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  1. #1
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    Karate Monkey over Unit?

    I'm sure these have been compared before, and I know both bikes are well reviewed by those who own them. I'm sure I'd enjoy either one of these bikes. My dilemma is actually that my preferred LBS isn't a Kona dealer, but can order me a Karate Monkey. The MSRP on the Monkey is a couple hundred higher and having just bought a house, I don't want to "waste" my money. I can get the Kona from another shop close by, but I've always been treated well by the first shop and patronize them when I can. Currently neither bike is in stock in my size for me to test ride, so I can't settle it that way.

    So I'm wondering if I should spend the extra money for the Monkey over the Unit, besides the fact I prefer one bike shop over another? On paper they seem very similar to me, but I'm admittedly not much of an expert on bike builds. So I basically came here to see if anyone can sway me one direction or the other because I've got a case of analysis paralysis. Thanks.

    -Brian

  2. #2
    1*14*29*2.1 & 1*1*29*2.4
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    Never ridden either, but hasn't the KM got shorter stays, and rack mounts etc? Unit has sliders I think, and is rigid whereas KM is sus corrected? Someone may tell me otherwise here but that should be enough to guide a decision for me. Both are nice frames so it's just about what fits into your world of riding. What kind of stuff do you like?

  3. #3
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    It will mostly be used for flowy single track, rocks and roots but not very technical. The rack and fender mounts might be worth something for me, I could consider throwing fenders on it for bad weather commutes. It would also be used to cruise around with my girlfriend, we have some nice crushed gravel bike paths nearby she is willing to ride with me. I've read great things about the Karate Monkey being versatile which is why it is on my short list. So basically I want something simple, sturdy and versatile.

  4. #4
    1*14*29*2.1 & 1*1*29*2.4
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    I think you'd probably edge toward KM but both would be good for what you want to do. The Km is just more versatile from what I have heard...I like sliders and never use racks so that would possibly sway me towards the Kona. I use an under fork front mud guard sometimes which doesn't need mounting points.

  5. #5
    Big Boy
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    I was in the same situation. I ended up choosing the kona because of : price, bb7's, sliding dropouts.
    -It's time to shred some mild to moderate gnar!!

  6. #6
    Big Boy
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    And, since these two bikes don't seem to change much from year to year, these are two older threads that I used to help with my decision

    Surly Karate Monkey vs Kona Unit?

    Kona Unit or Surly Karate Monkey?
    -It's time to shred some mild to moderate gnar!!

  7. #7
    Big Boy
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    oh, here is one more

    Karate Monkey vs. Kona Unit?
    -It's time to shred some mild to moderate gnar!!

  8. #8
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    Re: Karate Monkey over Unit?

    The raw finish on the unit is really cool. But the short chainstays on the km are cool as well. I think both are suspension corrected unless new unit changed drastically. I like my km a lot but if my shop sold konas Id be riding a unit. If I'm buying anything new I want to deal with those guys on warranty stuff.

    One other thing the km lets you run gears - that makes resale easier. Assume the unit has a swappable drop out but that runs a few extra bucks. Something to consider. (edit: looks like you can, and they are only $30 or so: Kona Unit geared hanger.)
    Last edited by AlexCuse; 06-04-2013 at 08:14 AM.
    Yeah I only carry cans cause I'm a weight weenie.

  9. #9
    Just Ride
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    The LBS I bought my monocog from also is a big dealer of KM in the area. I went with the cog since I don't see them often, everyone around here who rides SS has a KM. As a result I simply refuse to buy one. Same deal with trek around here.
    Also the cog was a couple hundred less.
    SS ==> Nut up or Shut up!

  10. #10
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    When I was looking for a SS, I considered the KM, Monocog, and Solo-One. In the end KM won out, simply because I had ridden one before and found a good deal on a used one. Seems that all of these are very close in geometry...and having a good bike shop backing up your purchase is a plus. Are the component sets similar?

    (The overthinking that goes along with a purchase like this is totally paralyzing. Once you commit and ride it, though, you will fall in love and all the stress will melt away =) )
    Bring it.

  11. #11
    Just Ride
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kyri View Post

    (The overthinking that goes along with a purchase like this is totally paralyzing. Once you commit and ride it, though, you will fall in love and all the stress will melt away =) )
    this. Whatever you end up with you'll love it!
    SS ==> Nut up or Shut up!

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlexCuse View Post
    The raw finish on the unit is really cool. But the short chainstays on the km are cool as well. I think both are suspension corrected unless new unit changed drastically. I like my km a lot but if my shop sold konas Id be riding a unit. If I'm buying anything new I want to deal with those guys on warranty stuff.
    The two frames are pretty similar. The biggest difference is in the head tube angle - the Unit is significantly more slack.
    Chainstays: KM = 17.0", Unit = 17.1" ~effectively the same since the KM uses track ends and you need some wiggle room to get the chain on/off
    Top Tube Length (size "large"): KM = 24.3", Unit = 24"
    HT angle (size "large"): KM = 72, Unit = 70

    While the KM does have rack mounts, if you really want to commute or tour, the Ogre is a better alternative. Both are suspension-corrected, but come stock with a rigid fork. The Unit has an oversized head tube, so if you want to run a suspension fork, you can use one with a tapered steerer tube.

