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  1. #1
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    New question here. Questions for Unit owners..

    I'm considering going SS and have been impressed with what I've seen in the Kona Unit, but I have a few questions for owners out there. I currently ride an '02 Kona Kula and love it, but given a SS would be a big change, here are my questions:

    1. I ride a good amount of ST and I've only ever known a front shock hardtail. For those of you who are running the stock P2, is it a wild adjustment switching to a straight fork? I'm not sure if I'd stick with it or upgrade to an 80-100mm fork, but I welcome opinions from either camp on this one.

    2. If I do go with a Unit, I'm seriously considering going with a disc brake upgrade, but I've also never had a disc brake bike either, so if anybody has good recommendations for the Unit, please share. I'm going to research disc brakes, but I figured I'd see what other Unit riders like.

    3. I saw only Kona's site that the Unit weights 22.8lbs stock. Has anybody been able to cut that weight much by upgrading components?



    Thanks for any responses.

    Andy

  2. #2
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    First of all, you might want to check this Thread out over in the singlespeed board for some comparisons and thoughts on the Kona and other SS frames. You could also do a search and find lots of stuff!

    I recently put together an Explosif and my Surly 1x1 just sits alone in the basement now! The Explosif is somewhat similar(sliding rear dropouts) to the Unit when it is run as a singlespeed.

    Here are some thoughts on your questions.

    1. I ride a good amount of ST and I've only ever known a front shock hardtail. For those of you who are running the stock P2, is it a wild adjustment switching to a straight fork? I'm not sure if I'd stick with it or upgrade to an 80-100mm fork, but I welcome opinions from either camp on this one.
    If you are running a suspension fork up front now, most likely it would be a decent sized change in how the bike rides(but it will improve your handling skills). Coming from an aluminum to a steel bike (Kula to Unit) that is set up the same, steel (unit) will yield a more forgiving ride. I have been riding strictly rigid forks for some-time now and feel that the p2 is much more plush then some of the other off the shelf forks. But really, it is something you should try out before you decide to upgrade to a sussy fork.



    2. If I do go with a Unit, I'm seriously considering going with a disc brake upgrade, but I've also never had a disc brake bike either, so if anybody has good recommendations for the Unit, please share. I'm going to research disc brakes, but I figured I'd see what other Unit riders like.
    Started riding Hayes hydraulic discs somewhere around 1999 on a geared hardtail and recently moved on to avid mechanicals. IMHO, with proper setup, the Avid mechanicals are the best way to go! No messy fluid to have to bleed every now and then. So much adjustability! I run full jagwire type housing with ptfe coated cables thanks to shiggys post in the brake forum and they are silky smooth! Read the reviews and search for them with the search function!

    3. I saw only Kona's site that the Unit weights 22.8lbs stock. Has anybody been able to cut that weight much by upgrading components?
    I have no idea what my explosif weighs with my current setup, but it isn't super heavy and that is fine with me.

    Hope this helps.-Jared
    Last edited by J-RAD; 05-08-2005 at 09:38 PM.

  3. #3
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    Thanks for the information, Jared, good stuff. I'm heading down to a local LBS tonight to check one out first hand.

    Andy


    Quote Originally Posted by J-RAD
    First of all, you might want to check this Thread out over in the singlespeed board for some comparisons and thoughts on the Kona and other SS frames. You could also do a search and find lots of stuff!

    I recently put together an Explosif and my Surly 1x1 just sits alone in the basement now! The Explosif is somewhat similar(sliding rear dropouts) to the Unit when it is run as a singlespeed.

    Here are some thoughts on your questions.

    If you are running a suspension fork up front now, most likely it would be a decent sized change in how the bike rides(but it will improve your handling skills). Coming from an aluminum to a steel bike (Kula to Unit) that is set up the same, steel (unit) will yield a more forgiving ride. I have been riding strictly rigid forks for some-time now and feel that the p2 is much more plush then some of the other off the shelf forks. But really, it is something you should try out before you decide to upgrade to a sussy fork.



