The Pinkbike Podcast: Episode 36 - Grilling Kazimer About Field Test Enduro Bikes

Dec 17, 2020
by Mike Levy  
Art by Taj Mihelich

Now that all of Kazimer's Field Test enduro bike reviews have been released, it's time for Sarah Moore, James Smurthwaite, and myself to ask him some heavy-hitting follow-up questions about his five machines. How many enduro races did he win on the Altitude? What was the highest wheelie drop he did on the Norco Shore? Why the heck does the Propain Spindrift climb so well? How come he put the Nomad's Fox 38 on backward? And is the Trek Slash his favorite Halloween-themed enduro bike?

If you've followed the Field Test but want more details, episode 36 is a must-listen.

December 2, 2020

BuT hOw dO ThEy cLimB?

Hosted by Mike Levy (usually) and featuring a rotating cast of the editorial team and other guests, the Pinkbike Podcast is a weekly update on all the latest stories from around the world of mountain biking, as well as some frank discussion about tech, racing, and everything in between.

Previous Pinkbike Podcasts
Episode 1 - Why Are Bikes So Expensive?
Episode 2 - Where the Hell is the Grim Donut?
Episode 3 - Pond Beaver Tech
Episode 4 - Why is Every Bike a Trail Bike?
Episode 5 - Can You Trust Bike Reviews?
Episode 6 - Over Biked Or Under Biked?
Episode 7 - Wild Project Bikes
Episode 8 - Do We Need an Even Larger Wheel Size?
Episode 9 - Why Are We Doing a Cross-Country Field Test?
Episode 10 - Getting Nerdy About Bike Setup
Episode 11 - Are We Going Racing This Year?
Episode 12 - What's the Future of Bike Shops?
Episode 13 - Are Bikes Too Regular Now?
Episode 14 - What Bikes Would Pinkbike Editors Buy?
Episode 15 - What's Holding Mountain Biking Back?
Episode 16 - Who's Your Mountain Biking Hero?
Episode 17 - XC Field Test Insider
Episode 18 - Electronics on your Mountain Bike: Good or Bad?
Episode 19 - The Hardtail Episode
Episode 20 - MTB Conspiracy Theories
Episode 21 - Stuff We Were Wrong About
Episode 22 - Does Your Riding Style Match Your Personality?
Episode 23 - Grim Donut 2 is Live!
Episode 24 - Why Even Buy a DH Bike?
Episode 25 - Fall Field Test Preview
Episode 26 - The Three Most Important Mountain Bikes
Episode 27 - The World Champs Special
Episode 28 - All About Women's Bikes
Episode 29 - Freeride or Die
Episode 30 - Would You Rather?
Episode 31 - Wet Weather Riding Tips & Tricks
Episode 32 - What Needs to Change in the Bike Industry?
Episode 33 - Behind the Scenes at Pinkbike Academy
Episode 34 - Grilling Levy About Field Test Trail Bikes (and His Bonspiel)
Episode 35 - Story Time - Stranger Than Fiction

Author Info:
mikelevy avatar

Member since Oct 18, 2005
2,032 articles

  • 18 0
 What???!!! I want more RC car chases
  • 13 0
 Damn what is this almost back to back podcasts??
  • 5 0
 Podcast Double Header
  • 4 0
 @fartymarty: for half the prize money.
  • 1 0
 @fartymarty: Podcast World Listening Series
  • 8 0
 What would you rather have as a do it all bike - a burly trail bike like the P train or a more well rounded enduro bike like the Rocky Mountain?
  • 12 0
 That's such a tough question... in my ideal world, I'd have two bikes, something along the lines of a Transition Spur or a Specialized Epic Evo for doing big days of pedaling, and then a proper enduro bike like the Altitude. If I could only have one bike, though, then the P-Train would be more my style - I'm a fan of tough bikes with a little less travel.
  • 3 1
 @mikekazimer: How about the Forbidden Druid as a one and only bike ? Or is it too of an old bike to be even mentioned and is deja to be categorized as oldschool ? You werent so impressed off it then or at least thats what I got out if its review and then another question how come you didnt go with the XL considering the numbers you like geo wise on other bikes ?
Numbers on the Druid are quiet conservative for what the market comes up to these days. A Large Druid is the equivalent of a Medium Commencal Meta TR which is in Levy s words THE BiKE and I know out of being a massive fan of the podcast that thats the platform you test out different components.

Thank you @mikekazimer
  • 1 0
 @barbarosza: that’s kind of my situation. I have a GG smash. 145 rear travel, but it’s essentially an enduro bike.
  • 2 1
 @mikekazimer: Santa cruz nomad and new high tower!
  • 1 0
 @brandaneisma: Im afraid Im not following
  • 1 0
 @SpecializedNick: guess Id go Transition Scout in Medium and Forbidden Druid in Large.Or 5010 in medium and Stumpy Evo in S4
  • 2 0
 @barbarosza: I am saying my bike based on travel leans towards trail bike but with its geo and spec its feel on the trail is more equivalent to an enduro bike.
  • 1 0
 @SpecializedNick: there s no new Hightower. its been the same since 2019 I believe.
  • 1 0
 Your "do everything bike" is going to be so dependent on where you ride, what you like to ride, your individual skillset, and your individual risk assessment that trying to pick out YOUR do everything bike is an exercise in futility.

