Frame Design

The Kona frameset spec says ‘Tange Prestige/Concept/Ultra custom tubeset with new extra light db stays’. The seat and down tubes are Tange Prestige Ultimate Ultrastrong, with the unique reinforcing ribs on the down tube, the top tube is Ultimate Ultralight and the stays are Tange Prestige Concept. All heat-treated tubes and Tange Prestige Ultimate as its name implies was the highest level of tubing that Tange made.

The size 16 frame weighs exactly 4lbs, so a size 18 or medium size would weigh c4.25lbs.

So it’s a fairly light frame, even though the design is focussed on stiffness and strength. There was a lighter form of Ultimate, Superlight, that was used by other makers, e.g. Rocky Mountain Altitude, Marin Team Issue, Parkpre 825, Orange Prestige and indeed Joe Murray’s own VooDoo Bizango. I guess Joe chose the heavier Ultrastrong down tube here just because it made it a better bike – for front-end stiffness, firm location of the fork and accurate steering. Many people think lighter equals better, but you need the best compromise between light and stiff. That’s what Joe gave you in this frame.

The frame geometry provides a 71 degree head angle and a 74 degree seat tube angle with a 41cm axle to crown Project Two fork. This size 16 has a 538mm centre to centre top tube (c560mm horizontally), a sixteen inch centre to top seat tube (thirteen inches centre to centre),a 9 cm head tube (pity it’s not longer), 425mm chainstays and a 30mm bottom bracket drop with a P2.

My frame has serial number F310 5418, which means it was built in the Fairly works in Taiwan in October 1993. The 1994 model went on sale from the autumn of 1993 and the frames would have been built from around April 1993 onwards, so this is perhaps more towards the end of the 1994 production run, even though it was made in 1993.

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