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  1. #1
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    Kona Explosif Build...Help!

    I purchased a new leftover stock Kona Explosif frame to give the 27.5 wheel size a try on my tight twisty local trails. This is my first 27.5 build (everything else I have is a 29er) and I have everything I need but wheels and a fork so I am looking for input there.

    I do not want to have a lot in this build due to its intended purpose but what is the best bang for buck wheel set and fork? I have been looking at the XFusion Velvet RL2 basically for the price and I have no clue regarding wheels. Used is also an option and preferred.

    Thanks for any input.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by CB2423 View Post
    I purchased a new leftover stock Kona Explosif frame to give the 27.5 wheel size a try on my tight twisty local trails. This is my first 27.5 build (everything else I have is a 29er) and I have everything I need but wheels and a fork so I am looking for input there.

    I do not want to have a lot in this build due to its intended purpose but what is the best bang for buck wheel set and fork? I have been looking at the XFusion Velvet RL2 basically for the price and I have no clue regarding wheels. Used is also an option and preferred.

    Thanks for any input.
    I did the same thing end of last year. So now is a great time to pick up new 2017 leftovers for less. I went with a FOX Float 34, and snagged it for $500. As with other parts related inquiries, you'll get several opinions. Everyone rides different. I had I9s with Michelin Rockr R2s on it and it rode like a heavy pig. I rebuilt my old WTB SX23s with Onxy Racing hubs, didn't go tubeless and it immediately came to life. I built mine for an in between bike smaller than my Kona Process and larger than 26er HardRock. I jacked it up for more aggressive riding. 140mm fork.

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  3. #3
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    I would also prefer to run 140mm fork if I can find one as well. I have i9s on my other bikes but not wanting to drop that much on this one unless the ride just blows me away.

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    You can get hope hubs laced to arch ex rims off of bike 24.com for $375 shipped. They also have some other rims laced up for similar prices. The velvet is a good fork for tweener bikes. If you run the fork soft and stick a riser bar on the bike it will be a fantastic descender. If you run a flat bar and run the fork stiff it will make a good XC bike. The velvet is a very light weight fork for the money.

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    rockshox sektor silver RL comes in a 140mm,,seems like a pretty decent fork for the price

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    What is your budget for fork/wheels? Some people make wheels a priority over forks, but ive always felt the opposite. I have had an X-Fusion Sweep and a Pike on my Explosif and much prefer the Pike. The X-Fusion that is on there now is ok, but as soon as I get the Pike rebuilt it will go back in the closet. I was able to get my X-fusion for 240 shipped new @ CRC.

    I have a lightish wheel set - DT350's on Velocity Blunt SS's with heavy 2.6's and love how it rides.

  7. #7
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    Budget would be about $350 for wheels and probably 4-500 for a fork. This is why I am hoping to find something used. Again, if this turns out to be just as fun as my 29ers I will upgrade. I just hate to go expensive out of the gate and not like the smaller wheels.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by CB2423 View Post
    Budget would be about $350 for wheels and probably 4-500 for a fork. This is why I am hoping to find something used. Again, if this turns out to be just as fun as my 29ers I will upgrade. I just hate to go expensive out of the gate and not like the smaller wheels.
    https://rover.ebay.com/rover/0/0/0?m...2F253283097495

    Aside from replacing the hubs, these are the wheels I am running. If you buy and don't like em, I'll buy them from you. I have a dented rim and I need to replace it anyhow.

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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by party_wagon View Post
    You can get hope hubs laced to arch ex rims off of bike 24.com for $375 shipped. They also have some other rims laced up for similar prices. The velvet is a good fork for tweener bikes. If you run the fork soft and stick a riser bar on the bike it will be a fantastic descender. If you run a flat bar and run the fork stiff it will make a good XC bike. The velvet is a very light weight fork for the money.
    @party_wagon do you have a link to the wheels? I found several sets but none that are set up as you described. Forgive my ignorance.

