I love it when we get to build bikes from the frame up. Frame up builds allows us to work directly with our customers to craft bikes that are as unique as they are. This past November we were able to build up two identical (except for size) 2016 Kona Honzo ST frames and the final bikes couldn't be more different from one another. Due to the versatile nature of the steel Honzo frame we were able to build one of the bikes up as a Single Speed 650B+ and the other as a geared wagon wheeler with a nasty 14omm X Fusion fork and a super fresh 8000 series Shimano XT 1 X 11 group.
AARON'S SINGLE SPEED 650B+
The introduction of 29ers in the early 2000's and Fatbikes in the mid 2000's have changed the way many of us feel about tires size and width. The newest tire/wheel trend that looks to have staying power is the mid-fat 650B+ or 27.5+ tire and wheel combo which offers tires widths around 3" and and outside rolling diameter similar to a 29er (albeit slightly smaller). What is really exciting about this particular wheel/tire standard is that many existing 29er frames are able to be converted to this new plus size, offering riders the benefits or increased float and greater traction than traditional 29er wheels and tires. I like to think of them as Fat Bikes light. Many companies have already released their own 650B+ specific bikes in both hardtails and dual suspension offerings Aaron decided to set his beast up as a single speed making it into simple big wheeled fun. I haven't been able to ride it in the woods but Aaron reported back saying that it "slays trail".
Some pics of Aaron and his new ride.
Jacy took his Honzo down different path. He decided to stick with 29er wheels and tires but like Aaron wanted to take advantage of the wider is better trend currently overtaking mountain biking. We built him a super wide and beefy wheelset using WTB's Asym I29 rims laced to Hope's Evo Pro 40T hubset (in matching orange). We shod the 29mm internal width rims with agro Maxxis DHF 2.5" front and Ardent 2.4" rear tires giving Jacy gobs of traction. Jacy decided on the slick new Shimano XT 8000 1 X 11 speed group set for his drivetrain giving him access to 11 cogs spanning 11-42 teeth. We chose the excellent Shimano XT brake set to slow Jacy down. The build was finished up with a mix of RaceFace, Thomson, and WTB parts.