Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Retro-chic, or some old junk? is in the eye of the beholder, right? I have a new bike. The story involves Damon's old Gary Fisher KHS being rescued from the bike locker in my building with the help of Paul and an angle grinder... and a chance meeting with a piece of mountain bike history. 

Kona mountain bikes started off in Vancouver around 1988, when the lycra was colourful, the handlebars were narrow, and suspension a far-off dream. Kona did something pretty clever and managed to build mountain bikes in their first year of production that still look fairly modern in frame geometry today. Meanwhile everyone else was making bikes that resembled vast iron gates. I always wanted a Kona when I started riding... somewhere around 1992. 

In a very touching "Eyes meeting sloping-top-tube" moment across a crowded Our Community Bikes I saw the Kona. I admired the bright blue paint and rather dated graphics... but saw underneath all that a bike that needed to be ridden. After going our separate ways for a while, and the Kona having an unsuccessful relationship with someone who just couldn't make things work, we met again. The Kona was wearing some "striking" orange forks and various other fluorescent nastiness. This bike had to be mine. 

Saturday afternoon, a few weeks ago, I robbed Damon's old bike of all its parts and took a trip to OCB to buy the last few things I needed to resurrect the Kona. The frame was perfect for an errand-running and potential touring bike to replace the Gary Fisher, which was way too big for me. The new (old) Kona is a really fun bike to ride, and reminds me of why I got into mountain biking in the first place. For the indulgence of bike-geeks... see if you can spot the following old-skool items: a U-brake (which works really well), Syncros cattle prod, and Deore XT 7-speed thumbshifter

I now have another, even more fluorescent, old mountain bike project to work on... but that will have to wait. Exciting stuff eh?