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Kona Bicycle Brand for Sale After Dropping Out of Sea Otter Bike Show

At one of cycling's biggest events, the surprise shuttering of Kona's booth kickstarted conversations about what the industry downturn might mean.

Sea-Otter-Kona-1The above image shows where Kona Bicycles abruptly closed its booth at Sea Otter shortly before an announcement that the company is now for sale;(photo/BikeRumor)
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The original version of this story was published on BikeRumor.

It’s likely a tough week for the employees of Kona Bicycles. After setting up a booth at Sea Otter, one of the cycling industry’s largest annual gatherings, Kona employees were told to tear it back down before the event even started.

The move was surprising for a number of reasons. Kona had just unveiled a new adventure bike as the show opened. It’s also strange because the brand had already paid to get its booth to the venue and set it up.

However, a day after the mysterious exit, Kona’s parent company, Kent Outdoors, announced a new Chief Financial Officer (CFO). According to the press release, CFO Rob Otto has experience “improving profitability and operational efficiencies along with managing integrations.”

Conspicuously absent from the press release is any mention of Kona Bicycles. It’s since become clear that Kent Outdoors intends to sell Kona — just 2 years after buying it.

(Photo/Kona Bicycle Co.)

Parent Company to Sell Kona

Kent Outdoors, which bought Kona from its founders in 2022, dropped a press release on Monday announcing its plan to sell the bike brand.

“In connection with the investment of capital and the management team coming onboard, the company performed a strategic review of its operating units and determined that it would continue to seek a buyer for its bike business, Kona,” the press release said.

“This move allows the Company to direct its resources toward investment in its key water sports businesses. The bike industry has faced very significant challenges in the post-COVID world and Kona has not been immune to these headwinds.”

While certainly abrupt, the intended sale isn’t too surprising for a cycling industry that has suffered a major economic downturn since the pandemic boom from 2020 to 2022. Zwift, for example, has laid off employees for the last 3 years.

In December, Kona announced an insane buy-one-get-deal on full-suspension mountain bikes. But this Hail Mary to move more inventory was evidently not enough for the brand’s new owners. It’s unclear if Kona employees will be laid off, and if the sale will include more than just the Kona name.

Workers of this brand favorite will have to wait and see happens to their company — along with longtime fans of this brand founded in 1988. Representatives at Kona Bicycles and Kent Outdoors could not be reached for comment.

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