Mountain biking is a very dynamic sport. Every year you see bikes with new designs that kick some serious butt. You’re getting more relaxed lines, improved suspension, more travel and a much more extensive range of gear combinations.
Which is all great if you’re hitting hectic trails and are willing to spend a good few thousand dollars, but what if you just want to get back to basics? What if a crazy number of gears and suspension are not what you’re looking for?
Kona realized that there was a gap in this section of the market and released their first Unit bike. It proved to be a very popular mountain bike, but, let’s be honest here, a single-speed bike comes with its own challenges. As a result, Kona came up with the Kona X, the next evolution.
They market it as a simple bike with a gear range of 11-42, and they’ve designed it for the more casual biker. It’s not going to knock your socks off if you’re a highly competitive rider, but it’s not meant for competitive riders.
It’s a more budget-friendly option that seems to have gained something of a following. How does it measure up, though? Is it right for you? Read on and find out.
The Kona Unit X Features
We’ll start this off by reiterating that there is no suspension with this bike. So, if you’re hitting some really rough trails, brace yourself. The bike can handle rough terrain, but you might end up feeling like the Coyote after a run in with the Road Runner.
Now that that’s out of the way let’s move on. Unit X is a hardtail mountain bike that is steel framed and nice and rugged.
It has an SRAM drivetrain with a full 11-speed cassette making it possible to handle steep climbs and flats equally well.
Level T hydraulic brakes from SRAM provide your stopping power. These allow you to stop on a dime.
The WTB Ranger 27.5″ tires and Formula hubs make it possible to go tubeless if you want more control over the smoothness of the ride. The traction is excellent, and you won’t slide out easily.
The Kona Plus fork makes completes the picture. It provides reasonable control and can handle a lot of abuse.
• Chromoly frame
• SRAM drivetrain
• SRAM brakes
• Tires can be set up as tubeless
• No suspension
• Simple to use
• Great price
• Simple design
• The rear wheel screws need retightening after a few rides
Kona Unit X Final Verdict
Overall, this is a bike that comes in at a fair price. It has everything you need to go out there and mash the trail. It’s a good option for a beginner because there’s no suspension to have to fiddle with or adjust.
Without the suspension, you’re going to feel all the lumps and bumps on the trail, though. Riding especially fast might, therefore, be problematic. The bike can handle it, but can you?
The switch from the single speed of the original model makes this even easier to handle. We love the handling ability when it comes to different terrain.
Overall, this is a good bike. It’s going to be better for the rider that prefers to ride at a more leisurely pace. If you like mashing down a steep trail at breakneck speeds, this might not be the best choice.