When Erik’s epic Honzo popped up in our Instagram feed it stopped us dead in our tracks and not just for the build. The effort involved in the photoshoot was damn awesome and seriously creative, hell there’s even a guy passed out on the floor in the background! We flicked Erik a message, searching for a little more info and has you can see from all the text below he kindly obliged, we’ll let him take it from here.
This thing had taken too long to come together but, I guess it was worth the wait? The photoshoot was really a play on that fact, it is now far past the 30th anniversary and I thought that the “Late to the Party” or “Missed the party” would be a fun theme.
So the bike itself is a funny story as well. I remember seeing Pinkbike coverage of Sea Otter and the raffle of the original 30th Honzo. I read that there would be only 201 of these things made and, while I do not have a first-year “Kona” yet (I do have a Cascade Lava Dome) I had to have a 30th Honzo in my collection as well. I wrote an email that same day to my rep Dale, something to the extent of: “I need one of these things! let me know when…”
I have been working at New England Bike for a long time and Dale has taken care of me quite a few times on bikes, including getting that Cascade to me. He told me he would try… There was some back and forth, wasn’t sure it was going to be possible, I knew the allotments were small and size large would be a popular one. I had even bought another steel frame (still sitting around) to build up before I got word that Dale had secured one for me.
I got the bike, figured it would just stay stock, you know how that goes. Then I wasn’t too impressed with the fork and somewhere around the same time, I read an article about this new Formula Selva R, an advanced fork, all the adjustments, even foamy volume Neopos things and they were also having a 30th anniversary! The specific color (Ultraviolet 30) was a limited anniversary color, I emailed them and they directed me to BTI as the sole US importer. The buyer for BTI agreed to order me one (they did not stock the color, only black) with their next stock order. As far as I know, it was the first one in the US, probably not the only one, likely some sponsored riders somewhere with them but, rare none the less. I installed the fork with a fresh Cane Creek headset. The matching orange stickers were made up later by our buddy Lee at Hellion Designs to try and make it more cohesive on the bike.
Then the brake levers bothered me as they were quite chunky so I picked up these rare two pot oval piston Formula’s (closer to the power of the four pots and with Ti hardware) to go with the fork and could still set up Matchmaker for a super clean look. The crook of the lever was also quite pronounced, which leads me to the cockpit.
The saddle and bars are both from a German company SQlab. I wanted to try some of their stuff including this carbon bar that had much more backsweep (12+degrees) supposedly putting wrists and elbows in more natural positions, but I had read that you wanted a pronounced lever blade as not to slide off on descents. So too the “Race Day” gummy DMR grips.
The Gusset stem is even newer kit… You might notice in the photos that there is no gap at the top of the faceplate and a larger one at the bottom, that is how the stem was designed and intended and looks the business.
Once it got this far it really just snowballed. The rest of the bike would have to come up to snuff if it was going to try and get to Dream Build status. I guess the inspiration became, building this limited, classic steel hardtail that incorporated all of the lastest cool kit. Years down the road I feel like you will look at everything on this bike and it will stand out as 18′
I got a great deal on the NOBL hoops and knew I had to do a proper wheelset. I was lucky enough to get some DT Swiss Super Comp spokes in the size I needed (which I believe they stopped making) and a fresh boost set of Hadley hubs (Ti freehub body of course), because what is cooler than an American made company that still doesn’t have a proper website?
I usually run Maxxis tires but the yellow consumer labels would have clashed, and I wanted something different for this build. I was chasing after a set of the new Goodyears but they were a bit unobtainium and I had read mixed reviews. The Teravail tires have some clever marketing and seem new and trick. Even the tubes, yes tubes (see orange valve stem) are new tech, Tubolito tubes are marketed as 2/3 the weight and 2x the strength, haha, we will see.
Also got a Bikeyoke dropper because of the trick burp valve on the outside. The DMR pedals I originally bought in Titanium but they were flat black and clashed with the Absolute black Oval ring that was polished black so I had to order the steel pair, poor me. The bike has almost full XO, only minus the cranks, not because of price, just because the Descendants look better, Im sure the internet will let me know if I’m wrong.
So yeah, long winded and pathetic, I have been saying that this is my last one, that I will not do another over the top project like this, that there are other things I should be concentrating on, likely so, I guess someone will have to check back with me in a year or two when I recover from this one.