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First Impression: Kona Honzo DL

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Some may argue that the Kona Honzo was the first of its kind, taking the standard XC hardtail and turning it into an all-mountain machine by mimicking the geometry of popular full-suspension bikes.

In 2012, Kona released the first version of the Honzo, and since then the idea of a trail-geometry hardtail has flourished in the industry. Kona itself has taken the subject seriously enough to offer the Honzo in eight different models. The Honzo is offered in carbon, steel and aluminum and comes in the 29 inch and 27plus wheel sizes.

With plus size tires becoming more of a standard than an anomaly, we chose to check out the Big Honzo DL. With 2.8 inch wide Rekons from Maxxis, wide bars and a dropper post, it was clear that the Big Honzo was made for big fun. Built around the 6061 aluminum frame, this bike is as tough as it is a good time.

The RockShox Revelation fork gives the front end 120 mm of travel and with the 2.8 inch front tire, the bike offers plenty of forgiveness on rough terrain. Sram Level T brakes modulate nicely through the fast stuff and the SRAM NX/GX drivetrain gives a wide gear range to conquer steep pitches.

Coming in at $2399, the Big Honzo DL offers a lot of bang for the buck in both componentry and ride quality. If you are looking for more of an entry-level model, Kona also offers the Big Honzo with a slightly cheaper build kit for $1799.

If you ride trails that vary from flowy to technical and every now and then you like to drop off some big rocks the Big Honzo DL might just be the bike for you. The new wave of trail geometry hardtails is changing the way we think about the modern day trail bike and the Kona Hozno DL is paving the way.

Intrigued? Be sure to grab your copy of Dirt Rag 203 for the full review. In the meantime, subscribe to the magazine so that you’re first to get each new issue and while you’re at it, sign up for our email newsletter to get our best web content delivered directly to your inbox every Tuesday!

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