10 Products I Loved In 2020: Mike Kazimer

Dec 10, 2020 at 14:37
by Mike Kazimer  
This year, Pinkbike's editors decided to take a page from the CyclingTips playbook and put together “10 Things I Loved” lists of our own. Think of it as a more personalized version of the Pinkbike Awards, a place to recognize the bikes and equipment that left a lasting impression over the last 12 months.

I'm sure Mike Levy's list will probably have all sorts of linkage forks and ultralight carbon wheels, and but mine's skewed a little more towards products that are practical and functional. My favorite products are ones that fade to the background and just work, ride after ride after ride. I'm constantly switching bikes and components, so it's nice to have a selection of gear and apparel on hand that I know I don't need to worry about.




Occam Designs

Occam Design's Apex Strap

Occam Designs' Apex strap is one of those items I didn't know I needed until it showed up. Sure, you can strap a tube and tire lever to your bike with a ski strap, or even use electrical tape if you're a heathen, but just look at this thing.

It's only 28 grams thanks to the use of a light and strong material originally developed for sailboat racing, and uses a BOA dial to cinch everything down. Combine it with one of the lightweight tubes out there from the likes of Tubolito or Schwalbe and you've barely added any weight to your bike while still being fully prepared to fix a flat. It's also super easy to move from one bike to another, another one of the reasons that earned it a place on this list.

Price: $34.99 USD
More information: occamdesigns.com




Commencal Meta TR 29

Commencal Meta TR

I've mentioned it numerous times already, but I might as well mention it again: Commencal's Meta TR is a damn good bike. With 140mm of travel and a 160mm fork there's not much it can't handle, whether that's hitting a big jump line or blasting down a chunky descent. Sure, it's not exactly light, but that stout aluminum frame is part of what gives it such a ready-for-anything demeanor.

The geometry is fully modern – the size large has a 490mm reach, a 64.5-degree head angle, and a 78-degree seat tube angle. It's a big bike, but the short chainstays keep it snappy and ready to manual or slap a berm at a moment's notice. Could it be used to race an enduro or two? You bet. Bike park laps? I wouldn't think twice. Long rides with lots of vertical? Sure, as long as the descents were worth it.

Commencal Meta TR 29
Commencal Meta TR 29

Lately I've been using the Meta TR as a test bed for various suspension components, which has given me plenty of opportunities to appreciate the 8mm hardware that holds the rear shock on. Most riders won't spend as much time switching out shocks as I have, but it is nice to not need to worry about fiddling with tiny bolts that want to strip out if you look at them wrong.

MSRP as shown: $4,799 USD
More information: commencal.com





Pinkbike Check Out

Shimano ME702 Shoes

I typically ride four or five days a week all year round, which means a comfortable, reliable pair of shoes is a must. I switch back and forth between clips and flats depending on what needs to be tested, but Shimano's ME702 shoes have become my go-to SPD-compatible option lately, replacing my trusty AM7's after nearly 3 seasons of loyal service.

It's the overall fit that keeps me going back to Shimano's shoes, especially the fact that most of them have a fairly low sole height, which keeps my foot nice and close to the pedal. With the ME702's, the lace cover adds an extra layer of protection from the rain and puddles I'm constantly encountering, as does the neoprene ankle gaiter. The speed lace system and ratchet strap are easy to operate even with frozen, muddy fingers, and the deep lugs on the sole help keep me from falling flat on my face during tricky hike-a-bikes.

Looks are at the bottom of my priority list when it comes to mountain biking shoes – give me a good fit and function over anything else – but it's hard to go wrong with all black, and I'm a fan of semi-futuristic aesthetic of these shoes.

Price: $200 USD
More information: bike.shimano.com




2021 EXT Era fork

EXT Era Fork

Okay, so the EXT Era fork might be something of an outlier on this list of practical, fairly reasonably priced items, but I enjoyed its performance so much that I simply couldn't leave it out. It felt better out of the box than any fork I've been on in recent memory, with an impossibly supple initial stroke and plenty of mid-stroke support to keep it from diving too deep into its travel. I'm always on the hunt for products that provide an advantage in wet, slippery conditions, and the Era fits the bill perfectly.

There are two positive air chambers chambers, which makes it possible to individually adjust the feel of the fork at the beginning of its travel and towards the end without needing any volume spacers. There's also a unique crown shape that's intended to help prevent the dreaded CSU creak, and so far it hasn't emitted the slightest unwanted crackle or pop. After putting in a bunch of miles on the Era I sent it up north where the testing process will continue - I wanted a few other test riders to be able to experience just how special this fork was before issuing a final verdict.

Price: 1480 Euro
More information: extremeshox.com





Giro

Giro Source Helmet

Giro's Source helmet isn't the absolute lightest or fanciest helmet in their lineup, but it still ended up being my favorite new half shell helmet this year. It's extremely comfortable, relatively light, and is equipped with a MIPS liner to hopefully help reduce some of the rotational impact forces that occur during a crash.

My all-time favorite helmet honors still go to the Specialized Ambush, but the Source offers a similar exceptional fit at a lower pricepoint. The ratcheting dial at the back is super easy to use for fine tuning the fit, and there's plenty of ventilation for hot summer rides.

The Source has worked well with all the sunglasses I've used it with, and the adjustable visor makes it easy to find the perfect position – I prefer setting it somewhere in the middle, right between 'cool' and 'kook.' It might be lacking things like an integrated camera mount, or rubber inlays on the back for goggle straps, but I don't really think those features are necessary anyways. Teletubby camera mounting has fallen out of fashion, and most goggles stay in place just fine without any grippy bits on the helmet.

