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10 Things I Loved In 2022: Mike Kazimer

Dec 8, 2022 at 21:47
by Mike Kazimer  
I don't know where the last year went (or the last decade for that matter), but somehow it's almost 2023. That means it's time for another round of year-end lists, a chance for Pinkbike's editors to share what we've been enjoying over the last 12 months. These are our personal picks, items that we individually enjoyed, as opposed to the Pinkbike Awards, where we argue politely(ish) amongst ourselves to determine the winners.



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Continental's New Tire Lineup

I consider myself to be fairly picky when it comes to tires, since the last thing I want is to find myself skidding out of control down a mossy rock face, or struggling to find grip in a loose, steep chute. I typically gravitate towards the proven Maxxis Assegai / DHR II tire combo for most conditions in the Pacific Northwest, but this year it was Continental's revamped lineup that impressed me the most.

The DH casing, SuperSoft Kryptotal tires are the ones I've spent the majority of my time on, starting with the Enduro Bike Field Test earlier this year, where conditions ranged from wet to wetter. Even with the DH casing they're not that heavy, and the compound offers a good blend of grip while also wearing very evenly, even in drier, more hardpacked conditions. When conditions are extra-wet I've been running the even meatier Argotal tire up front for max traction.


Price: $99.95 USD
More information: continental-tires.com



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Crankbrothers Mallet Boa Shoes

I've had the Mallet Boa shoes for almost two years now, and they're still kicking. They're starting to show their age, but they still earn a place on this list because of just how incredibly comfortable they are. The Boa / velcro strap combination is simple to use and works great, and the overall fit hits that elusive Goldilocks zone - not too tight, not too loose, but just right no matter how long the ride. They're not the stiffest shoes out there, which I prefer – I find a little flex underfoot helps make me feel more connected to the pedals. If I had a gripe it's that they don't dry out all that fast, especially around the tongue, but that's what boot driers are for. Overall, these have had a great run, and I'm going to do everything I can to keep them in the rotation as long as possible.


Price: $200 USD
More information: crankbrothers.com




Stone King Rally. Day one Arvieux to Pontechianale 45km 1600m ascent 3390m descent.

Long Rides

All the gear and gadgets in the world don't mean a thing if you don't actually use them, which is why I'm putting long rides on my list. Any ride is a good ride, but it's those multi-hour or multi-day excursions that really burn themselves into my memory bank, the epics where the only worry is consuming enough calories to keep turning the pedals.

This year I was lucky enough to put in a bunch of big days deep in the mountains during the Stone King Rally over in France and Italy. The combination of amazing views, hard climbs / hikes, and exciting descents is hard to beat, especially when you get to do it for multiple days in a row. Closer to home, I racked up a number of bigger days in Bellingham and in the Sea to Sky corridor, rides that left me the best kind of tired and happy. My job may be to test all the latest bikes and tech, but when I'm out on a big ride that stuff takes a backseat to actually enjoying the trail in front of me.


Price: None. Just go outside and start pedalling.






Hope Union TC pedal review

Hope Union TC Clipless Pedals

Hopes Union TC pedals sort of flew under my radar when they were first released. I half expected them to be another SPD clone, another contender that was just not-quite as good as Shimano's offerings. I was wrong. For one thing, they require Hope's own cleat, which will be a deal breaker for some riders, even though each pair of pedals comes with two sets.

If you can overcome that minor hurdle, the Union pedals are excellent, with a very smooth entry and exit. As I wrote in the review, there's a slightly 'springy' feel when getting in and out compared to Shimano's pedal that results in more of a 'snap' when entering, compared to the 'click' that accompanies stepping into a Shimano pedal. The dimensions are wide without going overboard, and all of the little details come together to create what's become my new favorite pair of clipless pedals. And yes, I'm going to continue to call them clipless pedals forever. Sorry. But not really.

Price: $190
More information: hopetech.com



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Santa Cruz Nomad V6
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Canyon Torque

Mixed Wheel Bikes

These days, debating the 'right' wheel with any amount of seriousness is about as exciting to me as watching paint dry. That said, this season I found myself really enjoying the latest crop of mixed wheeled bikes, including the Canyon Torque, Santa Cruz Nomad, and Trek Fuel EX. Steep trails tend to be my favorite trails, so gaining a little extra clearance between my rear end and the tire is beneficial, as is the way that the smaller wheels make it easier to zip around corners, or carve S-turns down a loamy chute. For shorter travel bikes, those with 130mm of travel or less, I still prefer 29” wheels, but on mid- to long travel models it's great to see more mixed wheel options emerging.





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Fasthouse Hooper Knee Pads

I wear knee pads on 98% of my rides. The other 2% of my time is when I head out on XC rides in the middle of the summer, those hot, humid days where I'd ride naked if I wasn't worried about blinding other trail users with my pasty white skin. For that reason, I'm always on the hunt for low profile pads that provide a decent amount of protection without causing any chafing or other discomfort.

My current top two picks are Rapha's Trail Knee pads, and the Fasthouse Hooper pads shown here. Both option are CE Level 2 certified, meaning they provide more impact protection than some of the beefed up knee warmers out there. The main pad is removable on both models, so the sleeves can be tossed in the washing machine to help keep things smelling fresh.

The Fasthouse pads have an extra bit of padding that extends down to the shin, covering up the exact spot that flying rocks love to hit. I put the Hoopers to the test up in Whistler when I got cross-rutted and tossed to the ground, dragging my knee and shin through a pile of sharp rocks and dust. I emerged relatively unscathed, thanks to the pads absorbing the bulk of the impact. Along with earning their keep in the impact protection department, the Hoopers are also very comfortable, which equates to a winning combination in my book.

