Mountain Bike Reviews Forum banner
1 - 19 of 19 Posts

· Registered
Joined
·
8 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all, so this year I've tried few forest trails on my old full rigid Marin MTB. So far, I was mainly riding a roadbike for last few years, but after trying those trails, every road ride seems so boring. That is why I decided to purchase a new MTB. After quite some time of exploring I'm pretty sure Kona Honzo DL is the bike for me.

I'm 185 cm (6'1'') tall with kinda short 83.8cm (33 inch) legs. So I was thinking Honzo in size L should be perfect for me, which their "sizing expert" on the website also confirmed.

The problem is that in my local dealership they have Honzo DL in size XL. They also have Big Honzo in size L, so I decided to try them both and see which size suits me better (I guess it makes sense since Honzo and Big Honzo have quite similar geometries). I could only try bikes on the pavement in front of the store and L seemd maybe too short for me. XL felt better. But I really wasn't sure if that was because I'm used to road bike geometry so everything about these bikes was quite new and unfamiliar. When I compared Honzo DL's reach with other hardtails I concluded it has much longer reach compared to most of them. Especially in size XL.

I really want to stick with 1 MTB bike and make the right call with the size. I would ride this bike in all available local trails (around Vienna, Austria) and I would really like to learn useful MTB tricks. If size L would suit me better I can wait few months for a new model, because I would rather be patient and not mess that important sizing decision.

What would you guys recommend? Please, help a brother out!

PS Of course, I am also open to other new bike suggestions and recommendations.
 

· Premium Member
Joined
·
8,742 Posts
At 6’1” and being slightly torso long, you are right between sizes and could ride either, it is personal preference and feel. The big honzo in large is 9mm shorter in toptube length than the DL, so will feel even shorter than what you rode. I would confirm that both bikes you rode had the same stem length and saddles centered on the rails so you are accurately comparing them. Assuming the DL has a 50mm stem, you have a little play togo to a 40mm if you need to shorten it. Also, keep in mind, if you have to raise the bars on the L, for every 10mm spacer you put under the stem, you shorten the reach by 4mm.

Finally, as youare looking at just one mountain bike, consider a shorter travel full suspension bike like the Hei Hei or 134. It will be more versatile and open up more riding places.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
536 Posts
I ride an XL Big Honzo DL. 6’ -205 lbs. I probably could ride either size. I like a little more stretched riding position and usually opt for the larger frame size. The plus size wheels and stretched geometry makes the DL feel very stable. I have ridden mostly aluminum frames and like the rigid feel of this tube choice. It came with everything I wanted including dropper seat-post, wider bars and stronger brakes. The 1x10 transmission works great And I love the elimination of the front derailleur.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
8 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
At 6'1" and being slightly torso long, you are right between sizes and could ride either, it is personal preference and feel. The big honzo in large is 9mm shorter in toptube length than the DL, so will feel even shorter than what you rode. I would confirm that both bikes you rode had the same stem length and saddles centered on the rails so you are accurately comparing them. Assuming the DL has a 50mm stem, you have a little play togo to a 40mm if you need to shorten it. Also, keep in mind, if you have to raise the bars on the L, for every 10mm spacer you put under the stem, you shorten the reach by 4mm.

Finally, as youare looking at just one mountain bike, consider a shorter travel full suspension bike like the Hei Hei or 134. It will be more versatile and open up more riding places.
Hei Hei and 134 are out of my price range unfortunately. I would also prefer nicer hardtail than FS with lower specs.
So both bikes (Big Honzo in size L and Honzo DL in size XL) had same stems, those which you get with them by default - Kona XC/BC 35 I think.
I didn't thought about raising the bars, is there any specific reason I would do that? Besides obvious one - more comfortable upright position.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
8 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
I ride an XL Big Honzo DL. 6' -205 lbs. I probably could ride either size. I like a little more stretched riding position and usually opt for the larger frame size. The plus size wheels and stretched geometry makes the DL feel very stable. I have ridden mostly aluminum frames and like the rigid feel of this tube choice. It came with everything I wanted including dropper seat-post, wider bars and stronger brakes. The 1x10 transmission works great And I love the elimination of the front derailleur.
@Crankyone from which year is your XL Big Honzo DL? Do you maybe know its' reach length?
 

· Registered
Joined
·
8 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
A part of hardtail performance is frame compliance. Because of no rear suspension. So two bikes with good components and similar geo can ride very differently on your trails.
Since you've got time, watch more reviews on that channel.

