
Re: Re:

It looks like top notch kit Pip! Very tidy and clean. What are the bladed spokes that you have fitted?

From scanning the 2000 Catalogue, I see that the Score came with Formula disc brakes - would these have been the Bianco Oro verions with 180mm discs that you have? I notice that elsewhere it states the MIXXmaster clamps made them particularly suitable with SRAM shifters, which I see you also have mounted? (shifter-pods, presumably 8-speed also workable)

The thread here: http://www.retrobike.co.uk/forum/viewto ... mp;t=34754 refers to these not being up to par with V-brakes? which seems a bizarre thing to say? Hydraulics I can understand.

It will be exciting to get this build-up. The XTR cranks I have are actually from a 9speed crankringset, which i'd swapped out, to use with the shifter pods. I may keep this in 8-speed guise until I can re-balance finances.

Remember our previous private conversion about your silver XTR rear mechs, and whether this was due to bleaching versus versus being a stock finish, and where I thought I'd matching silver shifters for sale new from before? Yours may not have been polished but I believe that they were part of a rare variant of the M-952 Mega 9 series line-up that Shimano produced named '30th Anniversary'.

See pics of a polished silver version from this special edition.


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Senior Retro Guru
Re: Re:

romanrinos":1ja5bevo said:
It looks like top notch kit Pip! Very tidy and clean. What are the bladed spokes that you have fitted?

From scanning the 2000 Catalogue, I see that the Score came with Formula disc brakes - would these have been the Bianco Oro verions with 180mm discs that you have? I notice that elsewhere it states the MIXXmaster clamps made them particularly suitable with SRAM shifters, which I see you also have mounted? (shifter-pods, presumably 8-speed also workable)
Cheers Sándor, the whole bike looks very tidy and is lovely to ride, although some may think it has been ruined by the transformation from a Retro 1997 King Kahuna, into a "modern" looking well equipped machine. I do understand what you are trying to do with yours though, and why you think that it will suit your riding better.

The wheels on mine are Mavic Crossmax SL UST Disc 2003 in Silver.

The brakes on the Score in the 2000 catalogue are cable operated Mechanical Formula, but I don't know anything about them. I've never like the idea of Mechanical Discs, and didn't enjoy working on them when I was a mechanic in a LBS. Out of the ones that I have worked on though, Avid seemed to be the best of all the designs with Mechanical Discs.

The brakes on my King Kahuna are Formula Oro K24 Bianco 2007 fitted with a Formula R1 Hose kit in Silver. I like them because of their design, both in function and aesthetics. They are easy to work on and I have several full sets of spares for them - I have the more basic Oro K18 version fitted to my Score. The K24's have adjustable pad contact via a little knob on the Brake Lever. The pads are supper easy to remove without even having to take the wheel off the bike! They really are superb brakes, and easily as good as say the more modern Avid Elixir 9, which I have on my Carbon Kilauea.

The Mixmaster clamp that you mentioned makes the Bars less cluttered, by combining the Gear Shifter and the Brake Lever. My King Kahuna has the 9 speed SRAM X-9 Shifters and X-0 Rear Mech. The shifters really should be the SRAM X-0 9sp Carbon version that I have on my Score, but they are closer in function than Shimano's top two of XT and XTR. Both X-0 and X-9 versions are from around 2007.



Kona Fan
Re: Re:

al-onestare":3uucjpk5 said:
romanrinos":3uucjpk5 said:
al-onestare":3uucjpk5 said:
Long live the King ;-)

Just no keeping secrets around here is there! :)
Well done Al!

Here’s whats coming. Still deliberating if the decals were put on the frame when new, albeit they are a few years too late from manufacture, since they seem to be an original 2001 set.

For me the balloon decal design was the worst design they've ever come up with. So I'd be glad to see the back of them, but it's your bike ;-)

What was the driving force for swapping the HH for this KK?

I know what you mean on the balloon decals - the bulbous distortion meant that they didn't sit too well on frames when compared to earlier 98-99 models.
When I was first looked at this, my immediate impression was also to remove them straightaway for the preferred 'Jungle' font. But if this was an origin decal, which wasn't repeated elsewhere, then it worth pause to debate about whether it' a shame to remove? I'm really not a fan of the vinyl-cut repro decals although could live with screen-printed versions if at right scale etc. with the preference for 1998 which matches this frames serial. I even thought about going totally left-field and doing a 80 ti-painted version, like the green Hei Hei inspiration below (probably not a good idea if not original) or perhaps adding a painted red head-tube flash as it might have done in 99.

I tried to reach out to Kona, to see if they had any factory decals left of either 98/99. This was the response from Tech at Kona World:

"Hi, I’m not sure what’s left for decal. I know here in Canada we are all out of them now. If there’s anything in the US Joe will know.

Short of that going to a decal shop that does “car wraps” is the best bet for thin vinyl replacements. They can normally scan images to get the correct font and spacing.

Happy Trails!"

I think the answer is to build it first and then see the overall impression is?

Re: driving force to make the change, it was a combination of the 3 factors below. Even though selling the HH hurt, given it was unique in it's own way, with original decals and the early top-tube routing, overall right now it just makes sense for my purpose of riding.