Price: $120 USD
More information: giro.com




Thule Rail 0

Thule Rail 0 Hip Pack

These days, the only reason I wear a backpack on a ride is to carry a saw for clearing blowdown after a storm. Otherwise, I wear a hip pack, and this year it was Thule's new Rail 0 that accompanied me on most of my rides.

The two side pockets make it easy to keep a snack and a multitool close by, and the dedicated outer phone pocket is a clever touch – no more digging through half-eaten Clif Bars and random tools in order to get your phone out to capture a pretty sunset or a Friday Fail. I prefer carrying a mini-pump instead of relying on a CO2 cartridge, and the Rail 0 can accommodate Specialized's Air Tool Mini pump with room to spare for a windbreaker or more food for those extra-long rides.

I'm also a fan of the waist belt design – it's just the right width, with a good range of adjustment, and once it's cinched down the pack stays securely in place no matter how rough the trail. For anyone out there who's still on the fence about trying a hip pack, this is a good place to start.

Price: $44.95 USD
More information: thule.com




DT Swiss XM1700
DT Swiss XM1700

DT Swiss XM 1700 Wheelset

I had three different test bikes show up equipped with DT's XM1700 wheel in 2020, and in all instances the results were the same – they were well tensioned and true from the start, and remained that way throughout the test period, free of any dents or unwanted wobbles. The use of DT's Competition spokes and Pro Lock nipples plays a part in that reliability – those are the parts that I'd choose if I was building up a wheelset from scratch.

A workhorse aluminum wheelset like this may not set hearts aflutter the same way an exotic, super light carbon wheelset might, but the XM 1700's price, weight, and performance ratio is tough to beat. That 350 hub just keeps on ticking, and the proven XM 481 rim is sturdy enough for all sorts of hard riding. That 30mm internal width works perfectly with today's 2.4 – 2.6” tires, and getting everything setup tubeless is a breeze.

For riders who are extra tough on their rims, DT also offers the EX 1700 wheelset, which uses the beefier EX 511 rim.

MSRP: $885.90 USD
More information: dtswiss.com




Power Broker book. Robert A. Caro.

The Power Broker by Robert A. Caro

Hard as it may be to believe, I do more than just mountain bike and write about mountain biking, and reading is one of those things. It's my escape from electronic screens, something that I need even more than ever these days.

I'm not exactly sure how I stumbled upon this book, which was published in 1974, but once I started I couldn't stop working my way through it. It's the best biography I've ever read, the story of how Robert Moses basically controlled New York City during the mid-20th century as an un-elected official. It's full of tales of corruption, the ruthless use of power, and provides a fascinating look into the forces that shaped New York City into what it is today. Caro's depiction of Moses is incredibly well written, and it's well worth taking the time dig into this hefty tome.

Price: Varies
More information: Your local library or independent book store.





Ergon SM Enduro

Ergon SM Enduro Saddle

I know, saddles aren't exactly the most exciting mountain bike product out there, but Ergon's SM Enduro is deserving of some extra recognition. The shape is excellent, free of any hard edges, with a nice flat portion that provides a comfy perch for those sit bones to rest, along with a generous pressure-relieve depression in the center. I've been on the no-chamois program for the last few years, and the SM Enduro is a saddle I know I can trust to keep my backside comfortable no matter how long the ride.

There are two different widths to choose from, and three different rail options, including an oil slick and a titanium version.

Price: $79.95 - $179.95 USD
More information: ergonbike.com



Best flat pedals 2020

Nukeproof Sam Hill Horizon Pedals

I spent time testing over a dozen different flat pedals earlier this year, and it was the Nukeproof Horizon pedals that ended up being my favorites. They're slightly concave, with a wide but not ridiculous platform, and the lack of center pins helps give them a very secure feel underfoot.

There isn't one really one specific detail that makes them stand out from other options on the market - instead, it's the way that Nukeproof have hit the mark in multiple categories that made these my pick. As I mentioned in the review, this is my Goldilocks pedal, the one that strikes the perfect balance of grip and shape. I can re-position my feet when necessary, but there's plenty of traction to keep them from getting bounced out of place on rough sections of trail. The overall shape, the pin profile, and the fact that they're still spinning smoothly after months of use earned them a spot on this list.

