Niner One9 Vs Kona Unit- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Niner One9 Vs Kona Unit

    I have a question that maybe someone can answer. I have a Niner One9 and a Kona Unit and both are single speeds. The niner weighs 19 lbs and the kona weighs 25-26 lbs after a diet. The Niner hauls a$$ and I Love how it handles. The Unit just flat out sucks. I have added a reba fork and a set of stans Arch wheels with hope pro hubs. When I ride the kona it feels like I'm pulling a mack truck behind me. It doesn't want to accelerate at all. For the life of me I can't figure out why.

    Can someone tell me why it's like this? I know the weight difference affects the acceleration but it feels like I'm pulling boat ancher.

  2. #2
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    Wheels? Tires? Crank? Are they the same, or are they heavier?

    Better yet, just post two good pictures of each bike.
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  3. #3
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    lot of variables.

    is everything working properly that could cause drag? BB, hubs, freewheel/freehub, brakes?

    your talking about 6-7 lbs. that's not insubstantial. if +/- 2 lbs is in the wheels/tires it will make a big difference. especially if your on the lighter side.

    My 20" Unit is 25 lbs (Ha!) with mostly cheap components. cheap FSA cranks, Stans Flow wheels, wire bead 2.4's, cheap post, stem, bars, SPD pedals, BB7 brakes, WI freewheel. the only lightweight stuff on it is a 800g Carver carbon fork and foam grips. I'm 210 lbs so a couple extra lbs is not that big a deal to me, and i love every inch of this bike. hands down my favorite thing to ride. (which is why i've invested a decent amount of money over the winter in new parts for this bike. so it will loose a few lbs but still i have no complaints)

    is the Niner rigid with a carbon fork? the Reba on the Unit will rob you of a little efficiency and be heavier. could be a factor.

    last question, if you hate it so much why do you still have it? there's lots of other options out there.
    Rigid SS 29er
    SS 29+
    Fat Lefty
    SS cyclocross
    Full Sus 29er (Yuck)

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

  4. #4
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    I'd say the 6-7 lbs difference is the reason.

    Does your Niner also have a suspension fork?

    Have you tried a carbon fork on the Unit?

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by *OneSpeed* View Post
    lot of variables.

    is everything working properly that could cause drag? BB, hubs, freewheel/freehub, brakes?

    your talking about 6-7 lbs. that's not insubstantial. if +/- 2 lbs is in the wheels/tires it will make a big difference. especially if your on the lighter side.

    My 20" Unit is 25 lbs (Ha!) with mostly cheap components. cheap FSA cranks, Stans Flow wheels, wire bead 2.4's, cheap post, stem, bars, SPD pedals, BB7 brakes, WI freewheel. the only lightweight stuff on it is a 800g Carver carbon fork and foam grips. I'm 210 lbs so a couple extra lbs is not that big a deal to me, and i love every inch of this bike. hands down my favorite thing to ride. (which is why i've invested a decent amount of money over the winter in new parts for this bike. so it will loose a few lbs but still i have no complaints)

    is the Niner rigid with a carbon fork? the Reba on the Unit will rob you of a little efficiency and be heavier. could be a factor.

    last question, if you hate it so much why do you still have it? there's lots of other options out there.

    The niner has a sid xx suspension fork. I don't hate the unit beleive me I want to like it. It just wears me out riding it. I have thrown a little money at it and I don't mind throwing a little more to make it fun and enjoyable bike to ride. It feel like pulling a achor around all day today.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by tk1971 View Post
    I'd say the 6-7 lbs difference is the reason.

    Does your Niner also have a suspension fork?

    Have you tried a carbon fork on the Unit?
    Yes the niner has a supension fork. I have checked for binding brakes,cranks and I have swapped out the wheels for a lighter set. I thought it might be the rolling resistance from the tires so I ordered the same tires I have on my niner today. I bought the unit brand new in January of this year, I don't even have 100 miles on the bike. The niner is just easier to ride.



    I haven't tried a carbon fork yet. I don't think my hands can take it.

  7. #7
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    I'll go with what others here said and blame the weight for how it feels. Heavy bikes tend to feel heavy but don't think that means they are always slower. I've spent the last few months changing things up with the bikes I ride. One day I'm riding 19 pound rigid, another day I'm riding a 25 pound aluminum 29er, I did a 100 mile race on a 22lb Ti with an AM-ish setup, and I even spent a couple months riding a 50lb Mongoose Malus on the snow. I've never ridden such a variety of bikes but I'll say, without a doubt, the lighter the bike, the faster I feel. "Feel" is the keyword here. Some bikes feel fast, some feel slow...some are just fast or slow no matter how they feel.

    If I were you I'd just recognize the fact that your two bikes are totally different animals with their own strengths, weaknesses, and feelings ((). Enjoy both for what they are.

