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Kong & Kong-Bonaiti

Kong-Bonaiti Kong, Version A Kong, Version B
Kong-Bonaiti Kong, Version A Kong, Version B
 
Kong, Version B (Modified) Kong Indy Kong Indy EVO NFPA
Kong, Version B
(Modified)
Kong Indy Kong Indy EVO NFPA

Overview


Front View Rear View Side View
Front View Rear View Side View
 
Front View: Open for Rigging Rear View: Open for Rigging
Front View: Open for Rigging Rear View: Open for Rigging

Kong-Bonaiti
(#433)

Technical Details

I acquired this descender from Speleoshoppe in 1982.

Version A is 239 mm. tall, 60 mm. wide, 30 mm. thick, and weighs 400 g.

The side plates are very long, with a cast iron autostop cam mounted above the two bollards. The pivoting side plate pivots about the cam bolt rather than the lower bollard bolt as in most other designs. The upper bollard is bolted through its center to the fixed side plate, with two roll pins provided to prevent rotation. The lower bollard rotates on a custom axle bolt bolted to the fixed side plate. A handle assembly mounted on the outside of the fixed side plate rotates on the shoulder nut attached to this bolt. A shim serves as a spacer between the side plate and handle assembly. The handle grip is molded phosphorescent green plastic. A second bolt passes through the handle, a connecting arm, a shim, and into a threaded steel insert in the lower bollard. A second insert is provided for reversing the bollard. The other end of the connecting arm is riveted to the autostop cam. Friction from the passage of the main rope causes the lower bollard to rotate, rotating the handle and pulling the connecting rod down. This pulls the autostop cam against the rope above the upper bollard, thus ideally arresting the descent. The handle is used to keep the cam disengaged during normal descent.

The attachment point is a 15 by 22 mm. oval hole near the bottom of the two side plates. The hole is oriented horizontally, allowing two maillons to ride side-by-side. Below these holes is a 6 mm. hole in the fixed side plate for attaching a piece of accessory cord. A cutout in the pivoting side plate provides clearance.

The pivoting side plate is stamped with the Kong logo, "BONAITI-ITALY" and "Kg 1500." The plastic handle has "PHOSPHORESCENT" in molded letters.

Comments

The autostop feature on this descender differs from the others, and has several disadvantages. First, and most important, I find that it simply does not work. I can easily rappel with the autostop feature fully engaged. Second, it greatly increases the length of the descender. Finally, it is too complicated, with too many pivoting joints for mud and sand to enter.On the positive side, the workmanship is good, and I like the idea of a phosphorescent handle, even if its practical utility is negligible. The accessory cord hole should be used to tie the descender to one's harness, since there is no quick attach feature.

Kong recommends rigging this stop bobbin in the standard "S" configuration when using ropes ranging in diameter from 8 to 12 mm. They recommend using two wraps on the top bollard for ropes in the 5 to 7 mm. diameter range. I consider most such ropes to be too thin for safe rappelling and recommend against their general use.


Kong, Version A
(#1434)

Front View Rear View Side View
Front View Rear View Side View
 
Front View: Open for Rigging Rear View: Open for Rigging
Front View: Open for Rigging Rear View: Open for Rigging

Technical Details

I acquired my Kong, Version A from Clear Out Our Stuff on eBay in 2015.

Version A is 232 mm. tall, 55 mm. wide, 27 mm. thick, and weighs 398 g.

The side plates are shorter than those on the Kong-Bonaiti, and the pivoting side plate pivots about the lower bollard bolt as in most other designs.

