Surly 1 x 1 vs. Kona Unit- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Surly 1 x 1 vs. Kona Unit

    SS newbie here. Thinking of buying a 1 x 1 or a Unit for my first singlespeed. Pros/cons of each? Recommendations?

    I used the search function without much luck, fwiw. Also, I was surprised there are no reviews for the 1 x 1.

    Thanks.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyclesmith
    SS newbie here. Thinking of buying a 1 x 1 or a Unit for my first singlespeed. Pros/cons of each? Recommendations?

    I used the search function without much luck, fwiw. Also, I was surprised there are no reviews for the 1 x 1.

    Thanks.
    They fit differently, 1x1 is more "standard" geometry while the kona has a more sloped & longer TT. That just might be your deciding factor... it is for me, cuz I have a long torso/arms & a lack of inseam length, so it'd be Kona (or an on-one inbred... yummy!) for me.
    There's lots of threads on the topic of sliding dropouts vs horizontal dropouts... I've no opinion on these.
    well, there's a first whack at it anyway


  3. #3
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    I just got a 1x1, I'm very happy with it. I didn't much like the fancy dropouts on the Unit. Can't open my beer bottle with it like I can with my Surly.

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    Beer Opener

    Good point on the beer opener thing. That's why I installed a Pedros bottle opener on my Unit where my water bottle cage used to be. It's working out fine.

  5. #5
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    1x1. Just got one and I couldn't be happier.

  6. #6
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    I have a 1x1 too, it's lovely.

    I've heard about Kona dropouts slipping in the frame and people replacing the allen bolts with large, more industrial looking bolts to get everything a lot more secure.

    Hope this Helps.

  7. #7
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    I just got a 1x1 and I also have a Kona hardtail (an aluminum 2001 one). I don't think that Kona's geometry has changed that much over the years, so it will do.

    Regarding fit, the main difference I've seen is that the Kona has a lot more standover clearance (well, about an inch, inch and a half) and the Surly has a different seat tube angle. The different angle I noticed the first day, different but not signifficant. Top tube -effective- seems to be about the same. The other difference, the 1x1 has a lower bottom bracket, and I'm hitting logs with the pedals more than before. The 1x1 does seem to corner better, more stable perhaps.

    You can fit bigger tires on a 1x1, somebody posted a pic of a Unit (explosif, they are the same) with a 2.5 and there was barely any clearance, I've seen 1x1's with 3" tires. I'm running Kenda Kinetics 2.35 (truly a 2.2) and they look tiny on the bike.

    Other than that, the Surly is cheaper but you can run the Kona with gears if you don't like the singlespeed thing (if you get the frame, Explosif, you get cable stops, with the Unit you don't get cable stops but you could still run gears in the back easily with full housing) And the full bike Unit is very affordable. Some people seem to have problems with the sliding drops well, sliding forward under load. Some people don't like having to adjust your brakes every time you change a tire or tension your chain. So, they both have pro's and cons. Oh, neither Kona nor Surly are known for having thick paints, so you won't find a big difference there.

    I don't think you could go wrong with any of the two. I'll say this, I don't know anybody who got rid of a Surly 1x1 because they didn't like it. The only reason to sell them seems to be that they are getting a bling-bling singlespeed. So my vote is for the Surly, but I am biased.

  8. #8
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    Come On!

    Straight guage 4130 versus TruTemper Platinum. Tank versus sports car. I never had a problem with my Kona's "fancy" dropouts. Grese the bolts and do not overtighten. Do yourself a favor and look at the two real live bikes and you will know what to do. Both frames are the same price and you really do get a much nicer bike with the Kona. If I could make a suggestion. If I were to do it again I would have bought the Kona "explosif". You can use it as either a singlespeed or a geared bike if SS is not your thing after a while. If you ever want to sell it you can sell to the gearie folks or SS. Plus I like the rear brake cable stops better than the zip tie option found on the unit.
    Bikes are life! Some people don't have a bike...
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2tricky
    Straight guage 4130 versus TruTemper Platinum. Tank versus sports car. I never had a problem with my Kona's "fancy" dropouts. Grese the bolts and do not overtighten. Do yourself a favor and look at the two real live bikes and you will know what to do. Both frames are the same price and you really do get a much nicer bike with the Kona. If I could make a suggestion. If I were to do it again I would have bought the Kona "explosif". You can use it as either a singlespeed or a geared bike if SS is not your thing after a while. If you ever want to sell it you can sell to the gearie folks or SS. Plus I like the rear brake cable stops better than the zip tie option found on the unit.
    For the record, they are not. The Kona is $420 (suggested retail) and the 1x1 is $430 BUT the 1x1 comes with a fork, the fork is about $60. So the frame would be 370. Complain about the fork all you want, but the price is not the same.

