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Liked a comment about product review 2015 Test Sessions: Trek Slash 9.8 Carbon 27.5 1/25/2015 9:34 AM

Sooo... you're upset that the Pivot March 6 -- a brand you are passionately loyal to -- got a 3.5 star review while the Trek Slash got a 4 star review? You do realize that's only a half a star difference, right? And it's not like either got a "OMG, perfect 10/10 will-buy-again" score that would naturally invite skepticism. Talk about being critical.

Point is: if you are so happy with your Mach 6, why do you even care how the Slash or even Mach 6 scored? You already found the secret sauce that you love the taste of, why even care what the other cooks are stirring up?

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Liked a comment about product review 2015 Test Sessions: Trek Slash 9.8 Carbon 27.5 1/25/2015 9:32 AM

Cheers for the critique, SDMTB'er.

I assure you that there are no biases toward the big boys vs the little guys. Vital has featured many very positive reviews of boutique brands, advertiser or not, including a handful of bikes made by Pivot.

There are a few distinctions that you should be aware of between the reviews. For starters, the Trek was reviewed by our 6'2" and 6'5" tall riders (as is clearly stated). The Pivot by our 5'8" and 5'10" testers. We do our best to tell you about each of the test riders in detail, something you won't find many other places. We list their height, weight, riding styles, and more. All so that you can better determine whether their experiences might mimic your own.

To clarify, regardless of the stem you put on a bike, the Reach measurement does not change. It's the horizontal distance between the center of the BB and the center of the top of the headtube. The size Large Pivot is very short - it's actually shorter than all 15 other men's bikes in our Test Sessions roundup, several of which are Mediums. The Trek has a much longer front center, somewhere near the top when comparing it to similarly sized bikes in the 160mm travel range.

Our testers will swap cockpit components as needed to improve the fit/feel of the bike, but also comment on the stock setup as well. Some bikes ride terribly with the stock stuff and are greatly improved with a wider/shorter combo. Others work well. For the tall guys, Trek's 750mm bar is far from ideal, and the 70mm stem doesn't quite align with the bike's capabilities. For the average height guys, Pivot's 755mm bar worked just fine, as did the slightly shorter 60mm stem. This is stated in both reviews. The M6 is a great bike in many respects, and we clearly describe where it excels.

Our ratings consider many factors, including value, price, build spec, geometry, weight, construction, how it climbs, how it descends, how it sprints, how it pumps, how it jumps, how the suspension performs, where it excels, where it doesn't, the little details, etc... The list is pretty exhaustive actually.

While it's easy to say that a bike review should just focus on the frame, there is so much more to how a bike rides than that. The suspension, tires, wheels, etc all come into play in a big way. Some companies do a great job with their builds, others overlook minor details that can end up having a big impact on the ride quality. If you're spending your money on it, don't you wan't to know how those things perform? In an ideal world we'd test all bikes with the exact same components and tire pressures, but that's just not how they're sold. They're each a sum of their parts, for better or worse.

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Liked a comment about product review 2015 Test Sessions: Trek Slash 9.8 Carbon 27.5 1/25/2015 9:30 AM

"Every" review on Vital? Sure about that? The Slash truly does shine as an all around ripper in its class, and it climbs far better than the head angle would lead most to believe. That's why those specific statements are included in this particular review.

I encourage you to read it again. There are several comparisons to the pre-2014 Slash and 2014 aluminum Slash. You're not going to find a direct comparison to other bikes (this isn't a shootout), however, but clear qualitative statements about how the bike handles many types of situations are in the review.

We'll consider comparisons to other popular bikes in future reviews.

This product_review has 20 comments.

Liked a comment about video How To Print Your Own Mountain Bike 1/22/2015 3:09 PM

So all the high tech FEA analysis, aerospace autoclaves and the rest of it is all bullshit? Just print a mold and lay it up with prepreg . Fiber orientation be damned?
I'm gonna build me one right now. Yeti has been ripping me off.

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Liked a comment about feature First Look: 2015 Kali Maya Helmet 1/20/2015 8:30 AM

Oh, so you've seen it in person?

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Liked a comment about slideshow THE SAM HILL INTERVIEW 1/17/2015 1:07 PM

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Liked a comment about feature How To: Connect Your Dropper Post to a Shimano or SRAM Front Shifter 1/15/2015 3:55 PM

I'm partial to the Siri version.

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Liked a comment about photo 2015 Specialized Rumor Expert EVO 1/7/2015 12:14 PM

Two options: the solo stick-prop with a little post-processing stick removal, or the hold-release-click-catch technique with a friend. Probably the latter for these.

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Liked a comment about press release Hill and Brosnan to Enduro Against Graves and Clementz? RockShox Enduro Challenge 1/7/2015 12:09 PM
Liked a comment about photo Foot Out, Flat Out 1/6/2015 6:48 PM

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Liked a comment about feature 2015 Vital MTB Trail Bike Test Sessions Introduction 1/6/2015 2:44 PM

There are lots of comments about the prices of bikes being too high. I'd like to point out a few things to be considered. For one, bike prices are what they are. High or low is only a relative gauge. That being said, Vital tried to get prices lower this year. It won't happen overnight, but there is some trickle down, and in any industry, the cool new things will always cost the most.

It is sometimes good to think about what the purpose of Vital or other online sites is. I think their purpose is to show what is working well and what new products or information is out there. There is almost no point to reviewing old tech or products that have been out on the market for a long time. That information is already out there. One can always look up what many people think of bikes and what is being ridden on forums, talk to friends, or ask your local shop that you trust. Some of that information is not so good, some of it is really good. It'll take some time and energy to figure out what is best for you, like many things in life.

If I were to buy a bike with a $2500 budget, I'd get a used bike for $1500 with angles I like, buy good tires and spend $1000 on great suspension. I'd sell the old suspension parts and spend the money from that on a dropper post. That's what matters to me. I can deal with the rest of the stuff. That information that is out there on blogs, on Facebook posts, and on so many forums. That information doesn't necessarily belong in a headline in any magazine, online or in print. It is OK to dream, to do some window shopping, and to see the coolest stuff, even if I can't afford it. That's why I think it is alright to see the bling here.

So when you do get to dive into some of the print, it might help to think of some of the information on how the testers ride, what is really important to you, and then think about the small details in the reviews about how the bikes rode in certain situations. All of the testers had different preferences, likes, dislikes, and those findings almost never matched up with more expensive or less. It was all over the board. My personal favorite was on the less expensive half of the curve, with an aluminum frame and nothing fancy. Another we rode led us to believe that the less expensive model option of the bike would be the way to go. Another still left us wishing for fewer bells and whistles. All those opinions might not help you to buy this bike or that bike, but to really help you narrow down what you want on YOUR bike.

Of course, there are going to be lots of criticisms of the reviews this year, just as there are in any year. That is a good thing, as the comments help shape decisions on what to review and how to do it. I believe that Vital wants to provide the most thorough input around. To further help that cause, it would be good to put effort into specific criticisms and praise of reviews so that they can be better, instead of complaints about costs before a review is even read.

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Liked a comment about feature 2015 Vital MTB Trail Bike Test Sessions Introduction 1/6/2015 8:23 AM
Liked a comment about feature 2015 Vital MTB Trail Bike Test Sessions Introduction 1/5/2015 6:52 PM