I put thousands of miles on my Jake the Snake before calling Kona to ask if my bike was really named after a reptile. Turns out Jake Heilbron (aka Jake the Snake) is one of the owners of the Bellingham, Washington-based company -- and a darn good cyclocross racer to boot. I also discovered my bike was one of the more practically named Kona products. "Sometimes there's not any reason for the names," says Cory Blackwood, Kona's Advocacy Guy and Sales Rep. "Things just come up through random conversation."
Here's a quick look at six quirky -- and sometimes offensive -- Kona monikers.
Tanuki: "Google this for fun," Blackwood says. A tanuki is a frequently drunk, mythological Japanese raccoon-like creature with huge nuts. Seattle-based writer Tom Robbins -- who has no connection to Kona other than that some of the guys enjoy his books -- writes: "Tanuki fell from the sky using his scrotum as a parachute." Like Robbins' tanuki, this XC dual suspension bike is ballsy enough to take on any challenge.
Sex One and Sex Too: Despite a pleasurable suspension experience, these bad boys received endless complaints, which caused Kona to discontinue the line. But, "in our own childish ways, we started making the Scab and Stab and other violent names," Blackwood says. "No one complained -- so obviously violence is okay in America, but sex is not."
Paddy Wagon: This steel-frame single-speed/fixie was named for Kona's Product Manager, Paddy White. However, many people don't find the name as flattering as White. In the early 1900s, drunk Irishmen were swept off American streets in "paddy wagons" -- a term that many people of Irish heritage find offensive.
Humuhumu-nukunuku-apua'a Deluxe: This is the only bike named after a state fish: Hawaii's colorful Humuhumu-nukunuku-apua'a. "We've always had Hawaiian names, and that was a fun one," Blackwood says. The simple, one-gear bike held the record for the longest name in the industry until Ventana came out with its El Conquistador de Montanas. To reclaim the title, Kona added "Deluxe", and there you go -- a classic cruiser with a really long name.
a: Kona had the longest name in the bike biz, so they decided to create the shortest name as well. This single-speed, full-suspension bike has more shocks than gears. "Plus, we're part Canadian, and they all say 'eh' a lot," Blackwood jokes.
To check out these and other Kona bikes with funky names -- including the Hei Hei, Honky Tonk and Stinky -- visit KonaWorld.com.