Kona Explosif Bike Bike 1998 or Older

4.73/5 (73 Reviews)
MSRP : $1699.00


Product Description

Kona Explosif


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Reviews 1 - 15 (73 Reviews Total) | Next 15

User Reviews

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:4
Submitted by Greg R a Cross Country Rider

Date Reviewed: June 20, 2012

Strengths:    Originally paid $450.00 for the frame only.

What can I say, I got the frame originally as a crash replacement from Kona through a local bike shop in Nanaimo. I rode my Kona Lava Dome down a steep rock at the Abyss straight into a tree; ahh yes, the Lava Dome was fine, however, I couldn't believe how great the explosif frame was, when I got all the components moved over. It was way better than the Lava Dome. I continued riding many thousands of miles over the next 15 years, mainly in the city hopping up and down from curbs, bumping down gravel roads and the occasional trail rides, what can I say, this was the best bike I ever owned, hands down.

Kept the rigid fork, never used with shocks, and the quality of the ride and responsiveness for quick urban manouevres was amazing.

Nowadays, you just don't see frames like this. Many changes to the bike over the years, but the frame always made whatever components were added feel great. What can I say, many thousands of happy hours were spent on this bike.


Weaknesses:    Well, my frame has finally quit. The threads in the bottom bracket wore slowly through the years, until they won't grip the bottom bracket on the drive side anymore. It's sad to see such a great frame go out of business that way, but I think I got my money's worth. If I see another explosif frame for sale around here I can swap my parts into at a reasonable price, I'll buy it instantly.

Bottom Line:   
If you see one in good nick, buy it in a heartbeat - you won't be disappointed.

Expand full review >>

Price Paid:    $450.00

Purchased At:   Bike store in Nanaim


Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Metachemical a Cross Country Rider from Kingston, Ontario, Canada

Date Reviewed: April 23, 2009

Strengths:    Super light, fantastic quality, quick on single track and climbing

Weaknesses:    A little too flexy for my weight (215lbs)

Bottom Line:   
I managed to score an amazing deal on this - I worked at a Kona dealer and called Kona to see if they had an 06 Explosif in stock. They didn't, but they did have an 01 (the white and black Scandium one) in my size and only charged me $100 for it. Beat deal I've ever gotten. I built the bike up with a few new parts and some from my old stumpy, and got going. Super light, just flows like butter on single track, great climber. The only drawback is the frame has "worn" considerably in the last two years... the feeling has gone a bit. Apparently that's normal for a Scandium race frame such as this. I've since made this my second bike but I still love her.

This is a bike for old school cross country riders who like to get a good workout on the trail... you can't be lazy on this bike at all. It's a bike for those of us who remember riding bikes without susension forks and hydraulic brakes.

Gravity jocks need not apply.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Thunder Ridge

Duration Product Used:   2 Years

Price Paid:    $500.00

Purchased At:   Source For Sports

Similar Products Used:   Specialized Stumpjumper FS, Paramount 50, Jamis Dragon

Bike Setup:   LX/XT derailleurs, Tora 318 Fork

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Hugh a Cross Country Rider from Glasgow

Date Reviewed: August 9, 2007

Strengths:    Lively, light and nimble

Weaknesses:    Paint

Bottom Line:   
Bought the 98 Explosif 2nd hand from Bothy bikes in Aviemore for £850 in 1999. A lot of money but better than the rrp of £1449. A good bike was made a whole lot better with the considerably lighter crossmax wheels and the lightest tyres I can get when I replace them. Thought I'd add an updated review to keep the thread alive. 853 is excellent tubing but I've noticed a slight asthetic dent in the top tube. I reckon it will still do another 9 years and I might even get a good paintjob for it. Great for long distance XC and with maintenance friendly wheels a gran tourismo!

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Monadhliath

Duration Product Used:   More than 3 years

Purchased At:   Bothy Bikes

Similar Products Used:   Nuthin like it

Bike Setup:   Mavic crossmax (non-disc)& X-Flite saddle

Overall Rating:1
Value Rating:1
Submitted by a a a Downhiller from noha

Date Reviewed: June 24, 2007

Strengths:    nothing

Weaknesses:    everything

Bottom Line:   
crap

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   a

Duration Product Used:   Tested or demo'ed only

Price Paid:    $1.00

Purchased At:   a

Similar Products Used:   U.R.M.U.M.S Kona Makena

Bike Setup:   nizzle wontons

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Jerry Meyers a Cross Country Rider from Edmonsprawl

Date Reviewed: October 30, 2006

Strengths:    Superb tubing, sweet geometry, very durable, beutiful ride.