Price: $119.99 USD
More information: nukeproof.com





200 Comments

  • 220 1
 I'd do anything to try the EXT Era. Except pay for it.
  • 84 65
 No 27.5, no sale.
  • 12 1
 Perfection has its price!
  • 78 30
 @Richt2000: 27.5 is the new 26.
  • 35 9
 @seraph: I don't think 27.5 is totally dead but maybe as a front wheel it is. As a shorter rider I really like having the clearance out back. I don't see myself buying anything but Mullet for right now.
  • 5 1
 @mixmastamikal: what brands do factory mullet setups?
  • 6 1
 @DanielP07: Propain, Intense (maybe not anymore), Nukeproof (the yet to be announced Giga), Forbidden sell a mullet link, Commencal and Santa Cruz have mullet downhill bikes.
I probably missed some.
  • 6 1
 @DanielP07: Intense, Specialized, Zerode, Canyon, Santa Cruz, Orange...
  • 1 1
 Well given the test one was pre-production and probably have assembled I'd expect wonderful things.
Some showing up with bushing play already...
youtu.be/Z4K2aRnIbGA
  • 1 2
 @DanielP07: Not many yet (propain, nicolai). It seems to work for a lot of shorter racers. But I guess production wise it’s a right old pain for manufacturers, especially the bigger ones, a lot of them struggle to have different chainstay lengths between sizes nevermind different linkages and everything else.
  • 16 3
 @seraph:
No way man. Currently riding a 2021 Transition Scout and its the best bike I’ve ever ridden. Way better than a bunch of 29ers I’ve had.
  • 1 0
 @ChazzMichaelMichaels: its not the bushing, and the sound is normal. Its just the top out plate
  • 2 1
 @mtbjuky: That's the top out noise??? Can it be fixed?
  • 3 0
 @DanielP07: YT Capra 29er with the flip chip set on high with 27.5 out back à la Cam Zink...
  • 22 0
 @DanielP07: Kona. The Process X comes as mullet in size small, and the adjustable geometry is designed so you can set it up mullet and not change any of the geo numbers.
  • 2 0
 @DanielP07: I feel like 2021 is a year that we may see quite a few more mixed wheel size specific frames/links added to manufacturers lineups. I personally have a Guerilla Gravity that is running mullet
  • 7 7
 @Richt2000: @Richt2000: I'm sure EXT is really heartbroken to hear user "Richt2000" won't be buying their fork.
  • 16 25
flag Hiben (Dec 21, 2020 at 17:01) (Below Threshold)
 @seraph: No you stupid potato, 27.5 accounts for half or more of mountain bike sales. also 26 ain't dead, the dinguses at the big bike companies just forced 29ers down the industry's throats and as a side product of that 26ers became reserved for dirt jumpers only. 27.5 and 26 wheels also have more strength due to less leverage and can be had at a lower cost as well.
  • 1 0
 @ChazzMichaelMichaels: no. You can’t hear it when riding either
  • 6 0
 I rode and raced a mullet briefly... Handled really well, definitely sort of a slalomy, bash it corner to corner feel... But with a 29 wheel back on it climbed better, got over/through stuff better and generally felt faster and better balanced. I'm 6ft, I don't buzz my butt often, and I've been on 29ers forever...mullets are cool but I think they too shall pass.
  • 3 0
 @DanielP07: 95% of the banshee lineup can be a mullet bike, BB drops 3mm, and it becomes the equivalent geo of riding a 10mm longer fork up front. I'm currently on a mullet Titan and it's a riot!
  • 7 0
 @Hiben: So where are all of the 27.5/26 reverse mullets then?

I made some up for some of my son's Boy Scout buddies. They had Spesh HTs with boat anchor skinny, rusted coil forks. I bought em some $120 27.5 air forks with new 27.5 front wheels and gave those bikes (and kids) a new lease on life.
  • 2 0
 @Staktup: cool, and I know that 27.5/26 mullets exist, it just that they are quite rare im thinking about throwing some 26ers on as well
  • 2 0
 @pedalt0themedal: Pivot Switchblade... but 157 superboost rear Frown
  • 1 0
 @mixmastamikal: I see 27 having its place on jibby fun bike where one does not exactly need super duper hi end fork like this.
  • 5 0
 @ChazzMichaelMichaels: Hi dear, we're really sorry you may have found a problem. I kindly ask you to get in touch with us at mtb@extremeshox.com or with one of our service point in order to discuss it and have a better view of it. Thank you! Wish you a good day!
  • 1 0
 @DanielP07: and Liteville is doing it for ages for some sizes
  • 4 0
 @DanielP07: Guerilla Gravity have a MegaSmash on their "secret menu"
  • 1 0
 @Hiben: it's partly the industry, but the industry is driven by what consumers buy. Like it or not, 29ers have been selling much better than 27.5 or 26 the last few years
  • 1 0
 @DanielP07: Canyon do
  • 1 0
 @landscapeben: Riding a Foes Mixer Enduro for the past 3 years, great bike, several friends have the Mixer Trail and really like them too.

a href="https://www.foesracing.com/mixer/">https://www.foesracing.com/mixer/a.
  • 1 0
 @Staktup: tell me more! Do you ride it in this setup? Is a thing that I have been thinking a lot, because I'm a 85kg rider destroying 29 rear wheels weekly in the bikepark... ????????
  • 1 0
 @Sikem: I just put a 27.5” e13 carbon rear wheel on and changed the chip to the high setting. I have had good success with the stock 29” e13 carbon, so I am running both with cush core.
  • 34 0
 Great selection of goods.

My only comment with the strap type tube/gear systems is that you leave your tube exposed to the elements/outside "forces". I would say that about one third the time - a long term tube will have a hole in it once you actually need it. Plastic tubes as you have shown could be even worse. I stopped carrying plastic tubes on rides simply because -when the group has run out of tubes and you have the 50 dollar plastic one in your bag - do you really want to give it to a buddy?


My two cents on a great list.
  • 25 2
 You could always put the tube in a ziploc bag for a little extra protection if you were worried about it getting damaged, or look at something like Dakine's Hot Laps pouch that provides more coverage. If you do end up needing to loan out a fancy tube, there's nothing wrong with asking your buddy to give it back to you once they get back home. I've cleaned and reused spare tubes on multiple occasions - they're basically just a way to get out of the woods when tire plugs won't do the trick.
  • 59 6
 If only someone would invent a small enclosed bag for tube and tools, perhaps discreetly placed under the saddle where it won't rub on paint.
  • 18 1
 @GeorgeHayduke: Well, I had one torn off at full saddle drop & full compression a couple weeks ago.
  • 26 1
 @mikekazimer: All the tyvek bags coming in the mail this time of year can be trimmed down and wrap around the tube to protect it. Super light, super durable, water/mud resistant, and free.
  • 7 2
 Too bad fancy tubes don't come shrinkwrapped in plastic already like other tubes. (I just leave it in the plastic and then stick it on my frame, but have been meaning to get a fancy tube just because...) Gotta say a boa on a gear/tube strap looks like a great application to keep it tight/reduce size. Something to look into getting!

