Kona offers straightforward 29-inch hardtail performance with the Honzo. The bike is a light and pleasant climber, easy to manual up and over obstacles. It's stout gearing and classic, narrow tires offer fast-rolling performance. Poor hub engagement and a lack of traction in the rear 2.25" Maxxis Ardent tire detract from the experience, however. Traction is also lacking on descents, though the bike remains fairly capable thanks to modern geometry and sharp handling skills. The Honzo does provide a harsh ride compared to the plus-sized hardtails that have wide tires that have some minor damping properties. The $2,199 price point is difficult to digest for a SRAM NX drivetrain, low-end Shimano M447 brakes and Shimano Deore hubs with a massive dead spot in them.
The Kona is a serviceable all-arounder for riders not looking to push the envelope or adapt to new standards. Folks uninterested in 27.5+ or 29+ tires will appreciate the Honzo's straightforward performance with its tried and true wagon wheels. Look towards the Specialized Fuse for maximum traction. To retain that all-day capability with some more comfort, check out the versatile and efficient Santa Cruz Tallboy.