1. Intro

This bike has been in storage since the late 90s, and was the first and only race-spec MTB I've ever bought.
With retro-biking a coming trend I've decided to get this bike rolling again.

The Kona Kilauea was a beautiful steel hardtail and had one of the best non-custom steel frames built in the 90s.
Steel frames are said to have soul, as compared to aluminium or carbon frames, and this bike is no exception.

When I took it out of storage, just a few days ago in 2018-09-02, and took a short testride it was like riding on air. Fast, light and nimble; like coming home after a long travel. At times like these I wonder why in the world I quit mountainbiking in the first place...

These pages will document the restoration over time.


The white-framed Kona Kilauea 1995.

 

2. The story starts

Back in 1994/95 when I was in my early twenties and still a university student, I was shopping around for a MTB because a friend had been competing for a while, and I was interested in starting too.

2.1. Getting a bike

This was just about in the pre-internet days and you had to actually go around (or cycling on a ratty Nishiki Timbuk as I did) and physically visit bike shops.
I was lucky this time, the local bike dealer Eriksbergs Cykel had a very nice collection of Cannondales, Marin and Kona bikes, and of course this Kilauea.
The bike was expensive, oh so expensive, and I had both second, third and fourth thoughts about doing the deal.

After much agoinising and dealing with the shop-owner, and after a significant amount of my student loan was invested in this deal, I became a Kona-rider.

2.2. Customising and setting up

I spent quite some time to adjust and set this bike to suit me.
I was never very happy with the Grip Shifts to start with, and at the first cross-country competition I scrubbed my skin so badly between the index finger and thumb, I just had to replace the Grip Shits to regular Shimano lever-shifters. I've never been happier!
The fork was also a thorn in my side. It looked out of place, straight as it was and also gave the bike some handling problems, nervous almost and too fast steering. Just about the only good thing about this Kona P2 fork was the weight. Light as a feather is an understatement.
I saved money for a while and got hold of an almost new Rockshox Judy XC fork. Things got better, although heavier. Soon enough I discovered that the elastomer damper blocks in the fork were quite temperature dependent. Hard as rocks at normal Swedish spring and autums temperatures and almost bearable in summer. Biting the bullet I splurged on a pair of aftermarket White Brothers green springs instead. I was happy again.

2.3. Rolling on

I used this bike for another five or so years, until I felt I didn't have the time to pursue this anymore. The then girlfriend was more interesting, and the job I got after graduating more important.
The bike was put in storage after lubricating everything as well as putting a fresh layer of Judy-butter on the fork springs.


Still got the original Rockshox box of Judy Butter fork lube!

 

2.4. Opening a time capsule of joy

As mentioned earlier, a few days ago I took the Kilauea out again, as both I and our youngest son seemed to have gotten interested in mountainbiking (again) after having seen several groups of cyclists while we were having a bicycle outing out in the woods. He on his red little 16"-wheel kiddy bike and me on an ancient orange three-speed Crescent.

The Kilauea was fine and in as good shape as is possible after a few years use and yet more years in storage. Except for lubricating the chain and moving parts of the derailleurs, brakes and all levers, I only had to re-inflate the tires and I was good to go.

My neck however did not like the low handlebar position. I will have to do something about the steering stem, maybe getting a new higher one, or an adjustable, in order to have a more upright and comfortable position.
I also need to get a new pair of clippy shoes, as the Shimano-shoes I had, were sort of long in the tooth...

IMG 20180903 192704 DRO
The Shimano cycling shoes seems to not have kept up over the years...

 

That's it for now. I'll be back when I have updates to share.
In the meantime, enjoy the below incomplete list of goodies!

 

3. Bike specs 

3.1. Frame and fork

Frame construction: TIG-welded steel
Frame: Tange Prestige Concept
Fork: Kona P2 rigid
Fork, aftermarket: Rockshox Judy XC 1997 fork
Fork springs, aftermarket: White Brothers, green

 

3.2. Components

Component group: Shimano Deore XT
Derailleur rear: Shimano Deore XT 
Derailleur front: Shimano LX
Shift levers: Grip Shift SRT-600
Shift levers: Shimano levers
Brakeset: Ritchey Logic cantilever
Brake levers: Kona Race Light High Command
Crankset: Sugino Impel 600
Pedals, aftermarket: N/A
Rear cogs: 8 speed
Seat post: Marin
Saddle: Kona Race Light Equilibrium
Handlebar stem: Kona Race Ligt Velocity
Headset: 1 1/8" Kona Race Light Impact
Handlebar: Bontrager Titec 150 g
Handlebar extensions: Specialized

 

3.3. Wheels

Wheels: 26"
Hubs: Shimano STX
Rims: Mavic 237-S
Tire front: 26 x 2,0" Kona Mr Dirt Kevlar
Tire rear: 26 x 2,0" Kona The Cleaner Kevlar
Spokes:
Spoke nipples: Brass