Weaknesses:    I wish my 98 had disc mounts.

Bottom Line:   
I can't even begin to describe the good times this fine ride has brung over the last 8 years. I love the ride and handling more now than when I submitted my first review way back in 98. If you can pick up one of these 853 beauties grab it up fast. Climbing, descending, turning, tight and twisty or just cruising it does it all well. The paint is a little chipped but the frame looks classic.

My current setup is a rigid SS/fixie and it excells on the trails. Throw on the gears and the 85mm TALUS and it's a sweet, up to date XC machine. The 98 Explosif has stood the test of time, definately a keeper.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Brandon Hills

Duration Product Used:   More than 3 years

Price Paid:    $550.00

Purchased At:   Doug's Bicycles, Belleville

Similar Products Used:   89 Team Stumpjumper, KHS Team, Trek Y22, RM Element, Titus Loco Moto, Cove Stiffee, Turner 5 Spot and RFX

Bike Setup:   In the 8 years I've had this frame it has had 97 Z2, X Fly 100, TALUS, P2, and Surly 1x1 forks, XC wheels, many tires, and cockpits.

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Dave Kerr a Cross Country Rider from Vancouver, but currently Toronto

Date Reviewed: July 4, 2005

Strengths:    The frame is over 10 years old an going strong, and if the wheels hadn't been stolen I'd still be on the original Shimano XT hubs

Weaknesses:    Poor maintenance on the part of the owner (me) means that the paint is chipped and not the sexy black ride it used to be.

Bottom Line:   
The only drawback is that I got the frame a little too big so it's tricky in the single track, but this baby climbs like there is no top in sight. I just saw some video of the start of a race I was in... once I was in the saddle I was "gone" up through the crowd of dualies and aluminums. The way this frame rides everything except serious vertical is amazingly smooth and it's only the fact that the frame is just a little too big that gets in the way.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Anywhere my bike is beneath me

Duration Product Used:   More than 3 years

Price Paid:    $600.00

Purchased At:   From a buddy

Similar Products Used:   Had a Norco Sasquatch before this and nothing else since.

Bike Setup:   Upgraded over the years, currently Bomber Z2, V-brakes, sychros rings that I just can't seem to bend or break, a grip shifts. The rear derailleur is finally dead but I only need the big or little ring anyway ;-)

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by simon a Cross Country Rider from huddersfield

Date Reviewed: January 24, 2005

Strengths:    96 explosif great frame vrey quick responceive

Weaknesses:    none as yet

Bottom Line:   
i allways wanted a explosif when i was younger but never got round to buying one till i bought a frame off ebay for 58 pounds about 3 months ago then biult it up with 96/97 parts. man what a bike quick responcive not to heavy it reminds me what mountain biking is all about. a friend of mine said nothing rides like a kona he was right!!!!!!!!

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   3 months

Price Paid:    $400.00

Purchased At:   all parts sourced off e-bay

Similar Products Used:   custom built hard tails full sussers

Bike Setup:   96 explosif frame sram 9.0 esp groupset 96 xt chainset plus xt wheels u.s.e flat bars(96) control tech stem +seat post flite ti saddle manitou sx ti forks

Overall Rating:3
Value Rating:4
Submitted by Harcourt J. Whifflespliff a Cross Country Rider from Acton, ON, Canada

Date Reviewed: April 27, 2003

Strengths:    Light as all get out, climbs like nobodys business, lightning quick responsiveness.

Weaknesses:    I can't really find any thus far.

Bottom Line:   
Alright I'm pretty much reviewing the frame as I have done a bit of a rebuild. So it was a 17" 96' vintage with the Columbus tube set and ugly green paint. I'm a small guy 135-140 lb on a good day and I'm standing at about 5'7" - 5'8". This a very sweet riding bike and it is hands down the most responsive bike I have ever owned. It tracks like it's on rails, the lightness combined with the
responsiveness can get you out of all kinds of dodgy situations in a hurry, and it climbs and climbs and climbs and climbs. Gotta love that Kona geometry, all the angles add up very nicely, and BTW the Dukes replaced the stock Judy XCs and did not affect the geometry near as I can tell. The same can also be said for replacing the stock flat bars with riser bars. I relaize the steel hardtail is a dying breed but this bike is quite the XC gem considering how much you would spend for one used. Unlike aluminium of course the metal does not fatigue as much, so snaping up an old one is pretty safe if you know what to look for so far as structural integrity is concerned. And lastly I just found out my favourite repair shop Bicycles Etc. in Guelph ON - who rebuilt my cherished ride - is no longer in business so thanks to them for the fine service and most useful advice over the years. Well that's my too sense, enjoy...

