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  1. #1
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    04 Kona Unit or Bianchi SASS

    Howdy -

    I'm looking for opinions on two SS bikes. I went comparison shopping earlier today and found that I can buy both an 04 Kona Unit or Bianchi SASS for pretty much the same price. What I need are opinions on both frames and off-the-shelf component configurations. If given the choice, which bike would you consider the better of the two and why?

    Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    semi-evolved simian
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    Quote Originally Posted by Poothooter
    Howdy -

    I'm looking for opinions on two SS bikes. I went comparison shopping earlier today and found that I can buy both an 04 Kona Unit or Bianchi SASS for pretty much the same price. What I need are opinions on both frames and off-the-shelf component configurations. If given the choice, which bike would you consider the better of the two and why?

    Thanks in advance.
    I'd probably be in favour of the Bianchi because:
    • Avid mechanical disk brakes, these just plain kick ass - particularly if you ride in mud.
    • WAY COOL shiny full chrome paint job. Crazy!
    • Nice big 2.4 tires to go with that rigid fork vs. skinny 1.9s on the Unit.


    Having said that, the sliding vertical dropouts on the Unit are super simple for running discs on a singlespeed so that's a plus for the Kona in my book (and the Unit is totally disc ready). If you check out the reviews on mtbr for the '03 Bianchi SISS you'll see a few people had problems with broken chainstays... that would be my major concern with the Bianchi frame.

  3. #3
    get down!
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    g-g--g-g-g-g-g-G-UNIT!

    the unit is the better bike, just get some avid discs to throw on it...the hubs and fork are disc ready i think so you should be okay.
    Rudy Projects look ridiculous

    visit my blog, BEATS, BIKES & LIFE

  4. #4
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    ... and if we just ...

    Why is the unit better??
    the SASS has a better paint job and parts spec??
    so your reasoning on why the unit is better??

  5. #5
    get down!
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    better geometry, better steel, those dope new sliding dropouts, it weighs less, it's not shiny
    Rudy Projects look ridiculous

    visit my blog, BEATS, BIKES & LIFE

  6. #6
    blame me for missed rides
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    Quote Originally Posted by appleSSeed
    better geometry, better steel, those dope new sliding dropouts, it weighs less, it's not shiny
    ditto. plus i dig the look of straight blade p2.

  7. #7
    I CAME I SAW I CONQUERED
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    What's the price........

    on those rides?
    "As a rule, men worry more about what they can't see than about what they can."
    -- Julius Caesar

  8. #8
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    Wink

    the unit has a msrp of $799, according to http://konaworld.com/kw_index.cfm
    the SASS has a msrp of $849, according to http://www.bianchiusa.com/sass.html
    both are 2004 models...

    the SASS has a better parts spec, better paint job, IMO (SASS = shiny ass single speed)
    but the UNIT has a cooler fork and steel quality, as others have said...
    also, the unit has the new sliding dropouts which make it supposedly easier to align and tension the rear wheel...
    avid mech discs upgrade to the unit will add about $150-175 to the unit cost..
    its your choice.. both look like good bikes....

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by gspot
    the unit has a msrp of $799, according to http://konaworld.com/kw_index.cfm
    the SASS has a msrp of $849, according to http://www.bianchiusa.com/sass.html
    both are 2004 models...

    the SASS has a better parts spec, better paint job, IMO (SASS = shiny ass single speed)
    but the UNIT has a cooler fork and steel quality, as others have said...
    also, the unit has the new sliding dropouts which make it supposedly easier to align and tension the rear wheel...
    avid mech discs upgrade to the unit will add about $150-175 to the unit cost..
    its your choice.. both look like good bikes....
    From my LBS, the SASS could be picked up for $700. The discount from MSRP was $779 minus 10% which the shop was willing to deal on. Unfortunately, the guy I spoke to phoned me today saying that after speaking to his rep, the SASS, in my size, wouldn't be available for months, if that. That makes my decisions much easier... I was sort of leaning towards the Kona anyway...

