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  1. #1
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    1992 Kona Explosif Pro for touring?

    I found a 1992 21" Kona Explosif Pro with Deore DX components that I am considering buying for my South American tour.


    Here it is:





    I'm worried about two things.

    1.) The chainstay length is only 16.75 (42.5 cm). I read somewhere that 45cm is ideal for touring, however we are talking about 1".
    Is this long enough for heavy load touring.. Is the geometry 'ideal' for touring?

    2.) The front fork is currently a rox shock. I will have to replace this with a rigid fork. Will this be an easy replacement, and will the bike have the same functionality after replacement?

    Here are the specs
    http://www.konaretro.com/articles/ca...92/92Page8.jpg

    The dude accepted my offer of $200; does this sound like a decent price?

    I have plenty of time to wait and find the right bike, but this one looks like a very nice bike at a very reasonable price.

    Thank you.

  2. #2
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    Looks to me like it would work fine. Chain stay length is not that bad. There are touring bikes with that length of chain stays. I just looked at the geometry of the 2010 model, I don't know what year this one is, but I doubt it would be too complicated to replace the fork. Surly sells LHT forks and others sell forks as well. The Surly LHT fork has a little more offset 6 mm, but given the head tube angle of the Exlosif I don't think that would be a bad thing. It would reduce trail buy a bit. The Kona looks like a worthy bike to me. BTW, there are plenty of folks that tour with suspension forks and do fine.
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  3. #3
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    You worry too much. Touring the suspension fork can go.. find a replacement
    that will allow fitting racks., if you want to carry front panniers.
    Last edited by fietsbob; 12-18-12 at 12:39 AM.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ciufalon View Post
    Looks to me like it would work fine. Chain stay length is not that bad. There are touring bikes with that length of chain stays. I just looked at the geometry of the 2010 model, I don't know what year this one is, but I doubt it would be too complicated to replace the fork. Surly sells LHT forks and others sell forks as well. The Surly LHT fork has a little more offset 6 mm, but given the head tube angle of the Exlosif I don't think that would be a bad thing. It would reduce trail buy a bit. The Kona looks like a worthy bike to me. BTW, there are plenty of folks that tour with suspension forks and do fine.
    Thanks Ciufalon.

    From pictures it looks like most of the guys and girls that ride with suspensions keep weight off the front. Otherwise I would imagine the shocks are shot in no time.

    Quote Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
    You worry too much. Touring the suspension fork can go.. find a replacement
    that will allow fitting racks., if you want to carry front panniers.
    Fietsbob! You are probably right.

    I just want to make sure I spend the little bit of money that I have on a functional bike.

    Who better to ask than a collection of experts, eh.

  5. #5
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    You can get rack mounts for suspension forks if you decide you want to keep them. Here's some lnks to folks touring with suspension forks. Some have front panniers, some don't. Old Man Mountain makes nice racks. The Sherpa and Ultimate Lowrider racks found here are both compatible with suspension forks. There's another from Europe called the faiv, but it is more expensive. Just wanted to show you some options, but the Rox Shock is probably not that great a suspension fork for touring.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hDkKZGHaFtE
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JOzl_hGRiko
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QnbsKdu5LS4
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RAUZY5i7ZEs
    Be the person your dog thinks you are.
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  6. #6
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    Ciufalon.

    The chainstay on the Kona is 16.75. I am worried about heel strike on the panniers.

    Lots of what I am reading say this results in A.) Heel strikes or B.) The weight ends up being centered behind the rear axle which makes the bike squirrelly.

    Another option I have heard is to put the big panniers on the front, and the small ones on the back creating a 60/40 ratio of front to back weight.

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    One builder had this to say about short chainstays:

    http://search.bikelist.org/getmsg.as....9703.0704.eml

    Another seemingly knowledgeable forum guy had this to say about touring bikes:

    'Avoid bikes with chainstays 42cm or less. Be suspcious of bikes with chainstays in the 42mm - 43cm range. Be confident with bikes with chainstays 44cm or more. - Short chainstays will generally limit your max tire size to less than 28mm. Chainstays in the 42.5cm range (common on 'cross bikes and some current sport tourers) often cause heel strike problems with riders with large shoe sizes (made worse if they use 175mm cranks). I have size 13 feet and can't use rear panniers on bikes with less than 44cm stays. Some rack/pannier combinations offer some degree of adjustability, but getting a bike with longer stays generally solves the problem.'

