Posts Tagged ‘lavadome’

Kona Lava Dome – the quest continues

Chris's Kona.

Chris's Kona.

In response to my shout out for a midnight blue Kona Lava Dome, Chris from Aldershot got in touch to offer me first refusal (or swapsies) on his purple weapon.

Unfortunately, according to the hazy pics on Bikepedia, I reckon this is 2002 vintage, officially after Kona lost the plot with its frame designs. Let’s keep it old-skool, Chris. But good luck with off-loading the rig – and nice shed by the way!

Kona Lava Dome wanted

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.