Price: $100
More information: fasthouse.com




OneUp Components EDC Lite
Photo: OneUp Components

OneUp EDC Lite

Sarah Moore had the OneUp EDC Lite on her list last year, so I'm a little late to the party. Better late than never, right? Other than Specialized's spring-loaded SWAT system, I still haven't found another option that works as well as this one. The tool is well made, with all the essentials you'd need for quick trailside adjustments, and this setup doesn't require any permanent steerer tube modifications. It's simple, convenient, and not crazy expensive.

Price: $44
More information: oneupcomponents.com




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Weird Trails

Maybe it has to do with learning to ride on the East Coast, where there was no shortage of rocky, strange singletrack where finding flow took a serious amount of work and a dash of luck, but I've always enjoyed trails that don't hand over the keys to success without multiple tries. The Value Field Test took place in Tuscon, Arizona, this year, and the zone that we ended up using for our test loops was full of awkward turns, punchy climbs, and lots of sharp things waiting to dole out punishments for botched lines. That type of riding isn't for everyone, and I'm not sure I could make Tuscon my forever home, but it was a ton of fun trying to unlock all of the tricky trail puzzles out there in the desert.

I think it's sort of tacky to bash flow trails, especially since they serve as a relatively safe gateway to the sport for so many riders, so I won't do that here. There's a place in the world for smooth swoopy trails, just like there's a place for ones that seem like Salvador Dali and MC Escher started a trailbuilding company together. Learning to appreciate the weird can take time, but it's well worth it. Hard climbs, awkward corners, and technical descents are where it's at.






Books & Music

Books will always be on my list of favorite things, and this year there were a handful that stood out from the rest. I tend to read a pretty even mix of fiction and non-fiction, new and old, and my local library is still my favorite source for getting reading material, especially since they stopped charging late fees. Here are some of the best ones I've read recently:

Cloud Cuckoo Land - Anthony Doerr
Damnation Spring – Ash Davidson
The Cold Millions – Jess Walter
Endurance – Alfred Lansing

It felt so, so good to be able to see live music again this year. I still didn't see as many shows as I would have liked, but I managed to catch Dinosaur Jr. in Bellingham, and Boris in Seattle with Nothing. If you ever get a chance to see Boris, do it. Just don't forget your earplugs - the Japanese band turns their amps up to 12, with a mix of powerful, droning songs mixed with faster-paced, Motorhead-esque tunes.

Here are a few more artists that have been making my ears happy lately:








Author Info:
mikekazimer avatar

Member since Feb 1, 2009
1,744 articles

224 Comments
  • 303 5
 10 things I loved in 2022: Mike Kazimer.

I count only one.
  • 124 6
 Love is a strong word for a stranger, but I appreciate Kaz's level-headed approach, no frills writing, and his voice of reason on the podcast.
  • 56 3
 Kaz, you're my man: the smartest obvious choices, no fancy, no show off, animated by simple wisdom and relativity, and sharing some excellent cultural advices by the way. Keep on being the cool person you are!
Cheers Man Smile
  • 4 29
flag Smashmouth (Dec 13, 2022 at 13:32) (Below Threshold)
 I count zero !
  • 32 3
 @AndrewHornor: I still miss vernon felton and his writing with all the frills
  • 23 1
 @danstonQ: Totally agree! Kaz is the Obi Won Kenobi of PB's crazy cast of characters. Superb writing, honest/no frills opinions, MTB skills galore, well-rounded life (dare I say Renaissance Man?), and always spot-on focus where it's required.
Cheers and Thanks, Kaz!
  • 9 1
 Joining the lovefest 'cuz @mikekazimer is the ying we need to Levy's yang. Quick QQ: what is the weight on those Fasthouse Hooper knees Kaz? They look heavier & warmer than the Rapha Trail. Have seen actual weights of ~260g for Raphas, but zero numbers for Fasthouse on the Google.
  • 14 0
 @powturn, they're actually lighter than the Rapha's. On my scale the size M Rapha pads are 372 grams, and the Hoopers are 284 grams.
  • 1 1
 @mikekazimer: Mike, for the Continental tires, how do they measure out width wise compared to maxxis tires. I’m running the ibis 35mm rims and was wondering if the 2.4 or 2.6 would be closer to the 2.5 and 2.4 Assegai and DHRii I’m running. Also tight fitting tires on the wide Ibis rims can pull the rim tape to the side.
  • 1 0
 @mikekazimer: No mention of the GD 3.0?
  • 3 0
 @mikekazimer: Thanks! That's surprising: wouldn't guess the Raphas are that much heavier just by looking at them. Between the Raphas and Hoopers, which are cooler and better ventilated? Crazy hot in my part of CA: cooling is the better half of comfort for the better half of the year.
  • 1 0
 Yeah I thought Levy wrote this.
  • 2 0
 @jdendy: The new Conti tires are a bit wider, due to having bigger lugs. If you are worried about clearance, run a 2.4... you can get them in the DH casings vs. the 2.6 only comes in Enduro or Trail casings. I also will go on record to say that the Argotal has as much - if not more- grip than the Assegai on the front, and I think the Assegai is pure wizardry in tire form.... so thats saying a lot.
  • 1 3
 @thustlewhumber: BROTHA BROTHA BROTHA! Don't let you nudist light grow dim, shine it for all to see! Don't let all these accessory CEO's tell us how we should look and what we should cover. Be free, be nude, be proud! Bareback brothers unite!

@100percent yall already know.

Thank, Carl

#staywokepb #staynudepb
  • 78 7
 Every single pair of clipless shoes worn alongside baggy shorts/trousers has the cleats slammed to the back.

