Kona Lava Dome wanted
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
- 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.
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!