Kona just took the Honzo to new lengths with the ESD. What is the ESD? Well, if you’re creative, it could mean any number of things. Extremely Shreddable Design? Everything Shredders Desire? Evolved Singletrack Destroyer? Extra Savage Deathmarcher?
Those are all probably applicable, but if you ask Kona Product Manager Ian Schmitt, the answer is… Extra Slack, Dude. There’s no mistaking that upon looking at the new frame. What originally started as the test platform for the Process X frame geometry has now turned into a production model with very progressive geometry to take the steel hardtail to the next level.
Just how slack is the ESD? Well, the new frame pushes the head tube angle all the way out to 63.5° which is paired with a 150mm travel fork with a reduced 42mm offset. Seat tube angles are then fairly steep at 77.5°, and reach numbers range from 440-525mm.
Thanks to adjustable dropouts with Boost spacing, the chainstay length is adjustable from 417-433mm. This should allow you to not only to adjust the stay length to your liking, but allow for single speed use as well.
The bottom bracket drop is set at 62.5mm which is said to offer a balance of confident handling without dropping it too low at full bottom out on the fork. If you’re riding gnarly trail, you can even go longer on the fork travel to really party.
Designed around 29″ wheels and big tires, the ESD will ship with 29 x 2.4″ WT Maxxis Minion DHR IIs in the back, and a 29 x 2.5″ WT Maxxis Assegai in the front on Race Face AR 30 rims laced to Shimano SLX hubs.
The Honzo ESD frame uses Kona’s butted Cromoly tubing, and keeps things simple with external cable routing, a tapered head tube, ISCG05 tabs and a threaded 73mm bottom bracket, and offers two bottle cage mounts.
Since this bike is meant to get rad, the seat tubes have been lowered to allow for massive dropper posts. Small and Medium frames will run 170mm posts which can be slammed to the collar, and Lard and Extra Large frames will run 200mm post with the option to go even bigger. Note that these will come stock with the TranzX +RAD droppers which can be adjusted internally -30mm in 5mm increments.
Spec on this build is well thought out and includes the Shimano i-spec dropper lever, Deore four piston brakes, an XT shifter, and a 12 speed SLX derailleur and cassette. Why the XT shifter? As Ian points out, derailleurs and cassettes are wear items, where the shifters last much longer. So when that big rock rips off your derailleur, you won’t feel so bad about having to replace the SLX.
With one model of the ESD, this Honzo will sell for $2,699. Have your own build in mind? It’s also available as a frame with thru axle for $665.
If you’re not into the Extremely Slack idea, then Kona will still offer the aluminum Honzo and Honzo DL, as well as the classic Honzo ST which also feature updated geometry, but a bit more conservative than the ESD.