Imagine a bicycle, as robust as the Colorado Rockies. Built with a resilient Cromoly frame, this bike is a bikepacking titan, ready to accompany you on your wildest adventures. Its 12-speed drivetrain offers range and precision, while the option to switch to single-speed is there when you’re ready. The rigid fork? A classic touch of reliability and longevity in this modern machine. The Kona Unit X is a testament to practicality and performance.
Picture yourself gliding through the whispering pines of the Colorado Plateau or absorbing the tranquil beauty of the Great Divide. The Kona Unit X is more than a bicycle; it’s your passport to these bikepacking adventures. Its rugged design is built to endure, to conquer the untamed and the unknown. The option to switch to single-speed mode offers a purist’s delight, a nod to the simplicity of cycling’s roots. With the Kona Unit X, every trail becomes a canvas, every ride a masterpiece of adventure and exploration.
Geometry & Ride Characteristics
The Kona Unit X features a geometry that is not only versatile but also optimized for bikepacking adventures. Its balanced head tube and seat tube angles make it stable enough to carry loads yet agile enough for technical trails. The relatively short chainstays contribute to quick, responsive handling, which is particularly beneficial when navigating through tight spaces or making sharp turns, even with bikepacking gear attached. The wheelbase, while stable, is not excessively long, allowing for easier maneuverability when fully loaded. The stack and reach are designed to offer a comfortable riding position, crucial for those long days in the saddle during multi-day trips.
When it comes to ride feel, the Kona Unit X is a true adventurer’s companion. The Reynolds 520 Butted Cromoly frame provides a ride that is both compliant and responsive, qualities that are amplified when the bike is loaded with gear. This frame material effectively absorbs vibrations from uneven terrains, making for a smoother ride. The Shimano Deore 12-speed drivetrain offers a versatile range of gears, allowing riders to tackle a variety of elevations, which is essential for bikepacking trips that often involve diverse terrains. Overall, the Kona Unit X delivers a ride that is exhilarating, comfortable, and well-suited for both day rides and extended bikepacking expeditions.
- Consistent Head Tube and Seat Tube Angles Across Sizes: The Kona Unit X maintains a head tube angle of 68.0 degrees and a seat tube angle of 75.0 degrees across all sizes. This consistency ensures a uniform ride feel for riders of different heights, which is not always the case in other bikes where these angles may vary with size.
- Seat Tube Lengths: With seat tube lengths ranging from 370mm to 530mm across sizes, the Kona Unit X allows for a lower standover height. This is particularly beneficial for riders who prefer a more agile and maneuverable bike, as it allows for easier mounting and dismounting compared to bikes with longer seat tubes.
- Top Tube Lengths: The top tube lengths, ranging from 582mm to 675mm, are designed to offer a comfortable reach. This makes the bike suitable for both trail riding and long-distance bikepacking, setting it apart from bikes that may have either too short or too long top tube lengths.
- Reach and Stack: With reach values from 425mm to 510mm and stack values from 588mm to 615mm, the Kona Unit X offers a balanced rider position. This is a unique feature as it provides both comfort and performance, which is often a compromise in other bikes.
- Chainstay Length: The chainstay length is consistently 430mm across all sizes, contributing to the bike’s nimble handling and quick acceleration. This is a standout feature, as many other bikes often have longer chainstays that can affect agility.
- Bottom Bracket Drop and Height: The bike features a 65mm bottom bracket drop and a 310mm bottom bracket height. These dimensions offer a good balance between pedal clearance and a low center of gravity, which is not always easy to find in similarly priced bikes.
- Wheelbase and Front Center: The wheelbase ranges from 1115mm to 1211mm, and the front center ranges from 693mm to 789mm. These dimensions offer stability without compromising maneuverability, a balance that is a unique selling point for the Kona Unit X.
- Fork Length and Offset: The fork length and offset are consistently 470mm and 50mm across all sizes. This contributes to the bike’s stable yet quick steering, a feature that sets it apart from other bikes where these dimensions may vary.
vs. the Surly Krampus Rigid
The Surly Krampus Rigid features a steel frame and rigid fork, which provide a more compliant ride, absorbing trail chatter effectively. Its geometry leans more towards stability, making it well-suited for long, straight trails. On the other hand, the Kona Unit X, with its moderately slack head tube angle and short chainstays, offers a more agile and responsive ride, ideal for technical terrains and quick maneuvers. While both bikes are in a similar cost range, their ride characteristics cater to different styles of off-road cycling.
