Product DescriptionNew for 2012 we introduce the Honzo, a balls-out, aggressive all-mountain 29er Cromoly hardtail. Featuring a beyond-vogue slack 68-degree headtube angle, low bottom bracket and short chainstays, the Honzo is all about getting radical on technical singletrack near you. Featuring a zero-stack internal headset with tapered steertube, Kona continues to lead the way when it comes to the evolution of steel. A single front chainring with chain guide, 9-speed 36-tooth cassette, 31.6 seatpost with dropper post cable routing, and ISCG 05 tabs, the Honzo goes up, down, and all the way around.
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Date Reviewed: June 2, 2015
Strengths: I was in the market for something new since I had given my Kong Dawg Supreme to my son. I was looking for something fun, reasonably priced, hardtail, 29'er and cool. I dont even remember how I came across the Honzo, but after reading some of the reviews I wanted this bike, I called a local shop and he just happened to have a large in stock. I went a test rode it in a total downpour but I didn't care I was having to much fun. I liked the fact that the head tube angle was the same as my Dawg (made it feel playful), chromoly frame, the short chainstay gives it a quick/snappy feel and loved my first experience of owning a 29'er. I noticed that what all the other reviews said about just pointing it anywhere was doable with no hesitation. It climbed great and with the 29" wheels found it a joy to ride on the road for cardio training. The first thing I noticed was the wide bars, they really step up the stability factor, I liked the width so much I put them on my son's Dawg and picked up another set for me. The tire width 2.40 front and 2.25 rear seemed to work great.
Weaknesses: The only thing I noticed was the top tube height is a little tall (2015 model is quite a bit lower) and the grips were rock hard.
If you buy one just know that it will gather a crowd, which I dont mind.
Duration Product Used: 2 years
Price Paid: $2200.00
Purchased At: Tim's bike shop
Bike Setup: 2013 Large Honzo (brown frame) , RaceFace Kash Money bars, RF Kash Money cranks, Specialized fatty grips, 45NRTH Hienuspec pedals and Salsa seat clamp.
Date Reviewed: March 29, 2015
Strengths: Climbs like a mountain goat
Descends like a dream
Duration Product Used: 2 days
Price Paid: $500.00
Purchased At: Kelowna Cycle
Bike Setup: Easton Haven wheels
Continental Trail Kings
Fox Talas 34 140mm
1x10 with Raceface 32t single ring, Oneup 42t on a sram cassette
X9 type 2 derailleur
Chromag Trailmaster DL seat
Truvativ T20 riser bar
Raceface chester stem 50mm
Date Reviewed: December 10, 2014
Strengths: The bike is just awesome! Confidence inspiring geometry.
Weaknesses: A little pricey for component spec in my opinion.
Similar Products Used: Surly Karate Monkey, Surly 1x1, Independent Fabrication SS Steel Deluxe
Bike Setup: Single Speed, Chris King Hubs laced to Flow rims 36hole, White Industries ENO crank 32 tooth, 19-20 tooth surly cogs, KS LEV dropper post 150mm, DMR Defy 50mm Stem, Crank Brothers DH bars.
Date Reviewed: June 16, 2014
Strengths: Great geometry, springy steel, single speed ready and sexy old school looks
Fun on the trail without the high purchase and maintenance costs of a full suspension
Good conversation starter
Weaknesses: No high spec bike available (where's the XT/X9 model Kona?)
A bit heavy, but expected for this price point and category
Not for racers, tech geeks or weight weenies (or perhaps the bike you ride while your light, fragile and complex bike needs work)
Avid Elixir 5 brakes lack- in all regards
Life's too short, just buy the damn bike!!!
Duration Product Used: 1 yearish
Price Paid: $2150.00
Purchased At: Upfront Bikes
Similar Products Used: Specialized Pitch, Tuner Flux, Scott Scale,
Bike Setup: Stock 2013 Honzo setup SS with 32x21 gearing, tubeless tyres and a dropper post.
