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  1. #1
    jcm
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    Upgrade '13 Unit or new build?

    I have a mostly stock 2013 Kona Unit and was thinking about upgrading the wheelset, but I was also thinking of doing a custom Vassago Jabberwocky build. Is it worth it upgrading the Unit or should I sell it to fund a new Jabberwocky build? Are both frames similar in quality?

  2. #2
    Downcountry AF
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    Geometry is the biggest difference between the two. That and the Jabber has the ability to fit 3" tires.

    I loved my old Unit, but it was very old school XC geo. There's nothing wrong with that though and if you like it, it's worth investing in.

    The Jabber has updated "modern" geo. All for the better IMO, the only downside of which is that it has a pretty low BB so running big tires, a longer fork, or shorter cranks will be needed to avoid pedal strike issues IMO.

    Building nice wheels is always a good investment. Upgrading is always cheaper than going full custom build.

    For me it would come down to where you ride, how, what attributes you value in a bike, etc. Tell us more...
    Rigid SS 29er
    SS 29+
    Fat Lefty
    SS cyclocross
    Full Sus 29er (Yuck)

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

  3. #3
    jcm
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    Sure! In west Texas I ride desert XC trails, lots of climbing, my favorite part of the rides. I don't mind the geo of my current bike, I was more concerned about ride quality and the possible improved suppleness of a Jabber frame/rigid fork. That and if it makes sense to update the wheels on a older 100/135 QR frame/fork. But either route I take I don't plan on going squish fork or geared, also not interested in + wheels/tires.

  4. #4
    Downcountry AF
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    I'd say stick with the Unit. (FYI even the current Unit is 100/135, yes outdated but pretty standard steel XC frame dimensions.)

    Carbon fork and Good wheels will make for a noticeable improvement.
    Rigid SS 29er
    SS 29+
    Fat Lefty
    SS cyclocross
    Full Sus 29er (Yuck)

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

  5. #5
    jcm
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    Quote Originally Posted by *OneSpeed* View Post
    I'd say stick with the Unit. (FYI even the current Unit is 100/135, yes outdated but pretty standard steel XC frame dimensions.)

    Carbon fork and Good wheels will make for a noticeable improvement.
    I think I'll just stick with the P2 fork and go for new wheels, possibly new crankset+pedals as well. Thanks for the suggestion, and definitely open to more if others want to chime in

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by jcm View Post
    I think I'll just stick with the P2 fork and go for new wheels, possibly new crankset+pedals as well. Thanks for the suggestion, and definitely open to more if others want to chime in
    That's cool. One quick note about that P2 fork though- I swapped mine out after always feeling like it rode kind of harshly. Boy was I right. I'm sorry but that is a cheap and non compliant fork. You'd be better off with a decent quality steel fork or a carbon fork should you decide to go that route at some point. It's totally worth it.

    Nice cranks are worth doing too. Pedals are important too of course, contact points are key.
    Rigid SS 29er
    SS 29+
    Fat Lefty
    SS cyclocross
    Full Sus 29er (Yuck)

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

  7. #7
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    Not sure how big a tyre the old Unit's will fit, but you could build some wider rimmed wheels and run some of the new 2.6" tyres on there to help improve ride quality Or if you want to improve the ride and grip, why not look to the new Unit and a 29+ setup? I can confirm that the new Unit does in in fact fit a 29x3" Chronicle on Dually 45 (39mm internal), been on that with a 29x3" DHF for the last couple weeks after starting running B+/29+ on my new Unit. Only problem you might run into running 29+ F&R is you need to slam the sliders all the way back to fit a 29x3" tyre.

    Upgrade '13 Unit or new build?-dscn1156.jpg
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    I say new wheel set. Iíve used both Paul and CK hubs. Both have their positives and negatives. Next wheels I build will be Hope or I9. I like the Paulís, but really, a cassette makes chain line so much easier. And good cranks for sure. Raceface with a Shimano XTR B.B. for sure. Raceface B.B.s suck, mine was thrashed before a whole season. XTR has been going like 3 or 4 years since. I have a Rock Solid carbon fork and itís great.