- Surly Krampus Rigid: Features a Shimano Deore MT510 (30T) crankset and a Shimano Deore M6100 rear derailleur. This setup provides a reliable and durable gear system that is well-suited for long-distance bikepacking and off-road adventures.
- Kona Unit X: Comes with a Prowheel 12-speed crankarm and a Shimano Deore rear derailleur, paired with a 10-51t 12-speed cassette. This offers a wider range of gearing options, making it versatile for tackling various terrains from steep climbs to fast descents.
- Frame Material
- Surly Krampus Rigid: Utilizes a steel frame, which is known for its durability and ability to provide a compliant ride, effectively absorbing trail chatter.
- Kona Unit X: Made with Reynolds 520 Butted Cromoly, a higher-grade steel that offers a good balance between strength and weight, making it a strong yet relatively lightweight option.
- Surly Krampus Rigid: Comes with a rigid steel fork, designed for durability and a compliant ride, which is particularly beneficial for long-distance bikepacking.
- Kona Unit X: Features a specialized Kona Plus Fork with 110mm spacing, designed for versatility in wheel and tire choices, making it adaptable to different riding conditions.
- Surly Krampus Rigid: Uses Avid BB5 Mechanical brakes, offering reliable stopping power that is easy to maintain, especially on long trips.
- Kona Unit X: Equipped with Shimano MT410 Hydraulic brakes, providing enhanced stopping power and modulation, giving the rider better control in technical terrains.
- Ride Feel
- Surly Krampus Rigid: Designed for a more compliant and stable ride, making it well-suited for long, straight trails where stability and comfort are key.
- Kona Unit X: Engineered for an agile and responsive ride, making it ideal for technical terrains where quick maneuvers and adaptability are essential.
- Surly Krampus Rigid: Focuses on stability with its geometry, making it better suited for long-distance riding where comfort and steadiness are important.
- Kona Unit X: Offers a balanced geometry that is versatile enough for both technical trails and bikepacking, providing a unique blend of agility and stability.
vs. the Bombtrack Beyond+
The Bombtrack Beyond+ is designed for rugged off-road expeditions, featuring a 4130 double butted crmo frame and SRAM LEVEL hydraulic disc brakes that offer robust stopping power. Its geometry leans towards stability and comfort, ideal for long-distance bikepacking. On the other hand, the Kona Unit X is more versatile, with a Reynolds 520 Butted Cromoly frame and Shimano MT410 Hydraulic brakes. Its geometry is balanced, making it agile enough for technical terrains while still being a capable bikepacking option.
- Bombtrack Beyond+: Comes with a BOMBTRACK BPS 4130 crmo fork with double butted blades, designed for heavy-duty use and equipped with multiple mounts for versatility.
- Kona Unit X: Features a Kona Plus Fork with 110mm spacing, designed for adaptability in wheel and tire choices, catering to different trail conditions.
- Bombtrack Beyond+: Equipped with SRAM LEVEL hydraulic disc brakes, providing robust stopping power, especially useful in challenging terrains.
- Kona Unit X: Uses Shimano MT410 Hydraulic brakes, offering reliable stopping power and better modulation, suitable for both technical trails and long rides.
- Bombtrack Beyond+: Features a SRAM SX-EAGLE 12-speed drivetrain with a 11-50T cassette, designed for a wide range of gearing options.
- Kona Unit X: Comes with a Prowheel 12-speed crankarm and a Shimano Deore 10-51t 12-speed cassette, offering a slightly wider range of gears for various terrains.
- Ride Feel
- Bombtrack Beyond+: Engineered for stability and comfort, making it well-suited for long-distance bikepacking and off-road expeditions.
- Kona Unit X: Designed for a more agile and responsive ride, making it versatile enough for both technical terrains and bikepacking adventures.
- Bombtrack Beyond+: Focuses on stability and comfort, ideal for riders who are looking for a bike that can handle long, challenging rides.
- Kona Unit X: Offers a balanced geometry that is versatile, providing a unique blend of agility and stability, suitable for a variety of riding conditions.
vs. the Surly Grappler
The Surly Grappler is geared towards stability and comfort, thanks to its 100% Chromoly Steel frame and fork. It’s equipped with Tektro Mira MD-C400 brakes, providing consistent but somewhat basic stopping power. On the other hand, the Kona Unit X is engineered for versatility, featuring a higher-grade Reynolds 520 Butted Cromoly frame and more advanced Shimano MT410 Hydraulic brakes. Its geometry is balanced, allowing for agility in technical terrains while still offering the stability needed for bikepacking, making it a more adaptable choice for diverse adventures.
