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SS Pusher Man
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7,623 Posts
Prefer the swinging dropouts on the El Mar over the sliding dropouts on the Kona.

Other than that, get the one that fits the best.
 

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848 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Can you get Units as frame only? I was thinking I'd like to swap steel in for my AL HT frame too.
I don't think you can, but I might be able to sell off the parts or work a deal with the LBS. If I can't, then it makes the decision easier for sure, depending on how much I can get the El Mar frame for.

The Kona Honzo has a 68 degree headtube angle, probably a lot too slack for the twisty-turnies, but fun for aggressive downhill (as advertised). The Canfield Nimble 9 has a 70 deg HTA, better in my book, but still not 71. I've ridden bikes with slack HTA and found them hard to steer - maybe you'd get used to it (?).
 

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Unit FTW

I have an '07 Unit 2-9 (the purple one). It's one of the best bikes I've owned. I think the shorter chain stays on the Unit would be much preferred over the Salsa. I bought mine as a frame and fork only. It was cheap. I've run it rigid and with a Fox F29 at 100mm and as a singlespeed and 2x9. It's a great, versatile bike.
 

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I have an '09 Unit that bought (frame only) off of a forum. It's been a very good bike.

I had the slider/wheel/chain set one link longer than necessary when I first built the bike. Shortening the chain, and effectively the chainstay, made a noticeable improvement in handling. The Unit felt a little lazy and heavy with the longer wheelbase. Shortening the wheelbase made it somewhat easier to toss around and much easier to manual.

I've read of drive-side chainstay/seatstay failures on the Unit, but I've not had any issues. Also, I believe the geometry changed significantly in '10 or '11.

This thread needs some photos.

 

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EXORCIZE
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2,242 Posts
These were my final two choices. Got the '11 Unit new on e-bay for $319 shipped. I'm in very rocky terrain so the higher bb height was appreciated. And I prefer a shorter chainstay length (am running it SS). Never rode a Mariachi so I can't compare rides. Mariachi is pretty, but I also like the sleeper look.
 

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aka "SirLurkAlot"
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626 Posts
Tough to find right now but the Inbred is another option.

I've owned 8 HT 29ers and went back to the Inbred. However, I don't have experience on the Kona. I like the Salsa's dropouts but not enough to buy one at twice the price.
 
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