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Kona Honzo ESD goes from test mule for Process X frame geometry, to extra slack steel hardtail

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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.

Kona Honzo ESD  geometry

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.

Kona Honzo ESD  adjustable dropouts

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.

Kona Honzo ESD  frame from bottom

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.

Kona Honzo ESD  tires

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.

Kona Honzo ESD  frame

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.

Kona Honzo ESD dropper post

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.

Kona Honzo ESD bar Kona Honzo ESD bar and shifter

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.

Kona Honzo ESD complete build

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.

Kona Honzo DL complete bike Kona Honzo complete bike Kona Honzo ST frame

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.


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3 years ago

The ESD looks lovely but Kona’s Europe pricing is out of whack. The price in USD is reasonable, but once it’s in Eur or Sterling it comes out higher than just about any of the domestic brands run by a couple of people (Cotic, Stanton, Pace etc) and it’s in a sort of no man’s land between those and a custom builder. No matter how good it is it’ll be a hard sell to convince someone to hand over more than $1000 for a 4130 Kona frame.

Brad Sedola
Brad Sedola
3 years ago

Wonder if a 29×3 would fit in there like the Chromag Arcturian??

3 years ago

Go IAN!!! Love what cha doing Brudder!

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