10 Things I Loved in 2023: Mike Kazimer

Dec 12, 2023 at 18:20
by Mike Kazimer  
Photo Dave Silver

BC Bike Race

The BC Bike Race has been on my radar for a long time, and this year I finally managed to make it to Vancouver Island for seven days of full-on cross-country racing. I can't remember the last time I did a proper XC race, but I had a great time ripping around the excellent trails on Vancouver Island in my short shorts.

Going fast is so much fun, no matter which way the trail points, and it was an ideal way to spend some time in the pain cave, trying to dig deep to stay in the mix and avoid melting in the summer heat. It's hard to beat the feeling of life being distilled down to eat – race – eat – sleep – repeat. I'd definitely do it again, although now I'm curious to try something with more mileage each day – the 6-day Breck Epic look like it could fit the bill.

More information: bcbikerace.com



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Trail Builders

Are you a trail builder? Take a moment to pat yourself on the back – you deserve it. Mountain biking wouldn't be where it is today without the hard work of a bunch of beer-swilling curmudgeons (I know, that doesn't describe all builders, just most of them). Seriously, though, every year I find myself blown away by the treasures that have been constructed out in the woods. From steep trails with dirt so fresh that it sprays up and goes down the back of your neck, to clever wooden creations that would fit right into a New World Disorder movie, there are some seriously amazing trails being built these days.

If you've ridden something special lately, don't forget to show your appreciation – donate to your local trail organization, show up to help on a volunteer dig day, bake some brownies, buy some beverages, whatever it takes to let the diggers know that you recognize how much work it takes to build a good trail.



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A New Townie

My ideal world would be full of bullet trains and bike lanes - I hate driving, and try to avoid unnecessary trips in the car whenever possible. After over 15 years of pedaling around town on my 1976 Sentinel set up with a coaster brake, I treated myself to a fresh whip – a Marin DSX 2. I added full fenders to it, since I live in a really rainy part of the world, put some slightly wider bars on and it's good to go.

I guess technically it's a flat bar gravel bike, but I don't really have anything planned for it other than using it to run errands and go to the climbing gym. While I still have tons of fond memories of my previous townie (I passed it on to my little brother), the upgrade from a coaster brake to disk brakes sure is nice.

More information: marinbikes.com



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Feedback Mechanic HD Bike Stand

My favorite things of the year tend to be the ones I used the most, and the Feedback Mechanic HD repair stand certainly meets that criteria. It's seen near-daily usage this year, and it's still working just as good as when it arrived.

The HD in the title refers to its ability to hold up to 100 pounds, a trait that comes in handy when dealing with the extra-hefty enduro sleds that have been showing up lately, or a portly e-bike. The ratcheting clamp is super easy to use with one hand, and the stand is still light (18 lb) and compact enough to fold up and bring on a road trip.

At $495 it's not cheap, but if you don't need the extra weight capacity the Feedback Pro Mechanic stand has all of the same features with a 40-pound weight limit and a price tag that's $100 less.

More information: feedbacksports.com




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Trek Fuel EX

I'd be remiss to exclude my personal mountain bike from this list, especially since it's the bike I hop on when I need a reset, a return to center after testing all sorts of other bikes. The Fuel EX has had a wide array of test components installed over the last year – shown above is its current configuration, with a fresh fender up front and a Maxxis Shorty to deal with the mud and snow, and a special fork that's definitely not just a previous-gen Lyrik with some Zeb stickers...




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Nerds Rope

Given the amount of time I spend in gas stations perusing the shelves for mid- and post-ride snacks I'm not sure how this wonderful treat flew under my radar - I only learned of its existence a few months ago. Needless to say, it's amazing, a combo of crunchy and chewy, with enough sugar and artificial coloring that it's basically the candy equivalent of licking a nine-volt battery.

