Kona Unit or Cannondale 1FG- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Kona Unit or Cannondale 1FG

    Hi.

    I am looking to pickup a new SS (totally new to the idea.) I put some thought into converting my old HT but the frame is pretty shot as are most/all of the components. So I will need all new to get it done and was looking at both of these. Any comments from the folks here on either of these? I am looking for full ridged. I will use it for east cost singletrack as well as getting me to and from work on the road. I also have a Full Sus. so this will not be my only bike. Any other suggestions or advice? Thanks a ton.

  2. #2
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    I don't mean to be a wet blanket, but have you tried single speed yet? The reason I ask is because I would hate to see someone spend decent money and have it not work out. I tried it a while back with a cobbled up bike. The bike worked fine, and I liked SS, but my knees let me know after one ride that single speed is not for me. It might be worth borrowing one, cobbling something up, or what ever else you can do before you drop off a decent chunk of money.

  3. #3
    "Mr. Britannica"
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    if you're gonna take the plunge

    check out the inexpensive frames at webcyclery

  4. #4
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    Good Adbice

    Quote Originally Posted by Polk
    I don't mean to be a wet blanket, but have you tried single speed yet? The reason I ask is because I would hate to see someone spend decent money and have it not work out. I tried it a while back with a cobbled up bike. The bike worked fine, and I liked SS, but my knees let me know after one ride that single speed is not for me. It might be worth borrowing one, cobbling something up, or what ever else you can do before you drop off a decent chunk of money.
    Thanks for the info. Could I ask what aspect of SS specifically affected your knees?

    I have done a little SS--just fooling around on a buddy's bike mainly.

  5. #5
    Out spokin'
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    Unit

    I'd go with the Unit. Reasons: I prefer steel to aluminum, I prefer Kona to Cannondale, and although I think an EBB is the coolest, I hear that Cannondale's is a proprietary item. I don't like that one bit. The unit's adjustable vertical dropouts are slick, plus you can even get a driveside dropout with a der hanger on it if you ever want to go with gears.

    --Sparty


    Quote Originally Posted by Jaak
    Hi.

    I am looking to pickup a new SS (totally new to the idea.) I put some thought into converting my old HT but the frame is pretty shot as are most/all of the components. So I will need all new to get it done and was looking at both of these. Any comments from the folks here on either of these? I am looking for full ridged. I will use it for east cost singletrack as well as getting me to and from work on the road. I also have a Full Sus. so this will not be my only bike. Any other suggestions or advice? Thanks a ton.
    disciplesofdirt.org

    We don't quit riding because we get old.
    We get old because we quit riding.

  6. #6
    gentle like
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    it's about the spin

    my buddy who owns a shop in guelph, ontario, always described it as "first day on the new bike for macho boy" syndrome - aka, when a guy new to the sport decided he would look tougher pushing a hard gear at a low rpm (even on a geared bike) than spinning at an easier gear like all those professional cycling fruits. insert sarcasm here.

    with single speeding, it's the same idea except the gear doesn't have to be a stupid one, like macho boy's. because you can't change gears to keep that lovely high rpm over big hills, or technical sections, etc, at some point you're going to be spinning slower on a gear harder than what you would originally use. and that's just harder on your knees.

    and for some people it's okay, and for some it isn't. technique, strength, but also just plain old personal physiology come into play - making it not for everybody - like rigid forks, in my opinion. for instance: my wife has great, strong legs, and excellent technique, but years of high-level alpine ski racing have left her knees in bad shape - she couldn't ride single speed even if she wanted to (which, because it makes her knees hurt, she doesn't want to do).

    if you've gotten a couple decent rides in over some terrain that's pretty indicative of what you ride, and your knees haven't complained, well then you're likely alright. but frequency of riding will also be a factor. if all that's okay, i say that the 1fg looks pretty sweet to me, especially with headshok (but then i don't do rigid). avid disc brakes are dreamy.

  7. #7
    Probably drunk right now
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    Crawl, then walk...

    Perhaps a mediation of what the others have suggested. The first time I tried SSing, it was on a cobbled bike that was heavy, harsh and not that much fun. I rode for a while, and then went back to gears.