    The Unit's MSRP is $799, but since the invoice price is ~$450, I'm sure I could swing a deal for much less. The shop will have both a 16" and an 18" built for me by Wednesday, so I'll be able to ride both...

    Thanks for the replies folks...

  10. #10
    semi-evolved simian
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    Quote Originally Posted by gspot
    the unit has the new sliding dropouts which make it supposedly easier to align and tension the rear wheel...
    They're great, absolutely no need to readjust the caliper when you change ratios, take up some chain stretch or remove the rear wheel. Just as good as an EBB in my opinion.

  11. #11
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    Cool-blue Rhythm

    how do your know the invoice price??
    just wondering because that is a good bargining tool, especially if your familar with the shop...

  12. #12
    Bryn Mawr Borracho
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    Test Ride!

    the bottom line is that you've got to test ride both bikes and make your decision. I've been riding an '04 Unit since October, stock. (no discs yet). It handles great, and I've switched to 2.3 tires. Feels a lot like a Surly, which I attribute to the steel frame. I've also ridden every model year of the Bianchi's extensively, including the S.a.S.S. They have a shorter headtube, which lowers the front end. This can be adjusted with a different bar/stem combo, of course, and is a personal preference in terms of ride feel. As for the parts spec/disc brakes, etc. don't be swayed one way or the other. Personally, I'm still not swayed by disc brakes, and yes, I ride in MUD and SNOW. A lot. But the ride is the key, and all of the opinions on this message board don't mean shite when you're the one hammering the bike over some slanky singletrack. Buy the bike that feels best to you, and switch/swap parts at your leisure. That's the Unit in the photo.

    cheers,
    -Hurl Everstone
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by gspot
    how do your know the invoice price??
    just wondering because that is a good bargining tool, especially if your familar with the shop...
    Well the guys at the bike shop nearby me that carry Kona aren't too bright. After asking the sales associate what kind of price he could give me on the Unit, he broke out the sales book that had both the invoice and msrp listed side-by-side.

    I'll see what kind of deal I can swing on Wednesday.

  14. #14
    Fight the Kakistocracy!
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    Hurl is right...

    Hurl is right. Other than your personal preferences, us and our opinions amount to a pile of spit. I got the explosif frame (as well as Mine'sAPint) and love it. I have a great relationship with the local Kona dealer. As far as knowing the wholesale, you probably saw a price that was if you bought 10 at a time, there are different levels depending on the volume of the dealer, and possible incentive to pre-order (which it is starting to sound as if the smart shops did). Remember in the proce of the bike you have several things that need to be added. There is a the initital build of the bike (ask them how much a pro build is, NEVER think that paying for quality here is unimportant), now ask them what there per unit cost for overhead is, and ask them what interest they are paying to have the bikes on the floor, the cost of insurance for dumba$$ (not saying you are one) that can't test ride a bike and then sue. The list could go on, the thing to remember is, you want them to be there in the future for you, if you cut the price too far, sooner or later, they can't afford to do business. 10% off a bike pretty much means they won't make any money after basic tuneups and such. The accountant for the shop that I managed said that if we didn't charge the employees 35% over cost + shipping, we would be losing money on everything they bought. Give the shop a chance to make a living, I'd say, if you got the price near to what they quoted the SASS at, you would be getting a good deal.

    just my $.02 rant

    veelz
    veelz

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  15. #15
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    SASS not bad ride...

    I just bought a 2004 SASS, and I have to say that it's not a bad ride. The only thing I'd like to point out--and someone already has--is that, indeed, the headtube is rather short. I bought a 20", but the bike fits me just fine. The cockpit is nice and roomy; the stock stem and bars allow me to dial in a good riding position.

    The biggest adjustment to me was going to 180mm cranks. You can definitely feel the difference, especially after riding 175's forever. But they pay off on brutal climbs; I ride 32-18, which gives me enouigh to work with on long rides. I don't road at all so I chose to go with the lower gearing.