Time for the shoe manufacturers to accept that gravity based riders don't want to be balancing on their tippy toes and move the grooves further back? I can't believe everyone finds the backmost position possible "the sweet spot"
  • 28 0
 My favorite was the video on Aaron Gwin's youtube talking about clipless shoe setup, and he prefaces the video with how much time he spent working on and refining the (giro?) shoes that he wears. First thing he goes into is cleat position and it's slammed to the back.
  • 33 12
 @OpeSorryAbootThat: I read about everyone doing the cleats slammed back thing... I tried it, but maybe it was 20 years with the cleat at the ball of my foot vs 3-4 weeks of trying them slammed on an old pair of shoes... Didn't like it. Made my bike feel shorter, made my knees feel worse, and made my power stroke feel shorter. Gave it an honest try, but hard nah.
  • 9 2
 @Glenngineer: Yea thats so true... I felt i had no power at all almost. Some more control but waaaaay less power.
  • 4 8
flag lennskii (Dec 13, 2022 at 14:45) (Below Threshold)
 @Glenngineer: Every reputable bike fitter disagrees with this, especially roadies who are a lot more concerned with every watt saved (and a lot less concerned with control, which a midfoot position increases). Example: www.youtube.com/watch?v=t7oGuel--Lc
  • 13 0
 @OpeSorryAbootThat: honestly kinda genius, design your favorite spot at one of the extremes so it’s impossible to get the position wrong
  • 11 1
 @Glenngineer: A huge change like that after 20 years is bound to feel weird and difficult to acclimatise to
  • 9 3
 horrendous cleat positioning is the reason I still ride flat pedals on my MTB after 12 years riding....
  • 21 4
 Just to stir the pedal pot! Get FLAT PEDALS and put your feet wherever you like!!!
  • 9 1
 @jddallager: I rode clips for well over a decade, but being able to have the axle under the ball of my foot while climbing but further back while descending is a big part of why I don't use clips anymore and am all in on flats
  • 11 0
 @lennskii: I don't think Gwin is setting his clear position based on roadie bike fitters or pedaling efficiency
  • 8 4
 Ride flat pedals
  • 9 0
 I’m wearing a spandex onesie and have my cleats slammed back-
  • 2 0
 @OpeSorryAbootThat: chamber 2s go quite a bit further back than a lot of clipless pedals.
  • 5 0
 @Glenngineer: yeah from a professional cyclist told me you are more prone to knee pain, inflamation of the tendon under the rotula more at the back
  • 1 0
 @Glenngineer: did you adjust your seat position when you changed cleat position.

I find there is a big position difference when I ride xc shoes with cleat slammed forward and dh shoes cleat slammed back.
  • 2 0
 could b due to my xcish kinda background but even on my enduro shoes i have the cleats just a hair behind the ball of my feet. however, im gonna try slammin em back now.
  • 1 0
 While my cleats are slammed all the way back on my current shoes, Bontrager Rally, these are the first clip shoes that my foot position feels like a flat pedal. I wanted the Crank Brothers that Kaz listed, but they were a touch tight for me.. Definitely upped my confidence level several points while clipped in.. My flat pedals might just be left to time on my DJ...
  • 1 1
 Everyone I know who rides clip-less runs their cleats slammed forwards or the second hole from the front, me included.
  • 2 0
 @Jules15: damn really? Everyone I ride with is the exact opposite. Are y’all mainly XC riders?
  • 1 1
 @TannerValhouli: We're not all XC riders, we all ride long travel trail or enduro bikes, it's just that an average ride contains over 1100ft of climbing and if we switch between bikes with the same shoes we need toe clearance on gravel and city bikes.
  • 40 9
 @mikekazimer "Loam (/lōm/): a soil with roughly equal proportions of sand, silt, and clay."
  • 53 5
 Keep on fighting the good fight, Charlie. I’m still gonna call loose, fluffy, perfect dirt “loam.”
  • 6 14
flag islandforlife FL (Dec 13, 2022 at 14:48) (Below Threshold)
 @mikekazimer: Just like everyone else, except for the pedants like @TEAM-ROBOT
  • 12 6
 @islandforlife: It's not pedantic. It's just using proper vocab.
  • 11 3
 There are multiple definitions for loam. I believe that the geology definition for loam is less commonly used in English. The gardening definition is more commonly used, which many dictionaries define as soils containing humus (decaying organics) and don't define proportions of particle sizes. The loam soil that gardeners are talking about, looks and feels nearly identical to the top soil we have up here in Bellingham.
  • 14 5
 @vesania: I'm scrolling through pages and pages of google search results for "gardening loam" and they all cite roughly equal proportions of sand, silt, and clay, and they all recommend amending loam with decaying organics. I think the reason people associate gardening loam with Bellingham top soil is the fact that gardening loam is always tilled and moist in photos, especially when it's being held in someone's hands, as opposed to being hard and compacted after years of being neglected. But I assure you that the gardening loam in every one of those gardening posts is going to look like PNW mineral layer if you let it sit for decades or millenia without access to decaying organics. Loam is mineral soil. Topsoil is topsoil. Organics are organics. Not really a debate in the gardening world or the geology world.
  • 5 0
 @TEAM-ROBOT: I’m gonna say you’re not the expert on loam in the MTB context. But being from LA I would trust your opinion on brake bumps and what it’s like to ride severely blown out trails.
  • 5 0
 @mikekazimer: Apparently we have some fellow soil snobs around here. “Duffheads”
  • 3 0
 @Johnnie8: TEAM-ROBOT is from the PNW breh
  • 2 1
 @vesania: "soil containing humus" sounds like a new product from Cedar's Mediterranean Foods ..... Haha, am I right? Ok, I'll crawl back under my rock now.
  • 6 1
 Contrary to popular belief - when the the bros are shredding loamers they are actually in fact shralpin' duff. The more you know!
  • 3 1
 @TerrapinBen: Dirt Merchant is my favorite loamer. So much loam. Nothing but loam as far the eye can see.
  • 1 0
 @WestwardHo: says LA on profile whoops. Was jealous for a second, really missing Laguna, Mt Wilson, Rocky Peak, etc.
  • 2 0
 @TEAM-ROBOT: hahaha! I love it! It's a good point you make that even though some dictionaries (Oxford, Cambridge, Collins, etc.) define loam as as sand and clay soil with organics, etc., they don't define compaction or feel (e.g light and fluffy). Looks like the etymology of the word loam meant something like clay, mud, mire, earth (per wiktionary.com) so that doesn't quite describe what most people think of as loam either. I think Pinkbike / @mikekazimer should do a public service announcement article where they interview some lexicographer and geologist to settle this debate once and for all haha! (I mean the word loam is used so often here, that it's kind of important). Its that, or Park Tool or OneUp needs to make some trail size soil sieves and scale to make sure we verify its clay content before calling it loam haha!
  • 2 0
 @TerrapinBen: Duff (dəf): the partly decayed organic matter on the forest floor. I never knew this until now. Very important info hahaha!
  • 1 0
 @mikekazimer: that would be " a sandy clay loam" LOL