ALSO, nice to see Shimano ME702 Shoes on the list. It's beyond me why more mountain bikers don't wear low tops/3/4 top mountain bike shoes. Shimano had a stint there when they weren't making any, or just winter versions and I had to buy Mavics which have been fine. Can't stand getting my ankles torn up by spiky pedals, rocks, sticks, stickers, etc.

Why all the unprotected ankles...??? Smile
  • 5 53
flag ironxcross (Dec 21, 2020 at 13:18) (Below Threshold)
 a) you're a cheap bastard I'm sorry for your riding buddies
b) those "plastic tubes" are hands down the best value in biking for reducing weight on your bike, $50 to cut nearly half a pound off your bike is stupid cheap

So somehow you're a cheap a$$ who also can't spot a good deal... noice
  • 7 0
 Those lightweight tubes failed as a backup for me. I had a tubolito in a saddle bag, not even on the bike frame, and when I needed it, it wouldn't inflate. Had to wait for another rider to come by with a regular tube. Just get a regular lightweight butyl tube. I have some Schwalbe ones that are still light enough and I trust more than the plastic. Lightweight is no advantage if it doesn't work when needed.
  • 5 0
 @mikekazimer: When I lived in Turkey tubes strapped to a bike that weren't covered would crack from UV exposure by the time someone came to use them. Mega unhelpful. That's why I bought the Hotlaps for use on my bike, it means I can store a tube on the bike in or out of the sun for months without worrying.

Sidenote, the Hotlaps is handy, but the single velcro strap sucked. I added 2 more small straps and it stayed solid as a rock.
  • 5 0
 @GeorgeHayduke: surprised you didn’t jump in to add The Monkey Wrench Gang to this book list Hayduke
  • 3 0
 @ridealongside: Cheap, effective, and reduces waste. Great tip!
  • 12 0
 Like 4 years ago I popped a fatbike tube. I've been sectioning that tube off to stick 'normal' size spare tubes in, then I put them in a frame strap. So the fatbike tube section takes the sun abuse and constant pinch from the frame strap. I think that one tube will last me another decade- so there's a cheap thought
  • 1 0
 @2d-cutout: I wrap my spare tube to the down tube of my bike right where the damn hump is. Seems like every model has it now. Then just wrap the tube with the valve sitting inside the top part with an old surf leash ankle strap. It keeps the tube clean and protects it from the sun and thorns and the tube protects the down tube. Win win
  • 12 0
 @mikekazimer: I carry tubolito and it's saved me out there BUT you need to know it's not like rubber and doesn't shrink. It stays expanded forever once used. Your buddy can give it back to you, but you're not getting a tube back. You're getting a tent.
  • 2 0
 @GeorgeHayduke: I have that - ortlieb micro two - smallest one takes tube, lever, multitool and is waterproof. But only works on my hardtail - dropper post put it close to the back tyre
  • 1 0
 @2d-cutout: Right now I use the Specialized Mountain Bandit. Bolts up under your seat. Out of the way and very secure; but not covered very well from UV. That Hotlaps Gripper Bag looks pretty cool. Lower CG as well.
May have to try one of those. Thanks.
  • 5 0
 @mikekazimer: Don't disagree but by the time you track down the dude -make sure they do not pinch the tube when they remove it - clean it - try to role it back up - etc... The plastic tube makes less sense than the rubber one which they can just have.

This is true especially when you factor in that most of us are in a whole new league when it comes to body fat ratios. I should skip the beer rather than use a plastic tube. When you lean folks carry the plastic tube it makes a difference. I my case it just does not make sense.....
  • 11 0
 I just put the tube into a fabric bag (aka. the tip of a old sock). Has kept it save from dirt, sand and sunlight for the last two years.

Obviously thats too pedestrian for the kind of people who spend 35$ on a strap to hold their 50$ tube, but maybe there is some kind of bike specific sock that costs 25$ which they could use.
  • 1 0
 @GeorgeHayduke: or imagine someone would invent something like a trunk on a bike, lets say in the downtube for storage stuff...oh wait
  • 6 1
 @GeorgeHayduke:

Or one that you can wear on your back that wait for it... ALSO HOLDS WATER!!
  • 1 0
 Maybe we could invent a tire with heavier casing then put a liquid in it to seal any tears. Wait .....@funkzander:
  • 1 1
 @87vr6: OMG - We could rule the cycling design world. I am now thinking of all that hollow space in head tubes, crank spindles and seatposts.

Maybe a combo dropper post/pump? Make use of the down strke.

We could also hide the bike cables in the frame because bike mechanics are generally too happy.........
  • 1 0
 @dldewar: that would be friggin awesome...wait u got me
  • 1 0
 @Augustus-G: I had the Hotlaps Gripper and really didn't like it. Didn't fit a normal tube and multi-tool and CO2 well enough. Ended up picking up the Dakine corner bag instead which was a lot better imho.
  • 2 0
 I wrap mine in a postage bag (which we all have hundreds of since Covid, obvs), then strap to frame with a £3 velcro strap. And make sure I have the frame under the strap taped.
That's my value MTB product of the year.
  • 1 0
 @mikekazimer: actually the tube is so small it fits nicely between the rails of your Ergon saddle and secured by tiny velcro strip, so you can save the strap for other necessities
  • 2 0
 @mikekazimer: great list Kaz! That EXT Era makes me drool...