    Started riding Hayes hydraulic discs somewhere around 1999 on a geared hardtail and recently moved on to avid mechanicals. IMHO, with proper setup, the Avid mechanicals are the best way to go! No messy fluid to have to bleed every now and then. So much adjustability! I run full jagwire type housing with ptfe coated cables thanks to shiggys post in the brake forum and they are silky smooth! Read the reviews and search for them with the search function!

    I have no idea what my explosif weighs with my current setup, but it isn't super heavy and that is fine with me.

    Hope this helps.-Jared

  4. #4
    And He was Not
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    Explosif Weight

    I've got a 05 Explosif, 19 inch. It weighs in at 23.3 lbs. I've got a Talas fork on it and 2.3 tires, so there' s alot of the extra weight. I really like the bike, although I wish the head was 1/2 to 1 degree steeper.Here is a pix...
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  5. #5
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    Here's mine



    In this dirty pic the bike has Deore mechs and XMax wheels borrowed from the geared bike. The mechs are good and as mentioned before you don't have to deal with messy fluids.

    Here's the latest version



    Got a sweet deal on a set of Hayes hydros with carbon levers and couldn't resist. The hydros are more powerfull and like their modulation a lot better.

  6. #6
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    Great looking bikes guys. I picked up a new Unit tonight, test road one and loved it. The only one they had was a size too big, though, so mine is on order and now I get to hurry up and wait.

    I'll probably put some disc brakes on it and upgrade to some fatty tires, but I will probably ride it for a while in stock form just to get feel for how it is. One more question, though, is it a bad move to try and put a shorter handlebar on the bike? I noticed the handlebar on the Unit is mega long, like 27-28 inches. I understand the reason for this is to aid in climbing, but that bar length can also get you killed when trying to navigate close quarter trees on the trails. Anybody shorten or replace their handlebar with good or bad results?
    Last edited by khayman; 05-09-2005 at 08:48 PM.

  7. #7
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    Good choice on the Unit. You will not be disappointed. You will also have a nice frame to put some of those bling upgrades on that I know you are already planning. We all do that and love it.

    I would stick with the wide bars and get used to them! In Michigan where I ride, the climbs are short and very steep(on the more tech trails), so the upper body(longer bar=longer lever) is heavily used! I have also spent much time in NM and the longer steady fireroad climbs are much more comfy too. But I have also never been a skinny bar kind of guy even on the geared bikes from my past.

  8. #8
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    Wide bars are basically used by SSpeeders for leverage while pedaling during a climb, give it a try and if they're too wide cut a bit at a time until you find a width that you like, I think mine are 26" on the SS and 25 on the geared.

    I used to ride 24" bars and was alright for racing to too cramped for all day kind of ride.

  9. #9
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    Yes, I knew the wider bars were to help you kind of leverage back and forth on steep climbs, but I recently had a run in with 2 trees this past March while using a longer, riser bar. I had already cut the bar down from 28" to about 26" and I still caught trees with it. That's when I put my stock, flat bar back on which is about 23" I believe. I'll give the wide bar a shot, but the place I ride always have a least a few close quarters trees and there is no way I'll get through with a wide bar.

    Quote Originally Posted by DiRt DeViL
    Wide bars are basically used by SSpeeders for leverage while pedaling during a climb, give it a try and if they're too wide cut a bit at a time until you find a width that you like, I think mine are 26" on the SS and 25 on the geared.

    I used to ride 24" bars and was alright for racing to too cramped for all day kind of ride.

  10. #10
    i heart singletrack
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    Some thoughts...