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   4th Line Speyside, ON, Kanada

Duration Product Used:   2 Years

Price Paid:    $400.00

Purchased At:   Cash Converters

Similar Products Used:   My buddy used to have a Rocky Mountain Hammer that was a steel frame. I was on an aluminium Stratos so we swaped all the time for kicks.

Bike Setup:   Well I rescued this baby from a pawn shop and pretty much did a complete rebuild on it. So as it sits now it's spec'd as follows. RF tubines with XT bb, Magura rim brakes, XTR hubs Weimann rims, Mythos XC rubber, Monkey Lite lo-rise bars, Kona ti Flite saddle, Ritchey post, RF Thermo HS and Prodigy Stem, XT, Sachs Shfting, Salsa grips, and Duke Race forks.

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Andy Radcliffe a Cross Country Rider from Isle of Man, British Isles

Date Reviewed: October 4, 2002

Strengths:    Fine frame geometry, excellent paint job (design and quality)

Weaknesses:    Could lose a pound or two,but is is a 1989 frame-what do you expect.

Bottom Line:   
Probably the oldest Explosif reviewed here.
1989 with that Pistachio/Yellow spatter paint job (Still looks damn good too!)
Magnesium "U" brake at rear and Project 2 forks are probably the only original components.
Still a really enjoyable and satisfying bike to ride - all the updates that have been made to it over the years only add to this as the frame and fork are great (if not the lightest). I hpoe to be still riding this bike in another 10 years!

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   More than 3 years

Price Paid:    $400.00

Similar Products Used:   Rocky Mtn Blizzard.

Bike Setup:   XT 8 speed with Rapidfire shifters, Titec stem and bars, USE seatpost, Flite Ti saddle, xt hubs, Mavic Rims SPD's.
Avid Linear pull brake on front, magnesium U brake on back with home designed ratio adjuster(to suit V brake levers)

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Scott a Weekend Warrior from Brisbane, Australia

Date Reviewed: August 2, 2002

Strengths:    Tough and Reliable

Weaknesses:    Mine is an old 95 model, 0ne inch head tube with a threaded headset and rigid fork

Bottom Line:   
This is my first mountain bike. I bought the bike of a Canadian backpacker who needed the cash. It is the best purchase I have made because it introduced me to the wonderful world of mountian biking. The frame itself is reasonable light, tough and reliable. It has taken a battering over the years and I will never get rid of it, even though the frame is to small for me now. If I had not built up a single speed I would have bought another explosif

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   The Jinker Track

Duration Product Used:   More than 3 years

Price Paid:    $600.00

Purchased At:   Bought second hand

Similar Products Used:   My new Surly single speed, Specialized fsr XC

Bike Setup:   Setyp fo commuting: WTB saddle, Control Tech barends, Specialized handlebars, Avid speed dial 1.9l levers and 2.5 v-brakes, rear deore 9s shifter, LX rear derailer, Truvative chain guide (only using one chainring), Specialized hubs and mavic 221 rims with IRC Metro tyres

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Steve Brant a Racer from Corvallis, OR. USA

Date Reviewed: May 4, 2002

Strengths:    Singletrack, climbing

Weaknesses:    Seatpost, brakes

Bottom Line:   
I ride a 95 Kona explosif.
I must say this is the the most responsive bike I have ever had!!! I ride this bike with a rigid fork and suprise alot of riders with it's ability on tight technical singletrack and on climbs.
The Columbus MAX tubeset is very comfortable and the Project two fork is a dream, I love this set-up!!!
I have had a Marzocchi and a Judy on it but I always go back to my project two rigid fork, I guess I am just used to it. Again..... I LOVE MY EXPLOSIF!!!!!!!

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Lupine letdown\Southeside slip

Duration Product Used:   More than 3 years

Price Paid:    $1300.00

Purchased At:   BBB Dillon, MT

Similar Products Used:   Diamondback ascent, Trek 7000, Bridgestone MB-2

Bike Setup:   Thomson seatpost, XT shifters/V-brakes, Mavic X517 wheels, WTB saddle, Kona project2 rigid fork!

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Sean a Weekend Warrior from Sydney, Australia

Date Reviewed: August 28, 2001

Strengths:    The ride!! Overall feel is superb: handling, ride quality, cool factor. Mmmm. Tasty. Good quality parts. Most OEM parts are still going strong.

Weaknesses:    Poor tolerances and tube alignment. Minor details. Could be stiffer.

