In the house: Kona Honzo

By Adam Newman

Few new bike models seem to become household names as quickly as the Honzo has. A serious heavyweight in terms of both design and well, weight, it has become the poster child for a new breed of 29ers that are pushing the limits of where you thought those big wheels could go.

The 68 degree head tube is slack. The 120mm fork is long. The 16.3 inch chainstays are short. The smile on my face is large.

For 2013 Kona has made a few tweaks to the steel frame: a new gusset at the seat tube, a lower top tube, and a 142×12 Maxle on the sliding dropouts. The paint is new as well. You might not be able to see it in the photos but it is a tinted clearcoat that gives the bike a raw, mean look. Golf clap for Kona’s stylists.

The complete bike spec is impressive as well. A painted-to-match RockShox Revelation, 1×10 SRAM drivetrain (up from the 1×9 on last year’s model), wide bars and short stem, tubeless-compatible WTB wheels, and Maxxis Ardent tires (a personal fav) are all ready to rip right out of the box. Plus Kona was able to keep the price south of $1,900, so you’ll have some beer money left over too.

I wasted no time ripping it right out of the box when it arrived here at Dirt Rag HQ, and the Honzo has been tearing up the local singletrack. Despite the long fork and slack angles, it still handles well enough to be an everyday driver, provided you keep some weight on the front wheel. Elbows out! Pictured here is also a dropper post, which is not included but I immediately installed because let’s face it, it’s more fun when you’re gettin’ down. I would love to get this thing on some bermed flow trails, but that will have to wait.


Drawbacks? Well, there’s no getting around the weight: nearly 31 lbs. out of the box without pedals. Combined with the single 32-tooth ring you won’t be winning any uphill Strava segments. And don’t think you’re going to get around that with a granny ring, the frame has no provisions for a front derailleur.

We have a small group of these “trail 29ers” rounded up for the first Dirt Rag of 2013, so keep an eye out in your mailbox or newsstand.

And finally for LOLz, here’s me doing my best impression of the cover art from Issue #137, "Freezing Rain" by Dan Lawlis. Like it? You can order the poster! (Of the superhero, not me.)


Keep reading

Read more about the Honzo’s first introduction here, and when we first rode one here.


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