    I'm a size 12 shoe with 175mm cranks most likely :/

  8. #8
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    Steltz02, based on your last post, I would look for something with longer chain stays. With a shoe size and crank length like that, you will definitely encounter heel strike unless you have the load centered well back of the axle. There are many older mountain bikes with longer chain stays, but I mean older, and some are not looking to go with something like that (unknown history) and dealing with updating. There are some good deals to be had on the kind of bike you are looking for, but you need to be persistent and the bikes are not always local so you can check them out in advance. I say take your time since you have it, and find the right bike. Saw a 1984 Trek 890 the other day for $120 on the LA CA C-list that had very long stays. That is just one example.
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    Thanks for the great advice.

    I check CL and ebay daily. I'm sure the perfect bike will come up, but like you said, it just takes time.

    An early 90s stumpjumper seems to be ideal as well. I have found a couple of late 80s stumpjumpers, but they had chainstay U-brakes which I am trying to stay away from.

    I'm going to start a thread with hopes of compiling a list of candidate mountain bikes for touring. Doing a google search reveals alot of people looking for a list like this, but there is nothing out there.

    Please contribute to the list

    Peace

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    Do buy the bike anyhow ! I have a 93 Kilauea and Konas from that era are great bikes. Sell the fork and buy a steel fork with the right length considering what travel the RS fork had. I think you still can buy the Project twoo forks that the rigid version came with. 200 $ is a steal for a bike like that !

  11. #11
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    I know plodder. Someone is going to get an amazing deal (he put it back up for $180) and it's in great condition.

    However I am trying to sell bikes and downsize now, the last thing I need is another bike... no matter how much I want it. I'm leaving in June for a multi-year tour in South America.

  12. #12
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    I wouldn't pay 200 for that bike, even if it were NOS.

    Get a touring bike for your tour. Panniers + size 12 shoes means you'll probably have heel strike on any std mountain bike (42.5-43.0cm is very common CS length for all mtbs). A proper touring frame will give you 45-47cm CSs, and that extra 2-4.5cm of CS will make all the difference. You could try getting an unusually long rack, and small bags, and placing the bags far rearward. Someone always suggests this workaround. This tends to cause handing problems, shimmy being somewhat likely outcome of this combination. You can usually avoid these headaches if you simply get the right bike to start with. A Surly LHT or similar will not cost significantly more than many other possible poorer choices. Cost of the bike will be minor relative to air fare/transport, food, lodging etc for a foreign, multi-year tour. Get the right equipment so you can focus on enjoying your adventure.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by seeker333 View Post
    I wouldn't pay 200 for that bike, even if it were NOS.

    Get a touring bike for your tour. Panniers + size 12 shoes means you'll probably have heel strike on any std mountain bike (42.5-43.0cm is very common CS length for all mtbs). A proper touring frame will give you 45-47cm CSs, and that extra 2-4.5cm of CS will make all the difference. You could try getting an unusually long rack, and small bags, and placing the bags far rearward. Someone always suggests this workaround. This tends to cause handing problems, shimmy being somewhat likely outcome of this combination. You can usually avoid these headaches if you simply get the right bike to start with. A Surly LHT or similar will not cost significantly more than many other possible poorer choices. Cost of the bike will be minor relative to air fare/transport, food, lodging etc for a foreign, multi-year tour. Get the right equipment so you can focus on enjoying your adventure.
    It seems to me that if you get the right MTB with long chainstays, it can be a very good alternative. At least that's what many of the touring guys on here have told me. Is the only reason you don't like an MTB for touring due to chainstay length? I just started a thread to hopefully get a list going of candidate frames. I think the 80s and early 90s specialized (hoppers and stumpjumpers) Trek 950s and 850s all have > 44 cm chainstays.

    I have heard about the shimmy problem due to weight being too far behind the rear axle, that's why I'm trying to find the right MTB.

    You pay $150 + racks and panniers for the mount instead of $1000 + and that leaves you a bunch of extra cash.

    The bike travels with me to South America for 75 bucks on spirit air, we will be working on farms for room and board and otherwise sleeping in the woods and eating rice and beans

    If I had the money for a Surly LHT, I would get it, but it just isn't in the cards.

