- Bike Checks
Looking back at a month of mountain biking, it's hard to believe what all went down in just 30 days. Trade shows, World Champs, World Cup finals, Nine Knights - the list is almost too much to handle. That's exactly why we have Best of Vital! Every month we round up the good, the bad, and sometimes a little ugly for you in one convenient place. Go find a quiet corner and check out the best-of-the-best mountain bike content on the web - Best of Vital!
Just when you thought our RAW edits couldn't ever get any wilder, along came Joe Bowman and Adam Brayton to rewrite the rules for what is possible on a mountain bike. Whatever you do, don't try this at home.
There was a certain feeling of inevitability around the end of the 2013 DH World Cup season. While Gee Atherton seemed unbeatable earlier in the year, it was Stevie Smith who came into Leogang with the wind in his sails. A few days, and one very memorable run later, he would lift both the race winner's trophy and the overall World Cup award - although he was reduced to a mere honorable mentioned in the local mustache wars. Something to look back on for motivation during those long off-season days of training...
A few weeks after Eurobike shut its doors, the bike industry packed its bags and headed to Las Vegas. After baking the journalists in the sun at the Outdoor Demo in Bootleg Canyon for a couple of days, the show moved indoors to the swanky halls of Mandalay Bay and laid on enough bling to put Sin City itself to shame. Catch all the latest trends, the hottest products, and a couple of items we sincerely hope got lost somewhere in the Nevada desert right HERE.
What's the point of all that suspension if you're not gonna use it? Take a leaf out of the Pros' book and give 'er hell next time - maybe you'll make it into one of our G-Out Project galleries like this one from the Hafjell World Cup.
Sluggish and awkward wagon wheelers are a thing of the past - today's 29er is a fun and confidence-inspiring platform that would suit many trail riders to a tee. We rode the Niner RIP 9 for a couple of months and had a blast!
Tires being pinched by the rocks or searching for grip in the dirt, spokes ringing after the hits, and Mick Hannah doubling up in the rock garden like a savage - this is RAW.
No, not deja vu, just Stevie Smith winning again aboard his Devinci Wilson Carbon. Mud and rain did little to slow down the flying Canadian, who a few weeks after this win in Hafjell would go on to claim his third World Cup win of the season (the 4th of his career), as well as the overall World Cup title in Leogang. Drink it down to the last drop buddy!
We don't feature all that much XC on Vital, but World Champs was a great opportunity to broaden our usual horizons a little - and looking back at the coverage we're sure glad we did. Epic slideshow from an epic course (industry insider info: there were more rockgardens on the XC course than on the actual DH course in Pietermaritzburg).
We have been huge fans of Jared Graves' fresh and candid Race Journals throughout the Enduro World Series season - and we were to be treated to something really special from World Champs DH. Relive Jared's incredible South African adventure in his own words, against a backdrop of great photography. It's almost like you were there!
OK, so technically, the World Champs took place in August - but we published the slide show from finals on September 1. Besides, you don't really need much of a special reason to check this one out again, do you? Goosebumps guaranteed as local boy Greg Minnaar overcomes insurmountable pressure to claim the rainbow stripes in front of his home crowd.
We love a well thought-out build that serves a purpose. This Trek Session is by no means the lightest build possible, but at 32 lb 11.8 oz (or 14850 grams), it's still eminently bashable and race worthy. Want more bike porn? All the Bike Checks are HERE, and if you didn't share your bike yet - add it HERE.
It's always a treat to explore the people and the processes behind the incredible bikes we sometimes take for granted. Noel Buckley, owner and designer of Knolly Bikes talks about the journey of the Podium - sharing technical features and his thoughts on the design and the future of the brand. Insightful and rad.
Cam McCaul, Sam Pilgrim, Chad Kagy, Kelly McGarry, and Kurt Sorge explore the South Island of New Zealand on the ultimate mountain biking road trip. Check out their adventures in the video below, or head over to the full feature to enjoy it together with a little extra photographic gold from Vital's own Sven Martin as well.
Sifting through all the great photos that our contributors and members submit to the site we get to virtually transport ourselves to the world's sickest riding spots on a daily basis. This sweet shot of Dane Olsen boosting the hip at Helderberg in South Africa is just one example. It was our Daily Shot on September 3!
Totally awesome stuff we found on the internet...
Nine Knights is a contest like none other. Riders get to spend a week riding a massive but perfectly dialed course, with the focus more on progression sessions than on the actual contest part. The event also typically produces absolutely spectacular photography and film coverage - 2013 was no different.
Four amigos from Argentina get it wrong in Chatel. This is the kind of bail you're happy to more or less walk away from! Cast in the order of disappearance: Juan Cruz Paez, Sebastian Gomez Lassalle, Javier Santiago, and Benjamin Gomez Lassalle.
Chris Akrigg is most definitely back, and riding like he never had any time off the bike in his life. There are mind-blowing tricks and skills in many edits, but none with the flow and style of Akrigg. Truly unique, and truly a treat to watch each time (and we STILL can't quite figure out why he didn't fall off that branch...)!
Even your Mom probably wouldn't have the nerve to say "I told you so" after some of these. But you know she'd be thinking it.
The ShapeRideShoot crew shreds hard and they have the edits to prove it. Big bike schralping at its very best. Yeow!
In summer 2011, Outdoor Research athlete Kyle Dempster took off on his bike across Kyrgyzstan with a couple mostly-accurate maps, a trailer full of climbing gear, and a vocabulary of 10 Kyrgyz words. He spent two months pedaling and pushing the bike more than 1200km on roads of variable states of neglect, wading through wild rivers, dealing with corrupt military checkpoint staff, and soloing a handful of unclimbed alpine rock and mixed routes. He recorded the journey, his camera his only partner, friend, and sometimes the only receiving end of his conversations for days at a time. Be warned, you are going to feel the need for adventure after watching this one!
When it came time for Thomas Vanderham, Brett Tippie, Geoff Gulevich, Wade Simmons, and Andreas Hestler to chose their next riding trip destination, they opted for a "staycation" - exploring the trails of Vancouver Island, right on their doorstep. After watching this, who would blame them??? When can we go?