6 Months Later: My Commuter


I’ve posted something about my Kona Explosif rebuild at the beginning of the winter, right after I had posted a check on what I used to ride as a commuter. Back then, the bike I was building didn’t look like much: the frame looked like shit, which can be understood considering the fact that it’s about as old as I am, but all aesthetics aside, the bike as a whole was pretty much all ass-backwards too; I nearly killed myself about 3 times thanks to my craptasticly inefficient chain tensioner and ridiculously crooked chainline.

Over the winter, I’ve sanded, hacked, spent loads at the bike shop and today, I am ready to present to you the monster that I have created. Lady’s and gents: my commuter.

It used to be a Kona Explosif, an almost legendary XC bike from what the bike shop boys and the internet tells me, but now, it’s a really fast single speed mutant. Here is the parts listing:

Frame: Kona Explosif ‘92 Fork: DMR Trailblade 9mm Headset: FSA Orbit Crank:</span> Stock Shimano ripped from the Explosif Sprocket: Blackspire Epic 42t Chain: KMC 710SL Tensioner: DMR STS Pedals: Animal Hamiltons Stem: 4Rox (generic?) Bars: Stock Straight Kona’s with Animal Edwin Grips Brakes: Shimano lever with an almost uncut WTP slick cable and stock Explosif brakes. Back only. Seatpost/Seat: Stock seat from Explosif Rear Wheel: 36h Profile MTB cassette laced with DT Swiss spokes to a Sun CR18 Front Wheel: Proper Magnalite 32h (not picture, being built as I write) laced to an Alex DM18 Tires:</span> Serfas Vermin Front, front and back

First thing people see on the bike is the enormous BMX style brake cable. I went on a bit of a frenzy when grinding the derailleur cable stoppers, and without the traditional stoppers to put my cables in, I had to rip the cable off my BMX (which had me running with HUGE bars and no brakes from then to today) and install it on their as best as I could. I cut the cable a bit… but wanting to keep the BMX style brake cable loop, I left lots of it on there. I think it gives it loads of panache.

Otherwise, obviously the paint was redone, the frame in John Deere green and other components in white. All the prep work on the parts really helped: the paint looks awesome and doesn’t chip like other can paint jobs I’ve seen. Take my word for it, the secret for a nice paint job is great attention to prep work, and spraying on several light coats. I got some custom stickers done too, based on the original Kona artwork of the time. Kinda expensive for some totally non-functional decoration, but it gives it a clean look, so whatever.

The only thing that I’m less stoke about on this bike is the gear ratio, at least for now. I’m running 42/14 as of right now. The mathematically inclined will have guess by now that it’s a 3:1 ratio… for someone who just got off the regular urban MTB 36/16 (2.25) gearing, it’s pretty big, so I’m having a bit of trouble torquing my cranks over hills and in strong winds. Otherwise, on level ground and when the weather is optimal, it’s almost scary fast, fast enough to be able to play through moving traffic, which I find is incredibly fun.

Anyways, I’m pretty happy to have been able to recycle my old man’s bike. It cut the costs big time, and I feel that it’s quite special to be riding on something that already has stories of sick rides at local mountain resorts attached to it. Maybe one day I can even pass it on to my youngsters too!

You can check out more artsy photos of my commuter on it’s very own Flickr page.