  14. #14
    djb
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    My 15 yr.old Rockhopper has 44cm chainstays and for my size 9 feet and my panniers heelstrike is not an issue, but you could see that size 12 , combined with panniers that are perhaps "squarer" could be a.prob.
    Seems to me you should be wary of wasting time and money on any bike you are not sure will work from this specific aspect (not to mention all the other angles of buying a used bike in terms of costs of fixing up things for it to be very reliable for a trip of this scope)

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by steltz02 View Post
    It seems to me that if you get the right MTB with long chainstays, it can be a very good alternative. At least that's what many of the touring guys on here have told me. Is the only reason you don't like an MTB for touring due to chainstay length? I just started a thread to hopefully get a list going of candidate frames. I think the 80s and early 90s specialized (hoppers and stumpjumpers) Trek 950s and 850s all have > 44 cm chainstays.
    You are mistaken about the CS length on mtbs. I'd guess 99% of all mtb frames ever made have 42.5-43cm CSs, with only a handful of exceptions in the 80s at the beginning of the mtb era, and most of these frames have very slack STA and HTA. I know for a fact that Trek 950/970/990 has a 43cm CS, since I own a one. Heck, even some of Trek's dedicated tourers (520) had 43cm CS depending on model year. Read about it yourself here:

    http://www.vintage-trek.com/index.htm

    The difference between some mtb frame and a LHT is only ~200 bux. Save and buy one.

  16. #16
    djb
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    re chainstay length, I was in fact mistaken with my late 90s Rockhopper, I thought it was 44 but it is in fact 43cm--given that my shoe size is 9, someone with size 12 would most likely have problems, especially with larger panniers.

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    Quote Originally Posted by seeker333 View Post
    You are mistaken about the CS length on mtbs. I'd guess 99% of all mtb frames ever made have 42.5-43cm CSs, with only a handful of exceptions in the 80s at the beginning of the mtb era, and most of these frames have very slack STA and HTA. I know for a fact that Trek 950/970/990 has a 43cm CS, since I own a one. Heck, even some of Trek's dedicated tourers (520) had 43cm CS depending on model year. Read about it yourself here:

    http://www.vintage-trek.com/index.htm

    The difference between some mtb frame and a LHT is only ~200 bux. Save and buy one.
    Seeker the way I'm calculating, if I find the right MTB with good components I will spend ~200.

    I can't see getting an LHT for less than $1100..

    That's a huge chunk of money. How are you estimating the $200?

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    Don't know where your list of suitable MTB frames is but you could add this one to it: 1985 Peugeot Canyon Express. 18.5" C-stays, 3 water bottle braze-ons, pump peg (full size) behind the seat tube, dual eyelets on fork and rear dropouts. Only thing missing is mid fork lowrider mounts. Cantilevers on the seatstays, too - no C-stay U Brake. I got mine for 40 bux from the local thrift, and my second for 200 from a local online listing service.....







    Someday I'd like to tour with it, but too many other life obligations right now....

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    Quote Originally Posted by steltz02 View Post
    How are you estimating the $200?
    It's sold as a frameset and complete bike.

    I bought my Disc Trucker frameset in September for $356, which included UPS shipping to my doorstep.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Smokinapankake View Post
    Don't know where your list of suitable MTB frames is but you could add this one to it: 1985 Peugeot Canyon Express. 18.5" C-stays, 3 water bottle braze-ons, pump peg (full size) behind the seat tube, dual eyelets on fork and rear dropouts. Only thing missing is mid fork lowrider mounts. Cantilevers on the seatstays, too - no C-stay U Brake. I got mine for 40 bux from the local thrift, and my second for 200 from a local online listing service.....
    Beautiful, I will add it to the list.

    Quote Originally Posted by seeker333 View Post
    It's sold as a frameset and complete bike.

    I bought my Disc Trucker frameset in September for $356, which included UPS shipping to my doorstep.

    Very nice. How much were the components?? What was the total build cost?

    I'm finding a 2013 LHT 26" for around $450.

  21. #21
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    Heelstrike issues are a result of a combination of pannier size, chainstay length and shoe size. Most tourists travel with two large panniers in the back which will bring all those together to create the problem. Travelling light and using four small panniers front snd back will normally kill any heelstrike issues.

    The Kona Project 2 front fork is still available as NOS with eylets for mounting a front rack and is an excellent choice. A suspension fork and front rack combo is counter productive because panniers just load the unsprung weight. You might as well have no suspension.