The upper bollard is bolted through its center to the fixed side plate, with two roll pins provided to prevent rotation. The upper bollard is 45 mm. in diameter and 13.6 mm. thick, with a 10 mm. wide, rounded V-shaped groove turned to give an inner diameter of 35 mm. The lower bollard is 50 mm. in diameter, with a shallow U-shaped groove giving a 45 mm. inner diameter. Two cuts reduce the lower bollard to a wedge shape. The upper cut is 28 mm. long, the lower 34 mm., and the angle between the cuts is about 30 degrees. The lower bollard rotates on a custom axle bolt bolted to the fixed side plate. A handle assembly mounted on the outside of the fixed side plate rotates on the shoulder nut attached to this bolt. The handle grip is molded black plastic. A second bolt passes through the handle, a connecting arm, a shim, and is threaded into the lower bollard. A second hole is provided for reversing the bollard. The other end of the connecting arm is riveted to the autostop cam. Friction from the passage of the main rope causes the lower bollard to rotate, rotating the handle and pulling the connecting rod down. This pulls the autostop cam against the rope above the upper bollard, thus ideally arresting the descent. The handle is used to keep the cam disengaged during normal descent.

The pivoting side plate is stamped with the Kong logo, "ITALY," a rigging illustration, "MAX ↔ 22 kN," and "USE ROPE ø 9-12 mm."and "Kg 1500." The plastic handle has "PHOSPHORESCENT."

Comments

The significant improvement is the opening mechanism, which facilitates detaching and attaching the ascender at rebelays.

The stop mechanism is no more reliable than that on the Kong-Bonaiti.


Kong, Version B
(#522)

Front View Rear View Side View
Front View Rear View Side View
 
Front View: Open for Rigging Rear View: Open for Rigging
Front View: Open for Rigging Rear View: Open for Rigging

Technical Details

I acquired two of these descenders from Inner Mountain Outfitters, the first in 1996 and the second in 1997. I modified the second one as discussed in the next entry.

Version B is 230 mm. tall, 65 mm. wide, 32 mm. thick, and weighs 397 g.

The upper bollard is bolted through its center to the fixed side plate, with two roll pins provided to prevent rotation. The upper bollard is 45 mm. in diameter and 13.6 mm. thick, with a 10 mm. wide, rounded V-shaped groove turned to give an inner diameter of 35 mm. The lower bollard is 50 mm. in diameter, with a shallow U-shaped groove giving a 45 mm. inner diameter. Two cuts reduce the lower bollard to a wedge shape. The upper cut is 28 mm. long, the lower 34 mm., and the angle between the cuts is about 30 degrees. The lower bollard rotates on a custom axle bolt bolted to the fixed side plate. A handle assembly mounted on the outside of the fixed side plate rotates on the shoulder nut attached to this bolt. The handle grip is molded black plastic. A second bolt passes through the handle, a connecting arm, a shim, and into a threaded steel insert in the lower bollard. A second hole (sans insert) is provided for reversing the bollard. The other end of the connecting arm is riveted to the autostop cam. Friction from the passage of the main rope causes the lower bollard to rotate, rotating the handle and pulling the connecting rod down. This pulls the autostop cam against the rope above the upper bollard, thus ideally arresting the descent. The handle is used to keep the cam disengaged during normal descent.

The attachment point is a 13.4 by 26.9 mm. vertical oval hole near the bottom of the two side plates. The hole on the pivoting side plate is cut away to form a hook, and a spring-loaded stamped gate is fixed to the side plate.

The pivoting side plate is stamped with the Kong logo, "ITALY," an icon showing how to rig the device, "Max <-> 22 kN," and "USE ROPE ø 9-12 mm."

Comments

Version B looks prettier than Version A, but the functionality is essentially the same.

The bollards seem to be much softer than those on Version A, and a steel insert is needed for the bolt from the handle. These bollards will wear more quickly than the previous ones.


Kong, Version B (modified)
(#528)

Front View Rear View Side View
Front View
(Modified)
Rear View
(Modified)
Side View
(Modified)
 
Front View: Open for Rigging Rear View: Open for Rigging
Front View (Modified):
Open for Rigging
Rear View (Modified):
Open for Rigging

Technical Details

I acquired two Version B descenders from Inner Mountain Outfitters, the first in 1996 and the second in 1997. I modified the second one by disassembling the descender and reversing the lower bollard.

Comments

In the modification process, I found that the bollard was soft and easily damaged. I can't say that I've noticed a great difference in friction between the two arrangements, so I am not sure why Kong made the bobbin reversible.


