My last hardtail was a 2003 Cove Stiffee FR, which at the time, was one of the best all-mountain hardtails available. Bike geometry has changed quite a bit since then and riding the Stiffee is absolutely terrifying for me now. And so began my hunt for a modern, gravity bent bike that could give me the thrill that only a hardtail could. It had to be simple, versatile, tough, and relatively cheap. After much thought, I settled on the Honzo ST. I plan on riding it through the majority of the wet, Wellington winter and will give you my feedback in a future issue of Spoke. I’ve only had it for a couple of weeks but so far I’m loving it.

The stock Deore derailleur was replaced with a Zee short cage. The faux ‘brazing’ paint detailing looks great on the raw-like, grey wash over the frame.

The stock, static post was swapped out for a dropper – essential on a bike like this.

Also swapped the Kona branded 60mm stem for this Easton 55mm I had lying around.

Maxxis Tomahawk 3C EXO TR tires on 29mm wide (internal) rims come stock. Sweet!

1 1/8″ – 1 1/2″ tapered headtube

Deore brakes – Simple. Reliable.

Extra ‘braze-ons’ help with cable management should you need them.

760mm wide bars (Ø31.8mm)

Matching WTB seat.

Meaty little gusset.

Threaded bottom bracket – Still my preference over press-fit. The steel Honzo has heaps of tire clearance compared with the alloy version. I plan on trying some 650B+ wheels on this thing to see what all the fuss is about.

Seatpost mast gusset

Adjustable dropouts = Versatility. Super simple system too. Since I have the chainstays set as short as possible, there was no need for the limit screws so I removed them.

142mm x 12mm Maxle. Shimano Deore 10 speed 11-36 cassette

Raceface Aeffect 170mm cranks with a 32T narrow/wide ring

Flattened seat stays are a nice touch.

120mm Fox Float 34 Performance fork, Deore shifter, and ODI Ruffian grips come stock.

4 Responses

  1. Curious about a full review on this bike, weight, compared to.. other bikes, materials etc.
    What is it like on the hills? How about this bike as a replacement for a full suss. trail bike for all round duties? What is the steel frame ride like- springy like a Ti frame or just dull like a cheap heavy steel frame of yesteryear?
    If Spoke need a product reviewer, who can write and take his own photographs (saving money on photographers) I am available a very reasonable rate. contact me at

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