Kona Lava Dome wanted

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If this is your bike, we need to talk.

If this is your bike, we need to talk.

I passed this bike chained to a railing on Mortimer Street today. It was a near-mint condition 1995 Kona Lava Dome in midnight blue, the exact same bike I received for Christmas in 1995. This was the rig that truly launched my lifelong love of bikes and biking.

I’m just going to pause a moment to remember this bike, and how great it was (for me, and probably a generation of others):

  • the Lava Dome was – up until 2007, when it was mysteriously retired – the classic entry-level MTB in the Kona stable, RRP £500.
  • the 1995 version had stunning understated good looks (IMHO Kona’s paint jobs have just got gaudier – check out the offensive 2006 version, perhaps the reason why it didn’t sell and Kona withdrew it?).
  • the Tange Infinity cromoly double butted frame, with its signature sloping top tube and tight rear triangle, rode like a dream – it climbed well, it loved singletrack.

I had this bike for 11 years. A few highlights from its rise and fall:

  • 1996: upgrade to Pace RC35 suspension forks
  • 1996: 6 days bike touring in the Scottish highlands
  • 1997: flew with me to Vancouver, Canada for a year of north shore trail-riding
  • 1998: 24 hours of Adrenalin, Whistler, B.C.
  • 1998: big bike tour down the west coast of the US, hitting some classic singletrack in Washington and Oregon
Riding Mount St Helens in 1998 - has there ever been a better advert for this bike?

Riding Mount St Helens in 1998 - has there ever been a better advert for this bike?

  • 1998: frame bent on the flight back to UK, cannibalised for bits
  • 1998-2001: frame hangs in my shed in Stoke
  • 2002: the Lava Dome returns as a singlespeed hack for the streets of Edinburgh
  • 2003-06: the hack moves to London
  • 2006: after weeks of cracking, the frame snaps at the rear drive-side drop-out. The broken frame is deposited in a skip near Brick Lane.
Surveying the damage up close in 2006.

Surveying the damage up close in 2006.

You can imagine the rollercoaster of emotions I experienced on seeing this bike in the street. Frankly, I was on the phone to somebody and had to hang up. I realised that I would pay over the odds to ride this bike again. If it’s yours, leave a comment!

Update @24-8-09

Andy Booth has alerted me to this retro bikes site, and in particular to this beautifully restored 1993 Lava Dome. Sweet.

31 Responses to “Kona Lava Dome wanted”

  1. eddie September 7th, 2009 at 5:28 am

    i have the opportunity to buy a 95 lava dome in good shape for 120-dollars. should i buy?

  2. Al September 7th, 2009 at 5:59 am

    The complete bike? I would!

  3. RMO September 28th, 2009 at 3:18 pm

    I have a 96 black Lava Dome, 26″ wheels. Just finished converting it to an oversized bmx/city cruiser. not the lightest frame but i love the geometry and it rides like a much lighter frame. i get alot of compliments on it. mine was a freebie!! now i if i could just get all these fukkin hideous stickers off the last joker put on!!

  4. Chris October 13th, 2009 at 10:19 am

    Are you still after a lavadome? I have a good condition one sitting in the garage. No idea of its history or year, I’m presumiing around the era your after. It’s a purple hardtail. Email me if your still after one. Swaps consdered.

  5. steve November 28th, 2009 at 12:39 pm

    I’m after a lavadome, mail me if you have for sale, thx

  6. Chris January 4th, 2010 at 9:00 am

    Steve, couldn’t retrieve your email. Still got the lavadome sitting in the garage (it’s due to go on ebay, I’m a roadie!) although off on holiday for two weeks on wednesday. Post your address to and I’ll send some pictures. I’m open to sensible offers or swaps for road bike parts, in the Aldershot area near to London.

  7. Chris January 4th, 2010 at 9:32 am

    Reference sending the pics, I see Andy has posted a link to it above “the quest continues”. And I agree, the shed needs a degundge!

  8. Eden January 8th, 2010 at 11:28 am

    Hi, I stumbled upon this article whilst searching for pics of Kona Lavadomes so I could list mine on Ebay.

    It sold for £215 a few months ago but I pulled out of the sale because the chain slipped on the lowest gear when I test rde it prior to the buyer collecting. I spent another £80 on a new cassette, chain and chainrings.

    Anyway, it is a great bike and I have put a lot of love into it but I have a Trek 6500 and have just won a Marin Point Reyes on Ebay so am looking to sell the lavadome.

    Here are my images:

    http://s174.photobucket.com/albums/w102/edskivega/Kona%20Lavadome/

    Cheers,

    Eden
    the_kudos@hotmail.com

  9. Al January 9th, 2010 at 8:14 am

    @Eden – thanks for your comment. You are an honourable man to be so conscientious going into an Ebay sale! And nice, yellow, after-market handlebar upgrade by the way.

    @Eden and @Chris: I’m afraid both your Lava Domes are purple warriors dating from the early-to-mid noughties. This vintage, for me, marks the moment Kona lost the plot with the Lava Dome. Call me a purist, but only the ’95 version will do it for me.