Bottom Line:   
I still love this bike, but I have discovered a few interesting details that I did not notice before. It is always a joy to ride this bike no matter when or where. So versatile. Through the city, down rocky fireroads, up rocky fireroads, along singletrack. See my previous post for more details. Overall, Kona have got it spot on.

However, when you look at the details, you see some faullts common to most production frames, particularly when made in Taiwan. I noticed that one of my seat stay tubes is not aligned properly. It is rotated very slightly along its longitudinal axis. Obviously when it was being welded. No loss of performance, just a minor manufacturing inconsistency. It means the rack eyelet is not square, though.

Secondly, I recently replaced my OEM headset with a Woodman Saturn. Most people have not heard of this brand, but their tolerances are incredibly high. Possibly better than a King! The first time the mechanic put it on it was very stiff and would not spin freely. After a lot of work and a new headset later, he decided to face and ream the head tube. After that the headset spun soooo smoothly! The head tube was not square or flush, so it was preventing the headset from spinning.

Moral of the story: the head tubes of Konas are not faced with very good tolerances (like most production frames). This is not a problem with cheap (OEM) headsets since they do not have or need good tolerances, or are self centreing. However, if you are installing a high quality headset, face and ream your head tube first!!! If you read the Chris King headset installation page you will get similar advice.

That said, it is a sweet frame... for the price. But it does make you realise the value of a handmade, custom frame...

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   More than 3 years

Purchased At:   Menai Bike Factory!!

Similar Products Used:   Mongoose IBOC

Bike Setup:   '98 model 853 steel, Z2 Bam, XT, Woodman Saturn headset

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by mentre françois a Weekend Warrior from france

Date Reviewed: August 27, 2001

Strengths:    im the owner of a breezer lightning frame since 1994, great bike but because of a frame failure i got to change my bike no guarantee because breezer does not exist anymore .
for a littles more than 100 euros i'll become these days the owner of a new vintage explosif, dark green color and ultrastrong tubing. it seems to be a good bike as i read here. i'm new in the explosif family, i hope the handling of the bike will be as perfect as breezer's sorry for my english peace françois


Bottom Line:   
was passiert ?

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   les vosges mountains

Duration Product Used:   Tested or demo'ed only


Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Duncan Lewis a Cross Country Rider from Shrewsbury, Shropshire, UK

Date Reviewed: August 8, 2001

Strengths:    This bike accelerates so fast out of turns it's amazing. Lets you know everything thats going on under the tires, great feedback. Climbs very well. Reliable.

Weaknesses:    Rockshox indy SL flex way to much. Front brakes rub when your out of the saddle.

Bottom Line:   
I purchased this bike second hand for just £600, i don't know what the US exchange rate was back then, but it sold in the shops in the UK for £1300. Because it was only 2 years old i considered it to be a bargain. For single track this bike is stunning, where i ride the terrain consists of tight trails with wet rocks and roots, so placement of the bike is imperative, picking the correct lines on the explosif is, well, not easy because i'm not that good, but lets say it makes my ride a whole lot of fun.
In a nut shell? This bike is just soooooo FAST!

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   MBR Coed-y-Brenin

Duration Product Used:   2 Years

Price Paid:    $1000.00

Purchased At:   Used

Similar Products Used:   Cannondale F2000, Kona Cinder Kone,

Bike Setup:   XTR front V brake - XT rear V brake. Rockshox SID XC 2001 forks. Michelin Wild gripper lite tyres.

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by DB a Weekend Warrior from Illinois

Date Reviewed: May 8, 2001

Strengths:    Nimble
Sucks up the hits
Plush fork
Made by Kona


Weaknesses:    Tires
Rims just ok
So pretty I'm afraid the Jerry Springer kids next door will steal it.


Bottom Line:   
Now I see why people love 853 steel. Kind of the best of
steel and aluminum. Bike is very nimble, frame is very responsive. It's hard to put into words. You feel the stones and bumps you ride over, but your body is being spared the hits. I got this old bike new over the internet. Without the big discount I wouldn't have been able to afford
it. Kona should be making high quality steel bikes. They seem to belightening up all of their bikes. They're losing their niche in the market and their bikes,except for the dh/freerides, just don't stand out like they used to. I've been a Kona rider, but if they don't start making decent steel bikes I'm going to buy from Rocky Mountain, Gunnar, or Curtlo next time. C'mon Kona, get back to the original game plan.

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   Less than 1 month

Price Paid:    $990.00

Purchased At:   Olympia Cycles Omaha, Nebraska

Bike Setup:   xt/xt
Marzocchi z2 bomber
IRC Mythos

Reviews 1 - 15 (73 Reviews Total) | Next 15

Review Options:  Sorted by Latest Review | Sort by Best Rating


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