Well after riding my 2012 Kona Jake cyclo cross bike since Dec 2011 when I first purchased it, I came to realize that for the type of cycling I like to do which these days is mainly commuting the 16km into the bicycle shop and back and the occasional longer ride on my day off or a bike shop ride I do not require the 30 gears that came on the Jake , in fact over the winter I took off the outer large ring just to make it easier to clean which turned it into a 20 speed instead. I started cycling back in the early 1980s and pretty much have only used MTBs for my main mode of transport on a daily basis , although when I lived in Australia for 3 years I only had a 50 inch replica ordinary / penny farthing as my daily ride. Ever since the 29 inch MTB came on the market I have been interest in them and have test ridden a number of the different models that I have sold at the bike shop. In the last month I had been riding the Jake in the middle ring 39T - 15 T and managed to easily get to work in a reasonable time even in snow. So I decided to purchase a 29 inch single speed MTB, my options were
Surly - karate monkey
Kona - Unit
Kuwahara - Decade 9
Charge - cooker
In the end I chose the 2013 Kona unit because I really like the fact the Kona is willing to give a frame a lifetime warranty in this day and age when most of manufacturers will only give a 3 year warranty !, the sliding dropout system in my opinion is the best design for a single speed MTB and with an after market hanger it can also be turned into a 1 x 9 or put a IGH in the rear such as a Shimano Alfine or even a Sturmey Archer mountain disk hub. It comes with Maxxis Ikon tyres which are fast rolling even on the road and the ever popular Avid BB7 mechanical disk brakes - the gearing is a bit low for road usage as it is 32T - 18T which would be perfect for off road riding but to give a better gear for commuting I have ordered a Surly cassette cog in 13T as the rear hub is a cassette type which also offers the rider a better choice of gearing rather than a standard freewheel were your options are limited. The bike pictured in this post is the 2013 Kona Unit in raw steel size 16 inch which is the same as my bike , later on I will post some photos of my bike once I have fitted the rear cog and a longer stem. I am also keen to try some bike packing this year and I am sure the Kona Unit will be up to the task , basic, simple and strong .