If my cyberspace friend Andy hadn’t pointed out this rusty incomplete green thing in the midst of a pile of derelict bikes in an eBay job lot, who knows what would have happened to it. The lot was otherwise a pile of scrap metal, about thirty bikes, but this one was clearly a 1994 Kona Explosif. The buyer happened to live just down the coast from me, so I contacted him via eBay and agreed to meet up. I kind of told myself it would make a nice bike for my daughter, but I do also like small frames myself.

He had scavenged many of the bits that worked, leaving a frame with some paint and some rust, plus a stuck seat post and some parts. The paint that had survived was in good condition, and had the original decals, but on parts of the paintwork, particularly under the down tube, years of neglect had taken its toll and there were masses of unrepaired stone chips, all gone brown with rust. But it was free of cracks and dents and basically straight (I took a wheel to check that it was centred within the stays).

There was a broken fork, a broken headset, seized brakes, decent Velocity stem, Bontrager/Titec titanium handlebar (would have been more valuable if not for the mid 90s fashion to cut bars down to 50cm), Kona brake levers, Suntour XC Pro thumbies, Sugino Impel cranks and dead rings. All original parts, but not exactly working. Anyway, we agreed £100 (he paid that for the entire lot) and we were both happy.

After taking it all to bits, I sold the bar for £25 and smaller amounts for the stem, brakes (freed after a few weeks soaked in PlusGas) and headset, which somebody needed for spares. The thumbies work and are worth £20 or so, maybe I’ll sell them sometime. The fork is ok aside from its broken crown, but I found one for peanuts with an intact crown and everything else broken. The good bits put together might be worth £30.

Netting all those things off, the frame didn’t cost me much. I think it was sold as frame only for £399 back in the day.

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