  9. #9
    jcm
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    Quote Originally Posted by LyNx View Post
    Not sure how big a tyre the old Unit's will fit, but you could build some wider rimmed wheels and run some of the new 2.6" tyres on there to help improve ride quality Or if you want to improve the ride and grip, why not look to the new Unit and a 29+ setup? I can confirm that the new Unit does in in fact fit a 29x3" Chronicle on Dually 45 (39mm internal), been on that with a 29x3" DHF for the last couple weeks after starting running B+/29+ on my new Unit. Only problem you might run into running 29+ F&R is you need to slam the sliders all the way back to fit a 29x3" tyre.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    I'm currently running Ardent 2.4's on the stock wheels, I think I have room in the front for larger tires but that might be a bit much weight for me, definitely don't plan on getting another Unit as that's probably more of a side grade lol

    Quote Originally Posted by JakeStroganoff View Post
    I say new wheel set. Iíve used both Paul and CK hubs. Both have their positives and negatives. Next wheels I build will be Hope or I9. I like the Paulís, but really, a cassette makes chain line so much easier. And good cranks for sure. Raceface with a Shimano XTR B.B. for sure. Raceface B.B.s suck, mine was thrashed before a whole season. XTR has been going like 3 or 4 years since. I have a Rock Solid carbon fork and itís great.
    I put together a wheelset using Pro Wheel Builder that included Stans Arch Mk 3 rims and Paul hubs with a WI ENO freewheel but I'm not sure if I'll run into any issues with chain line on the stock crankset or with a Raceface Would love Chris King hubs but that price though lol

  10. #10
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    I had a 2011 stock Unit and wound up upgrading everything except the frame and the saddle. Best upgrade you can make are the wheels. Mine were Stan's Crest laced to Hope Pro hubs. Sold the bike (biggest mistake) and just bought a 2018 frame I am building up. This time I am using Stans Arch rims laced to Industry Nine hubs.
    Good luck on your decision.
    Love the bike Lynx.

    I'm not sure on yours but I just changed the drop outs and axle and I am now running a 142x12 for the rear.

  11. #11
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    LyNx:

    What kind of cranks are you running?

  12. #12
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    Thanks for the props, love the bike, came from a 10 year old, '08 Monkey that served me well, wanted something with a bit of updated geo, longer as Monkey was always a bit short and clearance for PLUS.

    As to the cranks, they are the Shimano XT M785 10spd cranks running a 32t ring and a 24t bail out gear I can drop the chain to if necessary, but no shifter of FD. Have found out though, that as I have always said, you don't need boost cranks just because you have a boost rear, ONLY if you plan to run proper PLUS tyres is this necessary. As such, running the middle ring position I can use the entire cassette with good clearance even in the easiest gear (about 4mm), but cannot use anything lower than 3rd largest cog in the granny, so plan to get a boost crank and see what arrangement I can work so as to have clearance in all cogs without spacing the chainline out too far so the angle is too bad to use the 32/36 combo.
    Quote Originally Posted by SingleTkr View Post
    LyNx:

    What kind of cranks are you running?
    Quote Originally Posted by Harold
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  13. #13
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    The reason I asked about the cranks is I am having clearance issues with my build. Originally I tried the Shimano XTR 9000-1 but with a 158mm Q factor it was too narrow and the crank made contact with the right chainstay.
    After numerous e-mails with Kona I still couldn't get a straight answer other then use the FSA-Comet that comes stock on the complete build. No thanks!

    I friend who is helping me build this up finally spoke to someone at Kona and she said the Shimano XTR9020-1 with a 168 Q factor should fit. The stock FSA Comet is 166. I looked up yours and it has a 172mm Q factor so I am really hoping mine will fit. I will find out this Friday.

    Could you do me a big favor when you get the chance and measure how much clearance you have on the drive side at the narrowest point between the right chain stay and the crank? How many spacers are you using on your bottom bracket?

    Thanks much for the help.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by SingleTkr View Post
    I had a 2011 stock Unit and wound up upgrading everything except the frame and the saddle. Best upgrade you can make are the wheels. Mine were Stan's Crest laced to Hope Pro hubs. Sold the bike (biggest mistake) and just bought a 2018 frame I am building up. This time I am using Stans Arch rims laced to Industry Nine hubs.
    Good luck on your decision.
    Love the bike Lynx.