Date Reviewed: June 15, 2014
Strengths: Most societies categorize the levels of fun produced by this bike as as illegal or immoral. Someone thought to combine monster truck and dirt jumper in the same affordable package.
Weaknesses: Weight weenies go home. The design that is optimal for bike control, flight, and extreme railing turns means you need good technique for some climbing. 1x may be a limitation for some.
I always understood the big wheel concept, never had sex with a dead person, but riding 29r bikes made me think I knew what that would be like. Not so here. I'll never think of big wheels the same again. This thing lets you hit the trail with the sort of fun you have with a dirt jumper but it lets cover the miles.
Are you a skier? Then understand this bike to be like a pair of skis that carves the high g force turns and feels great when there's air between you and earth.
Know how to pump? This thing will send you into the unsuspecting rider in front of you.
Ride to trail head? It might take less because of the big wheels or longer because you'll be getting air or playing with any feature, curb or driveway ramp you see.
Big thanks to the Kona product managers for not being supply chain cheapskates (steel!), and product managers evidently interested in fun instead of grunting out a race.
Similar Products Used: Other 29 hard tail bikes from well known makers.
Bike Setup: My stock build is changed with narrow/wide 1x, removing chain guide, tubeless, dropper post, and a premium saddle. 30t with stock gearing is not a granny gear but lets you ride about anywhere if you stand when needed.
Date Reviewed: May 8, 2014
Probably the best way to describe it. I love this bike. Been biking about 5 years now, and ridden a Trek Fuel EX 8 FS bike the last 2 years. Great bike, but I love the Honzo. Mine is custom built so its a tad different. Has the RS Rev fork, Stans Arch EX rims, XT brakes, Zee shifter and derailleur... etc etc.
The bike rocks. The frame is awesome and steel is really sweet. Soaks up a lot of the chatter, and the bike just crushes. Thought it would be heavy, thought I'd miss FS... I was wrong. My bike weighs in at 28 lbs. Pretty respectable for a steel trail bike. I'm really loving this thing so far.
Weaknesses: Frame only has room for a 1x9 or 1x10 setup, so missing out on the granny ring can hurt climbing a bit. Really consistently rocky trails can be annoying, but who wants that anyway. gimme something that flows.
Date Reviewed: December 15, 2013
Strengths: Best all around and fun bike
Weaknesses: The stock transmission, heavy but YOU choose to ride a cromo
INDISPENSABLE UPGRADE: dropper seatpost! A Reverd is my nice servant... Last point... Since I ride the Honzo (depending how I feel) for the summer long... I'm stronger on my DS XC bike!
Purchased At: Slightly used
Similar Products Used: None... First 29er, first AM... Long time no see cromo
Bike Setup: XT trans 1x10 w/ RaceFace narrow wide, SLX brakes, RaceFace Atlas bar, RS Reverb, Deore trail pedals,
Date Reviewed: March 31, 2013
Strengths: Confidence boost on both downs and technical ups. It just loves to eat up terrain. Handles well all around. Balance on steep climbs is great front tire doesn't wander.
Weaknesses: A bit heavy, but I built it up that way. No cable guides for a Hammerschmidt
I went from an On One Inbred which I enjoyed, but was ready for a bike that could help me get a bit more aggressive. The Honzo fits that perfectly.
Duration Product Used: 2 months
Price Paid: $2000.00
Similar Products Used: On One Inbred
Bike Setup: Hammerschmidt 24/34 tooth. Gravity Dropper Turbo LP 2.5" down and 5", X-9 9 sd, Stans Flow rims, Rampage front, WTB moto rear, RS revelation.
Date Reviewed: February 17, 2013
Strengths: Wow, so much bike for your money! Get a leg over, shut up and shred!
