Kona "Unit" 29er hardtail?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Kona "Unit" 29er hardtail?

    I'm considering one of these to use mainly as a commuter bike, and possibly upgrading to an IGH a bit later.
    The price is right, plus the steel constuction should be able to handle my weight - 115kg or 258lbs.
    Never purchased a bike before with commuting as the intended purpose.
    Any ideas or input would be appreciated.

    Cheers,

    Digger.

    KONAWORLD

    ps - Weight lifter 1st love, mtb rider 2nd, just in case you pictured me as a big fat bastard

  2. #2
    Still want a fat bike....
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    The Kona Unit is a nice bike and I actually have one from, I think, 2000, but I am not so sure you want to grab one as a commuter. You could def. use it as a commuter, but its not going to have some things you might want like rack and fender mounts. There are other mountain bikes out there that might serve you better for $1000, but right now I am drawing a blank.

    Are you planning to use this as a strict commuter, or do you want to do trail riding too? Are you looking at the Unit because its mountain so you can do both or just because you like it and its the right price?

  3. #3
    AZ
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    Sure! A seat post mounted rack and fender combination could do a sufficient job on the rear, a fender or splash guard to keep the spray from the front tire down. I like the idea. My two cents.

  4. #4
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    I've got a 2011 Unit, that I use for commuting and trails, and it's great.

    For the winter I've been running it as a 2x8, but without a front derailleur:


    (basically I only need the granny gear if there's a lot of fresh snow, or I'm planning on climbing icy trails, so I can just manually switch between the 32t and 26t depending on the day)

    For the summer it's single 33x18:


    That's not an ideal gear for commuting, and the big Ardents are definitely not commuting tires, but this is also my trail bike and I've gotten pretty used to spinning. On a 5mi commute (with lots of lights and stops and whatnot) my average speed is pretty much the same as with my geared bikes. And I'm still plenty fast compared to all the other commuters I see - last year I think I was only passed once, and that was going down a big hill when I was totally spun out.

    Now, the caveats:

    The stock rearwheel is singlespeed only, so if you're planning on running gears (or an IGH, obviously) then you'll need to replace it.

    The stock sliding rear dropout is also singlespeed only. You can get one that has a derailleur hanger from Kona, but it's about $40. It also took a few months to get mine, and other people have waited a lot longer. It looks like Kona has that sorted out now, but I'd confirm it with your shop.

    Mounting a rack was a bit of a challenge. I've got p-clamps on the seatstays, and it's a bit of a trick to make sure they don't interfere with the sliders for the dropouts. I'm using a non-disk-specific rack which has made it tougher than it should be. It was a bit of a kludge, but now that it's set up it works fine.

  5. #5
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    Alternatively, have you looked at the Marin Muirwoods 29er if you want a geared bike? It is cromoly and rigid with 29er geometry like the Kona Unit, but has 24 speeds, mediocre Hayes disc brakes, and comes with 700x42 tires. I think the biggest tires that will fit are around 50mm before they start getting in the way of the front derailleur.

    Marin Muirwoods 29er MARIN BIKES 2010**|** Street**|**Urban **|**Muirwoods 29er

  6. #6
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    ^ yeah, I guess I should be more clear that as a bike for commuting and trails the Unit can be pretty great. But for pure commuting the stock Unit would need to have a lot of stuff swapped out, compared to an Urban bike like the Muirwoods. Starting from the frame-only though, you could build the Unit into a pretty great custom commuter.

    But saying that, when I bought mine I knew that I was going to change the wheels, tires, saddle, pedals and handlebar. Even with all that, it was cheaper to buy the complete bike (the shop offered 15% off) and swap/sell the stuff I didn't want, than to build what I wanted from scratch.

  7. #7
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    Thanks for all the replies.
    Newfangled, I like your set up. That is pretty much what I want, only with an IGH. About 30% of my 24km (15mile) commute is trail and the rest is road - so it would be very suitable for the task I think.
    What type of rack do have there? I've got an Old Man Mountain disc brake rack on my current bike ('07 Scott FX-25) and I'm not really sure if it could be adapted to a Kona Unit.
    Also, my bike shop reckon it's no problem to spec one with an IGH from new, but like you guys said that requires a new wheel as well, so I'm looking at a few hundred dollars more.
    I still think the overall cost will be good value.
    I think I'll go ahead and make the purchase.

    Thanks again,

    Digger.

  8. #8
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    I'll try to take some pics of my rack setup tomorrow.

    The rack is just a cheap one: Filzer PR-2 Rear Pannier Rack - Mountain Equipment Co-op. Free Shipping Available

    If I could get it to fit then I'm sure that the omm can be made to work too.

  9. #9
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    Okay, so if you're using an old man mountain rack things will be different, but here's what I've done:

    I initially used one of these as a seatclamp:


    But I could not get it to stop clicking, and it drove me nuts.

    I went back to the stock seatclamp, and added a second clamp below it to mount the rack to. Not the prettiest, but it works well:


    Because I ride this bike over everything, I added a second set of the bendy, aluminum rack supports and connected them to clamps on the seatstays. They make the rack a lot stiffer side-to-side.

    By the dropouts I used two more clamps:




    I had to play around a bit to get clear for the disk brake cable, so the whole rack isn't quite centered on the frame and ends up being offset slightly to the left.

    The clamps tend to slide down to the join between the seatstay and chainstay, and so on the left side they end up resting against the sliding dropout/brake caliper. This can make it tough to get the leftside dropout all the way forward, but it is possible with a little work.

    I'm not using standard p-clamps, but got rubberized hoseclamps from a hardware store instead because they're more heavy duty.


  10. #10
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    I went to my bike shop and someone bought their last Unit yesterday
    The bike shop staff pointed me in the direction of their Focus range of commuter bikes. I quite liked the one with the Gates belt drive and Alfine 8 speed IGH.
    Now I need to re-evaluate. But first I'll need to do some research on Focus bikes as I don't know much about them.

  11. #11
    251
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    Maybe something like this would work for you: Shimano Alfine Di2

    If it helps, I bought my '09 Kona Unit 29er frame "new" off of rotorburn for $150 AUD w/ both geared and SS dropouts. I built up the bike for about $1000 AUD.

    It's been a good singlespeed. Here's what it currently looks like:

    Dave

  12. #12
    Dog Slow
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    Don't feel that you have to stick with steel, Kona builds their bikes tough, and if anything happens down the road Kona's lifetime warranty is great and fast. I cracked the BB off of a 2004 Dew a few years ago after many thousands of kilometers and they sent me an upgrade with a new fork as a replacement.

  13. #13
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    here is my 2010 unit as a commuter. old man mountain rack, gears in back, planet bike 29r fenders, cyclocross tires. it is for my winter commuter i bought for calgary, and now use it in bc. it works great.

    edit: with the combo of the rack and fenders, there isn't a lot of room to stuff in a big tire in the back. i haven't tried mind you, but it looks tight. those are 45c tires i think. maybe OMM sells extended mounting brackets? that OMM rack is a few years old originally bought for a 26".


  14. #14
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    Oh yes, i have mine (2011, when geometry was tweaked and new fork, much better than previous ones) with 32x13/14 cannot remember but its a hoot for commute and blasting round richmond park. I set it up tubeless with specialized renegades for extra speed, and had schwalbe furious freds on it as well: it comes with horrible, heavy maxxis and innertubes like fishing boots, amazing bike, once you ditch those - I take it out over some pretty cool carbon...

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