got it from here: theconstructor.org/building/soil-types-sand-silt-clay-loam/25208
  • 1 0
 @vesania: Prepare yourself for the 2023 Transition "Duffman - Oh yeah!" limited edition Spire.
  • 34 6
 I really loved all the sleek new bikes with sexy headset cable routing. Send more please!
  • 16 2
 Vote for E-Bikes with headset routing 2023
  • 28 0
 Maggot brain is classic
  • 31 8
 WEIRD TRAILS hit home for me. It seems that lot of the new mountain bikers I encounter are only interested in trails that are sanitized and neutered to the point of Grandma Ellen being able to coast down it without touching the brake. If a rock or brake bump appears, that trail is immediately labeled as "Too weird" and removed from their weekly list of ride candidates.

Here in the SF Bay Area, there is a trail called Rocky Ridge in Santa Teresa County Park. Met a cat a few years ago who moved down the street, saw him zipping around in full-face, S-Works Enduro, flat pedals, he looked like he was ready to slay trail. So I sent him to Rocky Ridge. Later that day I saw him and asked him what he thought?

I kid you not--his response: "It was alright, but it didn't have any flow and there were too many rocks."

A mountain biker. On a mountain bike. With a full face helmet. Get the F outta here. I never spoke to that poseur again.

LOVE LIVE WEIRD TRAILS that aren't skid-kiddie approved.
  • 5 0
 +1 for weird trails! Got a 4 km loop in my area with lots of rocky sections,which is rare here. Takes a lot of effort from builders to make it right I guess. But great to get out of your comfort zone
  • 6 13
flag PeaFunk (Dec 13, 2022 at 23:41) (Below Threshold)
 Is it wrong to not like a trail? Is it wrong to desire flow when riding a mountain bike? Stop gatekeeping mtb. I for one hate janky trails that I constantly lose speed on - does this make a less worthy mountain biker and a poser?

Maybe you did that guy a favor for not speaking to him again.
  • 8 0
 I like my trails weird. Couldn't live with standardized,purpose built trails only. Find me and ancient animal herding trail,or a sketchy trail running singletrack and I'm happy trying to find the flow where it looks like there's none.
  • 4 2
 @PeaFunk:
>Is it wrong to desire flow when riding a mountain bike?
Yeah
>does this make a less worthy mountain biker and a poser
Yeah, alot. Go back to the pumptrack
  • 5 0
 You'll find this guy upgrading to the SWorks Turbo Levo for his local golf cart paths after retirement.
  • 28 2
 What about Nickleback?
  • 10 0
 'Cause we all just wanna be big rockstars And live in hilltop houses, driving 15 cars
  • 78 1
 @dldewar, I don't love them. Or like them at all, really. Maybe they'll make it on to Levy's list.
  • 9 0
 @mikekazimer: He strikes me as more of an Air Supply fan
  • 5 0
 @dresendsit: "riding 15 bikes" my friend!
  • 2 0
 @mikekazimer: Well played, sir!
  • 4 0
 Nickelback is simply the rock's Walmart. Some can be OK with that, some need more...
  • 2 0
 @mikekazimer: they’ve already made it onto Levi’s list…
  • 2 0
 a little light into the Nickelback matter:
youtu.be/GFC4OFWIPtw
  • 1 0
 @iiman: that's interesting, I was always confused about the hate for this band. Rockstar is one of my favourite guilty pleasure songs.
  • 5 0
 Boris FTW! Heavy and gnarly, what's not to like?
  • 4 0
 @danstonQ: I like where your head is at, great analogy. Although I think they're rock's K-Mart.... as Walmart still retains some relevance to this day.
  • 2 0
 @jaytdubs: Ha ha!!! Thanks for the precision!
  • 23 0
 Levy must be #11
  • 21 0
 King Gizz had an insane year, glad others are enjoying them too.
  • 2 0
 I'm just stoked to see at least one of the Mikes listens to them, such an amazing band.
  • 3 0
 Good call on KGWL - such a great band.
  • 2 0
 Kong Glizzard and the majizzard blizzard is legit one of the best bands going right now. So many genres of music, absolutely raw tracks in each one of them. Everything from Evil Death Roll to Shanghai to Catching Smoke to the hour of weirdness that is The Murder of the Nonagon Fuzz. Jesus they're just so god damned great. Great chill music. Great riding music. Great tunes. Thanks for posting it Kazimer!
  • 2 0
 Somehow not surprised KGLW is on Kazimer's list. Still rad to see.
  • 22 6
 I loved the days before autoplay
  • 9 0
 I hope they do a 2022 dumpster bin list, autoplay and headset cable routing should both be smushed deep into the bottom of that can
  • 3 0
 @DizzyNinja: It could be argued that the comments section is a rolling dumpster bin list.
  • 1 0
 I know this has been said before, but just in case you didn't know, you can turn autoplay off in your profile settings.
  • 3 0
 @neologisticzand: if it worked I wouldn’t complain. But it doesn’t. So we do.
  • 12 0
 I've seen Dinosaur Jr. five times over the past 25 years. Every time I've seen them they've been tighter and louder than the last, It's really inspiring.
  • 6 0
 Only seen Dino Jr. once, but i’m pretty sure was the loudest show I’ve ever been to. @mikekazimer saying Boris is the loudest live band he’s seen is saying a lot.
Also will recommend the book The Shadow of The Wind to you. I read a one of the books from your list last year and it was great. About to check out Cloud Cuckoo Land, sounds cool!
  • 8 0
 "The tool is well made, with all the essentials you'd need for quick trailside adjustments, and this setup doesn't require any permanent steerer tube modifications."