    I'm not sure on yours but I just changed the drop outs and axle and I am now running a 142x12 for the rear.
    This is pretty much where I'm at with my MCF. It's running the stock fork right now, but I have a Fox Float with thru axle I use in the summer. I can run my AC/Arch wheelset, my 240/LB wheelset or my CK/NOX wheelset on it. I haven't swapped the rear drop outs to 142x12's, but I did that on my Lynskey and could easily do the same on the MCF. For me though, that change just saves me time from swapping the axles on my AC or CK hubs or end caps on my 240s. It's also my last bike with QR wheels, so switching it to thru axle means I have to buy a new axle for the Burly trailer to haul the kiddos in. Anyway, everything else on the MCF has been upgraded. XT brakes, SLX cranks, Thomson bar/stem/post, ergon saddle and grips.

  15. #15
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    OK, wrong info earlier, they are the M780, 180mmm length, 3x crank, running 2x rings on inner and middle and I have 11mm in the tightest spot, running 1 spacer on DS. Also measured the clearance in the middle position where I have my 32t ring and with the chain on the largest cog,I have about 5.5-6mm clearance. No clue about Q-Factor on them, never checked, never cared, basically loads of clearance setup stock.

    Quote Originally Posted by SingleTkr View Post
    The reason I asked about the cranks is I am having clearance issues with my build. ......................Could you do me a big favor when you get the chance and measure how much clearance you have on the drive side at the narrowest point between the right chain stay and the crank? How many spacers are you using on your bottom bracket?

    Thanks much for the help.
    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.

  16. #16
    251
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    FWIW, I have an '09 Unit with 35mm carbon rims (apx 30-31mm internal) with Ardent 29x2.4 tyres. The front has plenty of clearance in the P2 fork, and I'd guess a 2.5" WT would also fit. The 2.4" Ardent buzzes the chain stays and I doubt anything larger (or with bigger side knobs) would fit.

    I've cracked the frame (twice) at the driveside rear dropout. During the first repair I had a dropper cable exit added, and aside from the yellow powder coating, the dropper has probably been the single best change I've made to the bike.

    Upgrade '13 Unit or new build?-09unit.jpg
    Dave

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by 251 View Post
    FWIW, I have an '09 Unit with 35mm carbon rims (apx 30-31mm internal) with Ardent 29x2.4 tyres. The front has plenty of clearance in the P2 fork, and I'd guess a 2.5" WT would also fit. The 2.4" Ardent buzzes the chain stays and I doubt anything larger (or with bigger side knobs) would fit.

    I've cracked the frame (twice) at the driveside rear dropout. During the first repair I had a dropper cable exit added, and aside from the yellow powder coating, the dropper has probably been the single best change I've made to the bike.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    251 do you mind if I inquire about your weight/ riding style? I have 2008 unit that hasn't seen much seat time. I'm in the process of doing new wheels and tires- trail king 2.4's but i've gained some lbs since the bike was really ridden.

  18. #18
    251
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    Quote Originally Posted by motolombardo View Post
    251 do you mind if I inquire about your weight/ riding style? I have 2008 unit that hasn't seen much seat time. I'm in the process of doing new wheels and tires- trail king 2.4's but i've gained some lbs since the bike was really ridden.
    I weigh around 74kg (160 lbs) and mostly ride rocky, sandy trails in Adelaide, South Australia. I don't typically ride true DH tracks, but the Kona gets ridden fairly hard and I'm not all that surprised that I cracked it. I took it out yesterday and the worst it saw was a ~800mm drop (with a soft sandy landing). I've pinch flatted both (tubeless) tyres multiple times, but I now have Huck Norris strips in both front and rear and it seems to be doing well. I recently had to replace the bars and stem due to a troubling creak that developed between the clamp on an old Thomson stem and the 25.4mm bar (in the photo).

    Here's the crack as it first appeared, the repair, and the full frameset with the dropper exit and cable guides:

    Upgrade '13 Unit or new build?-img_9859.jpg

    Upgrade '13 Unit or new build?-img_3879.jpg

    Upgrade '13 Unit or new build?-img_3872.jpg
    Dave

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