Strengths: Awesome material with the double butted tubing cromoly. I used for on road touring (400 km - 1500 km), adventure (uphill, trail, @ mountains of Java: Halimun, Burangrang, Banten, Baduy, South Beach Java, etc). Geometry is amazing for multiused bike. Tough, flexure, comfort, responsive.
Weaknesses: No weakness...
I have 11 bikes, made from titanium, alloy, and the most cromoly. Now, I have 2 Kona Lavadome (1993). The reason are, the bikes proved me that they can use for every kind of tracks. No worried. And, I feel save when I rode my Kona. best geometry for me.
a Weekend Warrior
from Renton, Washington
Date Reviewed: February 23, 2012
Strengths: This is a great bike I found a 1989 royal purple Kona Lava Dome at the thrift store this bike is light, solid and an agile and agressive ride.
Weaknesses: No weakness found yet it excells at climbing and single track.
If you want a simple classic mtb or a solid single track machine this is the bike is the bike for you. If you want to ride technicical or drop offs this isn't the bike for you.
Bike Setup: The only thing changed is the petals to some strap on's, it even has the original tires
a Cross Country Rider
from Devon UK
Date Reviewed: November 10, 2011
Strengths: This bike was bought for pe100nce in GBP, its a 1989 Purple Lava Dome 17 inch - it had been tucked away in someones garage - it has the original tyres even the reflectors on the wheels, impact headset, 165 handlebar, Velocity stem and of course that great frame. I will never get rid of it. As a collector of bikes it is like out of the shop.
Weaknesses: Original pedals were crap, however due to this bikes originality ive rebuilt them but wont last hard riding.
Depends what you want had a few bikes before stuff cames mass produced like retro, My Klein(pre Trek crap)will eat any Stumpjumper, My Rocklobster eats most single speed modern set ups (hybrids) - My Kona draws attention like my Klein, and my Hoo koo e Koo is a great ride but blends in with all - great frame. In my opinion older is better and am looking for a Dave Yates currently.OLD IS BETTER
Similar Products Used: Klein Mantra 1997 in KOI, summer use only - GF hoo koo e koo - general hack but a sweet ride, Rock Lobster - single speed set up - love this bike
Bike Setup: Kona - all standard, kona horseshoe brake brace not in place thats it.Accerlerates like you would not believe
a Weekend Warrior
from westport ct
Date Reviewed: July 29, 2010
Strengths: light weight - cool looking
i bought new in 1997. have schlepped this with me everywhere. now in the burbs in ct, this bike kicks ==s and i am glad to now see through these posts that it has become the classic it deserves to be. woo woo woo !!!
Weaknesses: oem seatpost, no oem disk brake mount (but easy for a skilled frame welder to install), barely enough clearance for 2.3 Conti MTB tire, Time ATAC pedals.
I plan to trail and XC race this frame 'till end of time.
we have survived many fine crashes together on big mountains, the most painful from Butchers Creek and Second Divide (the lesser known trail than Third Divide, yet satisfying). I dig all the paint scratches and scars on my stout and lively frame. I don't mind buffing out the rust and coating with varish. I keep it inside (and locked).
I have replaced all part from the frame at least twice...
Considering Rohloff hub geared drive train, Magura Thor 100/140mm 20mm TA fork, and ceramic bearing UST disk wheelset.
Best "upgrade" so far -- local builder Bernie Mickelson brazed on disk tabs, YEAHH :) and did a masterful job. Thank you, Bernie.
While I'm shopping for a 140~160mm light AM bike and will, in good time, a Kona StabDelux bike for WC level DH bike to supplement, my main ride, Lava Dome, can handle majority of my off-road saddle time.
If you can find a used steel Lava Dome or a similar steel Kona HT (or Vodoo, both are designed by Joe Murray) then grab it.
Bike Setup: Rhyno Lites w/ XT hubs, Thompson seatpost, XT rear der., shifters, SLX cranks Wierwolf 2.1 tires. Kore stem
a Weekend Warrior
from Montreal, Qc, Canada
Date Reviewed: September 17, 2008
Strengths: solid, beautiful, long lasting steel frame, excellent value for the bucks
Weaknesses: maybe the Mavic wheels, but only after ten years...
So why writing a review on an 11 years old bike? After all those years, this is still a pure joy to ride this late 90s steel marvell. Ok, I now use it only as a commuter, so what? I consider myself as an aggressive rider and this bike suits it perfectly. Even after somme modifications to the geometry with the stem extension, the 1.3 semi-slick tires and the longer seatpost, it reacts very confidently. The solid steel frame has a soul and takes all the city abuses with grace. No worries to suddenly quit the bike lane and jump on the sidewalk or make a shortcut through the park.
Beware : at low speed, this bike take a nap; but the more you get crazy on it, the more it asks!
If you find a Lavadome from this era, just by it! Mine is not for sale and I will give it to my son(he's now 3 years old)...