    I have an '05 Explosif, which is identical to the Unit except for the cable stops (the Explosif can be run geared). I've run it with several different setups, including rigid with a 29" front wheel (pic 1), with a 100mm manitou black, and as i've got it built now, with an 80mm reduced-travel manitou x-vert super.

    i really liked the bike rigid with the 'niner front wheel, but the 20 screws and 2 plates in my right arm didn't like the jarring too well. it handled much too slow for my tastes with a 100mm travel fork (and 26" wheel), so i put on the 80mm fork, and presto, that was what it needed. handles great now, though it'd probably be a bit better 1/2 degree steeper on both the HT and ST (IMHO).

    as far as brakes go, i have used everything from avid mechanicals, to hayes mag hydros, to xtr discs, and you know what? i'm back to running avid mechanicals on everything (including my explosif now). they offer unbeatable reliability when you're out in the middle of nowhere, and as mentioned above, with fresh cables, their feel and power is a rival to anything out there. yeah, they probably don't modulate quite as welll as a set of xtr discs, but the avids beat xtr handily when it comes to sheer stopping force.

    if you can handle the rigid fork, it will make the bike handle really good. an 80mm fork would be my next-best handling choice, as the frame just feels too kicked-back with 100mm of travel (though i'm sure some will dissent with me here, including joe kona... and that's cool).

    weight-wise, i'm not too anal, but i'm also a semipro xc racer (don't tell anyone), and it certainly doesn't feel heavy... and it has that sweet steel springiness out on the trail. beautiful!

    good luck!
    mg
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  11. #11
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    Long Horns

    I couldn't stand wide bars. I ride some very tight and twisty singletrack. We have 24 inch rule on some of them( longer than 24 you'll gonna' hit). I hear alot of my S/S friends bouncing there bars off of trees all the time.

  12. #12
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    Great looking bike. If I did go with a front shock, I hadn't planned on anything over 80mm, that's what I ride now and it's plenty of travel for this hombre. I'll try the rigid for a while and see if my teeth stay in my head before I worry too much.

    I think I'm kind of sold on the Avids now, everybody here seems to love them and it's what the bike shop owner recommended as well.


    Quote Originally Posted by mgersib
    I have an '05 Explosif, which is identical to the Unit except for the cable stops (the Explosif can be run geared). I've run it with several different setups, including rigid with a 29" front wheel (pic 1), with a 100mm manitou black, and as i've got it built now, with an 80mm reduced-travel manitou x-vert super.

    i really liked the bike rigid with the 'niner front wheel, but the 20 screws and 2 plates in my right arm didn't like the jarring too well. it handled much too slow for my tastes with a 100mm travel fork (and 26" wheel), so i put on the 80mm fork, and presto, that was what it needed. handles great now, though it'd probably be a bit better 1/2 degree steeper on both the HT and ST (IMHO).

    as far as brakes go, i have used everything from avid mechanicals, to hayes mag hydros, to xtr discs, and you know what? i'm back to running avid mechanicals on everything (including my explosif now). they offer unbeatable reliability when you're out in the middle of nowhere, and as mentioned above, with fresh cables, their feel and power is a rival to anything out there. yeah, they probably don't modulate quite as welll as a set of xtr discs, but the avids beat xtr handily when it comes to sheer stopping force.

    if you can handle the rigid fork, it will make the bike handle really good. an 80mm fork would be my next-best handling choice, as the frame just feels too kicked-back with 100mm of travel (though i'm sure some will dissent with me here, including joe kona... and that's cool).

    weight-wise, i'm not too anal, but i'm also a semipro xc racer (don't tell anyone), and it certainly doesn't feel heavy... and it has that sweet steel springiness out on the trail. beautiful!

    good luck!
    mg

  13. #13
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    I have a feeling I'd be one of those guys you would hear bouncing off the trees. I'm going to ride the bike stock for a couple rides and see how it all plays out, but I'll likely shorten that bar if not replace it. Thanks for the info!

    Quote Originally Posted by Enoch
    I couldn't stand wide bars. I ride some very tight and twisty singletrack. We have 24 inch rule on some of them( longer than 24 you'll gonna' hit). I hear alot of my S/S friends bouncing there bars off of trees all the time.

  14. #14
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    Back to the bar question. If you do change them, you might want to look at the Mary bar from On One. I am a man of comfort and these babies take care of that aspect for me. Lots of talk about them in the singlespeed forum, check it out.

  15. #15
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    Cool, thanks for the tip. I'll check them out. I've had a bit of experience with the quest for the holy grail of handlebars since starting to ride.

