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Thread: Honzo vs Taro

  1. #1
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    Honzo vs Taro

    I'm looking at one of these as my next bike purchase and wanted to get some opinions of these bikes. I would be buying them as the completed builds and they will be my primary bike.

    I had one guy at a LBS tell me the Honzo has more of a prestige factor due to being steel (which I agree with), but that the Honzo wouldn't work as well as the main bike in the stable due to its weight...Do you guys agree with this? I've read the Taro frame is ~2lbs lighter, but the stock builds are close in weight. I figured the Honzo would be a capable do it all rig for me, so this kind of took me back.

    Comparing other pros/con of the models:
    -Honzo has the through axel in the rear. I don't plan on riding SS anytime soon, but the extra stiff rear would be nice.
    -Honzo is obviously spec'ed better, but this isn't too huge of a deal.
    -Taro frame is lighter, but stock builds are similar weight.

    So if I don't plan to convert to SS, would there be a noticeable difference in ride quality (chiefly with the TA rear of the Honzo)? I've found a '13 Taro for $1,099, which seems to be a steal. A '14 Honzo would prob cost $900 more than this, as i can't find any '13 models on closeout pricing.

  2. #2
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    The main thing scaring me from these bikes is the 1X9. For a do it all bike, would this be a probleM?

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    The Honzo is 1x10 and the Taro is 1x9 (its easy to convert to 10 speed new derailleur and cassette.) Its all comes down to if u want the rear axle and the better shox in the front both are good shox. Im on the same fence as u in deciding i leaning more towards the Taro u can always add the parts to it that u want from the savings of the difference in the two. Taro has more travel on the fork as well.

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    I am in the same boat. The travel with the Honzo fork can be increased to 140. Any thoughts if you can swap the 32t for a 28 without other changes?
    ...I would keep looking for 13 Honzo, they are out there.

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    There wouldn't be any problem swapping out to a smaller chain ring...I think now the main thing encouraging me to go taro over honzo is the weight. does anyone have figures on the stock weight differences?

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    Main bike to do what, exactly? Steel is heavier, yes, but quieter on the trail and damps a lot of vibration. Most of the weight seems to be in the wheels, tires, and cheaper aluminum OE parts. The Taro would save you money to upgrade, but beat you up at little more on the trail.

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    Main trail bike for riding in St.Louis...The huge plus of the Honzo is the through axle in the rear, which is something that the Taro cannot be upgraded to have. I've never ridden steel, is the quality of the ride noticeably improved?

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    Quote Originally Posted by ynot89 View Post
    Main trail bike for riding in St.Louis...The huge plus of the Honzo is the through axle in the rear, which is something that the Taro cannot be upgraded to have.
    Actually, the Taro can be upgraded to a Thru Axle rear. Sure you have to acquire a different wheel. But you can use a 10x135 Thru Axle and make it work.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ynot89 View Post
    Main trail bike for riding in St.Louis...The huge plus of the Honzo is the through axle in the rear, which is something that the Taro cannot be upgraded to have. I've never ridden steel, is the quality of the ride noticeably improved?
    Alu to steel going over a bump:
    OW! MY BACK!
    to
    ow! my back!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Enduramil View Post
    Actually, the Taro can be upgraded to a Thru Axle rear. Sure you have to acquire a different wheel. But you can use a 10x135 Thru Axle and make it work.
    Forgive my ignorance, but I didn't think a frame with vertical drops could support a through axel? What would be involved in that conversion?

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    I'm not sure about the drop out to thru conversion either.
    My choice is down to the Kahuna dl or the taro. I'm not sure if I'll like the geo on the trail bikes. I just don't see the benefit in the honzo to justify the price. I know it's steel, but to me it's not worth that much more.
    I'm riding a 2012 splice right now and love the feel of it. I can see the advantage of the slacker hta on the trail bikes, but love the xc style I'm riding now so I don't know if I want to change. On the kahuna dl I like the 10 spd drive train, and the fact that I can plan on it fitting/feeling the same.

    Sent from my DROID RAZR using Tapatalk 4

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    I actually own and love a 2013 Honzo and if I was you, I would go with the Taro. The Honzo is awesome, but the only real difference I see is the ability to run SS. If you have no desire to do that, then get the Taro. It is a killer bike. And don't listen to the "steel is more compliant" bullsh1t. The Honzo is steel, but it is NOT compliant and springy like some steel frames. It is very stiff for a steel bike,but that is the way Kona designed it. It is made to be beat...HARD. Not to be a smooth riding all day bike. I would not trade my Honzo for a Taro, but it is also not my only bike. If it was, I would want it to be a LOT lighter.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ynot89 View Post
    Forgive my ignorance, but I didn't think a frame with vertical drops could support a through axel? What would be involved in that conversion?
    Actually it can.