I only have a second bike because I race XC competitively. If I wasn't racing, I would just have my 170mm E29. Anything less capable would be disappointing to me.
  • 8 0
 I'd wager kazimer would eat Levy alive in a proper Enduro racer. Mike vs Mike!!!! Let's get ready tooooo ruuuuumble !
  • 41 0
 Mike would totally win
  • 2 0
 @Thirty3: naa, Mike would totally win.
  • 4 0
 My money is on Mike.
  • 2 0
 @fartymarty: Probably a good bet
  • 2 0
 You're sure? I expect Mike will get a DNF and Mike a DSQ.
  • 6 0
 Is there going to be a final round table video for the enduro bike's? That's always my favorite if the video segments in the field test for how comparative and openly subjective it is.
  • 10 0
 Yep, that video is on the way.
  • 5 0
 I’ve rented DH bikes 2 times (mammoth & Whistler) and both times I quickly started hitting much bigger features than I felt comfortable riding my 135r/160f bike... I rented a nomad last summer and it did not increase my confidence at all. I’d love to get a longer travel bike to feel more comfortable on riding bigger features (e.g. flying monkey trail) but I’m worried that anything short of a 200mm DH won’t help as much as I’d like...I have been scoping the Commencal Clash...what’s your advice?
  • 7 0
 Get a Slayer my man. It's exactly design for the purpose you described
  • 3 0
 I rented a nomad last summer and it made trails that I was comfortable with on my mid travel 29er feel downright dangerous. Had a close call, got sketched out, nursed it home. It's not just you.
  • 1 0
 @Mtmw: that’s good to hear, I am also on a 29er...too be fair it wasn’t a very high level spec...but neither were the DH would be interesting to ride a 500+ reach 27.5, 180mm bike with the suspension set up well for me...
  • 2 5
 Flying monkey can be ridden comfortably and fast on a 140 travel bike.
  • 4 0
 @Nwilkes: ya but that's not his question
  • 1 0
 @Nwilkes: I’d like to give it another go with at least a full face and possibly a chest seemed well built to roll well despite being so chunky...I’m sure someone could ride it with a hardtail...My friend did Kong on a 150mm bike, but he’s a little ball of muscle while I’m a tall scrawny dork.
  • 2 0
 @Soucy: this is what I did. It's a lot of bike for short spins but it's great for sit-and spin climbs. It is more than park ready for Panorama and Fernie days. Obviously, it has compromises in weight and wheelbase but it's a great one-bike burly option.
  • 3 0
 WHat about hiring a coach? If the bike is giving you confidence but you don't think the fault is your bike, maybe someone helping you out to identify your weaknesses is a better LONG term investment?
  • 4 0
 I can't help but think that after listening to how much Kazimer LOVES hardtails on many of the podcasts, many pinkers were hoping Brian had slipped in a "rowdy hardtail" for the fifth bike!

Maybe that's what the Mike Enduro shootout should be on...
  • 6 0
 Aw man, you guys make great podcasts on everything bike and Pinkbike related (this one is my fav so far). I like listening to them on my commute to work, thanks!
  • 7 0
 2 podcasts in one week? Must be Christmas already
  • 3 0
 Pinkbike editors: What are all the free riders doing during this global pandemic, why haven't they bought out loads of epic videos yet?

Also Pinkbike editors: Damn this grim Donut video is taking ages to make during this global pandemic.

Also also Pinkbike editors: Damn there are so many epic videos getting released right now, where they all coming from?
  • 6 0
 I like Kamizer. He's just the right amount of crazy.
  • 1 2
 Wanting Levy to ride naked in the woods yeah the right amount of crazy
  • 2 0
 It's funny how exotic the Magura brakes seem to be in the PNW. Here in germany they are super popular. The german forums are overflowing with explanations of how to combine a Magura saddle with Shimano levers to get an even better performing "Shigura" brake. That's not a thing in the US and Canada?
  • 2 0
 I've seen a bunch of those but don't have the time to put my own together tbh - too much production stuff to test.
  • 2 0
 @mikelevy: takes under an hour, but I do understand that you’re a busy man. PB could also do an article on the process, especially seeing as how many customers aren’t necessarily production only people
  • 1 0
 @onlyDH: I actually did that this summer, there is super limited info and you have to be careful with barbs, hose diameters etc. there's more than one way to put shiguras together and if not done properly, you'll have leaks and stuff etc. But 110% recommend cause once you figure'em out they're solid. (Also merlin cycles sells them for amazing deals (~$120 cad/pair for the mt5 which I believe is the same caliper as the mt7's. Throw on some slx levers and voila, good to go for pretty insane pricing)
  • 2 0

How does the Spindrift compare to a more typical “all mountain/enduro” bike like say, the sentinel, Sight, or even the Titan?

