I like riding bikes and I like to make sure my bikes cover a variety of disciplines and riding styles. In this build, I was motivated to build a rough and rowdy hardtail that could take a beating and handle the vast majority of trails I frequent.
That brought me to look to steel frames, and ultimately at the Honzo ST. While built for the 120mm fork, there is no shortage of people long-forking it and the benefits to the experience are well documented. That made it easy to know I wanted to put a 140mm fork on it.
Of course, it also helps that I frequent Chainline Bikes, a shop that is no stranger to killer Honzos and Kona Dream Builds.
At first I wanted to build off of the lime-green accents on the frame, but ultimately decided that the silver/gray approach is more my style. The Pike Ultimate has been amazing, and I think the silver lowers and black stanchions are a really unique look, but fit well together with the frame. I have zero regrets about running it at 140mm. I didn’t try it in a different configuration, but I refuse to believe any other combo is better.
This was also my first time building my own wheelset. I have to say I absolutely loved the process and am ecstatic at how the wheels came out. The wheels feature DT XM481 rims, DT Champion spokes, Sapim Lime-Green alloy nipples, and a pair of DT 350 straight pull hubs. The hubs came OEM on a previous bike and are polished aluminum, which fits wonderfully with the rest of the color scheme.
They are, of course, set up tubeless and running a Maxxis Minion DHF 2.6 on the front and a Maxxis Minion SS 2.5 on the rear. I went DH casing in the rear because I figured it is going to be taking a beating.
The drivetrain is Shimano’s new 12s system. The cassette (10-51), derailleur, cranks, chainring(32t), bottom bracket, and pedals are all Shimano XT. I went with the XTR shifter for a bit crisper shifting performance. That Shimano drivetrain has been amazing, both in terms of ease of setup, and shifting performance. The wide range with the 32t chainring and 10-51 cassette make it so I can charge when things open up but also make it up tough climbs during long days in the saddle, where the Honzo wants to be.
A WTB Volt saddle with titanium rails sits on a OneUp 170mm dropper. 170mm is quite a lot of drop, but don’t think I haven’t considered swapping it out for a 200mm version. I’ve got a Fox lever hooked up to the dropper as I had one lying around, but there is a Wolftooth in the Honzo’s future.
For stopping, I went with Hope E4/Tech3 setup. This is my go-to setup as they have the right amount of power and control the Honzo deserves. Paired with resin pads and silver 180mm Hope rotors front and rear, they do a pretty amazing job.
The cockpit is comprised of a 35mm Deity Copperhead Stem in platinum, and a Deity DC31 Mohawk carbon bar with 25mm rise and at the stock width of 787mm. They bar/stem clamp is 31.8mm because stiffness isn’t everything.
The last bits are a Cane Creek Hellbender, ODI Elite Flow grips, and of course lime-green matching zip-ties for cable management.
I thought about cleaning it, but I prefer the look of it with a thin layer of moondust; it looks more at home. I, of course, also had to include a sibling shot of the Honzo with its smaller side-kick, my ‘20 Kona Shonky. They make a fine pair.