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Added a comment about feature Win a SRAM X01 DH Drivetrain - Vital OTB 2014 Pietermaritzburg World Cup 4/11/2014 6:12 AM

Gwin AAaron 4:03:00
CARPENTER Manon 4:37:00

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Liked a bike check TREK 12 SESSION 9.9 (under 15kg) 10/4/2013 3:03 PM
Liked a bike check Evil Uprising 9/30/2013 3:08 PM
Added a new video LYM Trail @ Kicking Horse Bike park 9/26/2013 6:26 AM

Fun ladder trail called LYM at Kicking Horse

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Added a comment about feature Win a RockShox Vivid Rear Shock - Vital OTB Leogang 9/21/2013 4:46 PM

Steve smith 3:29:00
Rachel atherton 3:59:00

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Added a product review for Five Ten Freerider VXi Shoes 9/19/2013 3:29 PM

Great shoe for on and off the bike


The Good: Great looks, lots of color choices, don't look like ski boots

The Bad: The VXi does not offer the same protection as the Freerider version


I’ve tried several bike specific shoes in the past, most recently Sombrio shoes as well as the Five Ten Freerider and after really liking the old Five Tens I thought I would try out the newer Freerider VXi versions. The first thing I noticed about the Freerider VXi versus the standard Freerider is the lack of bulk, the VXi although still offering quite a bit of protection are nowhere as bulky and stiff/rugged as the older Freeriders. This is great when the shoe is used as a casual sneaker but there have been some occasions that I’ve missed the thick toe covering of the old shoe, this was noticed when sticking the foot out around fast corners or dabbing in the rock gardens. You can definitely notice the lack of material in this shoe versus the Freerider on the whole shoe, even the tongue is less bulky, but most noticeable is the toe piece has quite a bit less martial and protection. This is not necessarily a bad thing; it’s just if you are looking for the same kind of protection as with the Freerider version you may not find it in this shoe. I like to think of the VXi’s as a lighter/softer version of the Freerider.

The quality of the shoe is still great; after a season of riding various conditions the seams and stitching is still together and there have been no issues with any material breakdown. Comfort wise, on the bike, just like with the Freerider these shoes work great, whether you are riding all day at a resort or just trail riding or doing hike-a-bike trips, they perform perfectly. I do find these shoes a bit more comfortable off the bike compared to the Freerider version, I think this is due to being less stiff than those, so if you do tend to use your bike shoes are a casual skate shoes, I would choose these VXi  versions over the Freerider version.

One thing I did notice is that cleaning these shoes after a muddy ride is a tad harder than the Freerider as with these the mud seems to sink in a bit more into some of the materials whereas with the Freerider it just seemed to wash or wipe off easier.

On to the grip, this is the reason we all ride Five Ten shoes, I have read reviews that the Freeriders were at times too grippy. I never found this to be the case but could see how some people find that the shoes stick to the pedal at times and do not allow for much movement when you want to adjust your footing.  With these VXi, they are still super sticky but they do offer a bit more movements on the pedals. They still do perform extremely well and stick to the pedals like no other shoes, regardless if conditions are dusty or muddy.

So overall my experience with the VXi has been very favorable, they are more comfortable than the Freeriders but do provide less protection from the elements. If you are looking for loads of protection stick with the Freerider (or even more so the Impacts) but if you need a less aggressive shoes that still sticks to the pedals and can be worn off the bike these are the way to go.

This product has 4 reviews

Updated bike check 2013 Specialized Demo 9/14/2013 8:06 AM
Updated bike check 2013 Specialized Demo 9/14/2013 8:06 AM
Added a comment about feature Win a RockShox Vivid Rear Shock - Vital OTB Hafjell 9/13/2013 9:27 AM

Steve Smith 3:28:00
Rachel Atherton 3:55:00

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Added bike check 2013 Specialized Demo 9/12/2013 6:49 AM
Added a product review for DT Swiss FX 1950 Tricon 26" Wheelset 9/5/2013 4:06 PM

Solid wheelset that looks great


The Good: strong,stiff and looks amazing

The Bad: Cost, unique lacing design could lead to issue in the future


This particular wheel set was never on my wishlist simply because of the steep price tag associated with them but luckily I was given a sweet deal so I thought I would give them a try. You could argue that there are a lot of other options and at even cheaper prices for high end wheels but these ones truly are pretty unique.

Right out of the box you can see that the wheels are a strong quality build while at the same time being super light, plus they look simply amazing. The black/green color design along with the white spokes makes for an amazing looking wheel set, they definitely have a one of a kind styling to them.

In terms of ride quality, the first thing I noticed was how incredibly stiff this wheel set is, it’s almost scary how much flex my old wheel set must have had as these feel totally solid, it’s almost a night and day difference in stiffness. I assume this is the result of the unique hub/spoke lacing design. The unique design of this wheel set allows the spokes (which are bladed) to be threaded into both the rim and hub via a torx spoke nipple. The hubs role very smoothly and the rear hub engagement is instant, these hubs provide a quiet buzz to them, so if you are looking for a loud hub like Chris King you’ll have to look elsewhere.

