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  1. #1
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    Kona Explosif vs Transition Trans-Am vs others

    I am interested in buying a new 27.5 hardtail trailbike. I currently have a Turner Burner which I love, but I want a geared hardtail for endurance rides and for some of the smoother flatter trails where a 5.5" FS bike is overkill. I have fallen in love with the slack geometry of the Burner, and when I ride my 26" singlespeed with 70.5 degree head angle, it feels way too sketchy for me now.

    I want a bike that will comfortably handle fast and steep descents on mostly smooth trails with abit of chunky rocks and roots (Oregon) while climbing gravel roads and singletrack well and providing all day comfort.

    The geometry of the Explosif and Trans-Am are quite similar, and they are both steel frames but Kona uses Reynolds 520 vs 4130. Will this make much of a difference in weight? Any other major differences? I like that the Kona has sliding dropouts as i would have the option to convert it to singlespeed in the winter.

    Has anyone had a chance to ride both? Any other bikes that would work well? I think I want to stick with steel, but was also looking at the Marin Rocky Ridge which is aluminum.
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  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sasquatch View Post
    I am interested in buying a new 27.5 hardtail trailbike. I currently have a Turner Burner which I love, but I want a geared hardtail for endurance rides and for some of the smoother flatter trails where a 5.5" FS bike is overkill. I have fallen in love with the slack geometry of the Burner, and when I ride my 26" singlespeed with 70.5 degree head angle, it feels way too sketchy for me now.

    I want a bike that will comfortably handle fast and steep descents on mostly smooth trails with abit of chunky rocks and roots (Oregon) while climbing gravel roads and singletrack well and providing all day comfort.

    The geometry of the Explosif and Trans-Am are quite similar, and they are both steel frames but Kona uses Reynolds 520 vs 4130. Will this make much of a difference in weight? Any other major differences? I like that the Kona has sliding dropouts as i would have the option to convert it to singlespeed in the winter.

    Has anyone had a chance to ride both? Any other bikes that would work well? I think I want to stick with steel, but was also looking at the Marin Rocky Ridge which is aluminum.
    How is it going Sas? We have met at MBO/guide training. (I am the guy that rides a Knolly) Currently looking for something similar in a 27.5 or 29 hard tail. I was able to get a ride on an Explosif recently and I think it could fit well with what you are looking for. I don't have any time on a Trans Am, but would like to try one out. The Explosif was what I expected from the geometry numbers for a steel hard tail in handling and overall feel for trail riding. Sellwood Cycles may still have some stock builds to demo if you are in the area.

    The only thing that kept me from buying a frame was the reach on the large. I could not get the seat back far enough to get comfortable. Plus, from what I understand, the stock Kona seat post already has 12mm of setback. That may or may not be an issue for you. The only other negative I could find with the frame is the segmented derailleur cable housing tabs. I don't know if that helps much, but good luck with your choice.
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  3. #3
    www.EpicCyclist.com
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    Chromag samurai 65, but it will be a bit pricier.

  4. #4
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    I actually rode both for quite some time (Still ride the explosif). I had the trans am in the 26 flavor for a couple years set up singlespeed with a 36, fantastic bike, you can't go wrong with the 650b version.

    That said I ride the explosif now, took some serious time looking for a frame and eventually landed on it. It replaced my 26" Transition Bandit and I'm very happy with it at this point. I really can't call out any negatives about the bike aside from weight and the previously mentioned cable segmentation. I actually pried the guides apart and was able to run a full housing. In short, either one is awesome, I basically chose the explosif because of aesthetics, liked the simple classic look of the explosif over the seat tube brace design of the trans am.


  5. #5
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    oh and if you have the cash def look at the the ti explosif released recently, its pretty amazing.

  6. #6
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    I am probably going to pull the trigger on a Surly Instigator frame. Seems to be on par with both the Explosif and Trans Am but is designed to run 120mm-140mm forks. It can be converted from geared to single speed and is steel. The only thing I cannot find yet is the weight of the frame but I suspect it will be in the ballpark of the other frames mentioned here.
    I guarantee I will never, ever be accused of bringing sexy back...

  7. #7
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    Also Soma B-Side gen 3 is more trail bike than xc bike- although the seat tube I believe is 27.2 (but double check me on that).

