For as long as Matty Harris can remember bicycles in some form have been a part of his life. “One common thread is that of the humble hardtail, often overshadowed in a world of ever-advancing tech. It’s where it all started for me. Stomping the coaster brakes into skids on my grandparent’s lawns as a youngster. Battling my way down DH courses as a grom, on an over forked xc bike. Hardtails have a simplicity and a way about them. They are timeless, teaching the kinds of lessons even the most seasoned of riders can be happy to re-learn. Quietly pointing out places in my riding that may have slipped, ground skills, and body position to be relearned and revisited. I find it keeps the tools sharp, and the challenge fresh.”

Hardtails have always had a place. A welcomed change to the status quo. The most recent addition is that of the Honzo ESD. This bike was built to be a swiss army knife, to get rowdy and go the distance. It will be in the family for many years to come. Normally the Honzo gets pulled out in the fall, ready for the many wet rides ahead. This time I have committed to this setup for the summer and will report back towards the end of the year to share the places we went. The first month is going great. I’m already re-learning lessons that have been forgotten, keeping me humbled and hungry to sharpen up the skills again.

Some of you may have noticed that my builds all have the same tone to them. Strong and reliable where needed. I’m a big fan of the folks at OneUp components and their commitment to stocking spare parts for servicing to allow for rebuilds when needed, a 10/10 approach, it makes me happy being able to maintain what I currently use.

Chris King Inset 2 taking care of the steering up front. As the head angle is 63 there is no need for the angle set I have run on previous Honzo builds. This butts up to a 150mm Lyrik ultimate with OneUp 35×35 stem and 20mm rise OneUp carbon bar. Cut to 780mm. EDC stuffed in the steerer to help with any trail-side repairs. I’m a thicker grip guy, I find I get less fatigue from over gripping. It feels good and helps save my arms on the long descents. 32mm diameter race face grips.

A 210 OneUp dropper on a size large frame. Sitting on top is a Chromag Trailmaster LTD saddle. Love this saddle. This is the fourth build this saddle has been a part of. Built to last for sure.

Shimano XTR M9120 12spd where it makes sense. Brakes, shifter, rear mech, chain.

After giving up on the carbon crank program due to reliability concerns, the alloy workhorse in the form of a Shimano SLX 170mm crankset seemed to be the logical choice here. Up front a 32t oval one up chainring, paired with a 10-45t SLX cassette.

Flats…obviously. These ones from OneUp are many years old, The body has a nice wee polish and is currently on the fourth set of bearings and no sign of quitting insight.


Industry nine hydra hubs have some unreal engagement and are a dream for any technical climbing. Built up with some carbon light bicycle hoops. Maxxis Assegai Exo 29×2.5 with Cushcore front and rear.

This is the first hardtail build with tire inserts. I have found the bike to be more planted and smooth. The softer and supported tire pressures help the front end deflect less and track straighter. The rear grips more and when the trail gets fast and rough there is more control with less bounce. If it all hits the fan, as it does on occasion I have some added margin of protection.

I’m experimenting with the Wolftooth B-Rad system. It allows me to run inline double water bottles. A testament to how long this honzo is. On the shorter summer laps, the doggos have plenty of water. On the longer ones, it’s just a wee bit extra hydration without committing to a pack. On the most recent ride, it was a very welcomed addition. The safety stash below the bottles has a tube, CO2 and blaster in case of any trail sharks. Frame protection is taken care of by the folks at RideWrap.