Direct to consumer sales to be paused as the brand renews relationships with dealers


Kona has been bought out by the pair who started it all, after Kent Outdoors announced it was looking to sell the US bike brand. Founders Dan Gerhard and Jake Heilbron said on May 20th they would pause the direct to consumer sales model, and instead “best honor” their “dealer relationships” – in other words, go back to a dealer model.

Kona Bicycle Company was founded in 1988 by Gerhard and Heilbron, and owned the brand until 2022, when Canadian sporting goods conglomerate Kent Outdoors added it to their portfolio of brands. In April 2024 they announced plans to sell Kona, and announced mass job cuts.

Kona Honzo

Lucky for us, bikes like the Kona Honzo will still be available for some hardtail fun

What does this mean for customers?

Whether you were looking to buy a Kona (I mean, who could resist a buy one get one free sale?) or you’re already a Kona bike owner, you might have some questions about what this acquisition means. The statement from the founders suggests that new inventory will be moved back to their warehouse. They also announced plans for new bikes, alongside keeping on the newly released Ourboros. What we can read from this is that it looks like they’re continuing to look forward with their plans.

There’s nothing specific about warranties or support for existing customers, but one should imagine that it won’t be impacted – the statement also focuses on renewing relationships with their North American and European dealer network as their “highest priority.” They are, however, pausing direct to consumer sales. There’s no word on how permanent a move this is, but the brand has made it clear that its first priority is dealer relationships:

“Most of us started out in bike shops, and in our eyes, IBDs are our strongest advocates and allies. Healthy retailers are integral to making sure that Kona fans everywhere experience the ride of a lifetime.”

Kona Mahuna

The Kona Mahuna is a former MBR test winner, and remains in the brand’s repertoire for the time being

Cheaper bikes?

The statement also goes on to say that Kona will be able to “price our bikes much more competitively.” Citing private ownership allowing the brand to be “more streamlined, more flexible, and quicker on our feet.” This of course is a positive for consumers who have seen bike prices pretty inflated in recent years. The statement continues:

“This, combined with the support of our suppliers, means we can deliver high quality bikes in a distinctly Kona flavor at super attractive prices. We’ll never do a BOGO Sale again, so don’t ask, but we promise to offer good value for good money, always.”

So is now the time to buy a Kona? Well, you’ve missed the boat with a buy one get one free offer, but it’s great to see the brand being ‘rescued’, and going back to its roots. Undoubtedly we’ll see plenty more interestingly named bikes popping up in the coming months and years – you’ll just have to buy them the old fashioned way – from a shop.

You can read the full statement here.