    This is the 10x135mm Thru Axle in quick release. DT offers their own version.

    http://thumbs1.ebaystatic.com/d/l225...BEy_CCS75Q.jpg

    There is also another version that was offered by Shimano in the Hone and Saint groups.

    Hub looks like this.

    http://www.bike24.com/i/p/4/6/49364_00_d.jpg

    If you do want to go for a Thru axle you will have to get a new rear hub. So spend a little money and get a Hope hub or similar. Reason is you can swap out the end caps. Seems minor but down the road you can switch back to 9mm QR or I believe thread in.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Enduramil View Post
    Actually it can.

    This is the 10x135mm Thru Axle in quick release. DT offers their own version.

    http://thumbs1.ebaystatic.com/d/l225...BEy_CCS75Q.jpg

    There is also another version that was offered by Shimano in the Hone and Saint groups.

    Hub looks like this.

    http://www.bike24.com/i/p/4/6/49364_00_d.jpg

    If you do want to go for a Thru axle you will have to get a new rear hub. So spend a little money and get a Hope hub or similar. Reason is you can swap out the end caps. Seems minor but down the road you can switch back to 9mm QR or I believe thread in.
    U could also use Sun Ringle Charger Experts then buy the end caps for the rear wheel think there like 30 dollars.

    On a side note any one know if the fork on the Taro is the solo air or spring version?

  15. #15
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    it is the solo air. test rode one the other day and was definitely impressed with the fork

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    Quote Originally Posted by ynot89 View Post
    Main trail bike for riding in St.Louis...The huge plus of the Honzo is the through axle in the rear, which is something that the Taro cannot be upgraded to have. I've never ridden steel, is the quality of the ride noticeably improved?
    10mm thru-axle doesn't make any difference to rear end flex, esp on a hardtail. A good Shimano QR is all you need.
    Where the Taro does flex is around the bottom bracket/chain-stay U plate. You can flex the stays when off the bike pushing on a pedal, but it's not noticeable riding... Tube chainstay connections to the BB would have been stiffer, but wouldn't have created as much tyre clearance.

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    I started with a 2013 Taro and a few extras:
    32t NW Chainring and ditched the chainguard, 2.4 Ardents front and rear, RF 45mm stem, added wide sweep bars (720mm Fleegles), Ergon grips, and Nuke Proof Electron pedals.

    I love that bike, it tips the scales at just under 30#, it was a joy to ride until my wife got ahold of it, so then I had to find another new bike...a 2013 Honzo

    The Honzo got all the same upgrades as the Taro, but my wife got lighter Ardent 2.25 tires and a 30t NW chainring. Her bike is blue and green, very nice

    The Honzo does ride differently than the Taro, esp with the dropouts set all the way back; this is ~1/2 shorter than the Taro. For sure, the Honzo fork is a major upgrade over the Taro, it's more supple, lighter weight, and just rides so much smoother. However, they are so similar that I can't say I prefer one over the other.

    Don't let anyone tell you that an aluminum frame rides differently than a steel frame, it's a bunch of hooey!

    They are so similar in ride quality that the only way I can feel any difference is in running the chain stays longer; the Honzo being a little slower handling, but also more stable at speed.

    The Taro is 2.8# lighter than the Honzo, moslt due to the steel frame and the lack of adjustable drop out. In theory the groupo on the honzo is heavier than the Taro, but the weight difference is clearly in favor of the Taro.

    I prefer the Honzo because I like the ability to tweak the ride feel and I don't care about weight, but for a new build where weight is a priority, I'd go with the Taro.

    Both frames are medium 18", standover is ~1/2 more on the Honzo, otherwise they have the same geometry. I'm 6'/33" inseam, my wife is 5'10"/32" inseam.

    These bikes are not meant to be ridden large, if anything they are better when ridden small so you can throw them around. A shorter stem is ideal, you can't go too short in my mind; wide bars rock with a short stem!

    The one thing I don't like is that the Honzo comes with a Formula Rear hub. This is a garbage hub, the pawls are weak, so expect to replace the hub at some point, and when it's time, for ~$170 you can get a Hope 2 Evo with the same flange hole pitch and simply rebuild the wheel(s) using the same rim(s) and spokes; always use new nips.

