A few weeks back I was stopping through NYC Velo and came across one of those ‘you won’t get a deal this good again’ deals. Long story short, I bought a new 18 inch 2006 Kona UNIT, my first mountain bike in over two years. As bikes go, the Unit is as lo-fi as you can get, its steel, rigid, has v-brakes and is a single-speed. When I was riding more, I’d tried pretty much everything in an effort to find a bike that fit me and my riding style. Rode everything from a 5x5 trail bike, to single-speeded hard-tail, and none of them fit me as well and as immediately as the Unit. Mind blowing.
But why did it fit/feel so good? I just started thinking about that as I started writing this sentence. Very meta of me I know, but my theory is that I hate suspension forks. They flex a lot (yes, still), the front wheel is held by a 9mm quick-release skewer and I can never tune the suspension to be supple and not brake-dive at the same time. It is a recipe for a poor steering front end and a frustrated Ethan! The Unit comes stock with a rigid fork and ~2.2 Nokians (not the best cornering tires, the tread pattern was seemingly designed by an intern) which makes for a stiff and very consistent steering front-end.
And so I went riding, a lot.
If you know me, you know I’m a big fan of monesty (modesty plus honesty ‘natch) and I’m a total hack on the trails. The first time out on this bike (the second time riding trails this season (the last bike was a loaner that came back looking like it fell down a cliff (heh, whoops))) I made sure to bring some rookies with me. Good times and a great idea! Not only was I not the last person every time we paused, but I also appeared to be riding really well. I rode hard and left it all out on the trails. Ate a protein bar (hamburger) and crashed out. So rad.
This bike has totally reinvigorated my passion for mountain biking. Remember when you were a kid and you wanted something so bad you literally vibrated and couldn’t think about anything else? I’m there again and I’m stoked on it.