Bike Check: Aidan’s HONZO ST Shred Sled

As we have seen with Aidan’s earlier rides, he has a focused, pragmatic style to his builds.  His latest, a 2018 Kona Honzo ST is no exception.  His reasoning behind the Honzo was simple;  modern, forward geometry on an affordable steel frame featuring slider dropouts (more on that later), with the space to fit nearly any tire makes the Honzo the perfect platform to build a capable, Vancouver Island-focused shred sled.


The first thing we notice is the geometry of the Honzo.  Steep seat tube, and a slack head tube pushes you over the front of the bike, keeping the bike planted even when getting loose.  Furthermore, this assists in weighting the front of the bike, stopping the front wheel from wandering while climbing.  Beyond this, we can see the other makings of a bike ready to party.  Dropper post, short stem and flat pedals mean this bike is ready to fly.



Aidan’s sensible build continues throughout.  Handbuilt wheels- Hope Boost hubs to Stan’s Arch rims provide a stable rolling platform, and the decal-deleted Rock Shox Pike RCT3 130mm is all the suspension he needs.



A Shimano M8000 XT kit provides the shifting, and Aidan’s attention to detail shows through in his neat heatshrink work on the bike’s cabling.  His cockpit is completed by the Chromag stem, Raceface Bar, and ESI grips.



Maxxis has long been the trail tire of choice here at the shop, and Aidan continues this theme with the very capable, albeit slow rolling Minion DHF in the very sticky 3C compound.  Our Island is wet in the winter, so going with an aggressive tread as found on the Minions can help tame even the sloppiest trail conditions.



Aidan mates the M8000 rear derailleur to an 11-42t cassette, which, paired with the 3ot front chainring provide all the range he needs.  More excitingly, the Honzo is equipped with slider dropouts, easing single-speeding the bike.  This will come in handy, as the Mountain Bike Single Speed World Championships are in Bend, Oregon this year, and we are hoping to send a strong Island contingent down.



A short, curvy, tapered head tube, and meaty rubber abound.  Aidan’s motif of black and purple is evident throughout.



Big gussets, quick release levers and 7.5 pound frame weights may harken back to simpler times, but underneath these throwback features the Honzo is a thoroughly modern ride.  The curved seat tube lets one run near any tire they desire, and the King Iris cage will keep Aidan’s bottle safe.  Dropper duty is handled by the Rock Shox Reverb, and Aidan perches atop a WTB saddle.



Aidan has replaced the Reverb remote with the excellent Wolf Tooth Dropper.  In the spirit of slamming that stem, he runs the Cane Creek Slam Set which allows one to truly get the bars as low as they go.  Finally, Aidan attaches his Garmin computer to the bike using the K-Edge mount.


Clean lines dominate the frame, and we can’t wait to get wild with Aidan on his new bike.


Words & pics