Posts by Kevin Bazar

Kevin Bazar

 

Age: 36 | Vitals: 5’8”, 160 lbs. | Moustache: Cop/Slovenly Fireman

Years riding: About 15 years XC/trail riding; 10 years DH; 7 years dirtjumping; raced bmx as a kid.

Current Residence: Lake Tahoe, California

Background:

Born in Jacksonville, Florida, I developed an early appreciation for going fast and jumping on two wheels through racing BMX. The sport was going through a bit of a growth spurt, and I was fortunate enough to have three tracks in town to which my parents were willing to drive most weekends.

For several years I raced locally and nationally, and got a few state and national rankings under my belt. But more importantly, I laid a foundation for what would later become an adult obsession: hauling ass and taking chances on narrow strips of dirt in the woods.

2011 Specialized SX - Part 1: JUMPS, Blister Gear Review

I loved riding bikes as a kid, but the competition aspect began to wear on me. Eventually I discovered skateboarding, and found that I could remove skin and concuss myself till I spoke in tongues, and the only measure of success was the amount of fun I had.

Outside of academics and girls, my entire junior and senior high school development consisted of second residencies at skateparks, and doing anything and everything possible to learn new tricks on a plank of wood bolted to some wheels.

A brief stint in northern Maryland in junior high opened up the newly developing world of snowboarding to me, and provided a third way to move through the outdoors while standing sideways (can’t live in a beach state without surfing, obviously).

An ongoing disagreement with the Georgia and Florida highway patrol forces about the velocity at which I should be able to drive my car between Georgia Tech and friends in Florida resulted in a mandatory bicycle purchase while a license suspension played out. This was my first mountain bike. I wasn’t in the best locale, but it’s where I discovered the thrills and serenity of smashing big wheels over roots and rocks by myself in the woods.

This period in college is also where I got a job as a bike mechanic and began understanding just how the tools used in this pursuit all go together (and fall apart). The relatively safe – and yes, flat – rural roads outside of Gainesville, Florida where I went to grad school also lent themselves to a pretty serious road bike phase, but the spandex is too painful a subject so we’ll just leave that where it sits.

My entire life in sports – snowboarding, bikes, skateboarding, and surfing – always pointed west. That’s where the media was, that’s where the big names were, and, let’s be honest, it’s hard to take these pursuits seriously in Florida. So away I went, and Lake Tahoe is where I landed. I needed infrastructure and Tahoe delivers. The roads here are dangerous, so in the name of safety, I sold the road bike and began downhill mountain biking early on.

The sport has continued to evolve since my humble beginnings and my interest in bikes, and the ways to ride them, tweak them and generally just enjoy all that they provide has grown along with it. I do what I can these days to split time between trail riding, shuttling, or throwing big bikes on a chairlift. I’m also forever looking to create the greatest ‘hold my beer, watch this’ moments at the dirtjumps. I lost the desire to compete years ago, but will always be looking for ways to ride bikes better and faster.

My ultimate rides these days – regardless of the genre – are runs where brakes are used at a minimum. It’s the search for smooth and fast lines, where the only thing that determines whether or not the hydraulic stoppers get touched is fear. My priority will always be the descent, but I never completely discount the need for a little work to reach those magic, gravity-fueled moments.

Some favorite equipment:

Turner and Specialized frames, Shimano brakes, Sram shifing bits, Maxxis tires, Dynafit bindings, and newer Polaris sleds (yes, I stay in Tahoe for the winter).

All Content by Kevin Bazar

Bontrager G5

Bontrager G5

The Bontrager G5 brakes like a champ, excels at cornering, and is simply one of the best DH tires on the market.

Best Bike Grips for Going Gloveless

Best Bike Grips for Going Gloveless

More riders are going gloveless on the trail, and these are the four best ‘gloveless’ grips that Kevin Bazar has ever used.

Q&A with Dave Turner, Turner Bikes, Part 2

Q&A with Dave Turner, Turner Bikes, Part 2

Apr 10, 2013

In part two of our video series, BLISTER reviewer Kevin Bazar talks with Dave Turner of Turner Bikes about the history of Horst link suspension and whether mountain biking is pricing itself into a cost-prohibitive sport.