    And you can now get the 1x1 in lime green for chrisakes!

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by FrozenK
    For the record, they are not. The Kona is $420 (suggested retail) and the 1x1 is $430 BUT the 1x1 comes with a fork, the fork is about $60. So the frame would be 370. Complain about the fork all you want, but the price is not the same.

    And you can now get the 1x1 in lime green for chrisakes!
    http://www.bikemannetwork.com/biking...MSS/KON-UNIT05
    Link to a 399 frame and the fork is $59, lets see Yeah you are right my math does not add up. $458 for a Kona with a Kona P2 cromo fork and the Surly 1x1 is $429. $30 dollars. You will need the bottom bracket faces and chased on the Surly as they powder coat everything. Dont forget the infamous Surly headtube you WILL have to have it faced and then pray it does not ovalize. I have never seen a Surly headtube that was actually "flat" and parallel. Frame and fork for a 1x1 is over 7 lbs. Oh yeah and you will have to buy chain tugs for your Surly, unless you are the one in a hundred that do not have a problem with the hub slipping. You could always buy a Jethro Tule! So I really should have said the Kona is cheaper in the long run.
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  11. #11
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    I got me 1x1 for $400 + $25 for tug (for tugnut that is). Any good shop should face and chase that stuff for ya. And I pounded my King headset like butta.

  12. #12
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    Really?

    Quote Originally Posted by bit_lizard
    I got me 1x1 for $400 + $25 for tug (for tugnut that is). Any good shop should face and chase that stuff for ya. And I pounded my King headset like butta.
    Any good shop will face and chase for free? Thats my kind of shop! But you still have to pedal around a 20+pound single speed.
    Bikes are life! Some people don't have a bike...
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2tricky
    Any good shop will face and chase for free? Thats my kind of shop! But you still have to pedal around a 20+pound single speed.
    Got my 1x1 for $369, shipped from Universal Cycles. Didn't have an issue with facing or chasing the bottom bracket. Headset installed for 15 bucks by a local shop. You can get a Redline tug for about 10 bucks (got mine for free from Saint Uphiller) Yup, the 1x1 is cheaper than the Kona. As it should be because the Kona is got a fancier tubeset and sliding drops.

    And I'll insist: people who own 1x1's usually love them.

    And oh, ah, a 20+ pound singlespeed, uuuuuh, is soooo heavy... Go to the weight weenies site, they list the 05 Unit (19 in frame) as 4.6 pounds, the Surly is 5 pounds, oh, ah, 6 ounces! what a difference! you will end with a bike that is 6 ounces lighter! uh, ah! soo light. The Surly is a tank boo-hoo.

  14. #14
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    LOL This is fun

    Quote Originally Posted by FrozenK
    Got my 1x1 for $369, shipped from Universal Cycles. Didn't have an issue with facing or chasing the bottom bracket. Headset installed for 15 bucks by a local shop. You can get a Redline tug for about 10 bucks (got mine for free from Saint Uphiller) Yup, the 1x1 is cheaper than the Kona. As it should be because the Kona is got a fancier tubeset and sliding drops.

    And I'll insist: people who own 1x1's usually love them.

    And oh, ah, a 20+ pound singlespeed, uuuuuh, is soooo heavy... Go to the weight weenies site, they list the 05 Unit (19 in frame) as 4.6 pounds, the Surly is 5 pounds, oh, ah, 6 ounces! what a difference! you will end with a bike that is 6 ounces lighter! uh, ah! soo light. The Surly is a tank boo-hoo.
    your right!
    Bikes are life! Some people don't have a bike...
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  15. #15
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    Is there a problem with pedaling around on a 20+ pound singlespeed?

  16. #16
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    Nah! Im just pissed I have to be at work

    Quote Originally Posted by pitmang1
    Is there a problem with pedaling around on a 20+ pound singlespeed?
    I just want to help a newbie find the best bang for his buck. Since I have owned both bikes I just thought I could shed some light on what I liked and disliked about both machines. I love all bikes, except maybe my fixie. Its more of a love hate thing going on.
    Bikes are life! Some people don't have a bike...
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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyclesmith
    SS newbie here. Thinking of buying a 1 x 1 or a Unit for my first singlespeed. Pros/cons of each? Recommendations?