    The second time I tried SSing, I took my old, trusty and very comfortable second bike, cut the vertical DO's out and welded in horizontals. I rode it and loved it! Absolutely loved it. I was hooked.

    My advice based on my experience is to look for something in the middle. For example, you can pick up a Surly 1x1 at a reasonable cost. You can kick the SS tires, so to speak, without a large cash outlay.

    If you like it, either continue to ride the Surly, or sell the Surly to someone else who wanst to give it a go and then you can upgrade to a more expensive SS.

    Ken

  8. #8
    Fat Boy Deluxe
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    Good Point

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken in KC
    Perhaps a mediation of what the others have suggested. The first time I tried SSing, it was on a cobbled bike that was heavy, harsh and not that much fun. I rode for a while, and then went back to gears.

    The second time I tried SSing, I took my old, trusty and very comfortable second bike, cut the vertical DO's out and welded in horizontals. I rode it and loved it! Absolutely loved it. I was hooked.

    My advice based on my experience is to look for something in the middle. For example, you can pick up a Surly 1x1 at a reasonable cost. You can kick the SS tires, so to speak, without a large cash outlay.

    If you like it, either continue to ride the Surly, or sell the Surly to someone else who wanst to give it a go and then you can upgrade to a more expensive SS.

    Ken

    You might also try doing your regular trail on your geared bike, but tape your shifters up so you can't use them. While you don't get to feel the advantage of having a lighter bike without all the clutter, you still will know what it's like to stay in one gear. This is also a useful way of determining the gearing on your first singlespeed. Just remember to choose something reasonable...

    DT

  9. #9
    34N 118W
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    maybe he's got the cash...?

    if you can afford it, go for it. I'd go Kona steel as Sparty mentioned. Although the 1FG looks nice, a rigid aluminum bike is/can be harsh on the ol' bod.

    If you don't want to dick around with putting a cheap bike together, then buy what ya want. Worst case you sell it on eBay or MTBR.

    HW



    Quote Originally Posted by DmofoT
    You might also try doing your regular trail on your geared bike, but tape your shifters up so you can't use them. While you don't get to feel the advantage of having a lighter bike without all the clutter, you still will know what it's like to stay in one gear. This is also a useful way of determining the gearing on your first singlespeed. Just remember to choose something reasonable...

    DT

  10. #10
    Probably drunk right now
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    But....

    Quote Originally Posted by Hollywood
    if you can afford it, go for it. I'd go Kona steel as Sparty mentioned. Although the 1FG looks nice, a rigid aluminum bike is/can be harsh on the ol' bod.

    If you don't want to dick around with putting a cheap bike together, then buy what ya want. Worst case you sell it on eBay or MTBR.

    HW
    Why buy a F1 car to determine if you like racing or not?

    Why not buy a nice, functional SS specific bike that costs hundres less. If you like SSing, then determine if you want to sell it and upgrade or keep riding it.

    I'm assuming based on the original poster's price point that he has about $1,500 as his budget.

    Worst Case
    So, if he buys the 1FG or the Kona and hates SSing, then he takes a depreciation hit of roughly half the price of the bike whe he goes to sell it. So a 1FG goes up for sale at roughly $800. If he goes with a Surly and hates it, his out of pocket is less than half of what the 1FG would have been.

    Best Case
    He likes SSing on a Surly and decides that he wants to upgrade. He still takes the depreciation hit, but the balance is reinvested back in to his original budget. If he likes SSing, then this is moeny well spent. If he doesn't like SSing (worst case) then he minimizes his out of pocket.

    Conclusion
    1FG's aren't in the least bit harsh. My #3 bike is a geared C-Dale hardtail that I absolutely love. Other than climbing like a goat, one of the things I like about is is that it's compliant. Not flexy, but it have some give similar to a steel bike.

    With that said, I know two people how have cracked their 1FG's on the chain stay near the BB shell. Of course C-Dale stepped up and gave them new frames.

    Ken

  11. #11
    try driving your car less
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    kona

    Quote Originally Posted by Jaak
    Hi.

