Posted by Editoress on 01/20/22
Canadian bicycle company Kona has announced that it is being sold to Kent Outdoors, a multi-sport U.S.-based company. Company founders Dan Gerhard, Jake Heilbron and Jimbo Holmstrom say they will be staying with the company.
Kona has had its headquarters address in Ferndale, Washington state - across the border from Vancouver - for many years, but it has always, at heart, been a Canadian company. Jake Heilbron has taken me to task in the past for always listing their Canadian address, but has also admitted that the U.S. address was partially to help sales in the U.S.
The company began in 1988 and is primarily known for their mountain bikes, with considerable success over the years on the World Cup Downhill circuit. However, they did (and do) make a well developed line of road and 'cross bikes - including the infamous 'Jake the Snake' model.
Many Canadian mountain bikers got their start on Kona bikes, including Roland Green and Ryder Hesjedal, as well as Kris Sneddon, Wendy Simms and Peter Wedge. Others to race in Kona colours include Steve Peat, Greg Minnaar, Fabien Barel and Tracey Moseley. The current endurance team includes 24 Hour world champion Cory Wallace.
Peter Wedge (2002)
Geoff Kabush (2003)
Fabien Barel, 2004
Roland Green (2005)
Peter Wedge (2005)
Wendy Simms (2006)
Cory Wallace (2019)
In an announcement on Konaworld.com, Gerhard and Heilbron say:
Our goal has always been to make great bikes that we love to ride. With the influx of resources from Kent, we're now able to dive deeper into our passion projects and build better bikes than ever before. We've built our brand on doing things differently, and we have no intention of changing that. We just get to do more of it now.
Kent is committed to ensuring we get to keep using our own special recipe when it comes to making great bikes - a lot of hard work, a little bit of weird, and a whole lot of good times. Our new CEO, Ken Meidell, is a lifelong cyclist. His history and experience leading respected outdoor brands like Dakine, Outerbike, Outdoor Research, and Cascade Designs sets us up for success and growth through our ever-expanding customer base and sales channels. He's already accepted our invitations to join us on a bunch of our rides, be it exploring our favorite loamy singletrack, chugging gravel bikes up way-too-steep climbs, or partaking in the after-work pub crawl.
"I've been riding mountain bikes since the days of coaster brakes. I started with fully rigid forays into the forests where I grew up and the stoke never really left. It's safe to say it's in my blood. Working with Kona fulfills a dream of mine, and I can't wait to help bring more iconic bikes to cyclists all over the world," says Ken Meidell, Kent CEO.
Kent's portfolio of outdoor brands covers a wide variety of recreational activities and seasons. We're joining the likes of Arbor Snowboards (managed by Kent), HO Sports, and Connelly Skis - all leaders in their fields. We're excited to bring the Kona experience to Kent and carry them throughout all seasons, because there's never a bad time to ride a bike.
Our founders at Kona - Dan Gerhard, Jake Heilbron, and Jimbo Holmstrom - will be staying on in their familiar roles to help a new generation of leaders at Kona guide our company to even greater heights. We're keeping all our staff, all our offices, and all our history. We'll never forget where we came from, and we're eager to see where we go next.
"Kona remains committed to building great bikes, working with a rapidly growing network of independent bicycle retailers, and maintaining the Kona Way in everything we do. We're excited about the future and look forward to growing with the Kent family." - Jake Heilbron
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