More information: nerdscandy.com/nerds-rope




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Scor 2030

I reviewed all sorts of bikes this year, everything from XC race machines to long travel, Steampunk-ish creations bristling with idler pulleys. Out of that wide range of bikes, the Scor 2030 ended up being one of my favorites, thanks to its snappy pedaling manners and great downhill performance. It's the sort of bike that seems to encourage creative riding, whether that's trying to launch off every natural lip in sight, or holding a mid-trail manual as long as possible. It's also no slouch in the steeps, and I had a blast taking it down all sorts of techy trails in the Whistler Valley. It's fun, fast, and a bike that made me smile every time I took it out for a ride.

More information: scor-mtb.com





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Fox Flexair Pro Gloves

Fox's Flexair Pro gloves are my current favorites for one main reason: they've held up remarkably well. So well, in fact, that when the stitching started to come undone at the pointer finger I took the time to sew them up in order to extend their lifespan. Sure, in an ideal world I wouldn't have to bust out the needle and thread at all, but that seam split happened well past the point when most other gloves would have given up the ghost. On top of the long lifespan, the palm is nice and thin, and the D30 padding over the outside knuckles is unobtrusive and effective.


More information: foxracing.com





Books & Music

I've been able to share more of my musical picks this year than usual thanks to the Music Corner portion of the Pinkbike Podcast, but for those who didn't tune in here are a few of the selections that made my big ears happy this year:





I finally finished all four books in Robert Caro's The Years of Lyndon Johnson biography series, a task that I'm still not quite sure why I started. The biographies are fascinating and extremely well written, but after wading through 3,000 pages on LBJ I'm not sure it was an entirely pleasurable experience. I'd categorize it as something like 'endurance reading.' I'm very glad I did it, but it's been nice to dig into some lighter, fictional fare lately.

Other books I enjoyed this year included:

The Four Winds - Kristin Hannah
American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer - Kai Bird and Martin J. Sherwin
Crying in H Mart - Michelle Zauner