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    American classic wide lightning are some fantastic wheels that can be found for $350 used.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by CB2423 View Post
    @party_wagon do you have a link to the wheels? I found several sets but none that are set up as you described. Forgive my ignorance.
    I found them. Just go to www.bike24.com, go to the wheelsets on the left menu, choose 27.5, then sort by price ascending. It's a German site, so prices are in Euro. They ship to USA for €20, so not bad. I think with current exchange rate, it was about $389 for the Arch EXs w/Hope hubs. They have plenty of other options including Hope wheelsets with Hope brand hub and rim. I'm curious about those.

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  12. #12
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    Just search arch ex. At the top of the page there is a tab for choosing your country and the armerican prices are cheaper than the german prices.
    https://www.bike24.com/1.php?content...140,318;page=2
    These rims work perfectly for 2.3 maxxis tires. Something like a 2.25 ardent and dhr2 combination would work well on this bike and at this rim width. I like these trail hardtails because they make a good bike for epic xc rides if you build them light enough. The lightest I would go is something similar to the new giant fathom though.

  13. #13
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    Race Face Aeffect 27.5" Wheelset | Jenson USA $219 63% off

    Fox 34 Talas Factory 27.5 2017 | Jenson USA $530 47% off

    6% back through active junky!
    +$10 if you aren't an active junky member ->https://www.activejunky.com/invite/770652


    IF you need a handle bar as well, Backcountry & Competetive Cyclist have the Deity Black Label bars on super sale for $30.
    Last edited by eshew; 11-30-2017 at 04:56 PM.

  14. #14
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    This is probably a ridiculous question and I am terrible at math but I have to ask... Could I run a 29er fork that I had on my Honzo on the Explosif? If I planned to run 140mm on the Explosif and the fork I have is a 29er 120mm fork? Thinking about all aspects I feel like the center of the wheel height would affect something but what I don't know? Honestly just trying to cut corners.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by CB2423 View Post
    This is probably a ridiculous question and I am terrible at math but I have to ask... Could I run a 29er fork that I had on my Honzo on the Explosif? If I planned to run 140mm on the Explosif and the fork I have is a 29er 120mm fork? Thinking about all aspects I feel like the center of the wheel height would affect something but what I don't know? Honestly just trying to cut corners.
    You can run any fork you like as long as steerer tube fits. You'd probably have close to same geometry with 120mm 29er fork as you would with 140mm 27.5 fork, just less travel.

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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by CB2423 View Post
    This is probably a ridiculous question and I am terrible at math but I have to ask... Could I run a 29er fork that I had on my Honzo on the Explosif? If I planned to run 140mm on the Explosif and the fork I have is a 29er 120mm fork? Thinking about all aspects I feel like the center of the wheel height would affect something but what I don't know? Honestly just trying to cut corners.
    Most 27.5 forks change 10mm vs 29er and 26 forks change 20mm vs 29er. I would expect the geometry of a 130mm fork if using a 120mm 29er fork on a 27.5 bike. You can always use the smaller wheel size but you can't always use a bigger wheel size with the same fork unless you block some it's travel. Expect a 120mm fork with the axel to crown of a 130mm 27.5 fork.

  17. #17
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    thank you for the explanation. I think I will go this route for now.

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    Quote Originally Posted by White7 View Post
    rockshox sektor silver RL comes in a 140mm,,seems like a pretty decent fork for the price
    The best value fork now is a Rockshox Sektor. There are a lot of people on ebay selling new takes off and the market is extremely saturated so they are very cheap. You could save some serious money on your build this way.

  19. #19
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    Just received my frame and I'm a little bummed. Outside of there being a very noticeable and large paint defect the head tube is not centered on the frame and can easily be noticed without much effort. It is set to the left. Is this something I should worry about? This is my first frame up build so I apologize if this is the norm in production frame sets as far as alignment goes.