  8. #8
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    I've had amazing rides on my 34lb Pugsley and shitty rides on my 25lb Juice.

    I blame two things (almost always):

    1. Attitude. If you think the bike is heavier and slower, it will feel like it. The slower you go, the more you blame the bike and 'give up' on trying to ride fast. If you can block out the bike and the clock and, instead, think about the terrain and your body, you'll have better rides.

    2. Food. "Did you eat something, dear?" Being hungry or just not having enough food or sleep can crush your ability to ride. You might not even notice it until you're out. Some days, you're killing it, and other days, you're not. That's physiology.
    Last edited by mdilthey; 03-21-2016 at 04:15 PM.
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  9. #9
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    I also find geometry makes a bike feel fast or slow. Laid back geo just feels slower to me.

  10. #10
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    Carbon is a game changer

  11. #11
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    snappy acceleration and handling are not traits that you would notice with a Unit, especially if you're used to riding a significantly lighter bike. My question is why buy a Unit when you already have a quicker and lighter SS 29er? I really like my Unit but am seriously considering selling it for something lighter and more focused on faster XC style riding, and I'd like to see what a higher quality steel tubeset rides like.

  12. #12
    OOOOOOOh Gee Are Eee
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    You might consider timing yourself to see if there is a legit difference or if it's just perception. I'm a horrible judge of which bikes are actually fast versus slow but Strava sets me straight.

  13. #13
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    Ogre... IMHO if the times are similar I would still prefer the fast feeling bike than a slow feeling bike whether or not the times bear that out. That is, unless there is a significant difference between the two in favor of the slow feeling bike which is unlikely.

  14. #14
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    I briefly tried a sus fork on my Unit and man, to me it just dragged the bike down. The additional weight was a factor of course, but it was more than that. The bike just seems like it wants to be rigid (I know that's not exactly a scientific explanation or likely terribly helpful, but that was my experience - it negatively affected the "character" of the bike for me).
    Last edited by jbass; 03-22-2016 at 10:56 AM.

  15. #15
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    Same gearing, right? And the Kona's fork is set up just right?

    I'd say its the Kona's slacked out geo, the extra 6-7 pounds, and the Niner's stiffer bottom bracket/rear end (instant acceleration).

    I also find chainstay length can make a difference. If it's longer than I like, I get less weight transmitted to the rear wheel, and the bike doesn't pop like it should. Similarly, if the cockpit/reach is long, and I come out of the saddle and forward, I may get less weight on the rear wheel that ideal. When I owned a SS that was slightly too big for me, I was constantly struggling to get enough weight on both the front and rear as the trail changed.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by jbass View Post
    I briefly tried a sus fork on my Unit and man, to me it just dragged the bike down. The additional weight was a factor of course, but it was more than that. The bike just seems like it wants to be rigid (I know that's not exactly a scientific explanation or likely terribly helpful, but that was my experience - it negatively affected the "character" of the bike for me).
    I agree with jbass. I have a riding buddy who put a suspension fork on his Unit and it feels like an anchor (feels really front heavy).

    I put a carbon fork / handlebar / seatpost on my Unit and it actually feels really light, nimble and fun. I would say it feels similar to my geared titanium 26er long travel hardtail.

    The carbon fork A-C length is very close to the stock steel fork (within 5mm of each other). I added some silicone grips to help with rocky descents. Short of really steep / rocky descents (which by that time I'm questioning the decision to ride a SS Rigid in the first place), the Unit is my go-to bike on trails that have become pedestrian to me. Whenever I need some excitement, the Unit provides.

    Mine is a 2016 model and according to the geo numbers, it is slightly slacker than previous years.

    Untitled by tk_1971, on Flickr

  17. #17
    Clyde on a mission!
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    Quote Originally Posted by pat12 View Post
    I don't hate the unit beleive me I want to like it.
    Why do you want to like it? If the Niner floats your boat and the Unit doesn't, just ride the Niner and never mind the Unit.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sandrenseren View Post
    Why do you want to like it? If the Niner floats your boat and the Unit doesn't, just ride the Niner and never mind the Unit.

    Your right. I just wanted to like it because I bought it a couple months ago and I don't like giving up on anything.I'm going to sell the unit. I have too many bikes.


    Thanks for all the replys guys! You helped me make my mind up.

  19. #19
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    Not to hijack, but this brings up an interesting issue for me in terms of perception versus reality.

    I recently switched from a Monocog 29er to a Surly Instigator 2.0 set up single speed. While I definitely felt slower on the Surly in my first trip out, my lap times at my local trail were fairly consistent with what I was getting on the 'Cog. I think those who pinned it on geometry and feel are onto something, for me at least, the 'Gator felt slower because it was less twitchy/easier to handle, meaning I wasn't constantly making small adjustments like I was on the 'Cog. The slacker angles just feel more stable, but slower.

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