Forget the rest... 2013 model has 10 speed, e13 chain guide, 20mm fork and 12mm rear maxles... Slack head angle, shrt stem, and a 29" wheel right under your backside making for a nimble, smooth, and confidence inspiring ride.... Wow, it's just fun fun fun right out the box
Weaknesses: YOU! You are the weakness! Every bike is a compromise, in this case it is strength and price versus weight and bling. The person who is having the most fun riding is the one that's the winner, not the guy talking up the rising rate and high speed compression adjustability etc... Kona Honzo is never gonna be perfect but is 100% fun and reliable out of the box... Weakness? What?! Grips are hard on bare hands, so wear gloves, change the grips, or harden up...
Purchased At: A bike supermarket
Similar Products Used: GT Ruckus SS, Giant Reign X, DMR Trailstar,
Bike Setup: 100%stock.... Price is As supplied to NewZealand market.
Grips are a bit too grippy on your bare hands
Date Reviewed: January 28, 2013
Strengths: Extremely nimble ride and very stable on descents. For a bike that promises to be a great descender it climbs surprisingly well. Tight, up and downhill switchbacks are a breeze and of course, or rolls over everything!
Weaknesses: The frame is a bit heavy, but it's well balanced so you don't really feel the heft.
This bike is purpose built to slay rough terrain and it delivers. I expected it to wander on climbs, but it's rock solid and never goes off track. And downhill it's incredibly stable. I never experienced any nervousness that most bikes with short chainstays experience.
Can't say enough about this bike. Kona produced a ridiculously fun bike at a great price.
Date Reviewed: November 12, 2012
Strengths: Chromoly frame, RS Revelation 120mm, 1x9 and decent cranks
Weaknesses: Elixer 1 brakes, the stock seat, the narrow handlebar and heavy wheel set
Duration Product Used: 9 months
Price Paid: $2000.00
Purchased At: Salvagetti
Date Reviewed: June 30, 2012
Strengths: Geo is great for both up and down.
Happy for the 12-*36* 9spd!
Weaknesses: Wheels are boat anchors!
It has been a while since I've ridden a steel frame but the Honzo still has the trail chatter absorption of a steel frame that I remember!
The 29" wheels make for a monster truck ride! Going up and over most everything and when pointed down the Honzo will ride over and through anything the pilot can handle! This is my first 29er and I am finding that the wheel size smooths out the terrain which leads me to choosing lines that I normally wouldn't when on a HT. Because of this sometime I am reminded harshly that I'm on HT!
The short chainstays make for a playful and snappy bike. It is very easy to move the bike around.
With the steeper STA it makes for a good climbing position over the bike. And, with the slack for a 29er HTA position over the bike while descending and riding aggressively is good as well. I have yet to feel like I'm going to go over the bars even on STEEP tech descents!
I haven't had much air time yet on this bike. However the few times that I've jumped and dropped the Honzo it felt stable and predictable.
The stock build is reasonably durable for this price point. Although I do feel a few corners were cut with component choice to hit the the price point.
The wheels are boat anchors! And, the freehub blew up only after 3 weeks of riding! It was only the start of the season so I had not been riding it very hard yet.
I sent the wheel in for warranty a month and a half ago and still have not received a working wheel yet!! This has forced me to purchase another wheelset so that I could ride my new bike!
Tires are a personal choice so I can't poopoo the Maxxis Ardents too much. They are good going up and down in the dry. When it is wet the tires don't offer much traction at all.
I also am not a fan of how these tires don't hook up when cornering aggressively regardless.
The Avid Elixer 1 brakes aren't doing it for me either. They do stop the bike well enough. However, even after 3 bleeds I can't get rid of the spongy feel in the levers when applying the brakes.
Also, being a big guy (6'6", 245lbs) the 160mm rotor on the rear doesn't offer very much stopping power on steep descents. I am upgrading to 180mm rotor in the near future.
I swapped a few of the parts out to set the bike up to my own personal riding style.
I installed a much wider bar (780mm Chromag OSX). This helps with a more aggressive riding position over the bike as well as offering more leverage when standing and climbing hard.
A Reverb adjustable seat post was added to make for a seamless transition between going up and down the trails.