Like this one. REVIEW: Kona Honzo experiMENTAL - Rock N Rolll Build - 130mm, 64* Singlespeed Slayer - YouTube
Thanks for the suggestion @eb1888, actually I've already watched those videos. While they are quite informative, I couldn't conclude from them if I should go with L and XL. There are some moments when I think: ok, definitely XL that's for me. But also the moments when I think: nope, that is to large for sure....
 

· Premium Member
Joined
·
8,742 Posts
Hei Hei and 134 are out of my price range unfortunately. I would also prefer nicer hardtail than FS with lower specs.
So both bikes (Big Honzo in size L and Honzo DL in size XL) had same stems, those which you get with them by default - Kona XC/BC 35 I think.
I didn't thought about raising the bars, is there any specific reason I would do that? Besides obvious one - more comfortable upright position.
Bar height is important, as you should know what your preferred height is for comparing bikes. Most people like their bars approximately level with their saddle, cross country racers tend to have their bars much lower than the saddle, downhill much higher, it is a combination of personal preference, build, flexibility, and types of riding. At the end of the day, most find a saddle to bar drop that is right for them and stick with it.

It becomes important when comparing bikes because smaller frames have shorter headtubes and therefore will need more spacers under the stem to get the bars to the same height. This affects reach. To make sure we are all on the same page it is important to know what the different numbers mean:
  • Effective Toptube (ETT, i.e. seated reach)- This is the measurement from the top center of the headtube level back to the center of the seatpost. This number is important as it dominates how long the reach will feel while seated.
  • Reach (i.e. standing reach)- This is the horizontal distance from the center of the bottom bracket to the center of the top of the headtube. This will dominate how long the bike feels when standing.
  • Stack- This is the vertical distance from the center of the bottom bracket to the center of the top of the headtube. This will tell you how high the bars will feel both when standing and sitting.
Now keep in mind the following:
  • ETT and Reach in practice (we will call it Applied ETT and Reach) are affected by stem length and bar sweep (saddle position on the rails will also affect applied ETT). Most bikes come with a 50mm stem which can comfortably be swapped to a 40 or 60 mm giving you 20mm of adjustment. The other important factor is bar sweep. For every degree of sweep change in the bars, you adjust your applied ETT and Reach by about 8mm.
  • Stack- When you move your bars up by adding a 10mm spacer below the stem, you move them up 8mm vertically and shorten the applied ETT and Reach by 4mm.

Lets look at your options of what you rode and how it affects it:
  • Big Honzo Large- ETT 646 mm, Reach 475, stack 639.
  • Honzo DL Large- ETT 637mm, Reach 475, stack 648.
  • Honzo DL XL- ETT 674, Reach 510, stack 657.
You will seek that the stack on the bikes is almost 20mm different between the three bikes. If we adjust it to have the bar height the same for all three, we get the following numbers:
  • Big Honzo Large- ETT 638 mm, Reach 467, stack 657.
  • Honzo DL Large- ETT 633mm, Reach 471, stack 657.
  • Honzo DL XL- ETT 674, Reach 510, stack 657.
Once adjusted the fit between the two large bikes is pretty close. The XL runs nearly 40mm longer both seated and standing when the bars are at the same height, a substantial change. My suggestion is to go back to the shop and ride both bikes again, but first do the following when there:
  • Make sure both have the same length stem
  • For the Honzo Large make sure it has 20mm more spacers under the stem than the Honzo DL XL
  • Make sure the saddles are centered on the seat rails for both bikes.
Once you control these variables, one bike should feel better to you than the other. Keep in mind, newer bikes will feel longer standing than older bikes, the adjustment is quick. I would focus on how they feel during seated pedaling, keeping in mind that between saddle adjustment and stem changes you can easily shorten or lengthen the seated position by +/- 20mm on each bike. My guess is the XL is the better choice, but only you will know, and only once you control the variables to get an accurate comparison.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
8 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
@Cary,
First of all, thank you very much for such an elaborate answer. It was quite insightful and I'll come back to this as a reference in the future.

So, just to confirm I got it right with an example. If I put another bike, which I was also considering, Nukeproof Scout 290 in size XL, in this mixture I will get something like this:

Big Honzo Large- ETT 646 mm, Reach 475, stack 639.
Honzo DL Large- ETT 637mm, Reach 475, stack 648.
Honzo DL XL- ETT 674, Reach 510, stack 657.
Nukeproof Scout 290 XL - ETT 671, Reach 475, stack 643.