- Frame Material
- Surly Grappler: Built with a 100% Chromoly Steel frame, known for its durability and ability to provide a stable and comfortable ride.
- Kona Unit X: Features a Reynolds 520 Butted Cromoly frame, which offers a balance between strength and weight, making it versatile for various riding conditions.
- Surly Grappler: Comes with a 100% Chromoly Steel fork, designed for durability and a compliant ride, particularly beneficial for long-distance bikepacking.
- Kona Unit X: Features a Kona Plus Fork with 110mm spacing, designed for adaptability in wheel and tire choices, making it versatile for different riding conditions.
- Surly Grappler: Equipped with Tektro Mira MD-C400 brakes, offering consistent but basic stopping power, suitable for less demanding terrains.
- Kona Unit X: Uses Shimano MT410 Hydraulic brakes, providing enhanced stopping power and modulation, giving the rider better control in technical terrains.
- Surly Grappler: Features a Microshift drivetrain with a 11-48t cogset, designed for reliability and a straightforward gear range.
- Kona Unit X: Comes with a Prowheel 12-speed crankarm and a Shimano Deore 10-51t 12-speed cassette, offering a wider range of gears for tackling various terrains.
- Ride Feel
- Surly Grappler: Engineered for a stable and comfortable ride, making it well-suited for long, straight trails where comfort is key.
- Kona Unit X: Designed for an agile and responsive ride, making it ideal for technical terrains where quick maneuvers and adaptability are essential.
- Surly Grappler: Focuses on stability with its geometry, making it better suited for long-distance riding where comfort and steadiness are important.
- Kona Unit X: Offers a balanced geometry that is versatile enough for both technical trails and bikepacking, providing a unique blend of agility and stability.
Rigid Kona Plus Fork: The Kona Unit X features a specialized Kona Plus Fork with 110mm spacing, designed to accommodate a variety of wheel and tire sizes. This fork design is a standout feature, offering both versatility and durability, which is not commonly found in bikes at this price point.
Shimano Deore 12-Speed Drivetrain: The bike is equipped with a Shimano Deore 12-speed drivetrain, providing a wide range of gearing options. This allows for exceptional adaptability to various terrains, from steep climbs to fast descents. The 12-speed setup is a premium feature that sets it apart from other budget-friendly bikepacking bikes that often come with fewer speeds.
Flat Bar with Optimized Geometry: The Kona Unit X comes with a flat bar that has been optimized for both comfort and control. The flat bar design contributes to a more upright riding position, which is ideal for long-distance bikepacking and trail riding. This ergonomic feature is a unique selling point, as many similarly priced bikes come with less comfortable handlebar setups.
Bag, Rack and Fender Mounting Points
The Kona Unit X is well-equipped with a variety of mounting points to cater to all your bikepacking needs:
Front and Rear Rack Mounts: The Kona Unit X comes with front and rear rack mounts, offering the flexibility to carry a variety of bags, gear, or panniers. These mounts are strategically placed to distribute weight evenly, making it easier to manage the bike’s handling during long rides.
3-Pack Rack Fork Mounts: These mounts are located on the front fork and are ideal for carrying water bottles or small bags. Their placement allows for easy access while riding, making hydration and snacking more convenient.
Bottle Cage Mounts: The bike features bottle cage mounts on both the top and bottom of the down tube, and sometimes on the seat tube as well. These mounts are designed for easy reach and stability, ensuring your water bottles stay secure even on rough terrains.
Top Tube Mounts: There is a mount on the top tube specifically designed for a fuel tank bag. This is perfect for keeping essential items like snacks or a phone within easy reach, especially during longer rides where quick access is crucial.
Under Downtube Mount: The Kona Unit X also features a mount under the downtube, a common place for carrying an extra water bottle or a tool keg. This mount is particularly useful for long rides where extra hydration or tool access may be needed.
Fender Mounts: These mounts are located near the tires and are designed for attaching fenders. They are particularly useful for rides in muddy or wet conditions, helping to prevent mud and water spray.