Author Info:
mikekazimer avatar

Member since Feb 1, 2009
1,722 articles

148 Comments
  • 41 1
 Nerd ropes...I routinely have giveaways at school...and nerd ropes are without a doubt the #1 request...begging the question...how did that sales pitch at the candy HQ go? "Hey I stuck some nerds to a gum rope...and we can charge like 3x as much for it"?
  • 25 0
 A box of Nerds got damp, form into a conglomerous mess and somebody thought 'we can market that' as they threw the boxes away.
  • 6 0
 I always go with these and can usually find them at the Dollar Store for cheap. Sugar bombs for all!! www.nerdscandy.com/crunchy-gummy-yummy
  • 16 0
 My son got some Nerd Ropes for Halloween and i was immediately disgusted at the idea. ...and then I tried them and my son never stood a chance. Sorry bud.
  • 6 0
 theyre so damn good. The little nugget cluster versions are super good too, though theyre much easier to eat wayy too many of
  • 6 0
 nerds rope are great, but the nerds gummy clusters are basically just short sections of nerd ropes (gummies with nerds stuck to the outside) and are so addictive. Hard not to eat a whole bag.
  • 1 0
 Nerd rope forever
  • 3 0
 @whattheheel: my cheeks puckered just looking at the picture and I haven't had needs in 15 years.
  • 2 0
 @jakemcab: I went and grabbed some out of my candy jar after Kaz brought them up!! I am still 12!! lol
  • 4 0
 @jakemcab: sorry to hear about that bud, I’m not getting any younger and I still have needs
  • 1 0
 @mtb-thetown: I came here to say this! Like a bag of crack
  • 2 0
 @whattheheel: I recently discovered these as a mid-ride carb infusion, and post ride, and pre-ride, and when I'm thinking about riding tomorrow snack. Dangerous little globs of weapons grade concentrated sugar..
  • 39 1
 If you like Nerds Rope, you have to try Nerds Clusters. Also, put a rack n that bike and stop carrying stuff on your back, it is life changing.
  • 21 0
 Good call - it's still a work in progress, but a rack and some panniers will end up on it eventually. Also, now I need to go find some Nerds Clusters.
  • 3 0
 @mikekazimer: I can normally find the clusters at the Dollar Store on the cheap and had to go grab some out of my candy jar after this article. Sugar!!
  • 2 0
 @mikekazimer: How much does your DSX weigh as configured?
  • 1 0
 @mikekazimer: DM me! I got a rack for ya!
  • 1 0
 Added a Pizza Rack to my Wolverine townie when I built it a few months back and completed the package with Restrap's giant rando bag last week. Had a half-frame bag lying around, which does double-duty making it look nondescript otherwise. Not having to grab a messenger bag from the closet everyday has been life-changing already...
  • 2 0
 @mikekazimer: The pro and con of the clusters is that they come in a much larger bag. Nice to have more, but it's hard not to eat the whole bag.
  • 2 0
 @mikekazimer: Regarding the rack...I don't see that Blackburn lists it anymore but if you can find a Blackburn Local Basket it's pretty rad. Mounts front or back (but looks comically good up front), can hold a ulock, comes with a cargo net, can mount a light, flexible mounting options. Given the Marin's fork mounting options, I can vouch for the Local Basket reliably handling a 36 cube of Pabst. It can carry big/awkward/heavy stuff, or just lots of space so you don't have to worry about 2 trips to the grocery store.
  • 1 0
 Nerd Clusters might be the best candy ever...they are so good but extremely addicting.
  • 3 0
 Rack and panniers truly is life changing for getting around town. Bonus points if you sew up your own panniers, it’s a fun and easy sewing project and looks way cooler
  • 1 0
 I was gonna come and mention the nerds clusters. Used to rock the rope when I first started riding but since the clusters been imported to Barbados I've switched to those. Still get teased for using candy instead of gu etc. Also Barbados is a small island in the Caribbean and not a part of Jamaica.
  • 1 0
 @mikekazimer: nice choice on the townie.
I keep looking real hard at the Muirwoods.
  • 2 0
 @mikekazimer: Be warned that once you go rack, you won't go back. Especially in a rainy place, having actual airflow under jackets is a genuine game changer.
  • 1 0
 Great choice on the DSX 2. I threw a rack and panniers on it, and use it as my townie/bikepacking bike. I do recommend swapping those riddlers for some Maxxis Pace 2.0's.
  • 31 2
 Town bikes are a great way of running errands and what not but I like to just jump on mine and do a solo urban ride. The 'burbs are a melting pot of cool stuff, last ride I saw a Ford Anglia filled with 2 litre coke bottles, a brown snake, a few Porsche GT 3's and a monstrous gum tree taking up 80% of an alley way, chuck in a few pubs and it's a good ride.
  • 32 0
 100%. I’m fully planning on being one of those old guys that just pedals around town all day and looks for interesting stuff.
  • 4 0
 @mikekazimer: The Wandrer website is so fun for that. Keeps track of everywhere you went and shoes you what roads you have not yet travelled. I really enjoyed it.
  • 1 0
 @mikekazimer: I got a second hand DSX 1 for riding to work last year and it puts a smile on my face every day.
  • 1 0
 @drbyrnes: Wandrer is a wonderful motivation to get out and ride.
  • 1 0
 I bought my wife a Kona Coco after her transplant. She loves it. It did need wider range cassette though, she was adamant she didn't want an e-bike.
  • 5 0
 Ok I can believe that a ford anglia could be filled with coke bottles and a brown snake, but how are they fitting a few GT3s inside?
  • 20 2
 Not one comment further appreciating trail builders. Come on guys, where is the appreciation for them?
  • 28 0
 I suspect most simply take trails and trailbuilders for granted. That's ok. We don't really dig in the woods for likes anyhow. Having said that I do notice that Kazis is one of the few PB writers who consistently calls out appreciation for trails and trailbuilders. And that's nice of him
  • 9 0
 @leelau: I don’t even like telling people where my next new trail is. You’ll find it when I’m ready.
  • 7 0
 Talk is cheap, just be a good trail user and don’t show up to trail work days in riding gear full of ideas.
  • 4 0
 @leelau: i'll be honest I'm guilty of this. Kaz's article has reminded me to be a bit more appreciative, definitely something i need to do in 2024
  • 12 0
 I once had a bag of nerds ropes made with weed and my wife demolished the whole bag.. very sad day lol
  • 7 0
 Not for her.
  • 1 0
 @bigtim: HAHA indeed!
  • 9 0
 That Marin wasn't even on my radar, and I have no use for it. But yet, I want one now. Would be a perfect pairing with a Cues Linkglide setup.
  • 10 1
 Buy your local trail builders a bunch of beers
  • 5 0
 better still is go help them!!
  • 2 0
 @MP-mtb: there are members of society who should definitely JUST buy the beer... But yes, ask how you can help (don't dumb down the trail).
  • 5 0
 www.statebicycle.com/collections/klunker-bikes/products/state-bicycle-klunker-black-metallic-27-5