Q&A with Dave Turner, Turner Bikes

Q&A with Dave Turner, Turner Bikes

Apr 9, 2013

In the first of this two-part video series, BLISTER reviewer Kevin Bazar sits down with Dave Turner of Turner Bikes to discuss 650b, DH-specific bikes, and events like the Downieville Classic.

2012-2013 Praxis WooTest 2.0

2012-2013 Praxis WooTest 2.0

Mar 27, 2013
10

Reviewer Kevin Bazar said the Praxis WooTest was the best backcountry ski he’d ever owned. After a few tweaks, he thinks the new WooTest is even better.

Shimano XT vs. SRAM X9 Clutch Derailleur Systems

Shimano XT vs. SRAM X9 Clutch Derailleur Systems

If you haven’t looked at a clutch derailleur, you should. Reviewer Kevin Bazar breaks down the pros and cons of two solid choices, the Shimano XT and the SRAM X9.

RockShox Monarch Plus RC3 Shock

RockShox Monarch Plus RC3 Shock

The RockShox Monarch Plus RC3 is basically the best air shock that reviewer Kevin Bazar has ever ridden on any trail bike.

Bike Check: Reviewers’ Rides, Part 3

Bike Check: Reviewers’ Rides, Part 3

When BLISTER reviewers aren’t out testing new stuff, what do their own builds look like? Here’s Kevin Bazar’s answer.

Lizard Skins Knee/Shin Combo Body Armor

Lizard Skins Knee/Shin Combo Body Armor

Reviewer Kevin Bazar has a lot of gripes with kneepads. A lot. So calling the Lizard Skins Knee/Shin Combo Body Armor “good pads” is a ringing endorsement. We agree.

WTB Volt & Silverado Saddles

WTB Volt & Silverado Saddles

The WTB Volt and Silverado saddles both offer comfortable rides, though for Kevin Bazar, break-in time and ride time produced sort of opposite results. (It’s kind of hard to explain. Just read this.)

2011 Specialized SX Trail

2011 Specialized SX Trail

The Specialized SX Trail falls between a burly trail bike and DH rig, which, when dialed, will rail the downhill and will climb when you need it to.

Maxxis Minion DHR2

Maxxis Minion DHR2

The new Minion DHR2 is, without a doubt, the best braking “general tread” DH tire Maxxis has ever made.

Maxxis High Roller 2

Maxxis High Roller 2

Whether you ride DH, XC, or a unicycle, if you think tires are all sorta the same, you need to read this review. (Besides, it might just be the best tire review ever written….)

2011 Turner 5.Spot

2011 Turner 5.Spot

The 2011 Turner 5.Spot isn’t the lightest 140mm frame out there, but it is among the burliest.

Praxis WooTest

Praxis WooTest

After working with Praxis to design the WooTest, Kevin Bazar reports that he now has the best backcountry ski he’s ever owned, and that the WooTest could benefit from a few tweaks to improve overall performance.

The Praxis WooTest

The Praxis WooTest

The backcountry-ready Praxis WooTest is about to become a reality. Find out how you, too, can get your very own WooTest (and what’s up with this dog).

Protesting the Backcountry: Building a Better Backcountry Ski

Protesting the Backcountry: Building a Better Backcountry Ski

Dec 22, 2011
2

There once was a guy who dreamed of a very specific backcountry ski. Problem was, nobody made it. But that’s about to change. Kevin Bazar explains why he thinks the “WooTest” will rule, why sidecut is overrated, and why Praxis Skis is the perfect company to build his dream ski.

2011 Turner DHR

2011 Turner DHR

Kevin Bazar breaks down the 2011 Turner DHR.

2nd Look: Kenda BBG 2.35

2nd Look: Kenda BBG 2.35

One self-described “Maxxis whore” describes the Kenda BBG as “one of the best—if not THE best—all around dry conditions tires I’ve ever ridden.”