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Kong & Kong-Bonaiti

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

Overview


Kong-Bonaiti, Version A
(#3024)

Front View Rear View
Front View Rear View
 
Left View Right View Front View: Open for Rigging Rear View: Open for Rigging
Left View Right View Front View:
Open for Rigging
Rear View:
Open for Rigging

Technical Details

I acquired my Kong-Bonaiti, Version A from Avi Basri in 2021.

Version A is 239 mm. tall, 60 mm. wide, 31 mm. thick, and weighs 399 g.

The side plates are very long, with a cast steel 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." The plastic handle has "PHOSPHORESCENT" in molded letters.

Comments

Versions A does not have the "Kg 1500" stamping that Version B has.


Kong-Bonaiti, Version B
(#433)

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 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 steel 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.

RiggingRiggingComments

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.

Instructions Instructions

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 printed 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 that use a linkage to a brake lever, 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.

The Indy is similar to the Camnal Down, SOB, and an unbranded Chinese equivalent, although there are minor differences in the shape at the top of the pivoting plate.

Instructions Instructions

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 printed with "INDY EVO" and "MADE IN ITALY." There is another rigging diagram printed 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 that use a linkage to a brake lever, 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.

Instructions
Instructions Instructions
Instructions Instructions
Instructions Instructions
Instructions Instructions
Instructions Instructions

Kong Indy Evo Plus
(#3069)

Front View Rear View Left Side View Right Side View
Front View Rear View Left Side View Right 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 Plus from TradeInn through Amazon.com in 2021.

My Kong Indy Evo Plus is 201 mm. tall, 57 mm. wide, 44 mm. thick, and weighs 491 g.

The Indy Evo Plus is somewhat of a crossbreed hermaphrodite, similar to the Indy EVO NFPA but with the folding handle of the Pirata. Kong also included a gated opening on the pivoting side plate, unlike the EVO NFPA which omitted this important feature.

The pivoting side plate is marked with "Patented," the Kong logo, "Italy," "FREE ROPE," "CE0068," a book-with-an-"i" icon, "EN12841/C : 06," "100 kg," a rope icon, "Ø10÷12 mm," "200 kg," a rope icon, "Ø10÷12 mm," "EN341/2A : 11," "MIN -4 °C," 30 ÷ 100 kg," "H MAX 100 m," "KONGLINE Ø 10.5/11 mm,", "read manufaturer info!", "LOADED ROPE," "Made in Italy," "214030 0076," a factory icon, and "06/2021." The connecting arm is printed with the Kong logo, "INDY EVO PLUS" and "801 040." The inside of the fixed plate is printed with "made byKONG S.p.A.," "Via XXV Aprile, 4-23804", "Monte Marenso (LC) ITALY," and a rigging illustration.

Comments

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

The folding autostop handle is differs markedly from its predecessors, and anyone making the transition would be wise to spend time to develop new "muscle memory" before using the new version in the field. I discuss the folding handle - which I do not like - in more detail in the Pirata comments below.


Kong Pirata
(#2553)

Front View Rear View Side View Side View
Front Rear Left Right
 
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 Pirata from Karst Sports in 2020.

My Kong Pirata is 92 mm. tall, 59 mm. wide, 43 mm. thick, and weighs 421 g.

The front and rear plates are tall, irregular-shaped plates cut from 3 mm. aluminum alloy and then anodized. The rear plate remains stationary in use. It has a stepped cylindrical auxiliary bollard riveted in place to an extension at the top left of the plate, a stationary bollard riveted below this along the central axis, an axle for the lower bollard and handle assembly 48 mm. below this, and a 15 mm. wide, 27 mm. tall attachment hole at the bottom.

The front side plate rotates on the lower bollard axle. The plate has a shallow indentation at the top left that rests against the auxiliary bollard when the gate is closed. A notch cut in the left side lets plate clear the top bollard pin while opening and closing. The lower portion of the plate has a hook with a spring-loaded stamped stainless steel sheet metal gate riveted above. When closed, the gate and hook form a 15 mm. wide, 18 mm. high attachment point.

The top, auxiliary bollard is 7.65 mm. in diameter for the first 14.8 mm. from the rear plate, then enlarges to 8.7 mm. for 4.2 mm. before ending with a 13.8 mm. cap. The axles for the two main bollards have similar dimensions. The top main bollard is cast from stainless steel. It is 41 mm. in diameter and 14.7 mm. thick. It has a 2.8 mm. deep U-shaped rope groove on its periphery. A flat area spanning about 60° truncates the bollard at the 7 o’clock position. The bollard is skeletonized to reduce its weight. A pin pressed into to the lower bollard passes through a 3.9 mm. hole in the rear frame, keeping the upper bollard from rotating.

The bottom bollard is also a skeletonized stainless steel casting. It has a ribbed nose with three ridges at the 10 o’clock position, a flat top with a shallow U-shape rope groove that starts near the center and increases in depth toward the right, a rounded nose at the 2 o’clock position, a flat right side, a rounded bottom with a shallow U-shaped rope groove, and a flat right side.

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 handle assembly sits behind the rear plate. It consists of an aluminum arm and a plastic handle. The arm rotates on the lower bollard axle. A pin pressed into the lower bollard passes through a slot in the rear plate and engages a hole in the handle arm, causing the two to rotate together. A plastic handle is riveted to an extension of the lower bollard at about the seven o’clock position. The handle is spring-loaded upwards to facilitate carrying.

The pivoting front plate is marked with the Kong logo, "Italy," a rigging diagram, "CE0426," a book-with-an-"i" icon, "EN12841:08/C," "100 kg," a rope icon, " Ø10 ÷ 12 mm," "200 kg," a rope icon, " Ø11 ÷ 12 mm," "PIRATA," "801.060," "Made in Italy," and "193055 19 0132."

Comments

The revised autostop handle is differs markedly from its predecessors, and anyone making the transition would be wise to spend time to develop new "muscle memory" before using the new version in the field. Here are some of my initial impressions, based in part on my own preferences and physique:

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.