The world’s greatest trail hardtail?

We’ve just got back from Kona’s european press launch. Kona’s newest and most exciting bike is made from carbon fibre, aimed squarely at proper singletrack trail riding and of course carries a great pricetag, north of £3,000 for the entry bike and up to £4399 for the Deluxe model.

Nothing surprising so far then, until we tell you it’s a hardtail.


Carbon fibre frame and SRAM XO1 drivetrain

Yes Kona has built three new versions of the excellent Honzo out of fantastic plastic, costing mega-bucks, and with them a message that there’s still a place for great hardtails in this world.

>>> Trail slaying on the new Kona Honzo Carbon (VIDEO)

The Honzo is in a league of its own then, no other mainstream bike builder is making trail hardtails for this kind of money: Whyte, Ragley and Nukeproof make some of the best but out of alloy and stop at about £2,000; while expensive carbon hardtails are exclusively used for XC racing and made by the likes of Trek, Specialized and Scott.


So what’s the point of it all, we asked?

Kona thinks there are people out there who want to ride a relaxed geometry hardtail, with super-short chainstays, ultra-low weight and the trail buzz dampening characteristics of carbon. And we’ve got to agree with them.

>>> Kona Honzo AL (2016) review


Low and slack geometry, with a very short 415mm back end for ‘flickability’

A quick spin on the Honzo revealed just how fast and fun it can be — that lightweight frame and excellent geometry make it playful and manoeuvrable on twisty singletrack.

It’s a stiff and very firm ride, with a Boost back end too, but interestingly Kona says you still won’t be able to fit 27.5 Plus wheels to it, in place of the stock 29er wheels, because the back end is short. Look out for the First Ride soon.


29er wheels and chunky, Maxxis 2.3in tyres

>>> Hardtail of the Year 2016: £500-£1,000 (VIDEO)

The rest from Kona

The Hei Hei is a short-travel full susser flex pivot bike that Kona has also brought to the carbon fibre party, with four models made from the dark stuff.


Testing out the new Kona Hei Hei

In case you missed it, flex pivot bikes do away with the pivot on the chainstay or seatstay, instead flexing those stays a few millimetres as the suspension compresses.

There are also four alloy bikes, taking the range to a whopping nine models to choose from: Race versions with snappier climbing geometry, 29er models with 100mm travel and Trail version with 140mm travel. Something for everyone, Kona is hoping.

>>> Kona’s new pair of carbon Hei Hei 29ers

And they’re not even finished there, Kona is embracing the Plus size zeitgeist with a Big Honzo, Big Honzo DL and Big Kahuna, all of which have 27.5 Plus wheels.

There’s also a Wozo fat bike on the Kona books too.