Cycling News

Original Kona owners step back in to save brand

Original Kona owners step back in to save brand

Just two years after selling the brand, and one month after the new owners declared the brand was finished, Kona’s original owners are back at the helm

Kona announced that Dan Gerhard and Jake Heilbron, who founded Kona in Vancouver back in 1988, are back in charge. The very welcome good news comes after the new owners, Kent Outdoors, decided to shutter the brand quite dramatically on the eve of Sea Otter.

Gerhard and Heilbron won’t be alone. The announcement states that the two original owners are purchasing the brand back and “along with a team of dedicated, experienced Kona employees, are reuniting to keep the Long, Sweet Ride rolling.”

Return to a more familiar Kona

From the initial sounds of things, fans of the brand can expect some sort of return to a more familiar Kona in the future.

“With this return to being rider-owned and operated, we’re doubling down on our unique brand legacy and getting back to some basics.”

The shift to Kent Outdoor’s ownership was far from smooth. Along with a bit of a culture clash, and axing most of the long-running race team, Kent also attempted to move Kona to a Direct-t0-Conusmer business model.

Much of that will be reversed. Head offices will be in Ferndale, Wash. and North Vancouver, B.C. Kona is also stopping DTC and returning to its network of independent dealers. Hopefully it also means that its remaining team riders, like the Okanagan’s Tayte Proulx-Royds, will still have a home at the brand.

Better pricing but no BOGO

The announcement also included planned changes to lower prices on Kona bikes. Kent made waves with a Kona Buy One Get One Free sale last fall, but don’t look for a round two of that event.

“In more good news, we are now positioned to price our bikes much more competitively. Private ownership allows us to be more streamlined, more flexible, and quicker on our feet. This, combined with the support of our suppliers, means we can deliver high quality bikes in a distinctly Kona flavor at super attractive prices. We’ll never do a BOGO Sale again, so don’t ask, but we promise to offer good value for good money, always”

It has been a wild few years in the world of mountain biking. We’re happy to see Kona’s story taking a positive turn. Hopefully there is still a future for this Canadian-founded brand that is as long as its already storied history.

Click Here to Read the Full Original Article at Canadian Cycling Magazine…