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  1. #1
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    2012 Kona Honzo for front range?

    I'm searching for a cost effective steel hard tail that is below $2000, preferably around $1500. One bike that looks interesting, though I have not seen it yet in the metal, is the Kona Honzo.

    One thing that worries me in the 1x9 gearing with no opportunity to add a front mech. I'm wondering if anyone has ridden this on the type of slopes we have here in the front range? I'm not the strongest rider around and a 32x26 low gear seams pretty steep. My current bike, a 26er gives me a 24x32 low for a gearing of 1.4. This bike would be 1.9.

    I'm not sure my legs can handle the terrain around here with that high a gearing.

    So any thoughts? This would be my first 29er..
    Last edited by TheNormsk; 12-27-2011 at 05:46 AM.

  2. #2
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    Les grimpées, je m'en fou!

  3. #3
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    They're nice but they are also bloody expensive... Still, it is an option I should consider.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by kerryn View Post
    I'm searching for a cost effective steel hard tail that is below $2000, preferably around $1500. Once bike that looks interesting, though I have not seen it yet in the metal, is the Kona Honzo.

    One thing that worries me in the 1x9 gearing with no opportunity to add a front mech. I'm wondering if anyone has ridden this on the type of slopes we have here in the front range? I'm not the strongest rider around and a 32x26 low gear seams pretty steep. My current bike, a 26er gives me a 24x32 low for a gearing of 1.4. This bike would be 1.9.

    I'm not sure my legs can handle the terrain around here with that high a gearing.

    So any thoughts? This would be my first 29er..
    Two come to mind, I know a bunch of people with the El Mariachi. They all love it.

    Salsa Cycles | Bikes | El Mariachi 2

    Also saw a Transition TransAm in Redstone. Impressive looking bike.

    Transition Bikes
    Take the long cut, we'll get there eventually.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Debaser View Post
    I know a bunch of people with the El Mariachi. They all love it.

    Salsa Cycles | Bikes | El Mariachi 2

    ^^+1 !!
    I'm a cowboy on a steel horse i ride!

    the blog

  6. #6
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    The Salsa is nice and is top of my shopping list but may be more than my wallet can handle (I'll know more after new year). However I want to consider all steel hard tail options out there.

    Steel under consideration (current order of preference):
    Salsa El Mariarchi
    Raleigh xxix+g
    Trek Sawyer
    Kona Honzo
    Voodoo soukri
    Marin Pine Mountain

    I am also considering frame only options like the On One inbred 29er and the Vassago bandersnatch. However I'm having issues restricting my build spec to remain in budget.

    I've excluded other steel frames for being too expensive. These include Spot, Niner MCR, Transition, Breazer, and Jamis Dragon.

    Did miss any?
    Last edited by TheNormsk; 12-27-2011 at 09:32 AM.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by kerryn View Post
    ...I am also considering frame only options like the On One inbred 29er...
    I like mine tons. 1st generation, rides great, but it's a tank. Looks like they've changed some since mine, might be a bit lighter.
    Take the long cut, we'll get there eventually.

  8. #8
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    I love my Surly Karate Monkey. Very versatile frame - set it up however you want.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by jradin View Post
    I love my Surly Karate Monkey. Very versatile frame - set it up however you want.
    +1. I've had a KM for a few years and like it a lot. I bought it as the 'complete' SS and it has been through several configurations - 1x9, 3x9, rigid, front suspension, etc.

    If you were willing to consider an aluminum HT this is an astoundingly good deal - Airborne Bicycles. Goblin

    I know that steel is real, etc but there are some good, inexpensive aluminum HT's out there. I recently built up a Niner EMD9 with a similar components spec to the Goblin and it's been great. I honestly couldn't tell much difference in ride quality compared to the steel KM (rear end maybe a tad bit harsher but nothing significant).

  10. #10
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    +1 for the Transition TransAm 29 and +1 for getting it from Redstone Cyclery in Lyons.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Holmes View Post

    I know that steel is real, etc but there are some good, inexpensive aluminum HT's out there. I recently built up a Niner EMD9 with a similar components spec to the Goblin and it's been great. I honestly couldn't tell much difference in ride quality compared to the steel KM (rear end maybe a tad bit harsher but nothing significant).
    My other 29'er hardtail is a Ventana El Padrino.

    The differences between the feel of steel and aluminum are less than they were 10 and 15 years ago. I wouldn't have traded my steel bike for al back then, but between the feel of the big wheels and how well my Ventana rides, I don't miss steel at all.
    Take the long cut, we'll get there eventually.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Debaser View Post
    My other 29'er hardtail is a Ventana El Padrino.

    The differences between the feel of steel and aluminum are less than they were 10 and 15 years ago. I wouldn't have traded my steel bike for al back then, but between the feel of the big wheels and how well my Ventana rides, I don't miss steel at all.
    Yeah - I started riding on rigid steel mtb's back in the late 80's ;-) I agree that these days (assuming you are using a susp fork and tubeless tires) the frame material is less relevant to overall ride quality on a HT than it used to be (at least at the price point the OP is looking at). I absolutely love my EMD9, feels and rides great.

