Kona Major One
Its color is root beer. It makes you thirsty just to look at it. It has one speed. The complication of deciding what gear to spin off in is already made before you even throw your leg over the saddle. It has the easy mindset of lying back on a Hawaiian beach with the breeze in your face, not a care in the world, only with this you can also get the blood pumping and keep your muscles happily tuned as you spin along a quiet back road. Washtenaw dirt road ~ Kailua…there’s a connection.
Lew Kidder decided to answer some of the questions I left open in the recent article I wrote about his old Croll bike, now owned by Jimmy Raggett, so he called Walter Croll. Brilliant! The following is what he discovered.
Walter, now 49 and a native of the Twin Cities, began building custom steel bike frames in about 1989. He kept the output low for the first three years. By 1993 he added a partner and started building more frames, approximately 400 over the next three years. He worked closely with Grand Performance Bike Shop in St. Paul, still in operation.
Croll Road Bike, circa mid-1990s.
Head Badge with a sprinkling of road spray. Note the Chris King Headset. This alone will last well into the next millennium I'm sure.
Walter Croll, framemaker from Minneapolis in the 90s, is a bit of an enigma in the bike building world. He’s well respected, his bikes are beloved, he mentored others to become fine bike builders. But do a Google search on the guy and you get a few anecdotes off a forum or two, the knowledge that he wasn’t in business long, an understanding that he helped launch others into the bike building field (think Erik Noren and Peacock Groove Bikes for one), and the surprise that he left the bike world to teach guitar (on which I can find no other info, so I can’t really verify that). You’d think, considering the respect this guy garnered, that there’d at least be a short Wikipedia article. Nada, zilch, zip.
- A logo with attitude!
Alignment of Stars in the Universe
Linda Briggs fell in love with the Airborne Corsair, but it wasn’t her own. She was riding with a friend who had one and the friend said to try it out. Linda threw a leg over the saddle and it fit her perfectly, rode beautifully and looked so good…and it was titanium. She walked away happy for the ride but without thinking she’d ever own one.
That evening, out of curiosity, she typed the name of the bike into Ebay and there it was, basically the same as the one her friend rode. She says she wasn’t Ebay savvy, but decided to give it a shot and put in a number that fit her budget, then thought no more of it. A while later she got an email message saying she’d won. She now owned the Corsair of her dreams.