Interbike 2008: Kona bicycles

Yes, those are down tube shifters that you are looking at in a ’09 bike. It seems that the retro trend is ‘in’ at interbike. Check out Kona’s line of urban/commuter/utility bikes:


  1. Ghost Rider

    You may notice after looking at Moe’s Kona Flickr set that the Kona “Kapu” frame (with the chromed lugs) looks suspiciously like the Bianchi “Stelvio” being released in 2009. There’s a lot of speculation that it is the very same frame with merely a different paintjob. And this is totally possible — the Taiwanese/Chinese factories that produce frames do so for a variety of companies.

  2. Smudgemo

    I, for one, am totally down with retro. I swapped out the STI on my commuter for bar-end shifters, and love them.

    Really, $300+ for a set of 9 speed Ultegra shift/brake levers? $500+ for 10 speed D/A? I’m going to try some down-tube shifters next.

  3. Iron Man

    Down tube shifters?! That’s a retro touch I could do without. I can’t think of one benefit of it, other than maybe maybe maybe easier maintenance. But my 8 yr old Tiagra set is running fine. To each his own though.

  4. db

    Yeah, I’m not going back to downtube shifters. Brifters are more expensive, but worth it in my experience.

  5. Palm Beach Bike Tours

    I like the bar-end shifters on my Trek and have gotten used to the integrated brake/shifters on the Bianchi.

    In high school, I was riding my father’s hand-me-down Windsor (from Mexico) with down tube shifters. All I remember is that every time I road in the rain, the shifters ended up with a bunch of road gunk on them and the shifting went all wonky.

    So, no thanks on the downtube shifters. I’m still partial the bar end shifters but I do see the value of the integrated brake/shifters.

    My cousin borrowed the bike in 1994 while he was down visiting. He left it parked in front of a bar one evening and it was stolen. I haven’t seen the bike or talked to him since that visit. True story.

    The Windsor was steel, of course. It also had ‘safety breaks’. When I went to buy a replacement bike four years later in 1998, I asked for the dual-break setup. I couldn’t find anyone at any local bike shop that carried the safety break and only a couple people had ever heard of that setup. So, I went without.

    Oddly enough, in the last six months, I have been in two bike shops that were selling bikes (one Giant, one Specialized) with that break setup. The folks at the shop said that was the next big thing and that it enhanced bike safety.

    Everything old is new again.


  6. Ghost Rider

    “Safety brakes” as in those horrible levers that went along the tops of the handlebars? In other words, “suicide levers”?

    The new bikes with “inline” or “cyclocross” levers are a vast improvement to those old suicide levers — dual braking position and positive engagement from either set of levers.

  7. Mike C

    The downtube shifters make sense if they are going for a retro theme. And at least with Kona, they have an upgraded model with brifters. While the retro Fuji with downtube shifters is still expensive, I’d imagine that spec’ing DT shifters allows for a lower price point. At least that’s what I’d hope. So that someone could pick up a decent steel framed bike with basic equipment at a fair price and upgrade per personal perference. It stops making a lot of sense if these bikes still get sold for a premium. And even more begs the question about the value of a new bike like the one with DT shifters vs. a used 12sp from the 80s.

  8. Ghost Rider

    At least these downtube shifters are indexed, unlike a lot of older ones (not that there’s anything wrong with vintage friction DT levers — that’s what I run on a couple bikes), and that the levers above are Dura-Ace, so you KNOW they’ll work beautifully.

  9. tadster

    yeeeah inline levers… installed them on my 925 cowhorns and they are a great addition.

  10. Will

    Personally, I’m happy to see that Kona is rocking some old DT shifters on these bikes. I like it. It would be a little strange to go back to them after having brifters for so long, but the aesthetic is amazing. They are one of those “retro” things I like and wouldn’t mind seeing on new bikes.

    I will say, however, that I am not excited to see turkey wings (aka suicide levers) come back. Inline levers are a vast improvement over that “retro” piece of technology.

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