    I am racing Sea Otter next month and am considering throwing on some suspension forks.

    Does anyone have any advice on whether I should throw a fork on this bike ( I will do a separate post), and what kind I should get? I think an 80mm would suffice since i don't want to screw with the geometry too much.

    Thanks.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Poothooter
    Well the guys at the bike shop nearby me that carry Kona aren't too bright. After asking the sales associate what kind of price he could give me on the Unit, he broke out the sales book that had both the invoice and msrp listed side-by-side.

    I'll see what kind of deal I can swing on Wednesday.
    Wholesale on any bike can be obtained by simply calling the bike manufacturer. It's not some big secret that you managed to discover. Knowing wholesale isn't going to give you any advantage in asking for a price. The bike inudstry is built on every single person thinking they got a deal. Only suckers pay retail in bike shops. What "deal" did you end up getting?
    Last edited by ReverbAndWhiskey; 03-01-2004 at 09:59 PM.

  17. #17
    beer *****es n' bikes
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    Quote Originally Posted by Poothooter
    Howdy -

    I'm looking for opinions on two SS bikes. I went comparison shopping earlier today and found that I can buy both an 04 Kona Unit or Bianchi SASS for pretty much the same price. What I need are opinions on both frames and off-the-shelf component configurations. If given the choice, which bike would you consider the better of the two and why?

    Thanks in advance.
    Hands down the Unit.
    bike dude, velocity employee (this is my personal account)

  18. #18
    Bryn Mawr Borracho
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    you got a good handle, Reverb and Whiskey,

    but some wack information.

    I don't know of a single bike manufacturer who will quote wholesale prices to just anyone who rings them up. Try it if you don't believe me. Reputable brands cultivate relationships with their dealers; why would they try to undermine the shop owners?

    The bike industry is not "built on every single person thinking they got a deal." Many shops will haggle a bit on the asking price and/or offer discounts on accessories, but if you've ever worked in a bike shop, let alone owned one, you'd realize that there isn't a lot of room to move when you factor in overhead, employees wages, insurance, etc. The advent of the Internet has made the availability of "deals" quite prolific, but if you're looking to gain some knowledge before you buy, and service after the sale, then you'd be a "sucker" not to support your local INDEPENDENT bike shop.

    -Hurl
    carsrcoffins.com

  19. #19
    hispanic mechanic
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    right on, hurl!

    this is one of my pet peeves. the owner of the shop i work at has to pay my exorbitant salary, as well as all the other overhead.
    want some questions answered about stuff you're looking at? try getting a mail order house to get you info.
    want to test ride stuff? see if an online discount place will get it in for you.
    like to check out something before you buy it? yup, your local, independandt shop is it.

    the los
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  20. #20
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    Hurl,
    Anytime I've ever needed to get a wholesale cost I've just called a company's sales rep and said I was from Supergo, and needed to find out what our cost is on __________.
    Knowing wholesale doesn't mean that you'll get a lower price from your LBC. It is nice to have a better guage on what the original cost was so that you can get an idea as to how honest the shop is. Anything more then double their cost isn't worth buying. Bikes have one of the smallest margins of any major good on the market today. The shop isn't going to give you 20% off simply because you know what the shop paid for the bike, before shipping charges, assembly fees, overhead etc...

    And I still belive that this industry relies on the concept of the deal. I think I phrased that really poorly last night. I don't believe that it is necessarily a good thing. Make a posting asking how much people paid for their bikes, and you'll get flooded with replies of people who got theirs below MSRP. It's a sad testament to the state of the bike industry. Stores like Supergo are slowly killing the industry by reducing margins even more. Then take companies like Electra who have reduced the margins on their new Townies and it's a recipe for collapse.

    I was just pissed that someone thought that because he knew dealer cost that he'd get some amazing deal.
    Last edited by ReverbAndWhiskey; 03-02-2004 at 10:31 AM.

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