I have that sweet ride for putting around the neighbourhood, but part of me regrets the coaster brakes. I was cruising DOWN mainstreet when the chain fell off the bike.. Needless to say I survived, but only by the graces of the streetlight gods who gave me all greens, and the industrial strength flipflops that held me back from the netherworld. Next bike, I want some solid Vbrakes on the front.
  • 1 0
 I got their alloy fixie track bike for cruising around town and it's an awesome ride for the price.
  • 1 0
 So damn cool! Now I want one of those too!
  • 7 0
 Nice Sugar Cubes throwup. Bjork has always been a boss, even when fronting them. What a career.
  • 8 0
 THE RED ZEB IS COMING
  • 1 4
 I think that is a new Lyrik...
  • 12 1
 Or indeed just an old Lyrik...
  • 1 0
 @FloImSchnee: oh you're right
  • 1 0
 @FloImSchnee: Red Dead Redemption?
  • 6 0
 That Oppenheimer book is a fascinating read. Makes you wonder what the FBI is up to these days.
  • 3 1
 mmmm. conspiracies
  • 2 1
 I think everyone has always wondered but not really cared much because it’s a waste of time.
  • 2 0
 @MuddyFoxCourierComp: upvoting every comment you make solely based on running a courier company.
  • 1 0
 @MuddyFoxCourierComp: It’s gen x, limey.
  • 1 0
 @emptybe-er: Lee Harvey Oswald was just a patsy, yankee
  • 1 0
 @birdsandtrees: lol. Maybe google the username
  • 3 0
 This is the Second @mikekazimer I've seen talking about his carbon frame today. Small world.

www.pistonheads.com/gassing/topic.asp?h=0&f=23&t=2058052

"Miki Kázmér said of the latest evolution: “I am a perfectionist and continuously seek innovative new ways to improve the 912c. Our new carbon fibre body is a great example of that, with perfect fit, incredible strength, and further weight saving"
  • 5 0
 You had me at crying in H Mart. I've never heard of the book, but I can relate to the experience.
  • 2 0
 The author is also a musician; she performs as Japanese Breakfast, which is absolutely worth checking out if you aren’t familiar.
  • 5 0
 @adamstraus: it's interesting that she's neither Japanese nor breakfast
  • 5 0
 I like the cut of your jib, Kaz. Way to throw in some non bike related wins to balance it all out.
  • 3 1
 My 4 year old pulled some candy off the shelf at the grocery check out line last week. I told her no a few times but gave in and let her buy the candy. Had no clue what it was, didn't look. In the car I asked her what she bought and if i could have some. It turned out to be Nerds Gummy Clusters. Holy shit were they good. I've always been a fan of nerd rope back in the day but its been years since I've had them. Nerd Rope and Nerd Gummy Clusters for the win.
  • 4 1
 Foreign hands is dope, never heard of them, but then I saw bleed the dream(album) which took me back in the time machine to 2005 socal screemo scene and Bleed the Dream (Band)!