    Finally- I dig the Raleigh steel 27.5 although the 1 1/8" steer tube could limit future upgrades or fork swaps
    I guarantee I will never, ever be accused of bringing sexy back...

  8. #8
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    I did see the ti explosif as well- that is sweet if you go the coin...
    I guarantee I will never, ever be accused of bringing sexy back...

  9. #9
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    I decided to get the new On-One 45650B frame.
    On-One 45650B Frame
    I bought the Fox 34 TALAS fork for $200 in a CyberMonday deal, and the frame is only $335. So far, this build is coming in cheap.

    I was drooling over the Ti Explosif, so I am glad I was able to pull the trigger on the affordable On-One frame instead. My bank acct still hasn't recovered from the Burner purchase so keeping this build reasonable will be wise.

    Now I need to buy on a cheap wheelset before I try to find a deal on Chris King hubs. Any suggestions? The $300 Chinese carbon wheels are kinda tempting, but I don't trust them. I can get a good deal on Sun-ringle wheels. Does anyone use the Charger or the Black Flag wheels?
    I love mankind - it's people I can't stand. ~Charles M. Schulz

  10. #10
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    Kona Explosif vs Transition Trans-Am vs others

    Price point has some cheap Azonics... Maybe not light but they appear burly


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    I guarantee I will never, ever be accused of bringing sexy back...

  11. #11
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    Anyone have frame weights on the Explosif steel and ti? Sounds like the frame/bike that I'm looking for too.

    Edit: found this after some digging:

    Steel:
    17'' frame weight with dropouts, clamp and headset cups = 5.73lbs
    17'' complete stock build = 27.9 lbs

    Ti: Ti Explosif | Pedal
    frame = 4lb, 3oz
    complete custom build = 21lb, 12oz

    Let the $/lb ratio justification begin...
    Last edited by BikesOnSnow; 12-26-2013 at 10:36 AM.
    I used to build these: www.bikesonsnow.homestead.com
    I now build trails: www.sinuosity.net

  12. #12
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    i guess i can't say much too scientific here but my build with the following is about 26.5 lbs.

    Explosif steel
    pike solo
    full xtr 1x10 (wolf Tooth no guide)
    king hubs
    velocity blunt 35 lbs
    chromag stem, carbon bars
    reverb
    ardent 2.4/highroller 2 2.4

    I'd love to buy the ti, still might, this bike is a monster for almost anything. The only thing i'd love upgrade is the wheelset to a full carbon setup.

  13. #13
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    So I ended up buying the Sun Ringle Charge Pro wheelset and building up my 45650B with SLX drivetrain and brakes plus some garage finds and discounted parts. I took it out a few times and here is a short review I posted in the On One forum.

    OK. I made it out for a few rides and have a good idea what this bike is capable of. I am pretty stoked.

    I took it out for a mellow 14 mile test ride after work a few days ago. I immediately found that the front end felt too tall with the fork at 150mm. The front end would lift up on steep climbs and I had trouble pushing the bike into turns. Once I dialed back the fork to 120mm it fixed things. The bike took a bit of time to get used to, but by the end of the ride I was pretty sure I liked it.

    I took the bike out again today on a longer ride. I rode 12 miles of gravel roads and 20 miles of singletrack with approx 4000 feet of climbing. The bike climbs well, I only struggled on the steepest singletrack sections and that was probably due to too much tire pressure. I did this same ride a few weeks ago on my Turner Burner and took nearly the same amount of time on both rides. The singletrack descents were awesome. The bike was very stable and wanted more speed at all times. It railed switchbacks and was easy to control in rough rocks and roots. I felt like I was able to descend nearly as fast as on the Burner on all but the roughest sections of trail.

    To sum it up, I like this bike alot!

    Here are a few pictures from the first ride. I was having too much fun to stop for photos today.











    Quote Originally Posted by Sasquatch View Post
    I decided to get the new On-One 45650B frame.
    On-One 45650B Frame
    I bought the Fox 34 TALAS fork for $200 in a CyberMonday deal, and the frame is only $335. So far, this build is coming in cheap.

