Kona Bicycles Winds Down: Brand For Sale: UK Distributor Continues To Import Stock

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Having bought the Kona brand from the founders just two years ago, owners Kent Outdoors have announced they are abandoning the bike market altogether and have put the Kona brand on the market. Kent Outdoors owns a large portfolio of 15 outdoor brands with a specialism in watersports.

The alarm bells first began to ring this week at the Sea Otter Classic event when Kona employees were seen taking their stand down and leaving the site just a day after setting it up.

One insider, who wishes to stay anonymous, told us Kent believe the global bike industry is unlikely to show signs of recovery for 18 months to two years and they are simply not prepared to wait that long. Instead they are exiting the bike market to focus on their water-sports brands where a recovery is already underway. It’s also an open secret that Kent have been presenting Kona as a possible target for a sale for quite some time now.

In a press release yesterday Kent Outdoors stated, “…In connection with the investment of capital and the management team coming onboard, the Company performed a strategic review of its operating units and determined that it would continue to seek a buyer for its bike business, Kona. This move allows the Company to direct its resources toward investment in its key water sports businesses. The bike industry has faced very significant challenges in the post covid world and Kona has not been immune to these headwinds“.

As for the staff at Kona, they are currently being very tight lipped as to what they have been told at a ‘Town Hall’ style meeting on Thursday. However, a source has told us there are extensive job losses as the company is being wound down completely while Kent looks for a buyer for the brand. Kona as a going concern essentially no longer exists. It’s likely any sale agreed of the brand will be for the intellectual property (IP) only. We understand that Kent are looking to offer some staff jobs within it’s other brands although this number is very small with the majority of staff being let go.

We are still waiting for an official announcement from Kent Outdoors regards the levels of job losses and we will update this story when we have more information.

This leaves a number of factories in the far east with a large quantity of unpaid for Kona bikes, which brings us to part two of this story…

Meanwhile in the UK, Kona supplies continue

Kona distributor Mount Green Cycles, based in Bacup, Lancashire have today told us that they intend to continue importing and distributing Kona bikes into the UK market via it’s network of dealers, which kind of sounds really strange with the brand winding down. In a press release sent out to all dealers Mount Green Cycles boss Scott Taylor puts Kona’s problems squarely at the feet of the brand owners and not the state of the market or general Kona bike sales.

In the coming hours Kent Outdoors will put live a press release announcing they are pulling out of the bike business, alongside more positive news for the rest of their portfolio of brands.

This means, through no fault of its staff, its amazing product or its global network of loyal fans, Kona USA and its EU entities will cease trading in the coming months.

Scott Taylor – Mount Green Cycles

Taylor claims that due to Kona owners Kent Outdoors slowing down their supply chains over the last year while they decide what to do with the brand that rather than the typical glut of stock in the system there is actually a shortage of some Kona models with some dealers actually putting in back orders for certain models. Taylor told us he intends to try and satisfy that demand and get some of the stock currently sitting in factories moving into the UK. He can do this due to a quirk of how Kona as a brand has historically dealt with distributors.

Taylor explained to us that rather than distributors buying stock directly from Kona they instead have traditionally paid the factories directly for their orders. With distributors being the customer of the factories Taylor is in the position to be able to deal directly to source his supplies of Kona models. What he can’t do is order more bikes beyond what have already been manufactured so his supply of Kona models is finite although be understands that their is plenty of stock of most models including some as yet not released ranges.

Of course this may all completely change if a buyer is found for the brand, but for the short to medium term at least, UK riders should still be able to buy Kona models with full warranty even if the global brand shuts down completely, claimed Taylor.

While there is a plentiful supply of stock of Kona bikes available, including a whole new range, Taylor cautions that unless a buyer is found for the global Kona brand, ultimately there will be no future for Kona once all currently manufactured stock is sold.

He also explained that his plan is not unique and other distributors around the world with similar direct customer connections with the Kona factories may also decide to buy up and sell some of the the existing stock currently sat in the factories.

So in short, Kona will still have an ongoing presence in the UK via its existing 60+ Kona dealers with full warranty being assured by dealers & Mount Green Cycles with the caveat of ‘While stocks last’.