Firstly, I wasn't too chuffed with the XTR V-brakes. Even on ceramic rims, the braking power didn't seem to be as significant-a-step up as I imagined from cantis. But more so, I really disliked the XTR black grub screw centring-adjustment that, by nature of the design, would strip over use in changing tires over. I could have transferred to a set of Avid Arch Supremes, at cost, but as the build had been completed with full M950 XTR (being a fan) I was resigning myself to keeping it that way until this KK popped up..Why couldn't they just use worm-hole keys like M900 and M730s?

Secondly, there is a bit of inherent flex on HHs around the bottom-bracket area due to the nature of the spring in Ti. If you turn the wheel to angle, and push the cranks, the bottom-bracket area will flex with give. Whilst this is not a bad thing, for comfort/ compliance, it's also nice to have a bit of more of an efficient drive connection when getting power-down.

Thirdly, I'd been thinking of a more modern ride for a while now, when doing less XC, or single-track, and more burier descents (See pic of this North-Shore HH running a white SID) With also the retro decals on Kona's 2019 Process', raced this year, it got me thinking about advancements to retro-builds in general.

Although I'd seen a few 19" bare KKs, I'd not seen a 20" KK in over 3 years looking until last month. With factory mounts for disc-brakes, it just made sense in wanting a more up-to-date ride, especially with the economic advantage of retaining existing componentry that I'd built up along-the-way with the HH..

That said, it may also be a good opportunity for something with more travel than a Z2, in going for a Z1 or lighter Rockshox SID Race ..?

Opinions very welcome there. I will be going shallow riser-bars I think too.


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Kona Fan

If the decals are OG then that's a different conversation but mixed with the older seat tube one, it just looks messy to me.

I totally understand the point about riding style and needs...less the brakes! Just swap them out; that's what we all did back in the day, and still do. It's the joy of tinkering! (Arch Rivals would have done the job and made your rear flex a little more oo err).

Forks wise, the colour scheme could reflect the decision. A blue black scheme could look neat so SIDSs perhaps.

Looking forward to seeing this come together.


Kona Fan
Re: New Project - Kona

Time for a little update as it's been a while..

Frame arrive safe and sound from the US. Will upload some better photos soon but some first impressions out the box:

- 'Balloon' decals are in better condition than anticipated. Despite being a couple of years later than the frame, they appear all to be factory originals sporting silver font outlines.
Remains a mystery as to why they are there, but having spoken to the previous owners, there's an indication that the frame originally might have been supplied with these from new.
- Although well packaged upon arrival, the brake boss spring clip holes had some minor rounding-out of the holes. It shouldn't hinder V-brake use, if I go do that route.
- Frame is nice and true without dings and just the usual wear and tear by way of scratches that will polish out.
- BB threads intact. Nice and clean
- Factory disc tab looks the business and overall very excited to get this built up.

Some decision making processes to be had, namely the fork choice and whether to go straight or riser bar.

The largest decision is whether to retain Vs with M950 shifters, or go with a more modern 9-speed set-up using Formula Mix-Masters.


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Kona Fan

Before I sold the Hei Hei, I did some record comparisons on weight and length of tubing out of curiosity. I knew from previous postings that the KK would be marginally heavier (for one, just look at the difference in that extra heft where the head-tube abutts) but there were some other slight differences:

HH: 1688g
KK: 1761g

From visual inspection, the downtube angle seemed to be fractionally steeper on the KK, but this might have been visual trickery of extra ovalised tubing combined with the gusset plates. I then measured the top tube and found it to be marginally shorter, that support my hunch that I was alittle surprised at:

headtube:150mm (same)
seatpost stays: 485 (same)
rear stays: 425 (same)
top tube: HH 585 KK 580

The KK does look and feel like quite a different beast. Please excuse the odd socks.


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Splatter Paint

Retrobike Rider

Nice! I'm looking forward to this.

On my 1997 HHKK (also with a two-piece factory disc mount), I run a 2001 Fox F100 RLC, lowered to 80mm travel, which works very well, this has an a/c of 450mm. I tried 100mm (470mm) but with flat bars and a 100mm stem felt a bit chopper-like and the steering tended to flop. The previous owner ran 100mm travel with a short stem and risers, so maybe is is just me....

Check out my build thread to gauge the look / stance.



Kona Fan

Thanks SP - that’s a very nice fork. I was looking into the Fox 80RL as a possible candidate.

A Fox versus say a Marzocchi or a Pace fork however lends quite a different overall appearance to the build.

Minimising travel height is an important factor to getting it looking right.
The Z1s were raced on KKs for the burlier races, given weight on the heavier side. I also suspect that at 100mm, they had their travel height margainly reduced to avoid the upright front-end.


Kona Fan

Some progress on forks:

Received this picture from MtbforksbyMark today of the Z1 BAM he’s tracked down for the build. I think it should be just the ticket to complement the frame.

Travel height will be adjusted to 90mm.

“Every part has been cleaned inside and out with a toothbrush or similar cleaning device, all small parts have been cleaned in an ultrasonic parts cleaner, crown has been polished, new uncut steer tube installed, both cartridges have been cycled and flush clean, stanchions have been polished”

- Legend -

New arch bolts, Heavy duty springs, new factory seals, factory oil and rider weight tweaks will be done later this week before shipping.


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