Unit SS

Kona Dream Builds: Nik’s “It Takes a Village” Custom Kona Unit

When we spied the Nikolas’ finished Unit on Instagram boy oh boy we were excited. He’d custom painted it himself (the quality is off the charts) and he took one simplest bikes in our line up, and somehow time made the bike completely drool-worthy. Read on to find out exactly how this one-of-a-kind Unit came to fruition.

So the story on this build starts with working at Hesitation Point bike shop here in Nashville, Indiana. We had ordered in a couple Kona Units for the shop and I found I really wanted one bad, but alas, no funds… or so I thought! Little did I know that my lovely wife had ordered one to surprise me with, which she did! This bike was a big deal for me: it was a gift from my wife, my first Kona, my first 29er, my first full rigid, and my first single speed, and I was absolutely in love at first ride! I pretty much shelved all my other my bikes for the rest of the year and just rode my Unit! Way to much fun. I feel like Kona bikes have a flavor that is a perfect blend of new school tech progression and old school simple fun, and I think the Unit exemplifies the latter better than most bikes of its kind out there! I really dig Konas approach to riding bikes of all types.

So I’ve been painting for a couple of years now and this is my first “real” bike paint job. I stripped it down to metal, (which as an aside, the paint on this Unit was super tough, I have no idea what materials Kona used but kudos, it was good stuff and took quite a bit of time to strip!), then using a little known ford GT-40 that was rebadged as a mercury as a source of inspiration I started the paint work. This was a really fun project since I had 100% control over it. I tried really hard to make sure I had a cohesive build aesthetically at the end of it. I also wanted to take some weight off and it went from a little over 27 lbs stock to 24.2 lbs as is. I love Thomson stuff so that was a no brainer, Wolf Tooth, Shimano XT, Brooks, and Chris King round out the parts. Wheel builder extrordinaire Gonzo Diaz at the shop laced the Stans Flow MK3s to Hope Pro2 hubs and I put the blacked out sticker kits on them which are cool. I also wanted to try to use a plus-ish type tire so that’s where the 2.6 Rekons came in. There is a load of grip on this rig for the midwestern trails I ride. I also love the Whisky fork on this bike, it’s beautiful and super strong. At the end of the day I didn’t need to do anything with this bike since it was a ton of fun right out of the box but since I’m a sentimentalist I wasn’t ever going to get rid of this bike from my wife so it was a great candidate to paint. Speaking of my wife, in so many ways I wouldn’t have done this build without you Jordan, I am incredibly fortunate to have you! The crew at Hesitation Point bike shop, especially Tad Armstrong and Gonzo Diaz helped enormously with the parts, encouragement and the awesome wheels, and Kona was very helpful with questions about fonts and artwork. You guys rule!

A Shimano XT crankset and bottom bracket drives a KMC X10SL chain via a Wolftooth Powertrac Elliptical 32t chainring up front to a 20t Wolftooth cog out back. Crank Brothers Candy 7s, handle the contact points.

Shimano XT brakes and Shimano XT rotors 160mm slow things down. Hope skewers hold everything in tight.

Whisky’s no.9 carbon fork will accept up to a 29 x 3.0 tire (or a 27.5 x 3.25″).

Nikolas loves Thomson.

A Brooks Cambium c15 saddle is matted to the ever classic Thomson Elite Seatpost.

ESI silicon slim grips are mounted on a Thomson XC uncut handlebar which is in turn mounted to a Thomson Elite X4 50mm.

Stan’s NoTubes Flow MK3 rims are laced to Hope Pro 2 hubs, both a shod with Maxxis Rekon 29×2.6 tubeless tires.

It wouldn’t be complete without a Thomson Chris King headset.