It’s become pretty clear that XC is no longer what it used to be. Racecourses are becoming more technical, and riders are travelling faster on them. That changes the requirements of the equipment (or has it happened the other way round?), and as a result, XC race bikes have been progressing forward with noticeable vigour in recent years.
In terms of short travel full suspension bikes, we’ve seen more relaxed options hitting the market including the BMC Agonist and the Specialized Epic – two newly released XC bikes that are designed with slacker geometry and the ability to run wider tyres and a dropper post. Likewise, you may recall our Flat Out Race Bike Group Test from last year that featured three hardtails that are favouring a slightly longer and more stable ride quality overall.
Then there are brands who have turned things up to 11. Brands such as Pivot Cycles that dropped the all-new LES 27.5 at PressCamp with its ability to run 2.6in wide tyres and up to a 130mm travel fork. And brands like Kona Bikes that have done the the whole XC thing a little bit differently with the latest Honzo Carbon.
“Who ever said that a hardtail couldn’t be as fun as other trail bikes? Who assumed a 29-inch hardtail couldn’t have an aggressive trail geometry and a carbon frame that can climb almost as fast as it descends? How come a dropper post and wider/stiffer Boost rear end aren’t features on a frame with no moving parts? Wait. Why didn’t we make the Honzo CR Trail DL sooner?” – Kona Bikes.
Kona Honzo CR Trail Features
- Hardtail XC/trail bike
- Carbon fibre frame
- 29in wheels
- 120mm travel fork
- 68° head angle
- 75° effective seat tube angle
- 415mm chainstay length
- Boost 148x12mm thru-axle dropouts
- PF92 threadless bottom bracket shell
- 1x only
- Stealth dropper post routing
- Integrated frame protection
- Sizes: Small, Medium, Large, & X-Large
Sitting in the Kona range as the brand’s lightweight 29in full XC hardtail, the Honzo Carbon makes a very good effort as disguising itself as a trail bike by way of an internally-routed dropper post, RockShox Pike RCT3 forks and a 760mm wide riser bar. It’s based on the existing Honzo platform – a burly trail-oriented hardtail that first emerged nearly a decade ago with its mega short chainstays and heavy duty steel frame.
This bike here is the first Honzo crafted from carbon fibre. It’s retained a similarly short back end (415mm!) and a reasonably slack head angle (68°), but lightens things up with a stiff and responsive carbon frame. Along with a capable parts spec that wouldn’t be out of place on a long travel full suspension trail bike, it’s a bike that seems set on challenging assumptions.
As part of a three-way group test for Issue #114 of Singletrack Magazine, we’ll be putting the lightweight Honzo to the test. If you want to get your hands on the full feature as soon as you can, then head to the subscription page to line up a digital subscription for as little as £1.49 per month – it’s as easy as pie!
2017 Kona Honzo CR Trail DL Specifications
- Frame // Carbon Fibre
- Fork // RockShox Pike RCT3, 120mm Travel
- Hubs // SRAM 900, 110x15mm Front & 148x12mm Rear
- Rims // WTB Asym i23, Tubeless Ready
- Tyres // Maxxis Minion DHF EXO 2.3in Front & Ardent EXO 2.25in Rear
- Chainset // SRAM X01, 32t X-Sync
- Front Mech // N/A
- Rear Mech // SRAM X01 11-Speed
- Shifters // SRAM X01 11-Speed
- Cassette // SRAM XG-1180, 10-42t, 11-Speed
- Brakes // SRAM Guide RSC, 180mm Front & 160mm Rear
- Stem // Kona XC/BC 35, 45mm Long
- Bars // Kona XC/BC 35, 760mm Wide, 10mm Rise
- Grips // ODI Ruffian MX Lock-On
- Seatpost // KS LEV Integra, 31.6mm Diameter, 125mm Travel
- Saddle // WTB SL8
- Size Tested // Medium
- Sizes available // Small, Medium, Large, X-Large
- Weight // 11.3kg (24.86lbs)
- RRP // £4399