Today I finished building my Explosif 2-9. It is my second 29er, my first and primary ride is a Black Sheep SS, see for details: http://forums.mtbr.com/showthread.php?t=110730 . The Kona came about because I rode my geared 26er last week and immediately realized small wheels weren't going to cut it... my Black Sheep is just so good. Although I plan to have James build me a new frame eventually, I decided to go the less expensive route to get on a geared 29er NOW. After looking around the Kona looked like the ticket, I picked up the frame from Bikeman, the WB Magic .8 on eBay and had bought the unusual wheels last winter off eBay for $150. Everything else came off my 26er, saving some serious coin. The basic concept was to build a geared bike that was as close to my rigid SS, while still offering a reasonable range of gears and a fork to ease the shock on my wrists (I tweaked one last season on a leaf covered chuck hole while descending, and it still hurts on occasion). I took the Kona out this afternoon on slippery, relatively wet trails. It was very good all around, compliant but stiff enough. The fork will need some fussing, but worked very well considering I took it out of the box and installed with zero adjustments... including adding air! This is my first 1X9, and I was very satisfied with the gearing spread, although I am waiting for a 34t ring and guards to arrive. The chain popped off once, but that is with no guidance. Finally, I'd like to mention the Ergon grips, they are great. My tender left wrist loved them, they kept my wrist much more comfortable, and the bar ends worked very well for climbing. I highly recommend them for someone looking to save their wrists. Overall I love the bike, it will be a nice option to ride on those days when I don't feel like SS'ing. Thanks everyone for your many posts that provide so much valuable information.
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