  13. #13
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    Interesting comment on the steel versus aluminum debate. I started with steel in the 80s (hey didn't we all) then went to a Kona titanium hardtail (which was awesome) then onto two types of aluminum full suspension bikes. I'm kind of used to a softer feel these days. My road bike is aluminum with carbon seat stays yet I find that thing brutal on the rough stuff, so I was shying away from AL for my new hard tail. I want to get back to the roots to that "whippy" feel of steel and I can't afford titanium anymore.

    It is probably true that I can by more of a bike and lighter in AL than I can for steel. Still if I went AL now for hardtail I would feel a traitor to the grass roots side of the sport. Silly I know... My other consideration is that more steel frames have classy or understated paint jobs whereas most AL frames I see look like they were painted by a teenager with ADD who's taken speed. Honestly most frames' paint jobs out there make me want to vomit.

    Anyway, I'll look more and open up my search to AL...

  14. #14
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    if you do buy a kona, be sure to replace the cheap azn spokes with DT Swiss right off

    save your dollars and buy USA made instead of kona or the other azn frames

    instant gratification is for fools

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by kerryn View Post
    My other consideration is that more steel frames have classy or understated paint jobs whereas most AL frames I see look like they were painted by a teenager with ADD who's taken speed.
    LOL - problem solved - Niner EMD 9 Frame '11 at JensonUSA.com - I built up the grey frame about two months ago. Pretty low-key. Guess it just depends if you want something off the shelf or would be OK with building up from a frame.

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    neiner = poop

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Debaser View Post
    My other 29'er hardtail is a Ventana El Padrino.

    The differences between the feel of steel and aluminum are less than they were 10 and 15 years ago. I wouldn't have traded my steel bike for al back then, but between the feel of the big wheels and how well my Ventana rides, I don't miss steel at all.
    Electric Sex and straight-gauge tube toughness for the WIN.

  18. #18
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    Kona people were thinking Going Down rather than Going Up when they were designing Honzo. I see it as natural terrain dirt jumping bike. Very short (26er short) chainstays, slack headangle, burly build. It's for jumping, dropping, pumping and cornering, not for long climbing - though it probably can...
    Looks like fun bike - if it is what you are looking for! Thing you can take dirt jumping to Valmont bike park and to the Halls Ranch - when they both free from snow I mean

  19. #19
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    I'm not a dirt jumper so I'll scrub the Kona off the list.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by kerryn View Post
    Interesting comment on the steel versus aluminum debate. I started with steel in the 80s (hey didn't we all) then went to a Kona titanium hardtail (which was awesome) then onto two types of aluminum full suspension bikes. I'm kind of used to a softer feel these days. My road bike is aluminum with carbon seat stays yet I find that thing brutal on the rough stuff, so I was shying away from AL for my new hard tail. I want to get back to the roots to that "whippy" feel of steel and I can't afford titanium anymore.

    It is probably true that I can by more of a bike and lighter in AL than I can for steel. Still if I went AL now for hardtail I would feel a traitor to the grass roots side of the sport. Silly I know... My other consideration is that more steel frames have classy or understated paint jobs whereas most AL frames I see look like they were painted by a teenager with ADD who's taken speed. Honestly most frames' paint jobs out there make me want to vomit.

    Anyway, I'll look more and open up my search to AL...
    Aluminum frame, 2.4 tires, and spend all your leftover cash on beer. Seriously - you're too old to be all fashionista about your bikes.

  21. #21
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    Yes, Kona puts Honzo squarely into their gravity bikes.
    I am thinking about 29er myself, but I am firm believer in rear suspension (pun intended) when riding Colorado and Utah - and good FS 29ers without significant compromises mean serious money...
    Actually 2012 Specialized hardtails look very good - and are reasonably priced.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by sergio8691 View Post
    and good FS 29ers without significant compromises mean serious money...
    Isn't that funny? 'Cause good FS 26ers are readily available *without* significant compromises for very reasonable prices.

    Oh yeah - I did it.


  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by sergio8691 View Post
    Actually 2012 Specialized hardtails look very good - and are reasonably priced.
    A bike shop buddy of mine built up a Rockhopper SS and has put a ton of miles on it. He was able to get the frame at cost (cheap) and Ebay'd and Craigslisted the rest (nice wheelset, Reba Race fork, etc). He rips on that thing.

  24. #24
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    Well I might be changing my whole tune.

    I was going the hardtail route primarily as a stop gap as I was convinced I needed (er wanted) the Ibis Ripley 29. However to go that bike justice I would sink $5-6K into it and that I would not be able to do fo a couple of years. Hence the hardtail to have fun on for the time being while I begin to retire my antique Boulder Starship. That's why I wanted to limit the budget.

    However looking around more, I come across the Salsa Horsethief FS and the Kona Satori. Both are 5 inch 29ers with complete builds in the $3 region +/- $100. The Salsa looks like the better bike and should be available March. These are definitely more trail orientated bikes and closer to what I want longer term.

    Perhaps its time to talk to Golden Bike Shop to see what they can do for one.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by kerryn View Post

    However looking around more, I come across the Salsa Horsethief FS and the Kona Satori. Both are 5 inch 29ers with complete builds in the $3 region +/- $100. The Salsa looks like the better bike and should be available March. These are definitely more trail orientated bikes and closer to what I want longer term.

    Perhaps its time to talk to Golden Bike Shop to see what they can do for one.
    Giant Trance X. Spend the money you save on beer.

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