  22. #22
    Bicycle Repair Man !!! Sixty Fiver's Avatar
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    The Explosif with the DX components is an outstanding bike and I would not be passing GO if I was looking for a bike like this... the shock would get replaced with a Project 2 and DX compnents in good condition are worth the price of admission.

    I already have a first year Explosif that I am fitting out with XTR... these frames are beautiful.

    For touring, a mid eighties MTB / ATB would be an excellent choice and I would not pass on a bike if it had a chain stay mounted brake... have been running my Kuwahara Cascade as a touring bike for many years and tens of thousands of km and the U brake has served me quite well.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Burton View Post
    Heelstrike issues are a result of a combination of pannier size, chainstay length and shoe size. Most tourists travel with two large panniers in the back which will bring all those together to create the problem. Travelling light and using four small panniers front snd back will normally kill any heelstrike issues.

    The Kona Project 2 front fork is still available as NOS with eylets for mounting a front rack and is an excellent choice. A suspension fork and front rack combo is counter productive because panniers just load the unsprung weight. You might as well have no suspension.


    So you say 16.75" chainstays are long enough if I use small panniers on the back?

    Have you done touring with such short chainstays?

    How do you feel about 32 spokes vs 36 spokes?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sixty Fiver View Post
    The Explosif with the DX components is an outstanding bike and I would not be passing GO if I was looking for a bike like this... the shock would get replaced with a Project 2 and DX compnents in good condition are worth the price of admission.

    I already have a first year Explosif that I am fitting out with XTR... these frames are beautiful.

    For touring, a mid eighties MTB / ATB would be an excellent choice and I would not pass on a bike if it had a chain stay mounted brake... have been running my Kuwahara Cascade as a touring bike for many years and tens of thousands of km and the U brake has served me quite well.
    Could I put these DX components on a Surly LHT frame if it came to that?

    Have you run a tourer with 16.75" stays?
    Last edited by steltz02; 12-26-12 at 01:04 PM.

  24. #24
    Certified Bike Brat Burton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by steltz02 View Post
    So you say 16.75" chainstays are long enough if I use small panniers on the back?

    Have you done touring with such short chainstays?

    How do you feel about 32 spokes vs 36 spokes?
    I've done touring on a modified 1993 Giant Prodigy which is a hybrid, as well as a Miyata 1000, which is a dedicated touring bike, and lots of daytrips with mtb bikes and a backpack. The bikes have ocassionally been loaded front and back, but my preferred setup is FRONT panniers and barbag - which makes chainstay length irrelevant anyway. There's nothing there. However, if you want to load the back, smaller, higher mounted panniers will eliminate heelstrike. Some toprack bags have fold-down side pockets, some rack models (Arkel) will let you carry a backpack. Get imaginative!

    When some of the established 'norms' for cycletourism were introduced - there wasn't the same selection of compact lightweight equipment available as we have today.

    Spoke count is relative. A 32 spoke wheel in a 26" size is LOTS stronger than a 36 spoke wheel in a 700c size. Assuming the bike is your size and in very good condition - and assuming you won't insist on travelling with the kitchen sink - its a great bike and worth reconsidering.
    Last edited by Burton; 12-26-12 at 01:46 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Burton View Post
    I've done touring on a modified 1993 Giant Prodigy which is a hybrid, as well as a Miyata 1000, which is a dedicated touring bike, and lots of daytrips with mtb bikes and a backpack. The bikes have ocassionally been loaded front and back, but my preferred setup is FRONT panniers and barbag - which makes chainstay length irrelevant anyway. There's nothing there. However, if you want to load the back, smaller, higher mounted panniers will eliminate heelstrike. Some toprack bags have fold-down side pockets, some rack models (Arkel) will let you carry a backpack. Get imaginative!

    When some of the established 'norms' for cycletourism were introduced - there wasn't the same selection of compact lightweight equipment available as we have today.

    Spoke count is relative. A 32 spoke wheel in a 26" size is LOTS stronger than a 36 spoke wheel in a 700c size. Assuming the bike is your size and in very good condition - and assuming you won't insist on travelling with the kitchen sink - its a great bike and worth reconsidering.
    Can I lay a 60 L backpack perpendicularly across a set of small panniers in the back and bungee them down, scooting the bag as close as I can to the seatpost to properly balance over the rear axle?

    Also how about putting a set of large panniers on the front?

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