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  1. #1
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    '19 Unit X

    Have no prior experience on Kona bikes. Been looking at a Karate Monkey and Timberjack (SLX 29er or robbing a bank and getting Ti frameset) as a new dedicated bikepacking+trail slayer. A good buddy suggested the Unit X may be a more budget friendly version of the Monkey. Does anyone have experience with it?? Any thoughts comparing it to the KM and TJ?

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    I went back and forth between the Monkey and Unit. Both are great bikes. I settled on the Monkey just because it can take a 140mm travel fork (just in case I wanted to add one). I emailed Kona about the max fork travel the Unit can take and they replied 100mm. I do, however, like the rear dropout on the Unit more than the Monkeyís. I love my Monkey but Iím sure iíd Like the Unit just as much. Just pick one and go with it, you canít go wrong either way.

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    I was thinking about picking up a new bike to replace my stolen Fargo. The KM was probably at the top of my list (wanted a little more trail than the Fargo). Bikepacking.com mentioned the Unit X. I was kind of surprised to see the quick release on the Unit.

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    Late to this party, but I guess better late than never

    I owned and rode a Monkey for 10 years '08-2018, but it was always a bit small in XL and angles weren't exactly confidence inspiring on the really steep downs. Was looking at the new Monkey, but availability was an issue, then saw the Unit, did a little research and decided to get a frameset and swap all the part over from the Monkey. 1 year later I can say that I am still very stoked on the Unit, have run it rigid only for the year, although did pop a sus fork on for one ride, but really hated it everywhere that a rigid shines.

    Price wise the Unit isn't much cheaper than the Monkey, but I was also not a huge fan of the Surly drop out system and prefer the Kona solution, much easier to use, install/remove the wheel etc and drop outs can be replaced to 142x12 if you want, geared or SS. Run mine with an external lower cup to slacken the HTA out by about a 1/2 degree, so it's just a smidge above 68.5*. Another thing which Monkey owners found out, is the Unit can also run 29+ if you so desire, not just limited to B+ like Kona says.
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  5. #5
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    The 2019 Unit X is high on my list for a new ride. I like that it has 135QR as that is what all my wheels are that I currently use on my 2011 SIR 9. I would keep it fully rigid and look for some 27.5x3.0 studded 45NRTH Wrathchild tires for winter riding. It would also serve as a commute, family ride bike, and ripping around local trails. My SIR 9 would still be my primary mtn bike. My largest debate is going 27.5+ or full fat, like the Kona Wo. For my intended uses I think the 27.5+ is more useful. If there is a lot of snow I will be skiing anyways. The Surly KM is also on my short list, along with a Big Honzo DL. The Big Honzo would eliminate my need for the SIR 9 though and not have the possibility to use any of my old 29er wheels without having to get new hubs laced up to my rims. Decision, Decisions.

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    Does anybody have a weight for the frame only? Thanks.

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    Thanks cowlickkid.

    That means frame weight alone is in the region of 2.15 kg or 4.75 lbs for a medium, which I would say is pretty good given the price and frame material!

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    Quote Originally Posted by LyNx View Post
    Late to this party, but I guess better late than never

    I owned and rode a Monkey for 10 years '08-2018, but it was always a bit small in XL and angles weren't exactly confidence inspiring on the really steep downs. Was looking at the new Monkey, but availability was an issue, then saw the Unit, did a little research and decided to get a frameset and swap all the part over from the Monkey. 1 year later I can say that I am still very stoked on the Unit, have run it rigid only for the year, although did pop a sus fork on for one ride, but really hated it everywhere that a rigid shines.

    Price wise the Unit isn't much cheaper than the Monkey, but I was also not a huge fan of the Surly drop out system and prefer the Kona solution, much easier to use, install/remove the wheel etc and drop outs can be replaced to 142x12 if you want, geared or SS. Run mine with an external lower cup to slacken the HTA out by about a 1/2 degree, so it's just a smidge above 68.5*. Another thing which Monkey owners found out, is the Unit can also run 29+ if you so desire, not just limited to B+ like Kona says.
    Wait, this'll fit 29+...?

  9. #9
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    Yup

    Quote Originally Posted by garcia View Post
    Wait, this'll fit 29+...?
    '19 Unit X-dscn1998_sq.jpg
    Quote Originally Posted by Harold
    You're doing mtbr wrong, you're supposed to get increasingly offended by the implications that you're doing ANYTHING wrong.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by LyNx View Post
    Yup



    Click image for larger version. 