I love my EDC Lite, but I would argue that being forced to push your star nut way farther down is a pretty big hassle if you ever want to switch back to a regular top cap.
  • 16 0
 I'm not sure why people wouldn't just buy the pump with the tool inside? Doesn't everyone carry a pump? That pump also the best damn "mini" pump I've ever had the pleasure to use. Solid as a rock and pumps way more air than any other "mini" pump. Throw the tool and storage in there and you're all set!
  • 1 1
 @islandforlife: Nah I never carry a pump so the full-size EDC in the stem is the best option along with a Co2 cartridge in my tool strap or under the seat.
  • 2 0
 I wish they came in some bright dayglo, having lost a couple of parts the dark with cold wet fingers.
  • 2 0
 @FloydTShark: I carry a couple CO2's in my strap as well but tend to save those for when a bead needs to be seating or I'm in a rush or racing. Don't like wasting them and creating garbage when most of the time a simple pump will do. Also a lot easier to help out friends and other trail users with a pump that you can just hand them. Bonus it carries my EDC and storage and I don't have to mess around with my steerer.
  • 7 0
 Good to see my purchase of the Crankbro's shoes was warranted. And I agree! They've been amazing year-round shoes. A little bulky compared to my usual xc/gravel shoes, obviously, but the extra comfort for multi-hour MTB days with hike-a-bikes and lots of pedal turning has been very appreciated. They're also holding up to lots of abuse, hard crashes, and everything else better than I am, lately.
  • 1 0
 I kinda cringed at Mike complaining about his 200USD shoes being two years old. At that price they should be good for atleast 5 years if not 10. Compared to actual hiking shoes MTB shoes have it pretty easy, and lots of people make a good pair of hikers last decades.
  • 2 0
 @Benjamin97, I typically ride around 260 days a year - my shoes don't have an easy life. And MTB shoes aren't typically constructed with materials that are as tough as hiking boots in order to save weight.
  • 1 0
 @mikekazimer: Fair, but that seems like a miss, I feel like its more important to have light hiking shoes than light riding shoes. MTB is such a weird industry where 95% of the users dont compete at a high level yet every product needs to be absolutley optimized to death. When does the MTB sociology podcast start?
  • 6 0
 Love One-up and the EDC concept, but that multi-tool has been useless to me a few times - too small to get enough torque to get a pedal or a non-QR rear wheel off. Switched to the WolfTooth 8-bit - not as easy to store, but the tool is way more functional and won't leave you stranded.
  • 1 0
 If you use the top bit of the carrier (top cap), it bulks up a bit and it's easier to apply force. I have giant hands too.
  • 1 0
 Slow release axles is the reason I carry an allen key that came in an IKEA flat pack. Best thing in the box really.
  • 1 0
 The tool that can‘t tighten the headset screw because it‘s too far down for the short allen key
  • 2 0
 @stevek22: The tool is designed such that the 4mm is dead center, so you can shove the whole tool into the carrier to tighten the preload bolt. It'll turn the carrier, but that can be reset when you're out of the woods.

I get that it doesn't provide a ton of torque, but have y'all tried just stepping on it?
  • 9 0
 NPR's Tiny Desk concerts are the best!!! Blue Man , Wu Tang, Rakim, The Roots, RTJ and so on
  • 3 0
 I've found some weird stuff on tiny desk that just hit for no reason. I like being surprised musically, its nice.
  • 5 0
 I’m trying to look into other tires besides Maxxis and Specialized new offerings and compounds are on my list. Looks like I need to take a look further into Continental l. Even tho the pricing on Specialized is hard to beat.
  • 2 0
 Specialized tires are good.I had a Butcher grid trail T7 and this bike park summer was on a DH Butcher T9. I hope they develop some more versatile tires like the Assegai or Kryptotal,maybe an Eliminator with taller knobs would work,just an idea.
  • 6 0
 I'm a convert to Vittoria. They seem to offer equal grip but with much better durability, which is a big deal if you're a clydesdale like me.
  • 2 0
 @ratedgg13: all the Clydesdales around here ride Vittoria, including myself
  • 1 0
 @ratedgg13: Bizarre really. Ran a front for 10 months, tread was still sharp and grippy as a DHF. Double normal tire lifespan. Eventually binned because it was full of holes, pinchflat protection strip is great but rest of casing is bit thin and vulnerable.
  • 4 0
 Just started riding Specialized tires with a butcher trail grid t9/t7 front and t7 gravity grid rear and reallyimpressed. Was Assagi front and various rear maxis for a while. Less flats with the specialized. Feel the gravity grid is between expulsions and DD casing from maxis.