Clipless pedals were added to make climbing easier as well as to keep my feet on the pedals when charging down through the chunder!
(It turns out the the RS Revelation that came on my Honzo had only 113mm of travel rather than the stated 120mm. I performed the travel modification to move the travel up to 140mm and and came out with 135mm. The fork works properly. I had a look when I had the fork apart to see where the lack of travel was coming from but could not figure it out. I am still content with the fork.)
I bumped up the travel of the RS Revelation fork from 113mm to 135mm. I've only had a few rides so far with the fork at 135mm. I do notice that I haven't smashed my pedals as much when riding through tech sections of trail. I am also having a much smoother ride down the bigger gnarly trails that I ride rather than bottoming out when it was at 113mm.
The gearing ratio is manageable for extended long climbing.
Although, I am looking at getting a crankset that can accommodate a spiderless 28T chainring. I feel with that gearing ratio I will be much happier with climbing the trails in my area.
I swapped out the Shimano Alivio shifter and Deore RD to Sram X7 shifter and X9 RD because with the gear indicator on the shifter I couldn't place the shifter out-board of the brake lever so that I could easily reach the shifter paddles.
Even with these issues I am still quite happy with the bike. It rides as expected and it is a fun bike to ride!
I am only giving 3 chilis for both value and overall rating because of the freehub issue and having to spend more to replace the wheels so I could ride the bike.
If I hadn't had an issue with the wheels and having to purchase new ones I would have given a 4 chillis rating for value and a 5 chillis rating for overall.
If you'd like to see the terrain that I ride my Honzo on here are links to the videos:
Duration Product Used: 2 months
Price Paid: $1899.00
Purchased At: GBB
Similar Products Used: 2000 Gary Fisher Hoo Koo E Koo
2004 Cove Stiffee FR
Bike Setup: 2012 Kona Honzo 20R
Now with changes:
Reverb seat post; Chromag Trailmaster saddle; Chromag seat clamp; Chromag OSX bar 780mm; ODI Rogue grips; CB Mallet 2 pedals; SunRingle Charger Pro wheelset; X7 shifter; X9 RD.
Bumped the travel up to 140mm on the stock Revelation fork.
Date Reviewed: May 23, 2012
Strengths: it's steel, the geometry is perfect it's the most fun i've ever had on a mountain bike
it walks when others talk
Weaknesses: no front der but who cares dangly bits suck anyways
first impression: holy sh1t!!! this thing rips!!! this was the bike that i've been wanting since 1998. it wheelies, manuals, and hops with almost no effort. going down hill is a joke. i had a joplin dropper on my cdale that fit right into the honzo (good lookin out on that kona!) and man, when you slam the seat on a dh on this bike it's ridiculous. there is no such thing as too fast on this bike, it sucks you right into the pocket and lets you rip like a champ and float over anything you want!
this bike is stout, it's confidence inspiring and it feels completely indestructible. even crashes and near misses feel more comfortable on this bike. it pumps unlike any other 29er and carries speed like it's got a motor on it, a big motor. climbs felt sluggish at first but then i took an attack attitude and this thing growled at me for more! seriously, push one gear bigger on climbs on this bike, it will laugh and carry you to the top of the hill like a f#ckin sherpa. this is not a sit and pedal bike, it wants you to stand up and push it, it will reward you greatly for your efforts and when you do sit on the saddle it's like riding an old cb650.
i love the fact that i'll be able to swap between 1x9, 1x1 and igh on this bike with the sliding dropouts.
i love that it's solid and silent.
it fits better than any other bike i've owned (6'3" 200#)
the color is awesome.
it's probably right around 29 lbs with my build.
it does not look like a store bought bike
it does not ride like a store bought bike
it made my reba feel better, but it's still gonna be replaced as soon as the xfusion slants are available.
i'd post a follow up later but it's not even necessary, this thing is it.
bottome line, if you are more interested in having fun on your bike, get this bike.
if you count carbs and grams and spend time on a road bike, and like to sit at starbucks talking about your gear inches go get a niner or spec or whatever and be ready to get out of my way on the trail lol.