Now I'm going to make a wish: Commelcal Meta tr VS Commencal Meta am. Same spec, longterm review in a shoot-out style! That would be awesome!
  • 1 0
 @2d-cutout: Same problem here. Heavy duty velcro on the back of it and the frame solved it for me.
  • 2 0
 @daswolfman: Thank you. Will have to check that one out too.
  • 1 0
 Ever tried this on a saddle not made by Specialized?@Augustus-G:
  • 2 0
 @Ed-Richardson: No I haven't. I can get you the bolt hole spacing later on if you'd like.
  • 35 3
 But how do you strap that book to your bike?
  • 13 0
 Paperback homie...
  • 5 2
 Get ready for infinite Quad Lock bar mount banner ads.
  • 4 0
 Listen too it!
  • 20 0
 From what I've seen on local trails, I think you are supposed to stream the audiobook version from your smartwatch out through a bluetooth speaker at 120 decibels while ripping it through pristine forest.
  • 5 0
 That Thule pack looks like the right size and shape for the book. I bet thats the real reason it got the recommendation.
  • 5 0
 @Mtmw: that works for more than just techno music???
  • 1 2
 @Mtmw: Dirty Bird Publications?
  • 2 2
 @Mtmw: only slightly better than idiots wearing headphones.
  • 4 0
 paperback wrider lol
  • 3 0
 @EricHarger: Oh how I do love them. [Sarc] You do your diligence to be a good trail user. You call out early to people you're coming up behind to let them know you're there and what side of the trail you're going to pass them on and what do you get? Nothing. No response or even the slightest recognition they hear you. Then they get surprised, shocked and then pissy at you because they're off in their own acoustic world on a busy shared public trail. Self absorbed, can't think beyond the end of their own nose morons.
  • 22 1
 Great feature. Bonus points for including a book on the list and pointing people towards independent book sellers. Beer
  • 6 0
 Agreed! Bikes and books can change your life - enjoy both! That @mikekazimer is a renaissance man.
  • 12 2
 The "interesting book" is a great add to a list like this. Kaz's choice of hip pack tells me he's not the kinda guy that likes to pack beers on his ride. For those with similar priorities as myself, the Osprey Savu has been a miracle bit of kit. My favorite essential service worker of 2020!
  • 11 0
 For those shopping around, I can confirm that an EVOC Pro 3L can carry up to 6 double browns (4 in the pack, plus 2 in the bottle pockets) with additional room for snacks. May also work with other beers, but as-yet untested.
  • 2 0
 @Mike-on-a-bike: Amen Brotha! Busting out the crucial facts, for those who are equal parts thirsty and adventurous.
  • 1 0
 @Mike-on-a-bike: Probably a few more if you fill the bladder with beer Smile
  • 14 1
 Respect you Kaz, some great recs here
  • 11 1
 Now that Trek is doing the SWAT storage in aluminum frames, as well as carbon, is it going to be the next "expected" thing that all frames need to have, like a water bottle mount NOT under the downtube?
  • 9 1
 After having a stumpy and an enduro it's honestly a very serious consideration in my frame shopping and I would have to LOVE a bike to give up the SWAT life... I'm not up on the details though are other companies allowed to make SWAT boxes now or did Trek pay a sum of money to be doing that?? A Sentinel with a SWAT box sounds like a pretty sweet rig.
  • 2 0
 @ironxcross: I have no idea (if there is a patent/licensing agreement)
  • 3 0
 Seriously these SWAT style storage holes need to be ubiquitous. I didn't predict I would miss it as much as I do when I got rid of my enduro. Running a strappy baggy storage system on my Scout but its not nearly as practical or convenient.
  • 1 0
 Yes!
  • 9 1
 If you like The Power Broker, you got to read City for Sale: Ed Koch and the Betrayal of New York next. Great reporting on wild scandals that led to a lot of great things in NYC including the public financing of political campaigns and other clean elections, ethics, and anti-corruption legislation!
  • 3 0
 An amazing book that I listened to that goes into corruption: CHAOS: Charles Manson, the CIA, and the Secret History of the Sixties by Tom O’Neill. It lays out, through solid investigative journalism, the evidence that the Manson family was being used by the FBI and CIA to scare the general public of hippies. I would imagine a journalist would find it interesting.
  • 4 3
 given the current state of things in NYC, I think we can resolutely say that those measures didn't work. lol
  • 3 0
 If you're more of the movie type, Ed Norton recently made a very loose version of this book called "Motherless Brooklyn".

As a movie it's probably not going to blow your mind or anything, but it's got a murder's row cast and if you're into old-timey film noir movies where the hero has fatal flaws and wanders around dark streets getting punched in the face and double crossed while following shadowy figures who are connected to powerful people....then this may be your bag, baby. Grab a drink!
  • 2 0
 @unrooted: MK Ultra, 20 years to write the book, wild stuff! Heard him on Joe Rogan and I need to get the book.
  • 9 0
 I literally took a break from reading The Power Broker to read this article, and now I am convinced that Mike Kazimer is either my own personal FBI agent or a glitch in the simulation
  • 7 1
 Powerbroker is a fantastic book. That said, Caro's series on Lyndon Johnson is even better. They are long, but in my opinion very worth it. It brought a smile to my face to see such a recommendation on a bike site. Well done!
  • 1 0
 And his writing book, Working, is worthwhile too.
  • 8 1
 I've had that Robert Caro book on the list of "books I want to read one day" for a while, didn't expect to see it pop up on Pinkbike!
  • 4 0
 Im curious to try out that ergon saddle. Currently have a wtb volt which has held up fine for up to 8 hours a day in the saddle, but sometimes I still get numb balls from it.

