The kona honzo dl is a 29-inch hardtail with classic narrow tires and stout gearing. It's a capable climber that's light enough to manual over obstacles and easy to spin up hills. But it's not a fast rider - hub engagement is slow and the rear 2.8in Maxxis Ardent tire lacks traction on rough terrain. The price is also tough to swallow for a bike with a less than desirable build kit.
Despite being a hardtail, the Honzo has surprisingly progressive geometry for a bike in this category. The reach numbers for a large size are identical to those of Kona's Process 153, which means that the bike has short 415mm chainstays and a slack 68o head tube angle. The 310mm bottom bracket height is similar to those on some cross-country hardtails but lower than most full-suspension bikes out there, and the stiff frame design translates trail surface impacts directly to the rider well beyond the level you would expect from a hardtail.
The Honzo handles mellow and flowy terrain very well thanks to sharp handling skills and the responsive Maxxis Ardent 2.8-inch tires. It's not as nimble on rough descents but still has solid cornering abilities that make it a fun choice for a mellow day of mountain biking. On rocky and choppy trails, however, the stiff frame design and short chainstays translate the jarring forces of the trail to the rider with excessive force. This is more of a problem with this bike than any other we've tested and can be somewhat frustrating when the traction is limited by the trail conditions.