Thanks for that
  • 2 0
 Keith from ETID just released a few songs from his new band Many Eyes, if you like Foreign hands you should check them out!
  • 1 0
 @radthaaad: many eyes is good but it will never be ETID. RIP to the greatest band from upstate!
  • 1 0
 Took me back even further to The Opposite of December era Poison the Well; the monotone spoken vocals are a dead ringer!
  • 3 0
 Lots of (deserved) praise for nerds ropes and clusters here, but we're forgetting about big chewy nerds, and SOUR big chewy nerds. The greatest advance in candy technology of the last decade.
  • 2 0
 That's a great townie bike, Marin have so many cool models in their line up right now. Townies/commuters are invaluable, I have a Giant Escape with full fenders, a rack and panniers and do everything on that bike, it averages 4500km/year. I once weighed it loaded after a groceries round and it was 27kgs! No wonder the uphills felt harder that day. Annual maintenance costs are 50€ tops (tyres, brakepads, chain). Makes my full suspension bike look like a money pit.
  • 3 0
 I enjoyed another Kaz recommended book a few years ago; the Power Broker. Will need to check out the other books he's got listed here.
  • 1 0
 Snap and music recommendations as well!
  • 1 0
 Bought myself a Marin DSX FS (60mm front suspended version of Mike’ s commuter and with longer reach) this year. Great bike. Serves as my commuter, ‘urban xc’ bike, family cruiser and tourer. Combined with my trail bike (‘21 Trance X Advanced 29-1), its a perfect quiver of two.
  • 2 0
 Wait the Scor has short chainstays. I thought we weren't supposed to like those bikes anymore. This independent thinking is too big of an ask. Please tell me what to believe. Thanks!
  • 1 1
 Have my hardtail set up as a townie. I love driving but I also do love using my bike to get around town for errands. In my city the cycling infrastructure is not great though. Its hard to go out for a ride and not get yelled at by cars for being on the road, or by pedestrians for being on the sidewalk. But when it comes to safety, sidewalk it is usually. At least its a physical barrier against traffic to go up a curb and not go over a line of paint!
  • 3 0
 How come it's the first time I hear about nerds rope!? Available in Canada?
  • 3 0
 Long live the coaster brake. I wanted one so badly as a kid, so I could skid like my friends.
  • 4 0
 like licking a 9V battery made me chuckle. i still miss Levy though...
  • 2 0
 As someone who bought a 2023 Trek Fuel for his wife for Christmas I am super happy to hear that you like it! The reviews have all been super good.
  • 1 0
 Why did you remove the Cane Creek Coil from your Fuel? Just done testing it or do you like the float x better? I'm asking because I just sold my float x to buy a coil after drooling over yours lol.
  • 1 1
 because owning both is better than 1.
  • 3 0
 @Zimbaboi, both options work well, it really comes down to how you want the bike to feel. I find it's a little livelier and poppier with the Float X, while the coil shock gives it better grip and traction.
  • 2 0
 I’m loving the cane creek IL coil on mine but plan to play around with the float x again in the dry season
  • 4 1
 I was curious to see if the new Raaw Madonna was going to make the list. Very keen to see your full review on it.
  • 4 0
 Maybe next year... It's definitely one of my favorite bikes to ride at the moment.
  • 2 0
 Good on you for reading the LBJ books. I've heard good things but it's too intimidating for someone who thinks reading "It" is a big project.
  • 4 0
 +1 for trail builders. Wish I could buy yall a drink.
  • 2 0
 I saw The Sugarcubes, New Order and Public Image Limited in 1990 (I think?) at Lake Compounce amusement park in CT, where I worked. So weird, so good.
  • 1 0
 Google tells me that it was July 11th, 1989. And I can relive the set lists. Gotta love the interweb.
  • 3 0
 That Marin is fire. Nerd ropes FTW!
  • 2 0
 The nerds rope clusters (literally just bite size portions of nerds rope) are my absolute favorite mid ride fuel!
  • 1 0
 @mikekazimer Man, how do you have teeth after eating candy like that? I haven’t been able to eat candy since I was in my early 30’s. Instant tooth ache.
  • 2 0
 Not to mention blood sugar spiking basically causes aging
  • 1 0
 I have a 1993 Santana tandem that I use as a town bike. Take my wife for drinks, or kids for errands works great and get all the love on the paths from people you pass.
  • 1 0
 Hey Mike @mikekazimer . You are pretty lightweight, right? How did you like that SID? I've heard it sucks for light people ( talking about 120 lbs fully kitted
  • 5 7
 Kaz is my riding spirit animal. In between the SCOR2030, the Flexair Pros, and the nerds rope we are basically exactly aligned in riding desires.