Completely underestimated their grips at first so maybe I’m gonna get my butt measured and hope the saddle is equally eye-opening
  • 2 2
 I found it to be pretty uncomfortable. Replaced it with an SDG Bel Air 3.0 and I am happier.
  • 2 0
 Really like it. Have the Large (I'm pretty standard 6/1 170lbs. Ergon recommended the small / medium and tried that but didn't like it as much.
  • 7 2
 @seraph: Try SQ Lab. I have a 70X saddle on my Enduro bike and a 611 on my trail bike. Best decision I made in 2020.
  • 4 0
 I have that exact one. Its awesome. It's my second Ergon saddle and not my last.
  • 1 0
 @seraph: agreed. Was far too stiff for me
  • 2 0
 @Upduro My last bike came with a WTB Volt, hated it immediately, it caused discomfort within 20 minutes. I much prefer saddles with cutouts, have spent years using ISM saddles and regularly spend 2-5 hours in the saddle.

I've got a Shimano Pro Stealth on order, but the Specialized Mimic is also very popular.
  • 4 0
 I got an SM Comp instead of the Enduro (for no particular reason that I can remember) found I had to set the height and angle very differently to previous saddles. Gotten on well with it ever since, so worth bearing in mind
  • 1 1
 try fabric scoop there are 3 shapes get the curvier one. works great for me
  • 8 1
 If that saddle is eye-opening, I'm not getting near it, buddy
  • 2 0
 One thing that I don’t believe gets mentioned enough is the longer rails on the Ergon Enduro. You get a bit extra length to push forward if you have a slack STA bike. I have one, and enjoy that feature. Comfort wise - it’s not too remarkable either way for me personally.
  • 4 0
 @bikeflog: sq lab is the one saddle that has worked for me. Great customer service as well. My first saddle had a crack, emailed sq a pic, had a saddle in a few days.
  • 1 0
 @h-beck83: why can’t SQLabs just make a saddle with an adjustable width????????????!!!!
  • 1 0
 @Jcmonty:

This is an interesting point, I’ve been chasing a saddle with long rails towards the back to help a slack STA, the Fizik Thar fits the bill in that regard, but a bit narrow at 125mm. Are there any others around?

Don’t know how this idea isn’t more commonplace, older long travel bikes with 73-74 degree STA could be brought right up to 76 degrees roughly with the Fizik Thar
  • 1 0
 @CambridgeO: I couldn't find any when I was looking. And yeah.. the "effective" STA (if measure from saddle mid point) does increase significantly. It's a bit of a hack, but hey - if it works, it works.
  • 1 0
 @Upduro Ergon saddles are great, if you prefer a flatter style saddle. I ride the SM Comp and the SM Pro and love them. My buddy rides the SM Enduro that Kaz mentions, and he loves it too.
  • 2 0
 Have been looking for a new helmet after realising my Bell Super is now 5 years old, can't complain about durability but the fit has never been good, has pressure points on my temple and feels like it would slide back instantly in a crash. Will look at Giro helmets now...
  • 3 0
 I can second Kaz on the specialized ambush. Hands down the most comfortable I’ve worn, and I’m on my third right now because for some reason I keep falling on my head.
  • 9 0
 Get a Stage, starve a dentist. Seriously, full face 4 life.
  • 1 1
 What's holding the one in the picture up?
  • 4 0
 Robert Moses was a piece of work! There's a good American Experience doc on him worth checking too. I also want to read Caro's memoir.
  • 3 1
 Great book recommendation, Mike. Haven't read the book, but I have wasted hours of my daying reading about Robert Caro, LBJ, and Frank Moses. This 2019 interview with Robert Caro is pure gold, and it ends with the best bit. The last question about the powerless and diving into the human cost of one mile of highway construction is powerful: www.youtube.com/watch?v=aJ7gcGJq320
  • 2 0
 That CSU, if I works, should become an industry standard. This CSU problem is an embarrassment. What has changed in recent years for it to be so common?!?!? I had a 2015 pike until May this year and it only barely started click. 5 years of abuse and I'm pretty sure it only made a noise because of the bearings. 5 months on a 2020 Fox 36 Grip2 built for an ebike (haven't got an ebike) and they click.. material quality changed? QC changed?
  • 4 0
 Can I just say, KAZ RULES. Lately, the pinkbike content has been reading and sounding and generally coming across really well.....
  • 2 0
 Wolf tooth BRad mini bags are fantastic for tubes. I have a regular tube a couple CO2 cartridges, a few zip ties and a $20 in a ziploc bag in mine. Strap them anywhere, or to the dedicated bottle mount adapter. I use them on both my trail bikes, and the full size version, which is huge, on my cargo bike.