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    Wow... is that the stock fork? And if so, why don't they advertise this?

  11. #11
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    Yes it is. That shouldn't be a big surprise as it's a suspension corrected fork, same A2C as an 80mm travel sus fork sagged, so loads of clearance height wise. Heck I've been running 29+ for years on my 10 year old rigid Monkey before this, most any rigid fork that's suspension corrected will have boat loads of clearance.

    As to why they don't advertise it, don't know, maybe because while it works and I've had no issues, it does only have about 1/4-3/8" clearance and chain to tyre clearance running a true 3" tyre using triple crank with a ring in the middle position, i.e. 51mm chainline is about 3-4mm. Honestly, they should have made it Boost to help with chainline and more importantly tyre clearance for true plus tyre setups.

    Quote Originally Posted by garcia View Post
    Wow... is that the stock fork? And if so, why don't they advertise this?
    Quote Originally Posted by Harold
    You're doing mtbr wrong, you're supposed to get increasingly offended by the implications that you're doing ANYTHING wrong.

  12. #12
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    Standover:

    Does anyone have real-world standover measurements for a Small 2019 Unit X? I believe the Kona numbers are taken from where you would naturally stand over the bike, but would appreciate hearing from owners.

    I guess validating standover on other frame sizes would be useful also (compare with Kona's numbers).

    Thanks!

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    2020 model is now 29er 2.6 bike.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LezRide View Post
    2020 model is now 29er 2.6 bike.
    Ugh... Eagle SX kit

    Maybe as a frameset...
    --------------

    [WTB] 1987 Cannondale SM800, 20", Pink with airbrushed graphics.

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    Can the 2020 model still take 27.5+ tires or is that now an issue? Would Eagle NX be better?

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    I have been pleasantly surprised at my full Eagle SX 1x12 on my 2020 Big Honzo. Not the lightest but no issues thus far and Iíve been hammering climbs. Shifts have been crisp.
    2020 Kona Big Honzo
    2017 Cervelo C3 (setup for gravel)
    1971 Schwinn Varsity (kid hauler)

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by LezRide View Post
    Can the 2020 model still take 27.5+ tires or is that now an issue? Would Eagle NX be better?
    The frame has a pretty low BB drop, B+ would not work. No worries, 29x2.6" is better in most ways.

    NX is marginally better, but they're both pretty basic/entry level drivetrains. It's just heavy, cheap, and has plastic shifters. Despite that most reports are positive and I assure you it will give you a different gear every time you ask for it.

    Newer riders won't mind it, more experienced riders that are used to higher end stuff will not be impressed.
    Rigid SS 29er
    SS 29+
    Fat Lefty
    SS cyclocross
    Full Sus 29er (Yuck)

    Stop asking how much it weighs and just go ride it.

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    So then GX or even higher? I know 2019 models and older can do 27.5+, so i take it they adjusted the design then to make it 29er only?

  19. #19
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    They updated the geometry of the frame, which included a much lower BB. That would be the only limiting factor as to why I wouldn't run B+ on this frame. Plus I am not a fan of B+ wheels/tires anyway.
    Rigid SS 29er
    SS 29+
    Fat Lefty
    SS cyclocross
    Full Sus 29er (Yuck)

    Stop asking how much it weighs and just go ride it.

  20. #20
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    I have a 2017 Unit with 27.5+ with 2.8s. The bottom bracket is pretty low on it, I definitely would not want it lower.
    This post is a natural product. Variances in spelling & grammar should be appreciated as part of its character & beauty.

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    That's good to know, I guess I will have to keep an eye out then on an older model instead of going 2020 frame if I went that route.

  22. #22
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    Anyone riding their Unit with drop bars? I've done a quick google search & saw some drop-bar Unit X setups like this one./ I like my Wolverine & the drop bar setup for gravel & easy XC trails. Looking to just run 29x2.4 maybe 2.5 tires & the Unit looks great upgrade in the future. Thse drop bar setups I am seeing are for the models that can do 27.5+ & 29, but could the 2020 models also accommodate drop bars like the previous models? I asked about the Sutra LTD, but people suggested the idea of a drop-bar Unit X as it will let me go a bit further than my current setup. Thanks.

  23. #23
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    Anyone know the largest chainring you can fit on a Unit X? Can you do a 38T, what about 2x conversion?

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