Their tires are 50% off at specialized site. I grabbed a several for ~$35 each. Time to stock up
  • 1 0
 Hello friend
  • 3 0
 Definitely check out the new Conti tires. I’ve been running the Kryptotal Fr & Re since early summer and have loved them. They just work, are nicely damped and have been wearing well. The Fr version takes a little getting use to coming from the assegai as it has the slightest transition gap, but it gives way more feedback once I’m edge. I haven’t ridden the new specialized tires yet because I’ve been so happy with these. Will likely try and get my hands on a set of Cannibal’s come spring though.
  • 1 0
 @ratedgg13: Loved them in the dry but I found straight line grip on wet roots and rocks pretty lacking with the hard compound in the center. Notably worse than maxterra let alone anything softer.
  • 1 0
 Lots of good tires around nowadays. The new Contis are mint, Vittoria makes great dry-conditions tyres, Schwalbe has been good (if quite heavy) for years and even Michelin are making top-notch tires again.
  • 1 0
 I am on Vittoria Mazza now after years on Maxxis, pretty good but compared to DHR, HR2 etc its not good on wet roots. I have a pair od Onza Ibex for some lighter riding to swap on for longer trips or mellow trails. But hell, I've tried the Conti Kryptotal and while I can't judge any rolling resistance, as I've been riding only few rides in forest, the grip was so so good Iam definitely going to give them a try on my own bike soon. I didn't like Baron and Kaiser and most of their previous tires, but Kryptotal is amazing
  • 1 0
 Look at Vittoria. The Mazza trail is a fantastic tire.
  • 1 0
 @ratedgg13: not to mention the Trail casing vittorias are lighter and stronger than MAXXIS EXOs.
  • 1 0
 Really interesting with people saying the Vittorias aren't good in wet conditions. I ride in very dry as zones, so I've never come across this problem, but very good to know.
  • 2 0
 I have an Argotal enduro. Tread is a little deeper and wider spaced than a Mary. Seems to be wearing better than the US Mary, perhaps a little better in mud, similar grip on roots. Much less of a complete nightmare to fit than the Mary. In drier weather, I've got a Vitoria Mazza on the front, which is light, predictable, quite like a DHF, but a little better generally IMO. I've got a Martello on the back, which is a great all mountain tyre. Perhaps not aggressive enough for enduro racing, but survived morzine
  • 1 0
 @NERyder: I got lucky and picked up some $15 Fast Traks in 27.5 x 2.8" for my bikepacking rig. Never ran Specialized tires before but I'm really happy with them
  • 1 0
 @mhogan1: nice. I have been pleasantly surprised by their quality and value
  • 2 0
 @norcorider-13: Thanks everyone for the input!
But yea will look into Conti, but deff interested in the Cannibal as well for my Specialized Demo bike. I am thinking the Butcher Grid Trail and the Eliminator Grid Trail for my Forbidden Druid.
  • 1 0
 @bikerdre: I ran the old version of the eliminator blk dmnd (pre griptom t7/t9 compounds) and it was great for summer. It rolled fast and was super predictable but had less outright grip braking and cornering than dhr2 or michelin dh34 BP, but that was to be expected. New compounds will likely up the grip, so it’s a great all arounder for out back
  • 8 0
 You should check out a band called Alvvays if you like dinosaur jr.
  • 7 0
 That’s a great pick too - I’ve been really digging their most recent album.
  • 3 0
 Nice Kaz. Well, enjoying Maggot Brain at the moment - will check out some of the music there.
Just fitted a set of Kryptotal too.
I think the next step will be the mullet link and a 27.5" rear wheel build for the Stumpy Evo.