I also dig those Shimano shoes, bit sizing is a little funny for the big guys. I tried 49s and 50s, and the 50s where like clown shoes, half an inch of space between my toe and the end of the shoe, and I could cinch the main strap down the stops with plenty of wiggle room. The 49s... A little short, a little snug. I feel like a 49.5 would be perfect, but I've got 3 other shoes in 50, including one Shimano, that fit great.
  • 2 0
 @mikekazimer. How do the Meta TR compare to the original Transition Sentinel Alu?
I bought one of those Sentinels after your review. I love the bike and other brands are still playing catchup geo-wise.
But this Meta is very interesting. In polished alu its just one of the most beautiful frames Ive ever seen.
  • 5 0
 You must have forgotten the mezzer....oh wait...
  • 2 0
 @mikekazimer if you like that book take a look at Kingfish: the reign of Huey P Long. Very similar semi-dictator type guy. Might be common knowledge in America but isn't up here. Super interesting stuff.
  • 3 0
 The Power Broker is not an obscure book. You can find it placed behind every commentator on MSNBC. www.nytimes.com/2020/05/28/nyregion/power-broker-tv.html
  • 1 0
 Having worked in NYC for decades I grew to despise Robert Moses. He destroyed the Bronx by ramming highways through all the wrong places. He encircled Manhattan with highways cutting off the shore to everyone. He is an exemplar of the paradox of impending demand. He had an antithesis in Jane Jacob.
  • 1 0
 Caro's Powerbroker is one of the best biographies of all time, written by arguably the best biographers. His series on LBJ is epic. Imagine the best mountain in the world, the best trail you have ever had the pleasure of riding, that's how good Caro is. I am humbled to see it on your list. Well deserved. I would point out one thing. Moses was ruthless, single-minded, and brilliant. If he were a chess player he would be a 2800+ player. But his treatment of his brother I found incredibly gut wrenching. He despised him and treated his own brother with such contempt it was painful to read.
  • 3 0
 MK try "Defying Hitler" by Sebastian Haffner. A memoir. Out of print in the USA, last I checked.
  • 4 0
 You have a typo in the shoes. It's ME702, not MT702
  • 5 0
 Oops, good catch. Fixed.
  • 2 0
 EXT bringing a new era of pricing for forks...The Era fork is 19 hundies from US distributors....

But Lost is now a distributor????
  • 2 0
 They're actually $1950, but who's counting.
Yes, the Lost is an official US dealer
  • 1 1
 Had a set of Sam Hill Horizon's.. at first were great.. grip is/was good, but bearings wore out much too quickly.. spun 'too freely'... no comparison to say Chromag contacts.. with washer's removed on pins.. like x10 better than the nukeproofs..
  • 2 0
 I haven't had a problem with the bearings on my Nukeproof pedals, but I do have a pair of Chromag Scarabs on another bike. From a comparison standpoint, the Chromags are a bit gripper and the platform is slightly bigger. The Nukeproofs are a bit easier to reposition my feet, so I run those on my trail bike and the Chromags on my DJ.
  • 3 0
 Has your favourite tire you teased months ago been made public yet? Maybe I missed it, but I want to knowSmile
  • 3 0
 @mikekazimer you should also check out The Path to Power by Caro. My favorite read this year!
  • 2 0
 Nice, thanks for the recommendation - I'll check that out.
  • 3 0
 Would also recommend The Death and Life of Great American Cities, by Jane Jacobs. She's basically the antithesis to Moses
  • 1 0
 This!
  • 1 0
 Funny thing is that in the last flat pedals comparison on Pink Bike, Mike Kazimer complained about DMR Vault’s pins being too thick but they are actually the same M4 Screws as in the Nukeproof Horizon.
  • 1 0
 Seriously kids, just keep your tools nice and clean in a saddle bag. And before you say about dropper posts, the g-force you get in berms etc, let's just be honest, it's for the look.
  • 1 0
 Love my Sam Hill pedals but wish there was a way to replace the pins, CRC is always out of stock plus I don't want to have to have them shipped from UK! If anyone knows of other pins that would fit would love to know!
  • 1 0
 I’m not sure, Mr. Kasimer, what would indicate that your PB readership/comment section participants would have the attention span or inclination to actually get through a whole book in 2020. ;-)
  • 2 0
 Those are the Shimano SH-ME702 shoes, not MT702. Solid pick however, those are great shoes.
  • 3 0
 Dig the picks. Always nice to have a book in the mix.
  • 1 0
 Thule is making great packs of all sort, I have a backcountry ski pack that’s fits great, and opens up well for the changeover at the top (split board).
  • 1 0
 I logged my son around in one of their baby carrier packs for countless hours. It worked really well and had a number of nice details.
  • 3 1
 Good call on Caro's book, we need more journalists like him: www.youtube.com/watch?v=aJ7gcGJq320
  • 1 0
 "I typically ride four or five days a week all year round".

