Kona Unit 29er Hardtail

DESCRIPTION

If you've ever ridden a Unit, you know that you'll always need a Unit. That when it comes to owning specific Units, it's extremely important you own the Kona Unit. We love everything about our Cromoly Butted steel frames: how they ride, where they go, how long they last. The Unit takes all that beauty, hops it up with contemporary Kona 29er geometry, and simplifies it with a singlespeed drivetrain to create an all-purpose big wheeler that delivers great quantities of joyful, um, well, Units.

  • Tapered OS blade P2 rigid fork
  • Xtra long FSA cranks (up to 180mm)
  • Avid BB7 MTB brakes
  • WTB SpeedDisc AM rims and Maxxis Tires

  • USER REVIEWS

    Showing 1-10 of 42  
    [Apr 26, 2019]
    NormMullen


    OVERALL
    RATING
    1
    Strength:

    Unit X 11 speed- bought at Jenson USA internet seller in ~10/18 Seems like it could be decent bike, but I have had three main sets of problems, see below.

    Weakness:

    see above Disc brakes (level 7) hard to center, so rub on rotors. Have loosened bolts and squeezed brake lever to center, and then tightened, trying to center, but they end up being off center, and still rub on rotors SRAM NX levers- after only 6 months of use, levers jammed, won't shift out of 1st gear (largest cog). Can't take off shifter cover plate because built-in clamp to hold shifter lever on handlebar is in the way. So have to remove whole shift lever from handlebar, which means removing brake from handlebar also. Jenson says to take them to local bike shop for warranty repair. SRAM says can clean them by taking them off handlebar, opening cover, and being careful not to have lever get out of position because one lever is attached to cover. Seems ridiculous to have to take to bike shop where I did not buy them to satisfy SRAM for warranty service. Why don't they make components user-serviceable? My whole purpose in buying bike without shocks was to get reliable winter bike that did not have suspension pivot points degrade with sloppy weather riding. I will not buy SRAM derailleurs or levers again, and won't buy from Jenson again, since I need local shop to get involved for warranty work anyway. Quick release hubs do not clamp wheels into center position without being over-tightened, and then wheels do not spin freely.

    Price Paid:
    1000
    Purchased:
    New  
    Model Year:
    2018
    [Dec 29, 2012]
    braced23

    OVERALL
    RATING
    5
    VALUE
    RATING
    5
    Strength:

    I like the height of the bb and the ability to run a 2.4 front tire. The whole package is confidence inspiring. I'm 6' tall but all torso and was able to get a solid fit on the 18". The bike is a pleasure to ride. Given the price that I paid as a 2012 closeout the stock components were a good value.

    Weakness:

    I'm not a fan of the FSA headset but it hasn't failed me yet.

    The most fun for the least amount of maintenance and opportunity for failure on the market. This bike's fun factor has me riding more aggressive and wanting to ride even more. I have swapped a bunch of parts out but it's less for dissatisfaction and more because I intend to keep this ss for the long haul.

    [Dec 10, 2012]
    Cpinkhouse
    Cross Country Rider

    OVERALL
    RATING
    4
    VALUE
    RATING
    5
    Strength:

    Value! Durability and ease of maintenence. Climbs like a goat. The unparalleled beauty of a steel single speed.

    Weakness:

    In order of recommended upgrades: pedals, grips, and headset. Next season it'll be the bars, stem, and bb.

    I truly love this bike. For under a thousand bucks it has brought me more joy than I can tell. Corny, but true. Got it 11 months ago and ive ridden it every week since then, weather permitting. It surprised me right from the get with its handling and mobility. I feel like a kid again, 'cause i get to just enjoy a no-frills blast in the woods!
    This roadie's mtb skills leave something to be desired, and the bike's innate abilities compensate for a lot. After the initial feel of the big wheels' rotational weight wore off, i settled into that 29'er groove. IN the saddle, the Unit just wants to pedal and go. I flopped the stem up, because it seemed a tad too much weight was forward. Now the geometry feels just right for me, and it eats up the twisty, rolling local terrain. OUT of the saddle it will rally through absolutely anything - as long as you have the legs and the balance. One gripe is that the cockpit flexes a bunch when I strain on my Overendz (I like the extra leverage with only one gear). Popping behind the saddle gets me through most any technical pitches that point down. The full rigid has taught me be very honest about looking ahead, picking lines, and controlling speed. This is not the bike you're hurling down any DH steeps, so those clamoring for hydro power are misguided, imho. The BB7's are plenty - especially after a $25 Jagwire upgrade. I cant seem to get the FSA headset to stop knocking without the steering getting sluggish. And yeah, a new wheelset, or somesuch silly thing like a carbon seatpost, would be sweet (that critique is legit on most every bike) - but you'd be spending enough to buy next year's Unit! Make no mistake, its virtually ready to rip as delivered.
    Clean her up, lube the chain, now and then dial in the brakes, tweak the user-friendly dropouts, and thats pretty much it. Really. After a full season's wear and tear, the only thing that's showing is I'll need new rubber next year, and a beefier cog/chainring. If you wanna lay down your bad habit-inducing squooshy gooshy, that cost as much as my first three cars combined, and get REAL - get this bike. If you can find it in stock.

