Kona Honzo – 2012
Long, low and slack.
What can be said about the Honzo? It’s one of only two hardtails on this list (the other being a niche-within-a-niche trials bike), and it really hasn’t changed much since it was released eight years ago. There is no fancy suspension design or revolutionary frame materials. It’s unassuming, as far as radical hardtails go. Despite all that, it might be the most important bike on this list. Heck, if we were making a list of the most important bikes of all time, the Honzo would definitely be on that too.
Of course, there is some debate to this. The Honzo was likely the first mainstream brand to take a big leap into modern frame geometry, but at almost the same time, Mondraker was doing some very similar things over in Spain. History calls this “Multiple Discovery” or “Simultaneous Invention.” The microchip, the periodic table of elements, and punk rock music each arose in two different places at once. But Kona was a more established brand with wider distribution at the time, so its idea got in front of the most eyeballs, so we’re going with Honzo. Long, low and slack were not terms often strung together until this bike hit the airwaves. And then, the Process line took the concept to full-suspension. It popularized the geometry trends that would later become ubiquitous in the industry. The best part about the Honzo? You can still go buy a new one today. It was, and is, that good.
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