In terms of durability, I’ve only had them for a short while so I can’t speak to long term durability but my initial impressions are good. A couple days at the bike park, riding various terrain including landing flat on jumps, casing a bunch of jumps and choose the not so smooth lines through rock gardens has had no negative effect on these wheels. They just take the abuse and keep rolling smoothly and straight.

So far my review has been positive and I would recommend these wheels to anyone looking for something strong and something a bit different but I do have a couple of concerns. First, the price, they are very expensive, almost heading into carbon wheel territory and I’m not certain if they are that much better than Deemax or any other higher end wheel set. The other concern is regarding the unique spoke lacing design, the concern being if I were to ever break a spoke finding a replacement (especially in a small bike town) would be fairy difficult. I’m hoping it never comes to this though.

This product has 2 reviews

Added a product review for GoPro HERO3 Silver Edition Camera 9/5/2013 3:40 PM

Awesome action camera


The Good: Easy to use, super durable, allows to customize capture settings

The Bad: none so far


I purchased the GoPro Hero 3 Silver edition shortly after my Contour camera stopped working. After a couple of months of use I can say that I prefer the GoPro quite a bit more. The picture quality seems to be significantly better than that of the Contour and the GoPro also boosts a lot of smart options on how to capture your biking shots.

The camera allows the user to configure the video capture resolution along with the frame rates, plus has the ability to take 11 megapixel photos. The photo options also allow for burst mode as well as a time lapse mode allowing you to snap photos every couple of seconds (you can configure the photo interval). Another great feature of the GoPro is that is allows you to capture in “upside down mode”, meaning you can set the camera upside down and it will record correctly, this is great as I’ve been experimenting with different angles and most recently capturing video from underneath my helmet visor. This is a great capture mode as it allows for an almost true from a riders eyes perspective capture.

In terms of durability I have used this camera is super dusty conditions as well as in muddy/wet conditions and these have had no impact on the camera. As long as you use the “wet” case in wet conditions there are no issues, the only thing is that when the wet case is used the sound quality is a bit tarnished, but that’s a small price to pay to keep your camera dry. I’ve also dropped the camera while in its case and also token a couple of crashes while the camera was mounted on my chest and top of helmet and the camera still works perfect. So in terms of durability, this camera gets a 10/10.

Battery life is fairly good, it does last longer than my older Contour did but I do find myself using it carefully when I am out for a full day at the bike park. If you have it on all the time it will only last a couple of hours, but if you use it carefully (turning it off when not needed) it should last for most of the day. I do recommend buying a backup battery incase the first ones dies and there are some epic shots to be had. Charging the battery takes a while too so even better reason to get a backup battery.

Function wise, the great thing about this camera is that once it is powered on and you hit the record button you hear one beep and it start recording instantly, this is great if you need to record right away, there is no delay in capturing anything.

In regards to other aspects of the cameras functions, this camera unit is pretty user friendly, for the most part you just need to use the power button and then the record button. The only issue I’ve found is when the camera is mounted onto your helmet and if you want to change the capture setting or change from video to photo this will require you to remove the camera or have a buddy configure the settings or you. All other setting changes can be done via the power/mode button so it allows for a pretty easy interface.

Gopro App: With the latest update of the app (at least for Apple) you can now preview your recorded clips and you can also transfer your content directly from the camera to your device via wifi. This is great if you want to ensure that you got the right shot.

So overall I would strongly recommend this camera, GoPro definitely seems to be the leader in action camera and I can see why they are in that spot. The functions of this camera allow customizing your capture settings while recording video and photo in crisp resolution.

This product has 1 review

Added a product review for Cane Creek Double Barrel Rear Shock 9/3/2013 6:14 PM

Amazing shock that sticks to the trail


The Good: Highly adjustable, smooth, easy to tune/setup with the help of canecreek.com

The Bad: One of the more expensive shocks


I won’t go into too much technical detail but this shock is buttery smooth and allows for limitless adjustability. I initially was a bit scared about the complexity of this shock but the base tune/fit guide on canecreek.com made setting up the shock a breeze. I does take some time and requires a couple of rides to get that perfect tune but once that is found then you are left with a very impressive shock. No matter how much abuse, brake bumps, flat landings you throw at this thing it just eat everything up. My Double Barrel is currently on a 2013 Specialized and it works perfectly together. Before owning this shock I was a very “set and forget” rider but this shock has me doing a bit more tinkering when the terrain changes and I think this is for the better as now I can get the most out of the shock depending on the environment being ridden. In regards to adjustability you have your high speed and low speed compression along with high speed and low speed rebound, which really allows you to get a custom tune for your bike and riding style.