Kong Indy
(#903, 2436)

Front View Rear View Side View
Front View Rear View Side View
 
Front View: Open for Rigging Rear View: Open for Rigging
Front View: Open for Rigging Rear View: Open for Rigging

Technical Details

I acquired this descender from Inner Mountain Outfitters in 2001. I acquired another in 2017 as part of Bob Thrun's collection.

My Kong Indy is 230 mm. tall, 64 mm. wide, 31 mm. thick, and weighs 476 g.

The Indy is similar to Version B, with the following main differences:

  1. The autostop cam is changed so that it works in both directions, to stop if the rappeller lets go or squeezes the handle too tightly.
  2. The bollards are riveted rather than bolted in place.
  3. There is only one roll pin to prevent the upper bollard from rotating.
  4. The handle assembly is loosely riveted to the lower bollard rather than bolted.
  5. The lower bollard does not have a second hole to allow reversing it.
  6. The markings are screened rather than stamped, and different.

The pivoting side plate is marked with the Kong logo, "Italy," "INDY double brake," the serial number "01004452," a rigging diagram with an arrow that points down, the Reading-Is-Dangerous icon, a rope icon followed by "max 100 mt.," "max 1,5 kN," "CE0426," "EN341 class A," a rope icon followed by "ø 10-11 mm.," "prEN12841 type C, and another rope icon followed by "ø 10-13 mm."

Comments

As with the other descenders on this page, I find that the stop feature does not provide a secure stop; however, it will slow the descent. I prefer the bolted bollards on the earlier models, since the rivets on the Indy make it difficult for the user to replace a worn bollard.


Kong Indy EVO NFPA
(#1395)

Front View Rear View Side View
Front View Rear View Side View
 
Front View: Open for Rigging Rear View: Open for Rigging
Front View: Open for Rigging Rear View: Open for Rigging

Technical Details

I acquired my Kong Indy EVO NFPA from On Rope 1 in 2013.

My Kong India EVO NFPA is 216 mm. tall, 62 mm. wide, 33 mm. thick, and weighs 455 g.

The Indy EVO NFPA is similar to the Indy, with the following main differences:

  1. The bollards are skeletonized stainless steel castings with internal reinforcing ribs.
  2. The upper surface of the lower bollard has three small grooves giving two rounded teeth.
  3. The fixed plate has a different shape. It is wider at the top, and has a stamped recess to provide clearance for the autostop cam.
  4. The autostop cam has a different shape that allows using it as a third bollard.
  5. The markings are different.
  6. There is no gate.

The pivoting side plate is marked with the Kong logo, "Italy," "Patented," a rigging diagram, "CE426," a book-with-an-"i" icon, "126285 12 0037," "EN341/2A : 11," "¤Ø11mm - MAX 100m," "30÷150 kg - MIN -30 °C," "EN12841/C : 06," "¢/¤Ø10÷12 mm 100kg," "¢/¤Ø11÷12 mm 200kg," "MEETS NFPA 1983 (2012 ED)," "T¢/¤Ø10÷13 mm MBS 14 kN," and "G¢/¤Ø13 mm MBS 22 kN." The connecting arm is screened with "INDY EVO" and "MADE IN ITALY." There is another rigging diagram screened on the inside of the fixed plate.

Comments

The lack of a gate makes it difficult to pass rebelays and perform other maneuvers with the EVO NFPA, so I cannot recommend it for caving applications. This design might help prevent the specific blunder that killed a friend of mine, but there are other options. Since I don't run into burning buildings to jump out the windows, I cannot comment on why this is good or bad in that application.

As with the other descenders on this page, I find that the stop feature does not provide a secure stop; however, it will slow the descent.

I prefer the bolted bollards on the earlier models, since the rivets on the EVO NFPA make it difficult for the user to replace a worn bollard.

There is a lot of information printed on the front to keep you intellectually engaged. Although holding a Ph. D. in linguistics and having the ability to read hieroglyphs in thirty ancient languages may certainly help, it is possible to decode what all the codes mean without first obtaining these credentials. A secret decoder ring may help.