It seems you can’t open the internet these days without reading the news of some new merger or acquisition within the bike industry. In fact, while writing this story, another acquisition was just announced. But here, we’ll focus on the news from Kona Bicycles as they just announced that they have joined Kent Outdoors.

No, not that Kent. Kent Outdoors, formerly Kent Watersports, has nothing to do with Kent Bicycles or Kent International. Instead, Kent Outdoors is headquartered in Snoqualmie, Washington, and their CEO, Ken Meindell, happens to be a lifelong cyclist.

“I’ve been riding mountain bikes since the days of coaster brakes. I started with fully rigid forays into the forests where I grew up and the stoke never really left. It’s safe to say it’s in my blood. Working with Kona fulfills a dream of mine, and I can’t wait to help bring more iconic bikes to cyclists all over the world.” -Ken Meidell, CEO

The acquisition of Kona Bicycles was announced along with the company rebrand by Seawall Capital, the private equity owner of Kent Watersports. Additionally, Kent Outdoors announced the acquisition of BOTE, further establishing its position as a leader in the watersports world.

According to the press release, Kona’s founders Dan Gerhard, Jake Heilbron, and Jimbo Holmstrom will all be staying in their current roles and the company is keeping all staff, offices, and their history intact.

“Our partnership with Kent Outdoors signals our renewed commitment to competing in a rapidly evolving industry,” said Jake Heilbron, Co-Founder of Kona Bicycles. “We are more dedicated than ever to building great bikes, partnering with our independent bike dealers, and maintaining the Kona Way. In fact, Kent’s investment will enable Kona to invest more meaningfully behind these goals to better serve our independent retailers, team members, and consumers worldwide. By partnering with Kent, we’ll give more people the freedom and empowerment of getting outdoors on Kona bikes.”

Press Release:

January 19, 2022
KONA BICYCLES IS JOINING KENT OUTDOORS (FORMERLY KENT WATERSPORTS)

At Kona Bicycles, we live for the long, sweet ride, and believe the journey is the best part of any adventure. Since our humble beginnings in Vancouver, we’ve spent the last 34 years building innovative, durable, fun, and eye-catching bikes for all kinds of cyclists. We’ve grown from a small Pacific Northwest company into a far-reaching global brand. As cyclists we know that every good ride has some memorable moments and our journey at Kona is no exception. Today we are dropping into new terrain and are excited to announce that we are joining the Kent Outdoors (www.kentoutdoors.co) group.

Our goal has always been to make great bikes that we love to ride. With the influx of resources from Kent we’re now able to dive deeper into our passion projects and build better bikes than ever before. We’ve built our brand on doing things differently, and we have no intention of changing that. We just get to do more of it now.

Kent is committed to ensuring we get to keep using our own special recipe when it comes to making great bikes—a lot of hard work, a little bit of weird, and a whole lot of good times. Our new CEO, Ken Meidell, is a lifelong cyclist. His history and experience leading respected outdoor brands like Dakine, Outerbike, Outdoor Research, and Cascade Designs sets us up for success and growth through our ever-expanding customer base and sales channels. He’s already accepted our invitations to join us on a bunch of our rides, be it exploring our favorite loamy singletrack, chugging gravel bikes up way-too-steep climbs, or partaking in the after-work pub crawl.

“I’ve been riding mountain bikes since the days of coaster brakes. I started with fully rigid forays into the forests where I grew up and the stoke never really left. It’s safe to say it’s in my blood. Working with Kona fulfills a dream of mine, and I can’t wait to help bring more iconic bikes to cyclists all over the world.” -Ken Meidell, CEO

Kent’s portfolio of outdoor brands covers a wide variety of recreational activities and seasons. We’re joining the likes of Arbor Snowboards*, HO Sports, and Connelly Skis—all leaders in their fields. We’re excited to bring the Kona experience to Kent and carry them throughout all seasons, because there’s never a bad time to ride a bike.

Our founders at Kona—Dan Gerhard, Jake Heilbron, and Jimbo Holmstrom—will be staying on in their familiar roles to help a new generation of leaders at Kona guide our company to even greater heights. We’re keeping all our staff, all our offices, and all our history. We’ll never forget where we came from, and we’re eager to see where we go next.

“Kona remains committed to building great bikes, working with a rapidly growing network of independent bicycle retailers, and maintaining the Kona Way in everything we do. We’re excited about the future and look forward to growing with the Kent family.” – Jake Heilbron

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Michael C
Michael C
3 months ago

Hopefully, it’ll turn out to be a good or at the very least neutral transition. Sadly, in the sports industry, changes in ownership often don’t work so well. Good Luck Kona!