    Update: I checked out the threads on Mary bars, very intriguing design there. Do you have any idea, is the stock stem on the Unit okay for this kind of bar? I'd give them a shot if I knew I didn't have to start jacking with new stem right away.


    Quote Originally Posted by J-RAD
    Back to the bar question. If you do change them, you might want to look at the Mary bar from On One. I am a man of comfort and these babies take care of that aspect for me. Lots of talk about them in the singlespeed forum, check it out.
    Last edited by khayman; 05-10-2005 at 02:24 PM.

  16. #16
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    From what I've read on the SS forum the Mary can be used with your current stem but the Jones requires a significantly longer stem in order to be set up right.

  17. #17
    i heart singletrack
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    sounds good... let us know how it works for you.

    Quote Originally Posted by khayman
    Great looking bike. If I did go with a front shock, I hadn't planned on anything over 80mm, that's what I ride now and it's plenty of travel for this hombre. I'll try the rigid for a while and see if my teeth stay in my head before I worry too much.

    I think I'm kind of sold on the Avids now, everybody here seems to love them and it's what the bike shop owner recommended as well.

    I think you'll be stoked with the bike you end up with! Go for it, and take lots of pics!

    Cheers,
    MG

  18. #18
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    With the mary, I used the same stem with no problems. I believe that is something they wanted to do with that design!

  19. #19
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    Rock the Unit

    I've been on a Unit since August and here are my thoughts.

    This is the first rigid bike I've owned since '97 and I can't wait to get a fork on it(just can't afford it yet). Steering is amazing but it's the bruised palms after long brutal rides that are doing me in.

    Discs went on the bike before it ever went around the block. First set of discs for me and I love them dearly.

    As for weight of the bike, I weigh 240 so 1 or 2 pounds worth of bike doesn't matter to me one bit and I honestly have never had the bike on the scale.

    Enjoy!

  20. #20
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    Very cool, just what I wanted to hear. After I actually ride the bike a few times, I might order a Mary bar and give it a shot.


    Quote Originally Posted by J-RAD
    With the mary, I used the same stem with no problems. I believe that is something they wanted to do with that design!

  21. #21
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    I suppose I'm just going to have to wait and see how I hold up with a rigid fork. I might see if a fat tire in the front would do me well enough for some cushioning. Does anybody have a fat, front tire recommendation?

    I'm going with discs as well, ordered some BB7s yesterday. I read all the pros and cons of discs and I still want to give them a try.

    Damn, you are a large man. I guess 1 or 2 pounds wouldn't mean much to you! Please don't run me over if you ever see me on the trails!


    Quote Originally Posted by SoloRider
    I've been on a Unit since August and here are my thoughts.

    This is the first rigid bike I've owned since '97 and I can't wait to get a fork on it(just can't afford it yet). Steering is amazing but it's the bruised palms after long brutal rides that are doing me in.

    Discs went on the bike before it ever went around the block. First set of discs for me and I love them dearly.

    As for weight of the bike, I weigh 240 so 1 or 2 pounds worth of bike doesn't matter to me one bit and I honestly have never had the bike on the scale.

    Enjoy!

  22. #22
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    I am running some ust tires on my explosif so in my opinion there is no real need for a big tire considering how smooth(with this setup) the tubeless tires ride.

    I do have a rigid surly that I am running a panaracer fire fr 2.4 at 25 psi. It is large and makes the ride very plush.

    Some other recommendations can be found in other forums!

    Try search terms "High volume"

  23. #23
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    Same story here, only ride UST wheels.

  24. #24
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    Well here it is! Okay, so you've all seen the bike before.

    I just picked it up tonight and have not even gotten the damn reflectors off yet. Of course when I picked it up it was pouring out and it's still raining.



    Sorry about the date on my camera, I keep forgetting to fix that.

  25. #25
    i heart singletrack
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    Looks awesome! Now get out on the trail!!!

    You'd have been stoked with the ride I was on last night. There were two units and one explosif on a ride that had five guys on it total!!! and it was a ride in Nebraska!

    Cheers,
    MG

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