But are we gonna get one last great things of 2023 from Levy?? For old times sake?
  • 2 5
 @mikekazimer - DEF'LY agreed with this sentiment. And yr list is killer...I like all the lists, but would it be too much to ask to get one Levy to submit one (or its is basically Monster,UFO's, flip flops, his dog, the Grim Donut, time off, Monster and UFOs?) Just curious... a things he loved 2023 would be a killer sendoff other than the (excellent) pod of course. Or...is he just cooked for good now (and I get that he might be).
  • 13 0
 @Mtn-Goat-13: So a killer send off to you is having your previous employer ask you to do one last task for them, free of pay, near Christmas?
  • 2 0
 Top stuff, was not expecting the 2030 there
  • 5 0
 I have a 4060 and really like it. Several Enduro races and almost daily laps on it
  • 2 0
 @bman33: That's my bike as well, but I keep thinking it's a niche brand. Still believe it's the only one in my country
  • 2 0
 @rodres: Agreed, even here in the USA it's a niche brand. I know of only 3 in my area.
  • 2 2
 We have one local dealer, the prices keep the brand super niche. Perceived value is great, but bikers who can afford a Scor are smart with their money especially in this economy; they go home to Google the bike, and Kazimer's kudos for the Trek pop up.
  • 1 1
 @bikewriter: Look at the first Scor 4060 review last year on Pinkbike and the praise there. They are great bikes. That said, the majority of bikes in today's bikes are great bikes. I have been riding/racing MTB since the mid 90's. Entry level full suspension bikes now are better than almost everything from not that long ago.
  • 1 0
 I'll give the nerds rope a try. Lately I've really liked chocolate covered raisins.
  • 2 0
 How can you not include a pic of @mikelevy
  • 1 0
 look up
  • 1 0
 The video was not so great, but the sax was tearing it up at the beginning of the song
  • 1 0
 Yeah all 3 felt like a ginger’s playlist. Absolutely no soul.
  • 2 0
 @mikekazimer I like the way your mind works Smile
  • 2 0
 Kaz, good on ya for giving builders props! Happy new year
  • 1 0
 that foreign hands record has been on my playlist all year. early 2000s poison the well vibes all the way around.
  • 1 0
 Totally early poison the well. The spoken vocals are spot on. So many memories with that sound for me.
  • 1 0
 That Marin is a tidy little bike. Hopefully we'll start seeing more poo-brown enduro bikes next year as well.
  • 1 1
 1. Discovering that I could buy a motorcycle for the price of an e-bike (or most mtbs!)
2. Buying a motorcycle
3. De-prioritising mountain biking for motorbiking
  • 1 0
 I also may have a trek fuel ex with a 1998 "boxxer" on it.. big fan of it all.
  • 1 0
 @mikekazimer would be interested to hear if you did any specific training for the BC bike race.
  • 2 0
 flexair pros are sweet!
  • 1 0
 Coaster brakes are skid-er-rif-fic!!!
  • 1 0
 American Prometheus was mind blowing. Will have to read the LBJ bios next.
  • 1 0
 Am i blind or do you not have a dropper in your trek?
  • 2 0
 I do, it's just all the way down in that photo - it's a 200mm WolfTooth Resolve.
  • 1 0
 Still rocking the silky saw from a coupe years back. Great rec!
  • 1 0
 To bad feedback sports doesn't ship to canada...
  • 1 0
 The red lyrik fucking got me
  • 1 0
 I like everything that Mike doesn't.
  • 1 0
 Nerds rope must be an American thing. I can’t find them up here
  • 1 0
 This "Brithday" song is in my head since1987. It's an obsession.
  • 3 3
 @ Mikekazimer Not a single mention of raaws Madonna v3?
I’m disappointed
  • 1 0
 The Sugarcubes are gold.
  • 2 4
 You wouldn't like Breck Epic, too many bumblers
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