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Home Forums Kona Bicycles Winds Down: Brand For Sale: UK Distributor Continues To Import Stock

Viewing 40 posts - 1 through 40 (of 64 total)
  • Kona Bicycles Winds Down: Brand For Sale: UK Distributor Continues To Import Stock
  • oldfart
    Full Member

    @Mark I thought Kona UK was in Chertsey?

    Could see this coming when Dan and Jake left 😔

    2
    oldfart
    Full Member

    IMG_20240420_141123340

    1
    oldfart
    Full Member

    IMG_20240419_075817741_HDR

    oldfart
    Full Member

    IMG_20240419_075800157_HDR

    1
    oldfart
    Full Member

    FB_IMG_1704180462093

    oldfart
    Full Member

    Best hang on to this lot then 👍and my 2012 Ti Raijin which was one of 250 frames worldwide, I got one of the last 2 in Europe, it’s so similar to today’s gravel geo that I’ve ordered a pair of Gravel Kings for it 👍

    oldfart
    Full Member

    DSC_1524

    kimbers
    Full Member

    So how much are they selling it for ?

    Tom83
    Full Member

    Mike Ashley’s ears just pricked up.

    3
    fenderextender
    Free Member

    How come so many supposedly financially savvy investors didn’t realise the covid peak was a blip, not the norm?

    It’s just so dismaying when it takes a decent, established brand with it.

    2
    kimbers
    Full Member

    Mike Ashley’s ears just pricked up.

    now that would absolutely break my heart!

    Tom83
    Full Member

    now that would absolutely break my heart!

    Most peoples!

    jimmy
    Full Member

    How come so many supposedly financially savvy investors didn’t realise the covid peak was a blip, not the norm?

    I think the key to this question is use of the word savvy.

    Jamze
    Full Member

    👎🏻

    I’ve been watching a 95 Cinder Cone on eBay, same as my old one.

    IMG_20190327_114200

    fenderextender
    Free Member

    I think the key to this question is use of the word savvy.

    Well, technically it is the word ‘supposedly’ but that is by the by.

    It’s just crazy how many investors assumed it would continue. Ridiculous, in fact.

    1
    DickBarton
    Full Member

    An easy dollar/pound/whatever was seen to be appealing and I suspect many folk didn’t really think it all through.
    The pandemic made a killing for a lot of the bike industry and many didn’t see it stopping as the amount of money was (relatively) flowing in.
    A genuine shame but I think people aren’t serial bike changers as much as they were, cost of living has impacted a lot of people, so fewer are chopping and changing as frequently. Bike industry still wants us buying new kit yearly, but consumers that do that are fewer these days.
    I suspect when the cost of living stuff does ease then more people will have more disposable (or credit) to spend on stuff that isn’t house or living bills.
    Until then, bike industry will need to dig deep and hope to survive.
    That is my uneducated prediction…

    fenderextender
    Free Member

    ^^^^

    All of that notwithstanding, though, were they not aware of the second hand market and what would happen after a glut of brand new bikes had been purchased?

    It just seems so crackers to me. And I wouldn’t care if it was their own* brands and cash that were going down the gurgler. But when it takes down a brand like Kona who were there from the early days, it seems such a shame.

    *Obviously they own the brands, but it is not their own since inception.

    DickBarton
    Full Member

    Absolutely agree…

    didnthurt
    Full Member

    Capitalism, pffft! Shite eh!

    Pick a well known brand that has either been bought and then ran into the ground or just disappeared.

    There’s dozens of them and that’s not even including anything outside the bicycle industry.

    Nostalgia is a bitch at times.

    Kona, coming to a Sports Direct near you…..

    But is this any different to when they were stocked by Halfords?

    4
    molgrips
    Free Member

    How come so many supposedly financially savvy investors didn’t realise the covid peak was a blip, not the norm?

    People who buy businesses aren’t always interested in running them as successful businesses.

    grimep
    Free Member

    Used to want one in the 90s but went Orange instead. Bought a Cinder Cone for the kids earlier this year, nice bike if a bit generic.