    I was drooling over the Ti Explosif, so I am glad I was able to pull the trigger on the affordable On-One frame instead. My bank acct still hasn't recovered from the Burner purchase so keeping this build reasonable will be wise.

    Now I need to buy on a cheap wheelset before I try to find a deal on Chris King hubs. Any suggestions? The $300 Chinese carbon wheels are kinda tempting, but I don't trust them. I can get a good deal on Sun-ringle wheels. Does anyone use the Charger or the Black Flag wheels?
    I love mankind - it's people I can't stand. ~Charles M. Schulz

  14. #14
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    this has about zero point five things to do with this thread, pick another.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by manhattanprjkt83 View Post
    this has about zero point five things to do with this thread, pick another.
    What ever happened to reading comprehension?

    I started this thread searching for an option for a new 27.5 hardtail. I was asking about the Kona and the Transition, as well as other hardtails with a slack head angle, steel preferred. Later in the thread I posted that I was purchasing an One One 45650B and asked if anyone had experience with Sun Ringle wheels that I was considering purchasing. My latest post is a follow up to close the loop on this thread. It may not be what you are here to talk about, but it certainly is relevant to the thread.

    Your orange Kona is nice, are you still enjoying it?
    I love mankind - it's people I can't stand. ~Charles M. Schulz

  16. #16
    The White Jeff W
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    Keep an eye on your rear wheel. I broke the axle on mine. It broke inside the drive side end cap, the threaded part. Sun Ringle sent me a new axle and the bolt on through axle kit free of charge. Easy conversion.
    No moss...

  17. #17
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    What size frame did you get and how tall are you? also, do you know what travel fork the geo is based on? I went on the site and it lists the head angle as 65.7, seems kinda slack. lastly, what's the bottom bracket height with a 120 fork?

  18. #18
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    HA - I had about 8 beers in me when i wrote that...got it now, didnt know what was going on...

    My explosif has been on about 50 rides since I got it, my fav rig ever...

  19. #19
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    MANHATTANMRJRJK832 - no problem on those 8 beers, like your post, cheers, jump anytime you got an idea, cuz you got a nice build up on your explosif, fav rig looks great. I might have to order this complete, rode the Honzo L, FUN and rad so figure the 650b explosif is perfect - more my style and slightly lower/better standover(?). The On-one is a worthy associate, glad to see the comparison in this thread, steel bikes Rocknride ;-)

  20. #20
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    is the on one's geometry as retarded in practice as it is on paper? One thing the konas do very well is the longer reach measurement. I'd love to buy a cheap on one, but their reach measurements end where Kona's start, so if you dream of a 60mm stem and long top tube, you're SOL. Those frames look like they're made for 130mm stems.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by sandwich View Post
    is the on one's geometry as retarded in practice as it is on paper? One thing the konas do very well is the longer reach measurement. I'd love to buy a cheap on one, but their reach measurements end where Kona's start, so if you dream of a 60mm stem and long top tube, you're SOL. Those frames look like they're made for 130mm stems.
    I haven't compared the 650s, but I have a 26" On One 456 Evo (15.5" frame) and a Kona Unit 29er (18" frame) both running a 70mm stem. I'm 5'10" and both bikes fit the same.
    On heavy rotation: Kona Unit 1x10, Framed MN 2.0, On-one 456 EVO, Surly Cross-Check, Scott CR1 (SS road)

  22. #22
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    Kona Explosif Ti

    Kona Explosif vs Transition Trans-Am vs others-kona.jpg

    I got this built up. It's a 17" frame and have put 2 x 10 XT gear and running a set of Pikes up from 120-150mm which are very nice. Got some light bike carbon wheels built up plus the bike has a reverb dropper post.

    It rides really well. Very light feeling after a 6" FS, accelerates fast and is damn lovely on twisty single track.

  23. #23
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    Fantastic bike, I love my regular steel one so much I might just get this one as well. How much did you get the frame for? Where did you get it? Seem to be hard to find. Thanks!

  24. #24
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    The local distributor in New Zealand sourced it from Kona in the states and it didn't seem to be much of a hassle. Lovely bike to ride and very quick, but capable.

  25. #25
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    I'm interested in these frames too, seems pretty hard to demo them since shops don't carry them, and Transition didn't bring any Trans Ams to the last outing I found them at.

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