    I used the search function without much luck, fwiw. Also, I was surprised there are no reviews for the 1 x 1.

    Thanks.
    hey, just saw this. Eddie O is selling his 1x1. i am pretty sure it is a size M. you may want to PM him for a test ride on it.

  18. #18
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    I've had a 1x1 for a long time. I love it. This is my second frame, broke my 1st generation frame at the driveside chainstay (I guess this was a known problem on these). I got the second one under warranty years ago and it just keeps going and going. I might consider buying something else if the Surly would just die, but I can't kill it. I never had a problem with facing, chasing or ovalizing btw.

    I've done epic rides, fast rides, downhilling, and light freeriding with it. It's my only hardtail and my fastest mtb. The one I reach for when I want to put the hurt on. No it ain't light almost 25 pounds with Rhyno lite rims and Tioga Factory DH tires, but the weight doesn't hold me back too much. Kona might be good too. I don't know, I've never tried one.

    Happy hunting!
    keep moving

  19. #19
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    weight on my 1x1 is not a problem. It's my fat arse that's the problem. Just buy one, either one will put a smile on your face.
    Cheers

  20. #20
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    1x1 and an explosif(same as unit) here. Love them both! Surly fork is a lil stiffer/harsher then the P2. Like the sliding dropouts on the kona which when tightened properly will not slip! Like the idea that I do not have to adjust the disc brake on the kona. As said above, the Kona is definitely more sloping in the top tube area then the Surly. After a lot of time on both, I don't think you will go wrong with either one. Just purchase the one that fits best!

    The Surly is set up more rugged with big non tubeless tires and rim brakes.

    The Kona is definitely more current with tubeless tires and disc brakes.
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  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyclesmith
    SS newbie here. Thinking of buying a 1 x 1 or a Unit for my first singlespeed. Pros/cons of each? Recommendations?

    I used the search function without much luck, fwiw. Also, I was surprised there are no reviews for the 1 x 1.

    Thanks.
    I've ridden both and went with the Kona Unit. It's an awesome bike. Handles like a knife in warm butter and the frame absorbs a lot more than the Surly did.

    BTW...Jamis is getting into the singlespeed market. Their '06 Exile SS will be priced below a fully built Kona SS disc but above a Surly 1x1 wo/disc as well as above the '06 Bianchi MUSS w/disc.
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  22. #22
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    Good job!

    Quote Originally Posted by cyclesmith
    SS newbie here. Thinking of buying a 1 x 1 or a Unit for my first singlespeed. Pros/cons of each? Recommendations?

    I used the search function without much luck, fwiw. Also, I was surprised there are no reviews for the 1 x 1.

    Thanks.
    The Kona Unit was my first SS and I loved it.....however I got a chance to buy a STRONG and couldn't pass it up.....BTW....my Kona frame is basically up for sale if anyone is interested.

  23. #23
    ppp
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyclesmith
    SS newbie here. Thinking of buying a 1 x 1 or a Unit for my first singlespeed. Pros/cons of each? Recommendations?

    I used the search function without much luck, fwiw. Also, I was surprised there are no reviews for the 1 x 1.

    Thanks.
    The 1x1 was my first ss frame .
    Rode it two years before buying a custom Ti ss frame from one of the most regarded builders .

    Early this year my cousin asked me to build him a ss ,as 1x1 frames are very difficult to get over here i opted for the UNIT ,he doesn t ride much so the bike stays at my house and i can ride it everytime i want .

    My favourite ride is by far the 1x1 ,way better than the custom TI that comes second ,and way way better than the unit .

    The low bb ,the long seatstays give it a very stable predictable ride , it carves corners in a way the other two can t ,the difference is huge ,climbing off the sadle is also much better on the 1x1 .

    It s really difficult to explain ,it is as if i ve always riden it, it s so predictable ,stable ,confidence inspiring and climbs much better than the other two .

    The weight of the frame is not an issue believe me ,diferences are small and the bike handling is so good you ll never notice.

    Please try to build it with the best parts that you can afford ,believe me the frame won t be the limiting factor and you ll never fell the need to upgrade it .