Bike Setup: almost as retailed, with a few additions : Vederstein semi-slick Perfect Moiree tires, 1 1/2 inch stem extension, extra long seatpost, Specialized BG-2 saddle, ESI Grips Racers Edge, large flat pedals
Date Reviewed: July 21, 2007
Strengths: this bike has the most lightest frame but the most strongest out of all the bikes i have ridden, it brilliant at most things, i think i got the best bike for a cheap price
Weaknesses: its weaknesse has to be the gears they sometimes dont chage as quick as they should but they are still pretty good
this bike is worth the money, it doesent brake ive rode mine for 7 years and the only thing i had to replace was the air in the tyres its such a easy bike to ride and i think it will last me a lot longer !
Favorite Trail: santa cruz mountian in ojinaga/mexico
Duration Product Used: 6 months
Purchased At: ozone bikes
Similar Products Used: 97 kona lava dome
Bike Setup: onyx front and back hubs 9 speed,xtr front and back deraileur,xtr brakes,xt dual levers,raceface xc hollowtech crank
a Cross Country Rider
from Wigan, UK
Date Reviewed: March 11, 2005
Strengths: Strong light-weight db. steel frame gives excellent performance and handling especially crucial around the tight single track at Mabie Forest. This is my secound 'LD' first got nicked in town
Weaknesses: Could of fitted LX mechs, but only minor gripe!
Steel has been seen as unfasionable by many riders for a while , he F400 was good but the ride wasn't the same as a good steel frame. Definately wouldn't go back to aluminium, the control and flex this bike gives is just right. I have taken this bike all over the world from New Zealand to Croatia and never disappoints. With the lugs on the rear stays can take a rack which can turn the 'LD' into a capable off-road tourer another great plus.
Similar Products Used: First bike GT Tequesta, very good cromo-steel frame almost upto 'LD' but 'GT' discontinued, 'LD' more than makes up for it. Canondale F400, sold to my Bro, he likes it I don't
Bike Setup: LX rear mech, LX cranks
a Cross Country Rider
from London, Ontario, Canada
Date Reviewed: October 28, 2004
Strengths: Best bike I have ever traded a van for, rock solid performance and no breakdowns in 5 years
Weaknesses: none found yet
wow what a bike, great detailing right to the paintjob. Cant believe I got this one for a run down minivan that was worth less than $300.00, good brakes, good performance, I have literally no complaints, great job Kona
Similar Products Used: yukon, norco products in similar price range
Bike Setup: rst front forks, shimano lx derraileurs, kevlar sided puncture proof tires, everything else stock.
from Addlestone, Surrey
Date Reviewed: June 28, 2004
Strengths: everything is a strength on this bike, all the components are great and last. I did racing on this and it was superb because of its very light kona race frame and shimano equipment is good, LX rear mech, deore front mech, and even XT brakes on a model like this! You can fly up hill and decend with confidence, this bike can take a good thrashing. The kona project 2 rigid fork is excellent.
Weaknesses: none found so far in 4 years or riding.
i have since sold this bike and regret is dearly. This is the best bike i have ever purchased, i have tried similar products from other makes (see above) but even though they are very good, they cannot match up to the perfomance of the lava dome. It gives superb performance and dont be put off by the rigid frok, it is a brilliant ridgid fork and gives great performance. Botom line, if you want and mountain bike that is the best, buy this, and even the prcie was right at $630.
Similar Products Used: Trek 830 croos country Specialized rockhopper comp
Bike Setup: stock 1997 kona lava dome
from berkeley, ca
Date Reviewed: February 27, 2004
Weaknesses: the 1998 stock indy s fork
i have slowy replaced all the parts of this fine bike untill now i have 4.5# green painted frame left of teh original bike, now with many scratches and small dents that i've covered with clear nail polish.
i could have eaily sold my old bike and purchased a new bike (like a '04 $1350 Marin Pine Mountain, since Kona no longer offers butted cromoly steel bikes), but i have had so much fun riding and racing (and crashing) on this sturdy hardtail that i've decided to keep it until it rots from rust or breaks.
Favorite Trail: downieville pauley creek 3rd divide
Duration Product Used: More than 3 years
Purchased At: Missing Link
Similar Products Used: many hardtails
Bike Setup: xt hollowtech 9sp drive train with 11-34 cassette, 2003 marz. mx comp eta 100mm, time atac pedals, hope mini mono hydro disk front brake 400 gram, avid ti rear rim break with sram brake lever, mcmahon ti seatpost, sel flite gel saddle, dave's speed dream 841 gr rear wheel (dual ust&tube), performance topo (dual disk&rim) 813 gram front wheel. titec "downhill" 100mm steel stem, marin xc riser alum handlebar, king headset. pair of irc comp tires.
a Cross Country Rider
from Atlanta, GA USA
Date Reviewed: July 11, 2003
Strengths: awesome paintjob, very efficient climber, very forgiving on fast descents
Weaknesses: none yet
I bought this bike in '97. i believe it's the '96 model, though. It's orange with blue decals.The components that came with the bike weren't the best. However, the frame is such a sweet steel frame, that I ended up upgrading it all the way. The bike now weighs in at around 24lbs., which isn't exactly the lightest xc bike, but the point is that the frame is definitely worth upgrading. I used it for racing for 2 seasons, and it was awesome! I'll be riding this frame until I can't ride anymore, or until it cracks. If you find one for a good deal, BUY IT... you won't regret it... Steel is real!