I typically ride 4 or 5 times a year since I moved to Bellingham....... Bellingham London Frown
  • 1 0
 move out of London...
  • 2 0
 @milanboez: Was trying last year but it's not so easy with commitments here and a pandemic. Hopefully next year.
  • 2 0
 How would you compare the Meta TR to the Banshee Titan you reviewed this year?
  • 3 0
 I'd consider joining the Kazimer book club
  • 2 0
 Loves the strap because it's a super light way to attach a super light tube to a super heavy bike ;-)
  • 1 0
 @mikekazimer i still think the 2021 Meta AM should’ve been in the field test. But I wanted to ask your thoughts on the TR vs AM
  • 1 0
 Can't wait to receive my Meta TR (I hope in April)!
I love Commencal bikes since my last bike, but Pinkbike and Mike convinced me a little more... thanks! ;-)
  • 3 1
 Commencal always doing things great
  • 1 0
 you really did like that Meta TR, I am glad since i purchased an AM after your TR review, so far i liked the bike very much.
  • 3 1
 What's the draw of joining the no-chamois club? Genuine question....
  • 1 2
 I was about to ask the same thing, I couldn't even begin to think of the pain i'd endure being on the saddle for more than an hour without one.
  • 22 1
 There are a few reasons, one of the main ones being the fact that it doesn't feel like I'm wearing a diaper if I'm hanging out after a ride. It's also one less thing to remember to pack if you go on a trip. A good saddle is key, as is underwear that's free of any poorly-placed seams.
  • 4 1
 I swear by the chamois, but increasingly over the years, more and more people report that finding the right combo of saddle and underwear makes the "shammy" obsolete... I haven't been brave enough to follow their lead, but I'm sure they must be on to something.
  • 3 1
 @mammal: I've heard the same too, but I used to work for a bike clothing company, so I have like $1000 worth of bibs in the closet that I'm not willing to give up just yet
  • 10 0
 It’s so much cooler in really hot humid weather. Chamois is mostly for high frequency vibrations, which is a roadie problem, not really a mtb one. A good saddle that actually flexes with your pedaling stroke and proper snug fitting boxer briefs to keep the boys in place and keep the seams off creases of man or lady parts. You won’t ever go back.
  • 4 0
 I left my chamois behind a couple years ago. I believe the extra thickness created worse circulation. I realized this after moving to a leather brooks saddle on my commuter and after it broke in it was much more comfortable than using a chamois. Now I rarely ride wearing one except on epic mileage days. My mtb saddle is a 12 year old wtb volt and its fine now that my gooch is hard like polished steel.
  • 5 1
 It's less hot, and somehow I never found a chamois that i felt comfortable with. Now I just ride with sportsunderwear, and all my bikes have a leather brooks. Weird on a MTB, but effective.
I can ride 100km untrained on any of my bikes; i will hurt everywhere but my ass.
  • 7 0
 Not having to wear a sweaty diaper. I wore them for a while years ago because I thought I needed them but hated the way they felt. Quit wearing them and realized they don't really do much for me except hold in heat.
  • 3 0
 not having to put grease on ur balls
  • 5 0
 I would say the draw is not having to wear one
  • 2 10
flag Yody (Dec 21, 2020 at 19:33) (Below Threshold)
 I don't know how people aren't sitting on their balls without chamois or something very tight. I've ridden without and I'm scared of sitting on my huevos. Maybe some peeps too small and don't hang far enough ????????
  • 4 0
 @Yody, I'm not advocating going commando - something like a snug pair of boxer briefs should keep you from scrambling your huevos.
  • 2 0
 @mammal: @mammal: I'd say it's kind of the reverse of when you first start riding "seriously." When we're kids, no one wears a chamois. Then you grow up and one of your friends who've been riding longer than you say you have to wear one. It seems ridiculous and unnecessary. But you try it. Then after a while it's just routine.

Over the last few months, I've gone completely chamois-free. At first, I just would try it on the 1.5 hour rides from my front door. Then longer rides. Now it's not even a thought. But yeah, as Kaz said, the right saddle is key. I have a Chromag Trailmaster that works pretty well. I got an SQLab 611 searching for that ergo gold and that thing was a torture device for me. Back to the Trailmaster. It's more than tolerable for most rides, gets a little uncomfortable after 3-4 hours, but that was the same with a chamois too. It's def more about the ass-to-saddle interface than a chamois.
  • 1 1
 It seems based on recommendations that enduro racing is bringing more innovation to mainstream mtb than downhill or xc, yet companies still spend more on later two.
  • 1 0
 @mikekazimer is there any plans for a long term review on the Meta TR? Thank you for the list!
  • 1 0
 what does "Teletubby camera mounting has fallen out of fashion" mean? just curious..
  • 2 0
 Referring to a helmet mounted camera which gives you the appearance of a Teletubby.
  • 1 0
 @COMMENCALbicycles raised the bike prices $200 plus in the last week or so...
  • 1 0
 Hey Mike, if you want a great saw for clearing dead fal,l check out the Agawa Canyon Boreal 21.
  • 1 0
 ME7 shoes are awesome. I love mine in all but the coldest of weather - when I wear some AM5s.
  • 1 0
 @mikekazimer The Meta TR and the Blackthorn look nearly the same on the geometry sheet. What's your opinion between the two?
  • 1 0
 Looks like xm1700 new ver of e1700 ?
  • 1 0
 New version of M1700
  • 1 2
 Hope that they're better than the chocolate bearings in my XM1501s Frown
  • 2 2
 Great pick on the TR. I think the MTB world has been drawn into the more travel is better thing.
  • 2 1
 Kazimer kranking out kwality kontent!
  • 2 0
 All the things.
  • 1 0
 @mikekazimer when is a full review on the commencal meta tr coming out?
  • 1 0
 My favourite saddle and it's not because Yeti team is in ergon as well
  • 1 0
 @Hiben: So true. And, they are super fun to jump and jib around.
  • 1 0
 Kaz, your list is the best of the 3. Plus you picked my saddle
  • 1 2
 I was tracking with you until I read, no chamois.
Below threshold threads are hidden

Post a Comment



You must login to Pinkbike.
Don't have an account? Sign up

Join Pinkbike  Login
Copyright © 2000 - 2021. Pinkbike.com. All rights reserved.
dv65 0.021829
Mobile Version of Website