    I can assure you that If i could only choose one bike it would be for sure the 1x1.

  24. #24
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    Thanks much for all the advice everyone!

    Namrita, I've already been talking to Eddie about possibly buying his 1 x 1. Thanks for the heads up, though

    cytoe, what size is your Unit? Uh, err, your Kona Unit?

  25. #25
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    Yet another opinion...

    I like Kona as a company and really do believe they make a quality product. They have a knack for embracing just enough "new" technology to remain timely, but not enough to ever be trendy.

    That said, there's something just sort of badass, blue-collar, no frills/no bullsh*t about Surly. Maybe it's the logo. Maybe it's the copious use of straight-guage 4130. Maybe it's that thier bikes pretty much come in either black or white. I guess this is purely emotional and heavily influenced by their marketing, but Surly just sort of speaks to the whole "shut up and ride" philosophy that I really appreciate.

    Personally, I've never built a bike up from frameset without chasing and facing the b/b and head tube. It's just part of the build process, so to have to do that to the Surly just isn't a big deal to me. You should see what some high-end European road bikes are like right out of the factory-- threads clogged with grit and paint, or just poorly tapped.

    And as for weight -- please give me a break. Much lighter than 20 pounds gets you into the whippy/twitchy realm. 20 gives you some stability and something to hold onto, and is hardly a heavyweight. Sure, 19 would be better, but we're talking about a pretty inexpsensive bike here.

    Bottom line, choosing between the Unit and the 1X1 is a win/win. Wish every bike shootout was the same!

  26. #26
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    My uhhhh... Kona Unit is 16"...

    Quote Originally Posted by cyclesmith
    Thanks much for all the advice everyone!

    Namrita, I've already been talking to Eddie about possibly buying his 1 x 1. Thanks for the heads up, though

    cytoe, what size is your Unit? Uh, err, your Kona Unit?
    It's an 04, so its True Temper OX Platnium. No dents, but does have a some scratches from normal use. The Unit accepts nice wide tires...unlike my Strong frame...oh well.

  27. #27
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    I'd need an 18". Thanks anyway, though.

  28. #28
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    First, I'd like to say thanks again for all the great advice!

    I found a good deal on a used 1 x 1 locally (Atlanta), so I bought it.

    Here's the specs and a pic:

    Medium 1 x 1

    Fox F80X fork

    WTB Laserbeam rims

    Paul ss hubs (front & rear)

    Race Face cranks

    Spot 32t chainring

    Chris King 18t cog

    Chris King headset

    Thomson post & stem

    Avid Single Digit Ti brakes and levers

    Monkeylite bar

    Selle Italia Trans Am saddle

    Oury grips

    Shimano 515 pedals

    Velociraptors f & r


  29. #29
    RMG
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    Wow, that looks like a great setup. Good luck with it. I can't believe you managed to get the whole bike...saves all the trouble of trying to decided what components work with what.

  30. #30
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    Nice rig. How much it cost ya? Funny, I read a while back that Georgia was "too hilly" for singlespeeds.

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyclesmith
    First, I'd like to say thanks again for all the great advice!

    I found a good deal on a used 1 x 1 locally (Atlanta), so I bought it.

    Here's the specs and a pic:

    Medium 1 x 1

    Fox F80X fork

    WTB Laserbeam rims

    Paul ss hubs (front & rear)

    Race Face cranks

    Spot 32t chainring

    Chris King 18t cog

    Chris King headset

    Thomson post & stem

    Avid Single Digit Ti brakes and levers

    Monkeylite bar

    Selle Italia Trans Am saddle

    Oury grips

    Shimano 515 pedals

    Velociraptors f & r

    Beauty! I am in the same position, but leaning heavily towards the Kona. Planning on ordering the frame on Friday, the build will be a bit more modest (rigid, no CK) but w/ mechanical discs, LX crank, Weirwolves. Can't wait!

  32. #32
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    Thanks, guys. I've ridden it twice, and really like it.

    It was funny the first time I rode it and started gaining speed, I instinctively reached for the trigger to shift up to a higher gear.

    $825 jugdish. Some of the trails in North Georgia are too hilly for a singlespeed, but a lot of the stuff around metro Atlanta is great.

    Good luck with the Kona, marsb.

  33. #33
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    Hey enjoy. I was kidding about Georgia being too hilly. Someone's bike shop had told him that somewhere down there. Looks like a nice build.

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