Kona Honzo vs. Commencal Meta AM HT- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Kona Honzo vs. Commencal Meta AM HT

    I rarely post in here because all previous bikes have been 70-120mm. But it's time to get something a bit faster and more stable downhill, it's time, probably next spring.

    Looks like out of the top 5 all-mountain hardtails, the Kona and Commencal look pretty good, many good reviews. I liked the Commencal because it has a 65-degree head tube angle which should be fine for a 160mm fork. I figure because I already have 120mm there is not much point in doing another hardtail with 140 or even 150mm, may as well ramp it up to something more distinctive, don't care too much if climbing ability is hampered a bit.

    Do you guys think 160mm is a bit much on a hardtail?

    Just got off the phone with some dude from the LBS, I told him about the Commencal Meta AM HT frame and he said no, get the Kona Honzo instead. Pretty much the same price of $500, but I dunno if the Kona's 68-degree head tube is going to cut it for something over 150mm. I guess I could keep it 150mm if needed. He said that the chainstays are sliding which can slacken the head tube angle anyway. And he said that a 2.8 tire can still fit in back with shortened chainstays. Is that true?

    Can the Kona Honzo accept a 150-160mm fork and still fit a 2.8 tire in back? What is your overall opinion of the two bikes and their frames?
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  2. #2
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    The kona won't play nice with a 160mm fork.

    It sounds like you're on your way towards making a mess of things. Buy a frame designed around the fork you want to run. Climbing (and descending) ability will only be hampered if you do a goofy build.
    "Things that are complex are not useful, Things that are useful are simple."
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  3. #3
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    You won't have any issues overforking a HT 20 mm. If you like it aggressive, go for it. I put a 160 DVO Diamond on a HT built for a 120 mm fork with the intent on dropping the travel to 130, but it bombed down trails like nobody's business. Climbs well, too. You can always reduce the travel if the fork does that, or just get less travel later.

    The Honzo is King when it comes to HTs.

    Edit: I'm surprised that the Honzo is still a 120mm fork bike. I'd think Kona would have gotten the memo on AM HTs. Regardless, it'll still work.

  4. #4
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    Another option. Ragley Big Wig. The frame is currently $399 on Chain Reaction.

    I love mine. It is more capable then the Honzo I demoed IMO. Also I found that a Honzo with 27.5x2.8 was more pedal strike prone then my Ragley Big Wig with 29x2.5. The Ragley will handle a 29x2.6 and one guy on here is running a 27.5x3.25 sometimes on his. There is a lot of tire clearance.

    The Honzo is a lot of fun but I'd rather have the Ragley since it is my only mountain bike. The slacker head angle makes it a bit more capable on steep and rocky stuff and I'd don't find that it gives up anything when the trail isn't steep.

    Also IMO a slack head angle (while obviously not the only important factor in geometry) is more important on an aggressive hardtail then on an aggressive full suspension because as the suspension sags and compressed the head angle is going to steepen on a hardtail.
    Ragley Big Wig, Sunday Soundwave (BMX), Nashbar CXSS (workout)

  5. #5
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    I would look at frames built for a 150 fork. Here’s one example...

    https://chromagbikes.com/collections...es-rootdown-19

    Full disclosure, don’t own one of these but Chromag is known for building fantastic frames.

  6. #6
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    Check out the new Norco Torrent. It's everything you want straight out of the box.

  7. #7
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    Currently running a Ragley mmmbop with 160mm rides great.. they’re all great frames go with whatever color you like the best and what price point seems fair


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by wollongongdave View Post
    Check out the new Norco Torrent. It's everything you want straight out of the box.

    Checked out the Norco Torrent site, it says 12x148 boost at the beginning but both bikes and the frame say 12x142 at the bottom. Was that a mistake, did they earlier make a 12x142 rear spacing and just forgot to update that or something? I'd actually like a non-boost frame so I can swap rear wheels easier, although it's not a deal-breaker. Besides that, the frame looks good, haven't had a 2.8 in back yet and itching to try it.
    We ALL have something to learn here. Post helpful solutions instead of flaming for your own sadistic need.

  9. #9
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    I just bought a 2018 Commencal Meta AM HT with a 160mm Yari, running 27,5x2,6 on AR40 rims. It's pretty fun! Before I had a "slacked" 120/100mm fully 26" XC-rocket.
    Bought it from a friend, so didn't look much around, but also considered Orange Crush, Bird Zero.

  10. #10
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    The argument against long travel ht's (>140mm) is that only the front sags, so the geometry changes at compression are greater on a 160mm than a 120mm forked one.

    Most British brands (this kind of bike is very popular in the UK) tend to spec 120-140mm on their trail hardtails for this reason.

    My own ht has a 130mm travel fork and it's fine, but there are steep trails with deep, step-like features where I use a lot of compression to keep the geo in check. I'd be comfortable going up to 140mm for general trail riding, but I don't see the point for more on a ht.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by justwan naride View Post
    The argument against long travel ht's (>140mm) is that only the front sags, so the geometry changes at compression are greater on a 160mm than a 120mm forked one.

    Most British brands (this kind of bike is very popular in the UK) tend to spec 120-140mm on their trail hardtails for this reason.

    My own ht has a 130mm travel fork and it's fine, but there are steep trails with deep, step-like features where I use a lot of compression to keep the geo in check. I'd be comfortable going up to 140mm for general trail riding, but I don't see the point for more on a ht.
    What I have found, and why I decided to keep the full 160mm of travel, was due to the ability to 'ride' the fork more. I find I can lean on the fork more when riding fast on low grade descents full of rocks and roots. The bike can take more of a hit up front and less on the rear. Since you have no rear suspension on a HT, taking a hard hit on the rear can obviously lead to more flats/wheel damage. So on a HT, I'd typically tend to ride a bit more cautiously because of this. On this bike, I can do the opposite. In addition, I can hit bigger drops. The large change in geometry can be used as an advantage.

  12. #12
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    I haven't ridden a 160mm hardtail, so while the theory above makes sense to me, your experience clearly means the long travel for works for you. I'll try something similar if I get the chance.

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