Kona Unit X Featured in the Wild
In a recent review of the Kona Unit X featured on Bikepacking.com, the author explores the bike’s versatile capabilities and its suitability for singletrack adventures. The review highlights the adjustable dropouts, which provide the option of running the bike as a single speed or with a derailleur, offering tailored riding experiences. The author notes, “The Unit X offers a reliable and playful ride, perfect for exploring new trails and tackling technical descents with confidence.” With its durable frame, slack head tube angle, and ample tire clearance, the Kona Unit X proves to be a reliable companion for those seeking a versatile and adventurous off-road experience.
Adventure Cycling features a comprehensive review of the Kona Unit X, highlighting its capabilities as a dependable off-road companion. The author explores the bike’s versatile geometry and sturdy build, remarking, “The Kona Unit X is a workhorse, ready for any adventure you throw at it.” The review emphasizes the bike’s adjustable dropouts, allowing for single-speed or geared setups, and praises its stability and responsive handling on rough terrain. The Kona Unit X proves to be a reliable choice for off-road enthusiasts seeking a durable and adaptable bike for their adventures.
The Kona Unit X’s customizability takes center stage in a captivating review featured on Bikepacking.com. The article delves into various dream builds using the Kona Unit X as a platform, showcasing the bike’s versatility for personalized setups. The author emphasizes, “The Kona Unit X is a blank canvas, ready to be transformed into the bike of your dreams.” The review explores different component choices, highlighting the endless possibilities to tailor the bike to individual preferences. Whether it’s configuring it as a lightweight single-speed racer or a rugged bikepacking rig, the Kona Unit X proves to be an excellent choice for those seeking a bike they can truly make their own.
The Kona Unit X is equipped with a Shimano Deore 12-speed drivetrain, including a 10-51t cassette, providing a wide range of gears for diverse terrains. For braking, it uses Shimano MT410 Hydraulic calipers and rotors, ensuring reliable stopping power. The bike rolls on WTB ST i30 2.0 TCS rims, fitted with either Maxxis Rekon TR or WTB Ranger TCS 29×2.6″ tires, offering grip and durability.
- Frame: Reynolds 520 Butted Cromoly
- Fork: Kona Plus Fork 110mm spacing
- Front Derailleur: N/A
- Rear Derailleur: Shimano Deore
- Cassette: Shimano Deore 10-51t 12spd
- Crankset: Prowheel 12spd
- Shifter: Shimano Deore 12spd
- Brakes: Shimano MT410 Hydraulic
- Rotors: F-Shimano RT10 180mm (centerlock), R-Shimano RT10 160mm (centerlock)
- Headset: TH ZST No.10
- Stem: Kona XC/BC
- Handlebar: Kona XC/BC Riser
- Grips / Bar Tape: Kona Key Grip
- Seatpost: Kona Thumb w/Offset 31.6mm
- Saddle: WTB Volt
- Seatclamp: Kona Clamp
- Front Wheel: WTB ST i30 TCS 2.0, Formula 110x15mm (centerlock)
- Rear Wheel: WTB ST i30 TCS 2.0, Shimano 148x12mm (centerlock)
- Tires: Maxxis Rekon TR 29×2.6″ or WTB Ranger TCS 29×2.6″”
The Kona Unit X features a frame made from Reynolds 520 butted Cromoly steel, known for its strength and durability. It features a Kona Plus Fork with 110mm spacing. One of the standout features is its modular/sliding dropouts, and also allows for easy adjustment of the bike’s geometry and the option to run it as a single-speed or with a derailleur. The frame does not include a rear shock, emphasizing its rigid design. The bike features a tapered head tube design, which enhances steering strength and balance, providing riders with more control in rough terrain. It is designed to accommodate a variety of wheel and tire sizes.
Registration is no longer necessary for your Kona warranty to be valid.
Kona Bicycle Company ( “Kona” ) makes the following limited Warranty:
ONE YEAR LIMITED WARRANTY ON COMPLETE BICYCLE (USA, UK & CANADA)
Kona warrants to the original owner that this new Kona bicycle shall be free of defective materials and workmanship for a period of one year from the date of original purchase in the United States or Canada and operated under normal conditions and use. During this one-year period, Kona shall repair or replace, at its sole option, all parts that are found by Kona to be defective and subject to this limited warranty. The original owner shall pay all labor charges connected with the repair or replacement of all parts. On Kona electric pedal-assist bikes, the electronic system is covered by a two-year warranty, whereby accidents or consumer mistakes like shorting polarity are not covered. Warranty on the battery is for one year, at the end of that period, the battery is guaranteed to retain at least 70% of its original capacity.