One other great thing I also noticed that with this shock on the bike I find myself more stable on the trails, meaning that I can track significantly better, the shock seems to just stick to the trail. Overall I would very much recommend this product, although it is very expensive it does do its job very well.

Lastly, one additional item I like about this shock is that it comes with a little tool that helps with adjusting all the knobs but also will help when you get dirt and gunk on the shock body, the tool helps to adjust the ring and the spring. This is a huge help as all my other shocks seem to seize up and then require a lot of effort to adjust the spring/ring.

This product has 2 reviews

Added a product review for Specialized Demo 8 Frame 9/3/2013 5:41 PM

Fast and Fun DH Frame that Just Goes


The Good: Stiff, fast frame that just loves to go

The Bad: Press fit bottom bracket


I am really impressed with the quality of this frame, the first thing I noticed when I sat on the Demo was how stiff it was and how well it keeps its momentum, even in the parking lot as soon as you put the cranks down it just speeds up and wants to keep on going. The welds are beautiful and comparable to some of the high-end boutique bikes. Access to the shock is very good, so when on the trail adjustments are required it results in a very fast and easy process. When you need to remove or insert the shock back into the frame it is a very easy procedure as well. I am riding a small and find the frame perfect for me ( I am five foot ten and prefer smaller frames), the low top tube is very noticeable and favorable.

The ride: Overall a couple of words come to mind when speaking about the Demo’s ride quality, speed and momentum. This thing just loves to go fast and within a couple of first rides I was riding my local trail at a faster speed, this was more so evident in the corners, the bike just seems to convey confidence in the corners. It also seems to carry its speed out of turns and bumps, no matter what you throw at it, the bike just accelerates.

I remember reading reviews about the Demo and everyone raved about how well it corners, I can now say this is absolutely true. This thing just loves to corner, it somehow allows you to enter in corners faster as well as accelerate out of them at top speed, the bike just seems to carry its momentum very well. I assume this is due to the angles and the short chain stays, so far I am a big fan of this.

In regards to jumping the bike feels really good in the air, it pops really well and stays stable in the air. Landings are very smooth and confident. The bottom bracket height although noticeable being very low, I haven’t had any issues and haven’t hit the cranks/pedals, but I’ve definitely noticed the benefits of the low BB height.

Pivots are solid and provide a very smooth ride in all conditions. In regards to the price the frame comes in at about $2600 that includes a Cane Creek Double Barrel and headset and seatpost which is a pretty good deal for a frame of this caliber. Another cool thing are the bolts that hold the brake and derailleur cables, this is a very simple solution and keeps the cables tidy.

One thing to note is that this frame is a press fit bottom bracket; this means you will require a bottom bracket adapter in order to get most cranks into the frame.

This product has 2 reviews

Added a product review for ODI Troy Lee Designs Lock On Grip 9/3/2013 3:43 PM

Comfortable and grippy


The Good: Grippy and comfortable

The Bad: Tad expensive


After a season of riding fairly thin grips I decided to switch over to something a bit thicker and try the ODI TLD grips. Although these aren’t too thick they seem to be a happy medium between thin and thick grips.

These are now one of my favorite grips, they feel great and overall they are very comfortable. The little knobs on the grips feel comfy and provide great traction; this is even more evident when riding without gloves. I initially thought that the design on the grips didn’t have any purpose but now I see that the design and the little grooves in the grips are specifically designed to offer great comfort and grip. I’ve used them in dusty condition and also in the wet and in both environments they grip well and I have had no issues.  I would strongly recommend these grips.

This product has 6 reviews

Added a comment about feature Win a RockShox BoXXer World Cup & Vivid Rear Shock - Vital OTB 2013 World Champs 8/30/2013 8:13 PM

Steve smith - 3:53:00
Rachel atherton - 4:32:00

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Added a comment about feature Win a RockShox Vivid Rear Shock & Reverb Seatpost - Vital OTB Mont Sainte Anne 8/9/2013 8:56 PM

Steve smith - 4:00:00
Rachel atherton 4:39:00

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This feature has 406 comments.

Added a comment about feature Win a RockShox Vivid Rear Shock - Vital OTB Andorra 7/26/2013 7:49 AM

Sam Hill - 4:17:30
Rachel Atherton - 5:02:00

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This feature has 324 comments.

Started new thread Shimano Saint lifespan question 7/22/2013 10:09 AM

Hi, I am currently running 2009 Shimano Saint brakes and they have worked great the past couple of years but this season each time that I replace the pads/bleed the brakes they don't seem to work as good as they used to. I am just wondering if brakes ... more »

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Added a comment about feature Win a RockShox Vivid Rear Shock - Vital OTB Val di Sole 6/14/2013 6:59 AM

Steve Smith - 3:14:00
Rachel Atherton - 3:49:00

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This feature has 498 comments.