The leading award of the bicycle world, the Design & Innovation Award 2016 is almost upon us. Starting next week our international team will be riding, testing and analyzing the most exciting products of 2016. Our mission is to award the world’s best products and most innovative technologies, and joining us will be a select jury of six of the most skilled, influential, and analytical minds from the cycling industry. It’s time to meet our jury members.

Jury Member | Cody Kaiser


Meet jury member number 4, Cody Kaiser!

Although very well known in Cyclo Cross racing circles, Cody Kaiser transcended conventional cycling media and burst onto the mainstream when an infamous video showing his incredible bike skills as he navigated a set of stairs at full race speed exploded virally over the internet. The Texan born Californian started out racing MTB, but was soon drawn to the more mysterious world of Cyclo Cross racing. Quickly moving from the amateur ranks he had his eyes set on a national US title, which he attained in 2009. He now runs his own cycling program in elite mens racing, and competes at World Championship level. Cody represents the new breed of bike rider who no longer define themselves to just one discipline, and his attention to detail and unique understanding of the intense disciplines of road and Cyclo Cross will be instrumental on our jury.

Could you describe your biking history in one paragraph?
I grew up hanging out in a friend bike shop and got into riding recreationally on the MTB. I loved the feeling of ripping through the woods and I slowly got into racing and competing and began traveling every weekend for racing. Then around 2008, I was 17 and was picked up by one of the biggest cx development teams in the US where I began traveling and racing at a national and international level. Since then, I’ve been able to travel the globe, race many World Cups and World Championships, won a National title and had many awesome adventures. Always trying to keep it fun!!

You shot to fame when your stair hopping video went viral, were you expecting that?
I was definitely not expecting that to go viral. On my first lap of my first day of course inspection, I came up to the stairs and was like “you know what, I wonder if these are rideable? Let’s try.” Sure enough they were. I had it dialed and was able to do it every lap of the race! I had no idea Andrew from CX Magazine was going to film it let alone have it blow up on the internet.


Cody loves the unique feeling of riding a cross bike that responds precisely to the rider’s inputs and delivers equally direct feedback from the ground.

What makes you passionate about cross products?
I love racing cross, I love riding cross bikes. There’s a unique feeling because the bikes have no suspension and the rider’s input is so direct. I love that feeling. And then you go ripping down some trails and you feel like you’re going 10 times faster than on a MTB because you can feel every little thing. So awesome.

What has been your favourite cross or road product of the last five years?
Hydraulic Disc brakes, hands down!

Where do you hope to see cross and road bike development head in the near future?
I think the cross bike category is coming to a splitting point soon which is good. You have the cross racing category and the cross bike adventure category. Cross race bikes are slower to grow and change because of the UCI limitations. But the cross bike adventure category or the “Off-Road Road Bike”… has endless opportunity. I’d like to see more development put into geometry to make the bikes more capable than they currently are.

Where do you see the next big change in cross technology coming from?
Suspension is the next thing. Short travel CX bikes, like 30-60mm travel

How important do you think the role of a racer is when evaluating new products?
I think being a racer is good because we have a more refined idea of what we want out of a bike and also how small tweaks may affect the bike. But also because racers generally spend a large amount of time riding and that’s the most important piece. Being able to put a product through it’s paces.

What do you think are the qualities of award winning products?
To be award winning, it has to have either a completely new outlook on how something was previously made, or revised to truly make it better. Or be so far out of the box and innovative that nobody saw it coming and is really needed in the industry.


Despite his longstanding experience in Cyclo Cross racing, Cody’s known for his open-minded view on the sport.

What are you hoping to discover through the Design & Innovation Award?
I think there are some really crazy things that come from the European market that we never see in the US. So I’m stoked to be able to check those out and see what the industry has to offer from across the pond.

What are your other passions in life?
Outside of bike racing, I’m really into cars and consider myself to be a bit of a sneakerhead. And when I’m not riding, I love to ski and play golf.

Other jury members

The remaining jury members will be introduced in following days.

Words: Trevor Worsey Photos: Robin Schmitt, Jeff Namba

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