    I am looking to pickup a new SS (totally new to the idea.) I put some thought into converting my old HT but the frame is pretty shot as are most/all of the components. So I will need all new to get it done and was looking at both of these. Any comments from the folks here on either of these? I am looking for full ridged. I will use it for east cost singletrack as well as getting me to and from work on the road. I also have a Full Sus. so this will not be my only bike. Any other suggestions or advice? Thanks a ton.
    check out the kona explosif. you can start it off as a singlespeed. but you can add gears later if you want. that's what i'd do.
    Only boring people get bored.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jaak
    Thanks for the info. Could I ask what aspect of SS specifically affected your knees?

    I have done a little SS--just fooling around on a buddy's bike mainly.

    I think it was from the uphills. The "standard" 2:1 (at least that's what almost everyone runs in southeast Michigan) is a large gear up most hills, compared to the gear I would choose on a geared bike. So instead of getting a decent single speed bike I got a cyclocross bike instead for self punishment

    If you have done a few rides without any problem you are probably good to go.

  13. #13
    34N 118W
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    maybe....

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken in KC
    So a 1FG goes up for sale at roughly $800.
    maybe that was my scheme all along. And I would have gotten away with it if it wasn't for you meddling kids and your dog!

    I was just trying a different angle that the usual "start cheap", which has always been my mantra. Maybe someone out there is ready to plunk down the cash and roll out some 'spensive new wheels. Maybe.

    Jeff

  14. #14
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    Why not check out the Kona Explosif frame for '04. It has all of the cablestops to run gears, it's steel (sweet), and it has adjustable horizontal dropouts like the Unit.
    I picked one up so that I could invest in a good steel frame that can do either SS or gears.

    I rode SS for a bit on a lower-end convert and now I am taking the plunge, albeit at a reduced risk with the versatility of the Explosif frame. Just picked up a Surly 1x1 fork to go with the frame too.

    Either way, if my knees have any issues I'll throw some gears on it and have a sweet rigid-geared trailbike.

    Simon

  15. #15
    Whiskey Tango Foxtrot
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    unit v. explosif

    the right side sliding rear dropout on the unit can be relaced with the same piece from the explosif with the rear derailluer hanger, allowing you to run a 1x9 on the unit, provided you also run full cable housing.

    one gripe i had about the unit/explosif is that the canti studs are not removeable with anything less than a hacksaw, and preferrably a dremel tool. it's not a huge deal, but it hugely annoyed me. although i am easily amused, i am also easily annoyed.

  16. #16
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    1FG is in my stable

    I have the 1FG Ultra and I love the bike.

    I started a few months ago with a converted GT Karakorum and graduated to the Cannondale @ Christmas. My geared bike hasn't seen the trail since.

    As for the ride, I don't find it to be any harsher than my GT (I am 6'0 200lbs.).

    IMHO, the best feature 1FG on the bike is the lockout. Being front and center on the Headshock makes it easy to use, I definitely take advantage of it on the climbs.

    I am sure you will be happy with either bike.

  17. #17
    Steamroller
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    Seen both ridden neither

    I like what I see with the Kona the new '04 is a hot bike, Cdale looks cool too if their EBB is any good. If this is the first SS though, you might consider a Redline Mono cog or KHS Solo-One these are $400-500 and great vallues, I've owned and ridden both. My current Solo-one gets ridden more miles monthly than my big buck double boinger.
    Two Wheeled and Too Big

  18. #18
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    The UNIT !
    Steel is real.
    Kona is Canadian (well half anyway).

    'nuff said.
    this space left intentionally blank

  19. #19
    beer *****es n' bikes
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    Definately check out the Redline Monocog Flite... its all top components and pretty cheap...
    bike dude, velocity employee (this is my personal account)

  20. #20
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    Easy gearing for newbie

    I put an ENO on a trek 930 four months ago and haven't ridden my geared bike since.
    I would recommend that you start with any easy gear and once you spin on that and you knees on't hurt you can change the gearing.

    I am OLD (40) and have bad knees from skiing and racing motocross. I do not have the knee issues people speak of on a singelspeed because of the lower gear ratio.

    I also singlespeed because it is simple and I generally ride by myself for exersize so I can push myself as hard as I want.

    I started with 32:20 and am now at 34:18.

    I live in SO CAL so I have been able to ride quite a bit this winter.

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