Thursday, February 16, 2006

Once again KONA gets it right...Utilitarian cycling in the third world

Kona reveals Africabike

Bike maker Kona - best known for its tough downhill and freeride mountain bikes - has been working for the last several months on something very different. The Africabike is Kona's contribution to the fight against HIV and AIDS in Africa. It's designed to be a durable, practical bike for the conditions humanitarian aid workers encounter in Botswana and Kona is scheduled to ship 200 of the bikes in April.

A far cry from the carbon wonderbikes and long-travel suspension machines we covet in the west, the Africabike features a steel frame (for ease of repair); a step through frame (to accommodate female riders who wear traditional skirts); Shimano coaster brakes (chosen because they are more durable than pull-brakes); a singlespeed drivetrain (which has fewer parts to break); and 26-inch mountain bike rims with specially designed Continental tires that are resistant to the thorns and rocks that litter Botswana's roads.

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