Kona Kapu

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  • Time to give this its own thread - mostly to keep me motivated.

    I’m re-building a rare Kona road bike from 1995 - The “Kapu”.

    The Kapu model marked Kona’s second foray into the world of road bikes - it’s first being the staggeringly rare Haole … a Titanium bike with rather more traditional road geometry.

    The Kapu was likely a way to capture the road crowd at a lower price point (being steel, rather than Ti) Not cheap though; the list price in 1995 was $1499 - on par with the Explosif.

    However, the Kapu looks much more radical than the Haole in terms of geometry; using the sloping top-tube and extended seat tube deployed in their hard tail MTBs up to that point. In short, it looks like a Kona.

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  • I've always loved the Kapu. Subd

  • Compared to the rest of the line-up, the Kapu didn’t sell terribly well, but it stuck around until 2002 (having flipped to an alloy frame after 1999) before disappearing for a few years then ‘re-imagined’ in two oddly different models in 2008 (polished lugs, level toptube) and 2015 respectively (relaxed geo, back to sloping TT)

    The early models were very much light weight road bikes, but the 2008 and 2105 were aimed at the Audax / leisure crowd as they featured long drop brakes and heavier frames with mudguard eyelets etc

    1995: Columbus Genius
    1996: Columbus Genius
    1997: Columbus Genius
    1998: Reynolds 853
    1999: Altec aluminium
    2000: Scandium / Aluminium
    2008: deda Steel
    2015: Reynolds 853

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  • As detailed here:


    My Kona is a Genius framed model which has changed hands between a few different retrobike forum members over the last 10 years before getting to me.

    It’s currently wearing a 10 year old Argos paint job - albeit with incorrect (1997) decals.

    This is the bike back in 2009 - wearing its age well as a 14 year old bike by this point

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  • This is how the last (but 1) owner had it built - wearing the newer decals. The repaint only made necessary as the prior owner had started scraping off paint in places for god-knows-what reason!

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  • Up to this point, I’ve owned the frame for over 18 months .. during which time I’ve partially built it up about 3 times before changing my mind - then offering it up for sale at a price I knew was much more than it was worth .. I think just to check the universe wanted me to keep it! 🤔

    The 5800 groupset, Fulcrum
    Wheels and minimal fork I had initially planned would have turned it into a classic MOGOF - but I was rather underwhelmed with the aesthetics.

    Instead, I built up some old velocity aerohead rims on Bitex hubs -using silver spokes. Wheels weigh about 1500g. Also, I sourced another lightweight steel fork with a longer steerer (then chopped off the threads to make it ahead).

    Much more pleased with the look now

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  • A one inch steerer is a bit tricky when it comes to stem choice. If you want to go A-head, the best option is to use a shim and then a modern 1-1/8” stem and bar. There are vanishingly few proper 1” stems still floating around and most of them are like 150mm long! However, I was lucky enough to pick up a 100mm syntace force 808 from on here for a good price. This is a beautiful 1” steel stem which means I can retain the svelte lines of the frame.

    The seatpost is a USE alien carbon job.. not the first choice for this build - but A) I have it spare, B) it’s lightweight (149g) C) and it seems to fit the 27.0 frame (oddly, as it’s a 27.2mm post supposedly).

    I need to source some 26.0mm compact bars and just missed the M106 ones at Planet X.. so I think the Piega RHM are the next best option. The Soma HWY1s are twice the price and have a somewhat foreshortened length in the drop

    I also have some Dura Ace downtube shifters which are very light and considerably cheaper than the stratospheric price of STIs these days!

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  • Great thread so far.

  • Were the bars I had any good?

  • They were the right shape, but I want something minty. Yours are nice - but a bit rubbed sadly.

    The Kona frame is currently in the paint shop - is going to look very different very soon

    Also bought some very light skewers on eBay - Ti ones at 40g a set for a mere £12! Thread is way too long - but I guess I save another 2g cutting them down. BTW - front wheel was gonna be radial but I got the spoke lengths wrong so ended up 1x … never thought it would work but it looks cool

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  • Is there blingy 90s cnc parts for road bikes as well as mtb from this era?

  • Not masses of them, as the roadie world still worshipped at the altar of Campagnolo. But a few of the MTB brands made some parts like Chainsets that were road BCDs

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  • I need to source some 26.0mm compact bars

    Procraft RR pro could be another option.

  • Some more goodies turned up this week. Need to pick frame up from paint shop on Wednesday

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  • Haven’t updated this for a long while, mostly as moving house and having a second kid.

    Frame was painted by a local powder coater - a highly recommended outfit at that . Sadly the quality of the finish was well below expectations- which was a major bummer. I always took Armoutex for granted! The powder also exposed some deformation in the Down tube. In some despair and frustration I filed down my day-old powder coat to see the reason - some historical brass fill . Doesn’t look bad .. but good to know finally what was under there.

    I have now dropped the frame will a local frame builder - Chris Marshall .. who will be restoring the bike with a proper wet paint job. Might be a few weeks wait - but reassuring to know the frame will finally get the paint job it deserves

    I’m also accruing Ultegra 6600 parts - which is probably the last classy looking group set that shimano produced!

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  • Bit sad to have it coated and immediately remove it.

    So the frame had cracked there in the past or is it filler for some other holes?

  • Possibly some small dents from an impact I would guess (dropped tool?). But quite often new production bikes come with damaged and filler addled tubes which are sorted before the bike is painted at the factory. You’d never know unless you decide to respray.

    The purple coat was so thick, it looked terrible

  • i know you already have a stem... but in case you are interested in this, drop me a pm :)

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  • Update; Frame is painted and just needs decals applying.. after which I’ll collect it. Hopefully a couple of weeks maximum. Have most of what I need assembled, but still need chain, 9 speed cassette, bar tape and handlebar (26.0 compact so probably a Piega RHM)

    Can’t decide between the 6600 chainset and the Raceface one. Weight is within 10g of each other .. Obviously shimano is classier and probably stiffer - but the Canada connection appeals

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  • Looking pretty sweet ! 🤩

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  • Very nice. Race Face all the way.

  • A few more glamour shots as I put it together. I was looking at the Deda piega RHM bar, but Woodrup cycles here in Leeds had these nitto m109s for not a lot more. Mavis SSC brakes have been on my lust-list for a long while, but they always go for £100+ on eBay (despite costing £75 when available 15 years ago). This pair were the result of a cheeky low-ball offer I made so I’m super happy to own a pair finally

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  • Stem is sweet.

  • Very lovely... 1

  • Nearly nearly! … chain and cassette on their way. Also have an inline Thomson to try in place of the Alien.

    Although annoyingly, I can’t find the bolt cover sticker thing for the stem .. which I carefully stashed God knows where.

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Kona Kapu

Posted by Avatar for D_Mars @D_Mars