Adjusted for the stack:

Big Honzo Large- ETT 638 mm, Reach 467, stack 657.
Honzo DL Large- ETT 633mm, Reach 471, stack 657.
Honzo DL XL- ETT 674, Reach 510, stack 657.
Nukeproof Scout 290 XL - ETT 664, Reach 468, stack 657.

Taking into account this stack adjusted and non-adjusted measurements, Nukeproof Scout in size XL might look like a better option? ETT is between Honzo DL Large and XL, but closer to XL.
I'm quite sure I won't try to make my stack higher on a new MTB since I'm quite flexible and already used to my fairly low road bike position. Also, with Nukeproof Scout, there is bigger difference between Reach and ETT compared to Konas. If I'm not wrong the main reason for that is lower degree of Seat Tube angle. Which should be better for climbing I guess?
I'm not sure if I will be able to test Konas again, because that "local" dealership is not so local, it is in another country actually. Also, it is basically impossible to try Nukeproof Scout around here before buying it. So I am afraid I will have to decide on something without actually trying it.

Thanks a lot on your invested time so far in answering my questions, I really appreciate it.
 

· Premium Member
Joined
·
8,742 Posts
@Cary,
First of all, thank you very much for such an elaborate answer. It was quite insightful and I'll come back to this as a reference in the future.

So, just to confirm I got it right with an example. If I put another bike, which I was also considering, Nukeproof Scout 290 in size XL, in this mixture I will get something like this:

Big Honzo Large- ETT 646 mm, Reach 475, stack 639.
Honzo DL Large- ETT 637mm, Reach 475, stack 648.
Honzo DL XL- ETT 674, Reach 510, stack 657.
Nukeproof Scout 290 XL - ETT 671, Reach 475, stack 643.

Adjusted for the stack:

Big Honzo Large- ETT 638 mm, Reach 467, stack 657.
Honzo DL Large- ETT 633mm, Reach 471, stack 657.
Honzo DL XL- ETT 674, Reach 510, stack 657.
Nukeproof Scout 290 XL - ETT 664, Reach 468, stack 657.

Taking into account this stack adjusted and non-adjusted measurements, Nukeproof Scout in size XL might look like a better option? ETT is between Honzo DL Large and XL, but closer to XL.
I'm quite sure I won't try to make my stack higher on a new MTB since I'm quite flexible and already used to my fairly low road bike position. Also, with Nukeproof Scout, there is bigger difference between Reach and ETT compared to Konas. If I'm not wrong the main reason for that is lower degree of Seat Tube angle. Which should be better for climbing I guess?
I'm not sure if I will be able to test Konas again, because that "local" dealership is not so local, it is in another country actually. Also, it is basically impossible to try Nukeproof Scout around here before buying it. So I am afraid I will have to decide on something without actually trying it.

Thanks a lot on your invested time so far in answering my questions, I really appreciate it.
Your analysis is correct as to both the Nukeproof and the change in effective seat angle changing the reach, steeper lengthens, shallower shortens. Steeper helps with really steep climbs, but less steep puts less pressure on your hands and is better if your rides are longer over more varied or flatter terrain. Like everything it is a tradeoff. Chainstay length will also affect climbing, how snappy v stable, and your weight distribution. As a taller rider, longer chainstays than have become the normal are generally preferred (for an XL hardtail. I would lean towards the Nukeproof with its 440mm stays, but chainstay length is a lot like religion, people have preferences and often strong ones.

A big important thing, manufactures often mistate their seat tube angles. To get a true seat tube able, the manufacture should be giving the angle and saddle height it is taken at (see Banshees specs for an example). Here is a good video (start at 2:00) that shows this in action.


Just keep in mind, at your height, being slightly torso long, you will be solidly in the XL size on most manufactures. As humans, we adapt and are pretty tolerant of a range of sizes and you have some flexibility in tuning frame sizing with stems, bars, and saddle position.
 

· Out spokin'
In cog? Neato!
Joined
·
18,147 Posts
6’1” with 36” inseam here. My steel 2013 Honzo was an XL tho I‘m certain Kona updated frame dimensions during the past 8 years.
Anyway my other bikes are all XL (GG Smash, Canfield Lithium) and fit me great; that said, I prefer a longer bike.
Bottom line: if I were you — I’m not — I’d buy the XL.
=sParty
 

· Registered
Joined
·
8 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Just keep in mind, at your height, being slightly torso long, you will be solidly in the XL size on most manufactures. As humans, we adapt and are pretty tolerant of a range of sizes and you have some flexibility in tuning frame sizing with stems, bars, and saddle position.
@Cary, thanks for another elaborate response. So what I could conclude from this thread is that I can't go wrong with both sizes of Kona Honzo, with slight preference towards XL. Which is probably also true for other bikes considering my height and a bit longer torso. That being said, XL Nukeproof Scout 290 sounds like a better option so far.