    1
    Mintyjim
    Full Member

    b120dba9-da89-4d0d-b907-b50f342e5aceSo sad. I loved my Manomano, late 90’s vintage. First bike I took to the Alps.

    ampthill
    Full Member

    It seems to me that the original knew what was going on and sold at the top of the market. The buyers were new to the market and bought at the wrong time at the wrong price

    Very sad. It’ll leave some gaps in the market. I loved my Kileau which became my first hardtail.

    1
    nickc
    Full Member

    So apart from a bit of 90’s nostalgia, have they actually made a bike in the last decade that anybody wanted enough to buy?

    convert
    Full Member

    It’ll take a brave (or ignorant of what’s going on) buyer or retailer to buy the existing stock from the UK distributor.  Or they’d have to be at Chiggle style fire sale pricing.

    Kona have their place in MTB history but a bit like say Klein those fond memories don’t necessarily require the brand name still being slapped on new bikes. In some ways the legacy is stronger if a third party doesn’t try to keep it limping on or do a phoenix with it reappearing years later like Muddy Fox or even Saracen.

    As ever the existing staff deserve the most sympathy – I can’t imagine there’s too many opportunities in the industry elsewhere to apply for right now.

    2
    ThePinkster
    Full Member

    Capitalism, pffft! Shite eh!

    I don’t think it’s capitalism, per se, as without capitalism we wouldn’t have the choice we do for cycling. The problem is the impact of venture capitalism, big businesses just focused on making a massive profit no matter what who see small term financial gains as being far more important than the flesh and blood that works to make the profit.

    This is getting to be the case more and more these days and many smaller companies are getting screwed over just so a few very rich people can get bigger wallets.

    4
    wheelsonfire1
    Full Member

    IMG_2425I bought one! The most fun I’ve had on a bicycle in years…

    2
    mrauer
    Full Member

    UnitJones

    Had this since 2008, ridden over 50.000 km :) Still ride this bike the most.

    My first Kona was Coiler, in 2001.

    2
    thelooseone
    Full Member

    Ah man, this is rubbish!

    My first Kona:

    7791422A-6DBB-46AD-9E89-AC21DED49372_1_201_a

    And my most recent:

    IMG_1102

    jamj1974
    Full Member

    Still have my ‘95 Cindercone.  Hands down my favourite bike.

    3
    beaker
    Full Member

    As a nineties mountain biker Kona were always an iconic brand to me. It’s  sad to see this happen but they aren’t the brand they were. I think I’ll keep my ‘95 Kilauea for the foreseeable…

    IMG_4305

    somafunk
    Full Member

    I had those brakes ^  for a while on my 94 Indian fire trail, Onza’s?

    3
    plus-one
    Full Member

    Love a Kona. Still own the Explosif (1997) and the Bandwagon 🙌🏻

    RustyNissanPrairie
    Full Member

    My favourite Kona was a Smoke from 2010 ish. It was a cheap low budget commuter with full guards and v brakes. I only bought it on a whim as they were half price somewhere @ £200.

    It was the only bike I’ve ever just ridden and not upgraded straightaway, it did 10×1000’s of miles in all weather’s commuting to work. It was a great bike – had such a nice feel to it.

    beaker
    Full Member

    Yep, Onza HO. Always wanted some BITD.

    matt_outandabout
    Full Member

    So apart from a bit of 90’s nostalgia, have they actually made a bike in the last decade that anybody wanted enough to buy?

    Yes.

    I was saving for a Sutra LtD.

    But MtB wise, no, not for me.

    kcal
    Full Member

    my only Kona (had been Specialized up til then) is a 95 Kilauea with the SS adapted dropouts. Second hand (probably 3rd hand as it was stock returns). Still a very quick and nimble bike on the right terrain.

    2
    edhornby
    Full Member

    The Ute and Minute were brilliant at getting cargo bikes out at sensible prices, I have fond memories of my Ute.

    Kuco
    Full Member

    Loving the old steel Kona XC bikes.

    1
    hot_fiat
    Full Member

    My old Stinky after it was driven forwards and backwards through the upgrade machine. Was a fun bike.

    P6280125

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