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Fly Racing Freestone Helmet

Vital Review

“Tested: Fly Racing Freestone Helmet”

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by Nick Zuzelski With today's all-capable, aggressive trail bikes, it is becoming more common to leave the DH bike back at home while getting our adrenaline fix on similar terrain at high speeds with these shorter travel steeds and open face helmets. For your head, this means you should probably be looking to maximize the amount of protection offered by your trail lid, as a simple XC helmet may easily be overwhelmed in case of a big crash. Fly Racing has recently entered the MTB game and have now brought the Freestone helmet to the table. Lightweight and breathable, with a long list of features like extended Read More »

Five Ten Impact VXi Clipless Shoe

Vital Review

“Tested: Five Ten Impact VXi Clipless Shoe”

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by Nick Ducharme Five Ten are just about the most popular DH and trail mountain bike shoes for platform pedals. Their Mi6 Stealth Rubber (designed to help rock climbers walk up vertical surfaces, I believe) claims to hold your platform pedals like a clip in shoe/pedal system or like you holding your thunder buddy during a lightning storm. Well for those of us that appreciate actually being clipped in, Five Ten offers the Impact VXi Clipless shoe as seen on the fast feet of World Cup hero, Greg Minnaar. This newest shoe worn by the course scorching South African claims lighter weight, better fit, more protection and Read More »

X-Fusion Vengeance HLR Fork

“out for revenge”

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The Good: stiffness, 20mm axle, smoothness

The Bad: weight and color options

Overall Review: This has all the benefits of the fox 36 but has the hold up from the dive. Stiffness is there, the 20mm axle everyone seems love but i did find the fork was a little porky. Personally I dont mind that i had to use an allen wrench to loosen the fork when needed but I only had to take it off a couple of times in one whole season (early April - later October) being that I ran a tubless set up with no hiccups. I did rebuild the fork once to and that was a breeze. This fork could use some more color choices but they are on the right track. I rode this in Utah where we have terrain from rock like Moab to smooth hard pack dirt up north. It holds up well and felt great in the rooty and loose stuff to.

RockShox Pike RCT3 Fork

“rock the shox pike”

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The Good: weight, color, abilities, damper, stiffness

The Bad: could offer a 20mm version or conversion with future models

Overall Review: I have read and read and read about this fork and finally got a chance to test all the greatness, praise or whatever kudos someone gives it on my own. First thing i noticed is how this thing does what is supposed to and that was eat up the real world terrain. I rode this from smooth to loose trials here in Utah. I then took it for a spin in some chunder woods again it ate it up. This was the solo I was riding with and the stiffness was fine imo. Yeah a 20mm can be that much more of a benefit to some at a small weight loss so why not offer it to the crow that wants it. As the review states it holds through turns, burms and Read More »

Avid X0 Trail Hydraulic Disc Brake Set

“its like an ex-gf”

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The Good: if its the only thing you know they are good

The Bad: once you try others you will want to switch

Overall Review: When owning these they seemed like they work just fine, the longer levers were cool and the match making system was simple. Well that was all fine and dandy but once you start a new relationship you look back and say ehh. These brakes did the job with the common braking and modulation you hear about. In my experience they seemed to fade, not all to easy to maintenance and they were temperamental. They were light enough and the 4 piston is a positive as to where people rock these on their trail bikes but imo there are far better brakes out there. I personally prefer shimano and now have 4 other friends that jumped Read More »

Easton Havoc Carbon Bars

“wreaking havoc”

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The Good: light, stiff, ok price

The Bad: wish there were more width options

Overall Review: I tried these and the 750 sounds wide but I have long goofy arms so I felt they could offer more lengths since my preferred is 780 min. However; these are some great bars at a decent price for carbon. They are stiff, wide for most people, easton quality = durability. They grip well to the stem with no turning and the lock on grips did not slide or turn. I would suggest giving these a try if  you want more turning stability if you have anything narrower or looking to shed a few grams from aluminum. I have now gone to answer pro taper carbons for the width but these are great bars still.

Easton Haven Stem

“one stiff stem”

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The Good: light enough, good looking, quality

The Bad: more color options needed

Overall Review: I bought this at the end of last season in the all black 55mm and it is a perfect size. This thing is stiff, hasnt moved yet, holds my carbon bars with carbon past crap with no movement and light weight enough. It comes in multiple sizes so you should be able to find the length you like. Easy to install as well.

RockShox Boxxer R2C2 Fork

“rock the shox with a boxxer r2c2”

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The Good: rockshox quality, easy maintenance, adjust-ability

The Bad: can chunder a little bit

Overall Review: This fork has been smooth from day 1. I got this used off of ebay and the lowers came bent (how the hell he bent those I dont know) so aside from putting new lowers on ...this thing has been awesome. After using some of rockshox starting points from their manual and adjusting a few clicks here and there this fork has been buttery smooth with minimal maintenance. It has the small bump sensitivity w/o the dive on the mid stroke. The way I have it set up currently with my demo it just eats up the terrain which includes some loose to hard pack dirt with some rock gardens. I like all the adjustments I can do to Read More »

Specialized Demo 8 Frame

“downhill demo-lition”

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The Good: price, durability, bb height, chainstay, geo

The Bad: so many working parts

Overall Review: Being this is my first and only dh bike im not going to try and compare it to others. I have had this frame for 2 seasons now and it is has held up to all the hype IMO. I do not have the carbon version for a good reason because I knew I would take a few spills and plus I knew i was going to ride it until the wheels fell off. I have ridden this bike through rain, chunder and sunshine and it has been flawless. The suspension set up makes it easy to pedal for a dh rig on some of the flat spots if your trying to crank and get that KOM. The rear end and geo of the bike make it easy to jump and keep speed. I did notice the Read More »

Shimano XTR Trail BR-M988 Disc Brake

“best brakes ever”

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The Good: power, 1 finger ease, lever feel, weight, look

The Bad: absolutely nothing

Overall Review: IMO the best brakes money can buy for your mountain/trail riding rig. Some people dont like how they feel on/off when you pull the lever but they are just used to not stopping. I have rode various types of brakes from X0's, Hopes, V-brakes (haha), X9's, etc and these are simply they most reliable, easy to service, and not to harsh on the wallet. I will be willing to try different brakes on other peoples bikes but on mine you will only find shimano. These are consistent through desert high heat, mtn snow low heat, rainy day mud rides you name it. Once you learn how to use these brakes with the Read More »