    Thanks

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by CB2423 View Post
    Just received my frame and I'm a little bummed. Outside of there being a very noticeable and large paint defect the head tube is not centered on the frame and can easily be noticed without much effort. It is set to the left. Is this something I should worry about? This is my first frame up build so I apologize if this is the norm in production frame sets as far as alignment goes.

    Thanks
    Can you post a picture? That definitely sounds bad. The head tube should be centered. Maybe this is why it was on sale/closeout?

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  21. #21
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    Yea dude post a picture, that doesn’t sound right.

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    I am hoping it's just my eyes. I am going to try to take it to a local shop to get a second opinion instead of just going off my line of site!

  23. #23
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    I agree with you, it looks off. Hopefully you can get it swapped out, should be easier as it is an XL. They are great riding bikes.

  24. #24
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    I would doubt that it is off. They would likely have to place the tubing in a jig and cut it for the head tube. Then they would have to place it in a second jig to weld it together and not notice it's off. One of my eyes is stronger than the other and it's a huge pia for me to line up the seatpost straight.

  25. #25
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    It's hard to tell because we frame isn't centered on the photos, the frame is always skewered on the photos.
    Put a fork on it, it should be easy to check.

  26. #26
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    Took the frame to my closest Kona dealer yesterday and they confirmed the misalignment and said the frame should be returned. Question for those Who own this frame...does your down tube water bottle bosses roll to the right side of your frame and not centered?

    Please note: These things happen in mass production and this is not a bash Kona thread AT ALL. Just looking for another perspective from real world experience. I have a Honzo as well that is my favorite bike and I will never sell it. I am hoping to just get this swapped out and move on with the build.

  27. #27
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    Everything is centered on mine. Depending on where the frame is coming from id ask for them to look it over before shipping out the replacement.

  28. #28
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    Mine are centered.

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  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by akaBrowntown View Post
    I have a lightish wheel set - DT350's on Velocity Blunt SS's with heavy 2.6's and love how it rides.
    Not to hijack this thread, but how do 2.6's fit in the Explosif. I am building up the same frame and just ordered a pair of Nobby Nic 2.6 tires without being sure they will fit. My rims are same width (Easton Arc27). How much clearance do you have?

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by jbf View Post
    Not to hijack this thread, but how do 2.6's fit in the Explosif. I am building up the same frame and just ordered a pair of Nobby Nic 2.6 tires without being sure they will fit. My rims are same width (Easton Arc27). How much clearance do you have?
    I believe a few other threads have already answered this. Here's one possibly: http://forums.mtbr.com/showthread.php?t=1027481

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  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Timothy G. Parrish View Post
    I believe a few other threads have already answered this. Here's one possibly: Kona Explosif- Mtbr.com

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    Sorry - but this does not come close to answering my question. Did you read it?

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    Where you start out a post with "not to hijack the thread" it is because you know you are hijacking the thread.

    Back to topic:

    Kona is going to warranty the frame and so far the process has gone well. I will take the frame to my closest dealer today and they will handle it from there. My only fear is not getting the same frame in return. I do not want a 2018 replacement for several reasons and I wouldn't think a company would send an older model. Any input? I have never had to warranty a frame before.

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by CB2423 View Post
    Where you start out a post with "not to hijack the thread" it is because you know you are hijacking the thread.

    Back to topic:

    Kona is going to warranty the frame and so far the process has gone well. I will take the frame to my closest dealer today and they will handle it from there. My only fear is not getting the same frame in return. I do not want a 2018 replacement for several reasons and I wouldn't think a company would send an older model. Any input? I have never had to warranty a frame before.
    Unfortunately unless they can get their hands on a 2016 gold frame, you may be out of luck. This has happened to a few of my friends and they had to take the new frame and upgrade components that wouldn't work. You may be able to work through your LBS and have them see if Kona can check other LBSs they sold that frame to. I tried this when hunting for a Ti Explosif before buying the steel one. In addition, I've occasionally seen these on eBay. Maybe set a search there and hopefully something pops up. An XL is going to be easier to find then a M or L. Good luck.