TWO YEAR LIMITED WARRANTY ON COMPLETE BICYCLE (EUROPE)
Kona warrants to the original owner that this newly purchased Kona bicycle shall be free of defective materials and workmanship for the two-year period stated under EU consumer protection laws, dated from the original purchase and subject to normal conditions and use. During this two-year period, Kona shall repair or replace, at its sole option, all parts that are found by Kona to be defective and therein subject to this limited warranty.
THREE YEAR LIMITED WARRANTY ON KONA BRANDED BICYCLE FORKS.
LIFETIME LIMITED WARRANTY ON BICYCLE FRAME (USA, CANADA, UK & EUROPE ONLY)*
Kona further warrants to the original owner that the frame of this new Kona bicycle purchased from an authorized Kona dealer shall be free of defective materials or workmanship for the lifetime of the product. This is ONLY VALID ON NON-CARBON FRAMES. During this warranty period, Kona shall repair or replace, at its sole option, the bicycle frame if Kona determines the frame is defective and subject to this limited warranty. The color on the warranty frame may vary from the color of the original frame. The original owner shall pay all labor and shipping charges connected with the repair or replacement of the bicycle frame. This warranty is only valid in the UK, USA, Canada, and Europe.
*This is valid on all non-carbon Kona bicycle frames. CARBON FRAMES receive 3-year warranty.
This limited warranty is made only to the original owner of this Kona bicycle purchased from an authorized Kona dealer, and it shall remain in force only as long as the original owner retains ownership of the Kona bicycle. This limited warranty is not transferable. In order to obtain service under this Limited Warranty, the original owner must deliver the Kona bicycle, and the bill of sale or other dated proof of purchase document identifying the Kona bicycle by frame number/serial number, to an authorized Kona dealer. This Limited Warranty does not apply to normal wear and tear, nor to defects, malfunctions or failures that result from the abuse, neglect, improper maintenance, alteration, modification, accident, or misuse (including without limitation bicycle racing, bicycle motocross, stunt bicycling, commercial use or rental use) of the Kona bicycle. Damage caused by transporting bicycle, especially across the tailgate of a pickup truck – even when a pad is used – voids warranty.
THIS LIMITED WARRANTY IS THE ONLY EXPRESS OR LIMITED WARRANTY APPLICABLE TO KONA BICYCLES. ANY IMPLIED WARRANTIES, INCLUDING WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY AND FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE, SHALL BE LIMITED IN SCOPE AND DURATION IN ACCORDANCE WITH THIS LIMITED WARRANTY. KONA SHALL NOT BE RESPONSIBLE FOR ANY DIRECT, INCIDENTAL, CONSEQUENTIAL OR EXEMPLARY DAMAGES SUFFERED BY ANY PARTY. THE FOREGOING STATEMENTS OF WARRANTY ARE EXCLUSIVE AND IN LIEU OF ALL OTHER REMEDIES.
THIS LIMITED WARRANTY GIVES YOU SPECIFIC LEGAL RIGHTS; YOU MAY ALSO HAVE OTHER LEGAL RIGHTS WHICH VARY FROM STATE TO STATE OR PROVINCE TO PROVINCE. SOME STATES OR PROVINCES DO NOT ALLOW LIMITATIONS OR EXCLUSION OF INCIDENTAL OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES; SO, THE ABOVE LIMITATIONS AND EXCLUSIONS SET FORTH IN THIS LIMITED WARRANTY MAY NOT APPLY TO YOU.
THE LIMITED WARRANTY SET FORTH HEREIN MAY NOT BE EXTENDED, ENLARGED OR OTHERWISE MODIFIED BY ANY KONA DEALER, AGENT OR EMPLOYEE, AND KONA DOES NOT ASSUME ANY LIABILITY OR MAKE ANY WARRANTY EXCEPT AS STATED IN THE LIMITED WARRANTY.
WARRANTY ONLY APPLIES IN USA, CANADA, UK AND EUROPE. PLEASE SEE YOUR DEALER OR DISTRIBUTOR FOR THE SPECIFIC WARRANTY IN YOUR COUNTRY. WARRANTY VALID ONLY IF BICYCLE IS ASSEMBLED BY AN AUTHORIZED KONA DEALER.
Warranty is made only to the original owner of this Kona bicycle purchased from an authorized Kona dealer, and it shall remain in force only as long as the original owner retains ownership of the Kona bicycle. This limited warranty is not transferable.