    @RMO – 1996 black? Surely 2000 mate – http://bit.ly/50omhr

  10. John January 10th, 2010 at 4:54 pm

    Chris .. if you are selling a Lava Dome I may be interested depending on size/ condition. I am based in West London. Please contact me john rolt @ gmail . com (without the spaces!!). Thanks .. John

  11. Eden January 11th, 2010 at 4:01 pm

    There is an older Kona Lavadome currently on Ebay. Nt sure f the age but deff got to be pre 1995? – http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/Kona-Lava-Dome_W0QQitemZ200426697487QQcmdZViewItemQQptZUK_Bikes_GL?hash=item2eaa5cb30f

  12. Al January 12th, 2010 at 12:43 am

    @Eden – I think pre-1992 to be honest, my guess 1990. Retrobike a useful resource here, showing what can be done!

    1992 Lava Dome
    http://www.retrobike.co.uk/forum/viewtopic.php?t=9559&highlight=lava+dome

    1994 Lave Dome
    http://www.retrobike.co.uk/forum/viewtopic.php?t=70672&highlight=lava+dome

    And here’s the 1989 version, without a makeover:
    http://www.retrobike.co.uk/forum/viewtopic.php?t=35585&highlight=1989

  13. Laurence February 19th, 2010 at 7:28 am

    I’ve had my 1995 Lava Dome from new. It hasn’t seen a trail for years and is therefore reduced to the commute to and from the train station. Still love it, and it still gets looks from those who know.
    Apart from bar ends, mine is identical to the one in the pic above.

  14. Matt McKinney February 21st, 2010 at 9:27 am

    I have a nearly mint 96-97 Lava Dome that has been ridden for maybe 3-4 total hours in it’s lifetime and hanging in my garage the rest of the time. It is deep blue. I am interested in selling it. I can provide pix and details to anyone interested: mattmck73 (@) gmail.com.

  15. Yan April 14th, 2010 at 11:23 am

    I also have a lava dome hanging in my mum and dads carriage. Same as picture with marzochhi zones and v brakes fitted. Still has the original mr dirt and cleaner tyres. Do I sell or ride it again?

  16. Al April 14th, 2010 at 2:03 pm

    @Matt McK – still keen to see the pics if you have them.

    @Yan – dig that bad boy out and get him dirty! Or sell him to me…

  17. Yan April 16th, 2010 at 6:00 am

    Have a look on e- bay one on at moment

  18. Yan April 16th, 2010 at 12:18 pm

    Al sorry I may have spoilt bike. Will post some photos on web site and make me an offer. Best bike I ever had. lost a bit of balance with zokes but still the best suited for up hill riding. Thinking of buying a nice city bike only 14 miles there and back to work and with current petrol prices! Or do I buy a pair of slicks for those mavic rims and do the retro life. Perhaps forty from Stoke bought from Roy swynnertons I could look good again

  19. Legs, Feeling No Pressure » Retro bikes – Marin Mount Vision September 12th, 2010 at 3:44 am

    [...] a few models up from my old 1995 Lava Dome, and from the same classic Kona vintage. But the Explosif was stolen by some Tang Hall lowlife, and [...]

  20. MAT October 7th, 2010 at 1:37 am

    I HAVE A LAVADOME AND AM ABOUT TO LIST IT ON EBAY

  21. Dave February 8th, 2011 at 9:22 pm

    I have a 95 Lava Dome like the one pictured above. I am getting ready to post on craigslist in Tucson, Az.

  22. Gareth April 9th, 2011 at 2:25 pm

    I have the almost EXACT same bike here in Leeds. Original ’95 spec, but for a Dean Ti seatpost, Onza canti’s (looks like the same your mystery bike has). Still has the Mr Dirt front tyre. Glad to see yours had a great life. Mine alas lives more sedately these days. Good luck with the hunt!

  23. neil June 23rd, 2011 at 9:34 am

    i have a mint kona lava dome for sale in burnt orange 1996 its as i say mint £250 ya wont get better for money 07500450256 call if interested

  24. Jacobo July 3rd, 2012 at 7:33 am

    I have rebuilt my 1994 lava dome months ago
    Lovely frame tubing and nice project two fork

  25. Andrew Bucknall August 12th, 2012 at 8:31 am

    Hi
    Not sure if you still require. I have just put my Kona Lava Dome spec Cinder Cone framed 1994 model on ebay

    http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/180950585379?ssPageName=STRK:MESELX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1555.l2649

    The frames were same Chromoly double butted but Cinder had better Shimano spec (Deore DX or XT I think). I have Cinder frame after destroying Lava Dome frame in mountain biking incident. You know the type…

    Anyways, go for a bid or ‘buy it now’.

    It’s mint and I’ve given it a damn good citrus clean bath!

  26. Dave Walsh April 12th, 2013 at 12:36 am

    Hello, are you still in search of a 95 lava dome?

  27. alastair April 14th, 2013 at 12:12 pm

    Hi Dave – Could be, is it the midnight blue one? What do you have?

  28. Kez May 20th, 2013 at 4:10 am

    I have a 1995 midnight blue Lava Dome. Almost original spec, have changed rear wheel, derailleur, grip shifts and seat. The rest is as it came 18 years ago, when bought from new. (20″ frame? Would have to measure)

  29. Kez May 21st, 2013 at 5:47 am

    Forgot to mention, it’s for sale!

  30. alastair May 31st, 2013 at 1:56 pm

    @Kez where are you based? Pics please!

  31. Kez June 1st, 2013 at 4:12 am

    10 hours left on ebay! Hopefully this link works.

    http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/KONA-Lava-Dome-Mountain-Bike-/271212571594

    Based in Farnham, Surrey..

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