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    Thank you for this clear and fair comparison.
    You having both bikes, can you take a measuring tape and confirm that Taro is 10mm lower to the front than the Honzo(Because same fork height and head tub lenght but zero stack headset for the Taro)
    Thank you.

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    You having both bikes, can you take a measuring tape and confirm that Taro is 10mm lower to the front than the Honzo(Because same fork height and head tub lenght but zero stack headset for the Taro)
    The Taro is 10mm or so lower, I can tell the differencefrom having fewer pedal strikes, but the Honzo still has a low BB compared to other bikes; low BB is designed for better handling.

    If you don't "need" the sliding drop outs, the Taro is a good frame for
    a budget build or for a cheap complete.

    The 2014 Taro has better hubs (deore), maybe a better fork, otherwise they are the same as 2013.

    I don't see the need for a 140mm fork, it would make more for an overly slack geometry, but to each their own.

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    Okay, so the 1 x 9 thing...it's not that bad, but it does have it's limits.

    I rode with a buddy over the weekend, he's on a Stumpjumper FS 26", me on the Honzo. He was able to spin hills at ride slower, while to get a decently fast cadence on the same hills I had to climb faster. My low gear is 32 x 26, my wife's low gear is 30 x 36, both bikes are outfitted with the Raceface NW chainrings.

    If you built up a new bike, you could get the SRAM 12-42 set up, but that's some dollars!

    If you are worried about gearing on a 1 x 9-10, you can make a cheap experiment, just remove the small chainring on your 3 x 9-10, and see if you can do everything you want with your middle chainring (32,33).

    The smallest NW chainring that'll fit these cranks is a 30t, you can go microdrive and get down to a much smaller chaninring, but it wouldn't be NW, and it would be expensive.

    Another option is to get a triple crank, mount the middle and inner chainrings, skip the front derailleur, and just manually swap the chain from ring to ring.

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    Digging this one up -- any other direct comparisons of the Honzo and Taro? I've recently acquired a Honzo and it is awesome, but I'm hoping to drop some weight from the bike. The steel Honzo frame is so stiff that I'm thinking the ride quality of the aluminum Taro frame won't be noticeably different (while weighing, as noted above, about 3 pounds less). Can anyone else compare the ride qualities of the two frames?

    Thanks!

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    My Honzo weighs 27lb set up as a single speed so it is not exactly heavy.....ss is not an option on the taro.

    I also feel that is very compliant frame with Flow Ex and High Roller 2 2.3 set at 19psi.

    yes the honzo is stiff, but there is for sure less buziness then other Al hardtails I have owned.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by mattbryant2 View Post
    Digging this one up -- any other direct comparisons of the Honzo and Taro? I've recently acquired a Honzo and it is awesome, but I'm hoping to drop some weight from the bike. The steel Honzo frame is so stiff that I'm thinking the ride quality of the aluminum Taro frame won't be noticeably different (while weighing, as noted above, about 3 pounds less). Can anyone else compare the ride qualities of the two frames?

    Thanks!
    Quote Originally Posted by BushwackerinPA View Post
    My Honzo weighs 27lb set up as a single speed so it is not exactly heavy.....ss is not an option on the taro.

    I also feel that is very compliant frame with Flow Ex and High Roller 2 2.3 set at 19psi.

    yes the honzo is stiff, but there is for sure less buziness then other Al hardtails I have owned.
    My local Kona dealer had both in my size when I made the purchase. The geometry felt same with both during test rides. The Honzo fork stood out, and while both were stiff the steel feel came through with the Honzo. Both were (are) great bikes.

    To be honest, the weight doesn't bother me as expected when I'm riding vs thinking about it. With less gears (30t front, 11-36 back) I'm riding with friends who by some measure are on much more bike - that's gears, carbon fiber, dual suspension. I can ride down rough nasty stuff faster with my dual suspension AM bike that's also lighter but some whole loop rides are faster with the heavier Honzo. It seems that if it's a good day fewer gears and big wheels promote moving along pretty well.

    My suggestion is buy which of these one can afford but the jump to Honzo is a little more luxurious feeling via the frame vibration feel and fork. With that you also get 142x12 and 10 speed.

    FYI on "light": Weight is probably negligible but my Honzo feels quicker (lighter) running the Bontrager XR4 and 3 tires compared to the Ardents.

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