You are here

Kona Bicycles sold to Ohio outdoor group

Published January 19, 2022

SEATTLE (BRAIN) — Kona Bicycles has been acquired by Kent Outdoors, a Ohio-based company that was known until Wednesday as Kent Water Sports. Kent Outdoors owns several outdoor sports and watersport brands, including the Arbor snowboard brand. Kent Outdoors is no relation to Kent International, the New Jersey-based mass market bicycle brand.

"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 group," the company said in a statement Wednesday.

A year ago, Seawall Capital, LLC acquired Kent Water Sports. At the time, Kent Water Sports' portfolio included more than 15 brands, including HO/Hyperlite, Connelly, O’Brien, Liquid Force, Onyx, Aquaglide, Barefoot/Fatsac and Arbor Snowboards (managed by agreement with the Arbor Collective).

Ken Meidell, the CEO of Kent Outdoors, is also now the CEO of Kona, according to the statement. Meidell, who joined Outerbike as CEO just before the pandemic shut down most of Outerbike's business, joined Kent as CEO in early 2021. Meidell is a lifelong cyclist who has led outdoor brands including Dakine, Outdoor Research, and Cascade Designs.

"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." 

Kona's founders, Dan Gerhard, Jake Heilbron, and Jimbo Holmstrom will remain with the company "in their familiar roles," the company said. "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," the company said.

“Our partnership with Kent Outdoors signals our renewed commitment to competing in a rapidly evolving industry,”  Heilbron added “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.”

On Wednesday, Kent Outdoors announced the name change and the acquisition of Kona and BOTE, an inflatable kayak and dock brand. 

Kona co-founders Jake Heilbron and Dan Gerhard remain with the company.
Topics associated with this article: Mergers, Acquisitions & Investments

Join the Conversation