    I've been riding a Unit since 2008 and I love it. But I think I would be happy with a KM, too.

    Of course, if I had the $$$, I'd get the Raijin!

  13. #13
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    Hmm I could've sworn they were at least 17 and a quarter. I've only ridden one once though, and not sure how it was set up. It felt long but I keep mine ridiculously short (You don't need wiggle room with the track ends if you keep a pair of master link pliers in your bag for tire changes )

    Kyri was right in saying that you can't really go wrong with either - I'm sure a good shop will still be willing to help you with a bike you got elsewhere
    Yeah I only carry cans cause I'm a weight weenie.

  14. #14
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    They would still work on a bike bought elsewhere, of course. However if you buy from them you can pay $60 which gets you unlimited free tune ups and free labor on other repairs. Well worth it for someone like me who doesn't really tinker with my bikes, plus they are an easy 3 mile bike ride from my house which makes them super convenient.

    I had them check the price for a Karate Monkey for me, they would be selling it for MSRP so no great deal to be had. Pretty close in price to the Specialized Carve SL, very different bikes I know, but the Carve is gorgeous. Desperately trying not to yearn for a Ti bike, very out of my budget for the foreseeable future.

  15. #15
    Hardcore Bike-Path Rider
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlexCuse View Post
    Kyri was right
    Had to say thanks, because I don't get to hear that often!

    Quote Originally Posted by formula4speed View Post
    Well worth it for someone like me who doesn't really tinker with my bikes
    You need a gf that knows how to work on bikes =)
    Bring it.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cormac View Post
    The LBS I bought my monocog from also is a big dealer of KM in the area. I went with the cog since I don't see them often, everyone around here who rides SS has a KM. As a result I simply refuse to buy one. Same deal with trek around here.
    Also the cog was a couple hundred less.
    Karate Monkey or MonoCog. I like track ends better than sliders, they are not that hard to adjust chain tension using a pair of tugs and they usually provide more heel room when pedalling than sliders.

    EDIT: New KM frame is really sweet! Karate Monkey | Bikes | Surly Bikes
    Fat, drunk, and stupid is no way to go through life son...

  17. #17
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    I'm in the same boat, need to replace my 18" KM with something one size larger. Edging toward another KM because I love the way it rides. Anybody ride both?

  18. #18
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    I have a Monkey and I love it. It's built like a tank, rides great, and just fun. Have never ridden the Unit. Just something to point out, the new Monkey's have been changed so they aren't as versatile as the older ones (in terms of different brakes, racks, room for fenders...) so you might want to look at the Ogre too. Same geometry and basic frame, just more add ons. Surly says you can still run a rear rack on the new Monkeys though.

  19. #19
    Just Ride
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    Quote Originally Posted by Natedogz View Post
    Karate Monkey or MonoCog. I like track ends better than sliders, they are not that hard to adjust chain tension using a pair of tugs and they usually provide more heel room when pedalling than sliders.

    EDIT: New KM frame is really sweet! Karate Monkey | Bikes | Surly Bikes
    The cog has track ends. I think anyway? Looks like it. Came with a set of tugs. Unless I have no idea of that which you refer. Which is possible. But with the rear wheel removed and the tension adjusting device, it surely looks like track ends to me!
    SS ==> Nut up or Shut up!

  20. #20
    Stokeless Asshat
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    Track ends ala Surly.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Karate Monkey over Unit?-fm3_karate_monkey_safetyscissorsblue.jpg  

    Zip ties? Not on my bike!

    Want:
    650B rims or wheel set. 80's vintage 32 or 36 x 135mm

  21. #21
    Stokeless Asshat
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    Sliding drops.
    Attached Images Attached Images  
    Zip ties? Not on my bike!

    Want:
    650B rims or wheel set. 80's vintage 32 or 36 x 135mm

  22. #22
    Just Ride
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    Yep, as I thought, mine are ends!
    SS ==> Nut up or Shut up!

  23. #23
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    recently got an old monkey. my other bike is now my loaner bike.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brandon_oma#692 View Post
    recently got an old monkey. my other bike is now my loaner bike.
    Same.
    Bring it.

  25. #25
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    The biggest difference between the two is shorter wheel base for KM and track end/sliding drop out. I find Unit is very stable on a flowy single track, and at first, little hard to maneuver, but with shorter stem (from 100mm to 60mm) and larger cog (from 18t to 20t), I can maneuver it almost as well as I do with a KM. At this point though, the only thing that's keeping me from getting another Unit is that I can't buy Unit frame only in Canada.
    Ghisallo Wheels

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