    [Nov 04, 2012]
    Entrenador

    OVERALL
    RATING
    5
    VALUE
    RATING
    5
    Strength:

    Scandium: Fairly light and overbuilt
    Fat sliders: Require a 6mm hex, so they stay put
    Drive train options: Has cable guides and included a spare derailleur-friendly drive side dropout
    Geometry: Nimble but not twitchy
    31.6 seat post: Dropper optional
    Lifetime warranty? Really?

    Weakness:

    Tiny inconvenience with the non-drive side slider stop adjustment bolt

    This is a review for the frame only, size 19

    The frame is exactly what I wanted: An efficient, light, nimble and stable SS-able EBB-free platform. It is Scandium, which some people suggest is more forgiving than other aluminum alloys. Make no mistake, this is a stiff frame. But since I prefer a 2.2ish rear tire at low psi, the difference in comfort between this frame and my steel frame is negligible - just bend your knees like you're supposed to do anyway, right? Also regarding stiffness: Tapered head tube and nice fat down tube result in far better power transfer than on my steel frame, which means nice acceleration characteristics.

    Geometry: I can't imagine any better: Shortish stays, 70* HTA, and a very well-placed BB height (12.2"). The sliders allow for as short as 17.1" chain stays, but with my 32x20 gears and a half link, I managed to get ~17.3" - plenty nimble still.

    Drop outs: The drop outs are nice and beefy, and I don't expect I'll run into any issues down the line with these. The LH slider has post-type caliper mount, which is a bit disconcerting if you're heavy handed when tightening bolts. Side note: I'd like to see fork and frame mfgrs use steel thread inserts in the future, but I won't worry as long as I use proper torque numbers.
    Also, the RH slider adjuster is a bit funny, in that the stop nut that rests against the frame sits very close to the top of the dropout flange, which makes it a challenge to get a wrench on it. Careful work with an 8mm open end sufficed though, but it'd be nice to be able to fit a box end over the nut. But hey, I'm nutpicking here.

    My 19" frame with seat collar weighs 4lbs 6oz; It's no featherweight, but I don't feel like I must treat it like one. Such peace of mind doesn't get the airplay that it should.

    [Oct 08, 2012]
    SingleTkr
    Cross Country Rider

    OVERALL
    RATING
    5
    VALUE
    RATING
    5
    Strength:

    Simple design, steel frame.

    Weakness:

    Stock pedals,grips, seat post clamp and wheel rims

    This is my 3rd bike but the first one that has compelled me to write a review. Bought the 2011 model (white) new in the box in April 2012 and this now pretty much my go to bike and my 2010 Trek Fuel EX8 doesn't get much ride time. I bought this looking for a cheap way to try out a 29er and my options were limited as I wanted to keep it under 1k. I had told myself I wouldn't be putting any money into it and I'd ride it stock. Well that only lasted a month as I pretty quickly fell in love with the bike. Wound up changing the grips, pedals, rims and tires. My favorite parts is the simplicity of riding a bike with one gear and the fact that this bike just goes where you point it. Want to go faster? just pedal harder. It is a great climber aided by the wide 710mm handlebars and even with the stock cranks it is an efficient transfer of power to the wheels. It is surprisingly nimble for having 29" wheels and just requires a few rides to get use to the differences. I'm in my 50's and the only thing that was taking a beating was my shoulders (I have 2 previously torn rotator cuffs) but a big volume tire up front set up tubeless with low pressure remedied a lot of the beating my body takes from the rigid fork. I ride it about 75% of the time and if I ride it more then that I think I will go for carbon/titanium bars with a carbon fork (niner). The steel frame does absorb some of the bumps but not as much of the smaller trail chatter. Avid BB7 brakes work nicely once the pads bed in. Haven't done more then 20 miles at a time on this bike but at that distance the stock saddle is comfortable. 18T cog works for most trails I ride, still have to walk a few hills but I will get there :)

    Similar Products Used:

    2010 Trek Fuel EX8

    [Aug 23, 2012]
    Ryder1
    Weekend Warrior

    OVERALL
    RATING
    5
    VALUE
    RATING
    5
    Strength:

    '11 FRAME: Geometry, sliding dropouts, not-long chainstay length, price, Kona making a steel single speed available, ride feel.

    Weakness:

    '11 FRAME: Not a weakness, but if you demand a low bottom bracket or a short headtube, this is not your bike. I'm the exact opposite, so I LOVE this bike.

    '11 FRAME: I owned a '10 SIR9 and didn't like the steep angles or AWFUL color, so I sold it and replaced it with a '11 Unit. Why? After reviewing every available steel SS 29er frame, it seemed the 2011-2012 Kona geomertry was ideal for me. I bought the frame, built it up, and its PERFECT. Couldn't be happier. Don't miss the SIR9 at all. I later bought a titanium SS (Kona Raijin) and I prefer the Unit.