In the end this is will be my first real MTB experience, so I can't say for sure if I'll enjoy more XC type of ride or natural trails, faster or more technical downhills… Also, which kind of position on the bike itself I prefer. All that should be taken into consideration when choosing the right geometry. That "right geometry" is also quite relative and can be adapted when the bike arrives. So, I shouldn't worry too much about getting the perfect size. Rather I should try to find a way to get my hands on one of those bikes, set it up and enjoy the ride.
 

· Premium Member
Joined
·
8,742 Posts
@Cary, thanks for another elaborate response. So what I could conclude from this thread is that I can't go wrong with both sizes of Kona Honzo, with slight preference towards XL. Which is probably also true for other bikes considering my height and a bit longer torso. That being said, XL Nukeproof Scout 290 sounds like a better option so far.

In the end this is will be my first real MTB experience, so I can't say for sure if I'll enjoy more XC type of ride or natural trails, faster or more technical downhills… Also, which kind of position on the bike itself I prefer. All that should be taken into consideration when choosing the right geometry. That "right geometry" is also quite relative and can be adapted when the bike arrives. So, I shouldn't worry too much about getting the perfect size. Rather I should try to find a way to get my hands on one of those bikes, set it up and enjoy the ride.
The right geometry is the one you are most comfortable on. Given you are unsure of where and what you will be riding, I do encourage you to consider saving up longer for a 120-130mm or so FS trail bike, which will work well for pretty much any riding. While the upfront purchase price will hurt more, it will be far less money than buying a hardtail and upgrading it down the road or selling and buying a fs bike. Something like the YT Izzo Core 2, Ibis Ripley AF, Kona Process 134dl, or Stumpjumper Alloy Comp. inventories are slowly catching up and while saving the number of choices may increase, including potentially deals on lightly used bikes.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
8 Posts
Discussion Starter · #18 ·
@Cary thanks for recommendations.
Btw, as I am looking around other bikes as well I came across interesting Ragley Big Al. But after our conversation I am confused about the sizing on their website:
They recommend size L for people 180-190 cm in height and 81-86 cm in inseam. If I compare it with the previously mentioned bikes it looks like this:

Big Honzo Large- ETT 646 mm, Reach 475, stack 639.
Honzo DL Large- ETT 637mm, Reach 475, stack 648.
Honzo DL XL- ETT 674, Reach 510, stack 657.
Nukeproof Scout 290 XL - ETT 671, Reach 475, stack 643.
Ragley Big Al Large - ETT 645, Reach 460, stack 643,1.
Ragley Big Al XL - ETT 667, Reach 480, stack 653.2.


Considering this, XL should fit me perfectly. But why are they recommending L until 190 cm?
 

· Premium Member
Joined
·
8,742 Posts
@Cary thanks for recommendations.
Btw, as I am looking around other bikes as well I came across interesting Ragley Big Al. But after our conversation I am confused about the sizing on their website:
They recommend size L for people 180-190 cm in height and 81-86 cm in inseam. If I compare it with the previously mentioned bikes it looks like this:

Big Honzo Large- ETT 646 mm, Reach 475, stack 639.
Honzo DL Large- ETT 637mm, Reach 475, stack 648.
Honzo DL XL- ETT 674, Reach 510, stack 657.
Nukeproof Scout 290 XL - ETT 671, Reach 475, stack 643.
Ragley Big Al Large - ETT 645, Reach 460, stack 643,1.
Ragley Big Al XL - ETT 667, Reach 480, stack 653.2.


Considering this, XL should fit me perfectly. But why are they recommending L until 190 cm?
Manufacture sizing recommendations vary greatly and are a starting point. The Big Al has a slacker seat tube angle than the others so their large and xl will fit about the same seated as the other bikes you are comparing, but when out of the saddle, the Ragley will feel about one size smaller. The slacker 74 degree seat angle of the Ragley will make the bike feel more comfortable on flat ground and shallow climbs (you will be further over the rear wheel and less weight on your hands), but on the steepest climbs the other bikes will keep the front end from lifting longer. One is not better than the other, it is a tradeoff, for some the steeper seat tube works better, for others, it doesn't.
 
1 - 19 of 19 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top