I see you saying it pedals super well. But is it the same or better than most bikes with 20-30mm less travel?

You also say it’s pretty poppy, so you don’t wallow around. But does it really ride like some of those bikes I mentioned, especially on stuff that isn’t super gnarly?

It “seems” like it could be a great bike for the PNW. Enough travel for the bigger stuff at tiger and Galbraith. And not out of its depth at stevens pass. But also not too boring for local trail systems.

I’m curious if I can have my cake, and eat it too in this instance.
  • 2 0
 It’s nice to see Magura brakes getting some notice. They are quite good. @mikekazimer

I’ve been riding the MT7 and MT Trail brakes on my two bikes for the past 2-3 years and several thousand miles.

Here’s a mini review:

Power, modulation, and consistency are great. They’ve been super reliable* (I bleed them once a year**) The pads are excellent, and pad life is good. The HC Lever shape is very similar to new shimano levers- its great.

If I was buying a set of new brakes today, I’d get the *new* MT5 with HC lever blade. (Or the Wibmer edition if you like gold)

There is a reason Fabio Wibmer rides the cheaper MT5 with an HC lever. It’s actually slightly better than the MT7*

*my one gripe with the MT7 is the lever. The tool-free adjust lever has a plastic knob ‘bonded’ to metal threads. I’ve been through two sets of levers, and the plastic always ends up just spinning on the metal without turning the treads. This turns a supposed convenience into a real pain.
Second, the levers tend to rattle when your fingers aren’t on them through chunky terrain due to a spring that’s too weak.

These issues are isolated to the MT7 lever. The simpler MT5 lever is perfect.

**these are German brakes. Follow torque specs carefully, especially for the lever bleed port. It has plastic threads and a very low torque spec. The lever clamps should also not be overly tight. They should be able to rotate in a crash.
The bleed procedure is a bit old school. Watch Magura’s video twice, and don’t take short cuts. It’s super easy to do quick a lever-only bleed in between full bleeds.

I ran XT8000 and Guide RSC brakes for over 1yr each before switching to Magura. The shimano brakes suffered wandering bite point and needed to be bled several times per year. The guides had less power than the Magura MT Trail, and my two sets both developed the swelling piston issue that caused the levers to seize up. SRAM replaced them on warranty.
  • 2 0
 Nice to see some other people showing Magura some love. They are my absolute go-to-brakes right now. MT5s, and MT trails for the win on all of my bikes. Echo everything posted above: feel great, awesome power, and pad life is good too.
  • 1 0
 @mikekazimer Hearing ya'll talk about that one song you sing got me thinking. I was riding Bromont last year and happened to take my first chair up with Tristan Lemire of COMMENCAL / MUC-OFF. He started playing "I Just Want You" by Ozzy Osbourne. Timed it so perfect that it finished before we hopped off the lift. Since then it has been my first chair of park days song, and my when the going gets tough tune.
  • 1 0
 I have got a few tire related questions:
1. what would your tire-setup be if you only were allowed to use one set for the entire year?
2. Can you go with a lighter casing when you do not weigh that much yourself?
3. Is it an idea to do a podcast on tires .. I am sure there is enough to talk about :-)
  • 1 0
 @mikekazimer @mikelevy do mind blowing bikes exist anymore? It seems as if bikes have become so good in the past couple of years that when first impressions / reviews come out, nothing is too surprising anymore. I might be wrong and bikes such as those that are nominated for bike of the year are pushing boundaries but I feel like I haven't read reviews lately where you guys were blown away. Reviews such as Levy going nuts over the SB100 or Kaz calling the 3rd generation nomad a bike from the future come to mind where the language used indicated a large amount of excitement on your end. Have bikes become boring because they are so good?
  • 1 0
 @mikekazimer just curious as to whether you tried a lighter coil spring on the Shore? Sounds like maybe it was a little stiff/oversprung?
  • 2 0
 I used the right spring for my weight, which gave me 30% sag.
  • 2 0
 @mikekazimer how do you think the stumpy evo would have done if included with this group?
  • 1 0
 Hard on bikes and likes to smash things?
Boy, is the shore ever the bike for me!
  • 1 0
 The Stamina 180 has been raced in the EWS. The extra travel and Leo’s bs were not to deliver results, however
  • 1 0
 @mikelevy , what's your bike plan for BC bike race? Revel Ranger, Mondraker F Podium DC, Stumpy,...? And, AXS or analog?
  • 1 0
 "Blow up and a shoe comes off" - hahaha
  • 1 0
 Kaz, please, which of Remy's videos you meant.
  • 1 2
 This is easy Big Grin , any of this year's enduro/fr are(felt) faster than the 2020 enduro?
  • 1 0
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