    Similar Products Used:

    Haro Mary SS, Kona Kula SS, Niner SIR9 SS, Salsa Dos Niner (SS and geared), Kona Raijin (SS and geared)

    [Jul 22, 2012]
    JustaHaro
    All Mountain Rider

    OVERALL
    RATING
    5
    VALUE
    RATING
    5
    Strength:

    Grate build, only bike I have owned I have not wanted to change ever part on after the first few rides. Love the way this bike rides find it really rewards you every time I ride it. Grate fit also that's oe thing I like about Kona they have a size for everyone, fun!

    Weakness:

    Spend some times lubeing all of the stem, BB and crank bolts from new mine had a lot of creaking after the first wet ride.

    Anyone who is after a single speed 29er to try out won't be un happy. I understand why people would want a softer set of grips with the ridgid for, but I find the stock ones add you on the climbs. Headset will come loose after the first few rides but I have nipped up mine and have put over 200km since with no more problems. The bottom line for me is I own a $3000 dual suspension bike that now spends its life parked in the shed since I picked up the unit.
    It's the best bang for buck bike I have ever ridden and will be ridding and racing mine for years to come.

    [Jun 24, 2012]
    tiki time

    OVERALL
    RATING
    4
    VALUE
    RATING
    4
    Strength:

    love this bike. i also own a kona big kahuna and the unit has been my go-to bike all year. it's light, looks great, fast and is wicked fun. steel frame is great and love the matte orange finish although it woulda been nice if they put some more coats on. maxxis tires are great also.

    Weakness:

    brakes are pretty awful. i also changed out the pedals and grips. wtb saddle is actually pretty comfortable but the seating has a bit of a tilted back feel to it.

    i was first told that single speeds were a 'hipster' thing to do, and could never understand why anyone would want a single speed. well for one, hills really haven't been an issue at all, on the straights this thing just glides along, and the handling of the bike feels sturdy. very light, very fast. have contemplated on putting a squishy fork on it and also upgrading the anemic brakes but i love how simple it is and that i really don't feel the need to upgrade anything, aside from better platform pedals and grips. but, with a better fork and brakes, this is one bike that would be tough to beat.

    [Mar 28, 2012]
    Jake
    Cross Country Rider

    OVERALL
    RATING
    5
    VALUE
    RATING
    5
    Strength:

    Bought in spring 2011. Simple bike, solid feel. Not too harsh, until you're doing 90% + like in a race. Then ouch. It's cheap with nice parts package, I've run it bone stock for a year and haven't touched gears since. I can't underscore enough.. how much fun the thing is.

    Weakness:

    Weight. I don't know, maybe the fork and wheels are a bit heavy. But for $800, who cares. I'm not trying to WIN the dang race. It's all kinds of fun.

    Freaking fun, great value. Very durable so far, but hey heavy sometimes = burly. I'll beat myself up another year on it and then go full carbon FS 29er psycho race bike.

    Similar Products Used:

    None, first SS (excluding BMX hah) and first 29er.

    [Nov 08, 2010]
    konarider123
    Cross Country Rider

    OVERALL
    RATING
    5
    VALUE
    RATING
    5
    Strength:

    well built steel frame, great geometry and handling, sliding dropouts, great build spec. for the money, bb7 disk brakes, maxxis ignitor tires, lifetime frame warranty, decent wheel set, frame can be geared.

    Weakness:

    Stock grips. Head set could be better, but is functioning fine after initial ride adjustment. No real problem with it, just anticipating that it will be the first component to need replacing. Crank set seems great but has loosened a little during a couple of rides. No big deal, just takes a couple of minutes to adjust and tighten up again. Because it is a rigid single speed mountain bike, it is subjected to heavy torque and vibration. This means that you will need to check component tightness regularly. Not a weakness of the bike, just a reality of the style of bike.

    I love this bike! It climbs and handles great! I am surprised at how nimble, fast, and surefooted it feels. Trails that seemed scary on my old bike seem fairy tame on this. 29" wheels are great! I wasn't sure about the single speed thing as my only bike, but am not missing gears at all. As long as you don't mind standing and working a little on the climbs, you are well rewarded. My 18" bike is 25 lbs. with my clipless pedals on my bathroom scale. Ride is a little rough but not as harsh as I expected for fully rigid. Just let a little air out of the tires, pick a good line, and enjoy the simplicity. I will probably keep it pretty much stock for a long time. This frame seems very solid and I am confident that Kona has addressed and fixed the frame breaking issues of the older models. I can't recommend this bike enough! Buy it if you want a great deal on a fun, fast, simple, great handling bike. Don't buy it if you like to sit during the climbs, unless you want to add some gears. This bike rocks!

    Similar Products Used:

    Have not tried any other 29er single speeds but I have a Rocky Mountain hammer race and have ridden a friends Kona Hei Hei, Kona Kula and a Motobecane 29er.

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