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    I guess I will have to see what Kona offers. I bought the bike from the Kona store in Bellingham and their website states they do allow for returns. I am thinking if I cannot warranty it for the same frame I should be able to get a refund. I just in no way want this to get messy.

  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by CB2423 View Post
    I guess I will have to see what Kona offers. I bought the bike from the Kona store in Bellingham and their website states they do allow for returns. I am thinking if I cannot warranty it for the same frame I should be able to get a refund. I just in no way want this to get messy.
    I believe the 2017 & 2018 Explosif frame is the same, just different color.

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  36. #36
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    My bad. The gold is the 2017. Orange was 2016.

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  37. #37
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    The 2018 did make the jump to boost 148. The 2017 was still 142.

  38. #38
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    Actually 2016 was purple. 2015 was orange.

    I know 2018 moves to boost. I think boost is b.s for my riding because more hub spacing doesn't make the engine faster. Plus...there is no way to turn the volume down on that lime green paint of the 2018 frame.

  39. #39
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    Update: The frame has been looked at by several different people and it is definitely misaligned. Kona offered to warrenty the frame but there are no replacement 2017 frames left so I was offered a full refund. The customer service has been great so far.

    Now, to figure out what 27.5 frame I want to build that has decent stack, long reach, and a long ETT.

  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by CB2423 View Post
    Update: The frame has been looked at by several different people and it is definitely misaligned. Kona offered to warrenty the frame but there are no replacement 2017 frames left so I was offered a full refund. The customer service has been great so far.

    Now, to figure out what 27.5 frame I want to build that has decent stack, long reach, and a long ETT.
    Good to hear you got a full refund. Many people rave about the OnOne 45650, I believe it's called. There are only a few frames with the sliding dropouts with this geometry, if that is important to you.

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    Bike has been dropped of at UPS for return with zero issues so far. I will be given a full refund including shipping. Kona customer service has been spot on with all of this.

    Now, to find a steel 27.5 frame to build that doesnt break the bank.

  42. #42
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    Are you unable to get an Explosif? Whats your budget?

    The Surly Karate Monkey is a good option. The On-One Deedar builds up nice as well - and is very budget friendly.
    Last edited by akaBrowntown; 12-19-2017 at 08:23 PM.

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    I was unable to get a 2017 replacement frame. I am not sure if they would have given me a 2018 or not but I was not interested. The Surly karate monkey is a 27.5+ bike and the On One is an option but that seat tube brace is terrible. I would really like to find a used Transition TransAm. It checks a lot of boxes.
    Last edited by CB2423; 12-20-2017 at 09:08 AM.

  44. #44
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    Jenson has one 2016 XL Explosif in stock for $379. Same exact frame as the 2017 but purple.

  45. #45
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    I saw a size large NS eccentric cromo on pinkbike for $400. Looked mint. They’re rippers.

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    I have been eyeing the 2016 explosif Jensen has on sale as a last resort since I hate the color.

    There is a used 2014 NS Eccentric an hour from me but I cannot locate any geo numbers for that year and the biggest size they make is a L.

  47. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by CB2423 View Post
    I have been eyeing the 2016 explosif Jensen has on sale as a last resort since I hate the color.
    Ha ha, I have the purple! Not my first color choice either but it's what I ended up with for a replacement when I cracked my 2014. I named her "Sugar". Full name "Sugar Water Purple".

    I put gorilla tape on the underside of the downtube to protect it from rocks and tone down the graphics a bit.

  48. #48
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    I dig the purple.

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    Ended up finding a used Transition TransAm. Should be in the mail today.

  50. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by akaBrowntown View Post
    I dig the purple.
    Nice looking Explosif, akaBrowntown! Can you post more pics of the tire clearance on the rear? And what rim width are you running? Thanks!

  51. #51
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    My TransAm came in. The explosif frame that I had to return was probably lighter but the lines of this frame are great. I cant wait to get it together. I will post pics ASAP.

  52. #52
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    Trans-Ams are solid! Hurry up and get pics.

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