The thing I would love to try from that list is the Stone King Rally, sounded mega.
  • 2 0
 What Kaz calls "weird trails," I'd instead call...trails. The occasional flow trail run can be a fun break, but these are mountain bikes we're riding, designed to take hits and keep rolling. Also, reading "Endurance" will make you realize how super comfy our lives really are. And Shackleton was indeed THE man.
  • 4 0
 I know its probably been a very long time but I wonder what east coast trails/systems are Mikes favorites. Might have to make a trip for the most awkward run up to a skinny.
  • 2 0
 Definitely!! What are your favorite east coast rides, @mikekazimer ? I'm always looking for good stuff to check out within "driving" distance.
  • 2 0
 @mikekazimer I took a leap of faith on the Hope clipless pedals and love them but I have one very important question: how do I get a spare cleat? I've searched on the internet far longer then I care to admit and no one seems to have them in stock despite lots of places selling the pedals.
  • 2 0
 I just worked with Jesse Reyez at Massey Hall for the Songwriter's Hall of Fame here in the 6 she is one powerful lady..... also nice to work with. I must say after reading Kaz's opinion of Continental tyres I might try them again after being stung with non sealing tubeless and flimsy tyres that flatten regularly. Nice to see an overhaul.
  • 2 0
 I also saw Boris on the recent tour. One of the best shows ive been to in a while. Their switch to being a glam hardcore band is really inspired for a three decads old band. Not the loudest band ive seen, but super loud for sure and definitely louder than dino jr
  • 3 0
 I saw Boris / Sunn 0))) - that was good.
  • 1 0
 @fartymarty: Boris never disappoint. They are always so stocked to be touring, love their energy!
  • 2 0
 Dinosaur Jnr was one of the best shows I've ever been too. Walked in sober, as I was driving. Left that gig tripping balls just from J's guitar wizardry. Had to sit in my truck an chill for aboot a half hour before driving home.
  • 2 0
 @mikekazimer: Do you see yourself sticking to continental going forward or reverting back to Maxxis? I used to swear by Maxxis until I tried the Vitorria Mazza. Now I’m looking for a set of tires for the park/enduro races and can’t decide between a set of the heavier duty Mazza tires to trade in for the trail set I have now, going with a dhr/dhf or assegai combo or giving the continentals a try all in the context of their burlier casings. I might be splitting hairs but if you were to stick to continental going forward, that definitely says something.
  • 5 0
 Cloud Cuckoo Land was also on my favorite book list this year, nice pick!
  • 4 0
 His other one- All the light you cannot see was excellent. I mean really good. Got to read this one now.
  • 3 0
 Endurance by Alfred Lansing tells one of the best adventure stories of all time. Amazing book.
  • 1 0
 Cloud Cuckoo Land was also on my favorite book list this year. I wasn’t expecting to get literary recommendations on PinkBike, but I will definitely be reading Kazimer’s other picks. He is obviously a man of discerning tastes.
  • 1 0
 try this one, I Am Pilgrim by Terry Hayes.
  • 1 0
 I just picked up a pair of those shoes because of how good they felt in the store. Looking forward to getting them on the trails. Also Kazimer is as cool in person, as he is on the interwebs. Ran into him, in Bellingham recently. That was the icing on the cake of a great bike trip with friends.
  • 4 1
 Can’t count how many times that I’ve seen J Mascis play in Cincinnati. Dinosaur Jr is so rad, been listening to them since 1993.
  • 4 0
 Dinosaur Jnr changed my life! I was a Hip Hop head that hated the guitar wanking hair metal of the 80's. Then I started hanging with some skaters in my town. One of them had MTV an I saw the vid for freak scene on 120 minuets an that was it hooked for life. That day made me the alternetive freak I am today an have been most of me adult life! Salute' J Masics
  • 1 0
 For what it's worth - I have the Conti Kryptos and Argo in SS for the front. Great tires (have tried nearly everything) But one under the radar tire is the Kenda Hellkat. Brilliant front tire - just rolls worse than the Contis.
  • 4 0
 Boris' Dronevil is a masterpiece of slow heavy music.
  • 2 0
 100% agree on Endurance. A must read for people who think they know what adversity is. I am also thankful for Mike’s mastery of deadpan humor.
  • 3 0
 I have two words for you @mikekazimer: Otoboke Beaver.

You're welcome. Or I'm sorry.
  • 3 0
 Ha, they're so good - I'd love to see them someday. The latest live set they did on KEXP is worth a watch if you haven't already: www.youtube.com/watch?v=MQ8_Cdkyq2s
  • 3 1
 They are "clipless" because you no longer needed toe-clips when you switched to them back in the early 90s. It would be more confusing if they were called "cleatless".
  • 3 0
 Holy Shit! That King Gizzard video is incredible art. Thanks for the recommendation!
  • 1 0
 Plus one for weird trails. Flow trails are fine, and for the first few years I rode them I thought they were pretty fun, but they just don't require a varied skillset to ride well.
  • 2 0
 Endurance is quite possible the greatest story of all time. Phenomenally facsinating.

You should check out "Alone on the ice" by Douglas Mawson too.
  • 1 0
 @mikekazimer - I have been looking forward to your end of year review, more for the music recommendations than the bike stuff. If thats wrong, screw, Boris goes OFF!! Yet more audio bliss. Thank you sir
  • 1 0
 I was about to ask if Mike dug Merzbow or Boris! Sun Baked Snow Cave is a solid collab of Boris and Merzbow from '05. I'm sure you've checked out the band Earth for some high quality American noise rock!!?
  • 2 0
 Damnation Spring might be my favorite book of the last five years, stoked to see it on your list!
  • 1 0
 @mikekazimer. Thanks so much for the book recommendations. Just started Damnation Spring. Looking forward to checking out all the others.
  • 3 0
 When Mike Kazimer posts, you read. Grateful for your work, Kaz!
  • 1 0
 @mikekazimer how do you rate the fasthouse knee pads against the chromag rifts, which I think you've previously rated highly? Thanks!
  • 1 0
 I liked the OneUp edc lite tool as well, but also I had to tighten the headset pretty often with it, doesn't yours get loose?
  • 4 0
 @bok-CZ I run the EDC lite tool and haven't had to tighten headset in over a year since installing it. The top cap is just to tension your headset. Once tight, you should be tightening your stem enough to hold everything in place. Make sure to wiggle fork a little bit as you tighten top cap so nothing is binding before it's pulled up as far as possible. It's possible you have something else going on that's unrelated to top cap/ tool.
  • 1 0
 Sounds like you might have a bad headset bearing, the preload technique really shouldn't affect the headset coming loose unless you have something else going on
  • 2 0
 @motts: no more troubles with 38 now as its not compatible
  • 2 0
 Maggot Brain is absolute classic. Been digging on Viagra Boys this year over here music wise.
  • 2 0
 If we were going to create a road trip itinerary for weird trails, where are we putting on the agenda?
  • 3 0
 Fine I'll start:

Area: Bootleg Canyon, Boulder City, NV

Long, janky loop: Mother -> The Shit -> Cam's -> Ernie's Epic -> right at Outer Caldera and counterclockwise back to the mid-parking area -> up the service road then down Skyline -> East Leg Back to the start.