Price Paid: $450.00
Purchased At: mtbr classifieds
Similar Products Used: my old haro freestyler sport
Bike Setup: 20" honzo, 50mm spank stem, spank royola bar, joplin dropper post, x9 9spd shifter/der, juicy brakes, nukeproof hub on sun mtx33 rear, nukeproof 15mm convertible on velo blunt up front, reba rl, profile 175mm cranks, vp pedals and 200 lbs of ohio hillbilly.
Date Reviewed: November 13, 2011
Strengths: Going downhill, Going uphill, Shredding the Gnarballs, Running over anything you see on the side of the trail that doesnt really look rideable. Above all else its a really fun and realiable bike.
Weaknesses: it doesnt fly. the stock wheels are heavy, and the crank is ok.
Ive noticed that this bike produces a more laid back riding position and you should embrace that as youre not going to be over the bars pinning it on this machine. Sit back, relax and let the big tires and big fork do the work. However if you come to a really steep climb you can climb uphill just as youd expect from any 29" bike. A tip for climbing, move the rear wheel back a smidge from the front and youll notice your rear end staying a little more under control when climbing. I was spinning the rear wheel considerably when i first started gunning up tough rooty/rocky sections.
So the stock set up will get you through anything. Sure its not a tricked out bling machine out of the box. But it works, and its a toy thats meant to take alot of unadulterated abuse.
so, who should buy this bike? Someone who wants the perfect compliment to the rigid single speed 29er. The Honzo is going to open up new doors to what a 29er can be. Big, Gutsy, without limitations. And if the term "Drunken-Master" comes to mind when you think of this bike. Let me just affirm that you are correct.
Duration Product Used: 3 months
Price Paid: $1799.00
Purchased At: Cory the Bike Fixer
Similar Products Used: Kona Unit, '09, and '12 SS, rigid.
Bike Setup: bone stock except for the grips, pedals, and seat.
Date Reviewed: November 11, 2011
Weaknesses: Frame is heavy, but that's why it's so stiff and performs so well.
After reaching the top we lowered our seats and headed back. The words that comes to mind descending on this bike are INSANELY FAWKING AWESOME. Because of the short chain stays, the bike corners like a roller coaster doing a 180. The Honzo's geometry positions you over the rear tire and the pivot point of the bike in the turns. I'm not much of a downhiller, but I was flying and not worrying about any ruts or rocks because the fork and frame just swallowed them up, very confidence inspiring. The chain stays also make coming off jumps more intuitive. With Niner's geometry I always felt like I was waiting for the rear tire when popping off curbs and jumps, but the Kona feels right on.
This is the best bike I have ever owned, period. If you're worried about frame weight, you could save about 1/4-1/2 lb. going with a Canfield Nimble 9. The geometries with 120mm forks are almost identical, but the Nimble 9 has a slacker seat tube, which may affect climbing, and does not accommodate a tapered fork, two things I really love about the Honzo.
PS - check out this video of the Honzo in action: http://vimeo.com/30398545
Duration Product Used: Less than 1 month
Price Paid: $539.00
Purchased At: The Path
Similar Products Used: Niner MCR 9
Bike Setup: 012 Kona Honzo Med.
2012 Fox F29, 120mm, RLC, Tapered, 15mm TA
Stan’s Flow Wheelset with 3.30 front hub, 3.30 Heavy Duty rear hub
Maxxis Ardents: fr/2.4exo, rr/2.25
Thomson X4 70mm zero rise stem
Thomson Elite seatpost
Easton Monkeylite xc lo-rise carbon bar 27 inches
Specialized Henge Expert Saddle, ti rails
Odi Rogue lock-ons
Avid Elixirs R 185/160
Sram 991? chain
XT med. cage derailleur
Shimano 12-36t cassette
Niner 32t front chain ring
XT rear shifter
Cane Creek Headset
27 lb. 13 oz.
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