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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
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.

Regards,
Wardo
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
Thanks for the compliments, Marty the wheels are XERO Element's. Xero is a subsidiary of Formula I believe. The radial spoke pattern feels fine, since I haven't tried the wheels on anything else, it really isn't a controlled experiment. They are relatively light (claimed 1826g combined), and the price was certainly right.
Nat, that is a blue shop rag. The floor is slightly pitched, and the bike kept rolling, so since I had the rag in my pocket it made a fine impromptu chock. We do have red and gold finches all over the place though.

Regards,
Ward

P.S. I did a quick search on eBay and here is a set of the same wheels with specs: http://cgi.ebay.com/XERO-ELEMENT-XS...oryZ7295QQssPageNameZWD1VQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
The frame is an 18". Since I am not running a front derailleur I've pulled the dropouts full forward to shorten things up, as well as prevent dropout slippage. This makes the the chainstays measure 17.25". This is .25" longer than the KM, but actually feels quite similiar (although I've only ridden a small KM). I am sure someone with a more nuanced ability could discern many differences, but I was struck more by the simialarities. It steers very precisely, but didn't feel "darty" in the least. It was rock solid in high speed sweepers, but manueverable in tight switchbacks. I've only ridden 4 29ers, a Mudbats, KM, Black Sheep and now my Kona. They all were good, but slightly different. I love the balance and light weight of the Black Sheep most, but both the Kona and KM provided an astoudingly good ride and provided huge confidence on the trail. I hope that helps.

Regards,
Wardo
 

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Does the frame have stops for a front derailleur? That type of tubing is it? The shapes do not look like any of the other Kona steel frames I have seen. A few years ago my explosif frame cracked and I have missed it ever since..
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I need to do more tuning on the fork before I can intelligently comment on it, I think I'll start by checking the air pressure.... CritKing, the frame has all the stops required to be fully geared. It is made with Dedaccia SAT butted cromoly tubing. My frame weighs 4.9 pounds, and rides like steel should.

Wardo
 
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