17 miles of very little flow. If you want to end with some adrenaline, though (and are a better biker than me), at the top of the service road, take Sidewinder to Ginger then at the bottom go counter-clockwise up Lower and across Upper Lake View back to the parking lot.
  • 2 0
 @MarcusBrody: Outer Caldera ridden backwards is my weird jam. Nice moderate descent to extremely steep climbs with weird off camber technical traverses. Going to miss it Moving away from BC in a few days.
  • 4 0
 Hurricane, UT

Flying Monkey, Nephi's Twist, Show Me the Money/More Money/Grafton DH
  • 1 0
 @gasmanxj: I feel like I’ve never left more skids on rocks then on Grafton DH.
  • 2 0
 I read (and loved) Cloud Cuckoo Land last month, so I'll be looking into the other suggestions. Cheers, book nerd!
  • 1 0
 Mike, thanks for the article. Do those knee pads like big 6hr days? I've always struggled to find a knee pad that can be worn all ride without chafing.
  • 1 0
 I love Kaz's outlook on trails. Flow and techy each have their place. I'm glad there is variety, and I hope it stays that way.
  • 2 0
 Tell us you smoke weed, without telling us you smoke weed...

King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard.
  • 2 0
 if not weed, definitely mushrooms
  • 2 0
 @animal-chin: this is the line of code too many humans are missing
  • 3 0
 We have an abundance of weird shit in Tucson.
  • 1 0
 long rides, fuck yes! Thinking about long rides in the spring is what gets me on the trainer during the dark new england winters.
  • 1 0
 Hoping Continental will have more compound options. Would like Enduro Casing with endurance compound for Kryptotal Rear and Enduro casing with super soft compound.
  • 1 0
 Also to add my 130R/150F trail bike is full 29" and my 170/170 is mx as well.
  • 1 0
 @mikekazimer good chance you already know this and these guys...but the origin of boirs' name
www.youtube.com/watch?v=sPBbWVYuNLQ
  • 2 0
 @mikekazimer thanks for a solid feel good article

You are a big weirdo..... just like me..... I love it.

Never Change!
  • 2 1
 @mikekazimer As far as your music selection goes I must saw I am a little disappointed I didn't see a live Phish jam make the list.
  • 2 2
 This site needs to cover something when there’s no races. We need a winter version of mtb races. Like Down hill skiing or something. Product reviews and opinion pieces for 8 months: snoozefest.
  • 2 0
 Thanks for the book ideas the cold millions sounds interesting
  • 1 0
 The first 10 things of the year were not buying a new bike again plus 9 cans of Monster energy I still have not drank.
  • 1 0
 All I got out of this was Kaz is into nudist riding and likely looking to start a colony for it...
  • 1 0
 I have a set of Kryptotals waiting patiently in the basement for the Der Barons to wear out.
  • 1 0
 Finn's win in Mont Saint Anne was one of my mountain biking related highlights of the year!!
  • 2 0
 Kaz, you can DJ at my next wedding.
  • 1 0
 Also yeah, Maggot Brain is so good. Just added "Boris" to my Bandsintown app.
  • 1 0
 clipless pedals, multitools, knee pads... yawn! And then, out of the blue, BORIS and Dinosaur jr. Kaz you made my day!!!
  • 1 0
 Boris. Its been awhile since I've heard that name. I had the album, Pink. It had a few good tunes.
  • 1 0
 In the UK, it's not been long enough.
  • 2 0
 King Gizzard Iron Lung!!! YAAAASSSSS!!
  • 2 0
 We all $99.95 USD tires as long as we don't pay for it.
  • 1 0
 @mikekazimer so you've ridden the Trek Fuel EX in mullet mode? Can we expect a review about this please? Thanks
  • 2 0
 There are long rides… then there’s Endurance and Shackleton.
  • 2 0
 The music impressed me much more than the bike product this time! good kaz
  • 2 0
 +10 cool points to Kaz for being a Gizz fan!
  • 1 0
 The pivot switchblade can also go MX or 27.5+.
  • 1 0
 Have you ridden the switchblade mx? I thought their site said geo would be fine 29/27.5+, but not true mx
  • 1 0
 Endurance is an incredible tale. Shackleton was THE man.
  • 4 3
 Where is the advent calendar ?
  • 6 0
 It's in the bible, chapter 69
  • 4 1
 People are downvoting because they don’t realise that unless you’re in the US, Canada, UK, or Germany, you cannot see the advent calendar articles.

If you live outside of those countries you have to search for the articles and here’s the kicker - the competitions are only open to residents of those countries.
  • 2 0
 @o-dubhshlaine: Ahh bugger
  • 1 0
 @boozed: my thoughts exactly. f*ck knows why they’ve set it up that way.
  • 1 0
 Pinkbike Academy S3 sitting back in about #87th haha.
  • 1 0
 Check out Big Something’s cover of Head on/Pill
  • 1 0
 Boris song's intro guitarist looks AND sounds like yoko ono.
  • 2 0
 Love these!
  • 1 0
 How is PBA season 3 not on this list? Clicks Enter...never mind....
  • 1 1
 So now CrankBros makes a shoe that lasts. But the cleats are made of butter and the pedals are still meh…..
  • 3 2
 Mullets being common is fantastic
  • 2 0
 Is the trek fuel ex he listed really available in mullet? I thought it was just straight 29
  • 1 0
 Yeah it means maybe there will be some 27.5 tires for a few more years
  • 1 0
 Great set of things here! Agree with most them to be honest. Good job Mike
  • 1 0
 King giz, self immolate will lift any bad mood!
  • 1 0
 Hey Kaz, thanks for the Funkadelic Maggot Brain! That’s tight.
  • 2 0
 KING GIZZARD!!!!!
  • 1 0
 Can’t wait for Henry’s list of 10 things he really hates!
/sarcasm
  • 3 4
 Jesse Reyez...like a perfect mix of Lorde, Nelly Furtado and Amy Winehouse.
  • 1 0
 Long live weird trails!







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