Latest Product Reviews


Royal 2014 Signature Shorts

Vital Review

“Tested: Royal Racing Signature Short”

by AJ Barlas Up until a few years ago, the majority of the Royal range was aimed at downhill riders, but the range has grown alongside the sport. Their riding short range saw the introduction of the Matrix a couple of years back, then came the Hexlite and MW365, and for 2013 the Esquire and Signature shorts were added to the list—all with a goal of being lightweight, comfortable and functional. The Signature Short is specifically aimed at the Trail rider—the guys (and ladies) that just want to ride bikes, whether it be a shuttle, pedal, hike-a-bike, whatever. The premise for the short is to keep you Read More »

2013 Giant Trance X 29er 0

Vital Review

“2013 Test Sessions: Giant Trance X 29 0”

Reviewed by Steve Wentz, Joe Schneider, and Brandon Turman // Photos by Shawn Spomer and Brandon Turman Dubbed the "Ultimate Trail Bike" and developed in conjunction with super-everything champion Adam Craig, Giant's 2013 Trance X 29er is the latest evolution of the original Trance X trail bike, but re-engineered for 29-inch wheels. The bike grew a little, sprouted bigger wheels, 5-inches of Maestro driven suspension, Giant's OverDrive 2 headtube, and the relatively new Contact Switch adjustable seatpost. With the increased popularity of Enduro races, this bike comes at a time when people are searching for seconds, trying Read More »

Manitou Dorado Pro Downhill Fork

“Racer feel with a freeride package”


The Good:

small bump compliance is amazing. there are so many adjustments so getting it dialed is a snap. SUPER stable on the big hits

The Bad:

honestly nothing

Overall Review: Better than fox rockshox marzocchi and DVO. i have tried all of these extensively and this is truely the best downhill fork ever made.

e*thirteen LG1+ Crank

Vital Review

“Tested: e*thirteen LG1+ Cranks and Guidering”

Review and photos by Johan Hjord e*thirteen is a brand that most people will associate with chain retention systems (aka chainguides), and rightfully so – the original e*thirteen guide and bash combos were certainly among the most innovative designs out there at the time, and could be found on many a bike whether it was at a World Cup race or at weekend warrior basecamp. In 2010, e*thirteen was acquired by and became part of The Hive, a company that was at the time mainly producing cranks. The e*thirteen brand was kept alive, and has since then grown to include not only guides but also cranks, wheels, and pedals. e*thirteen is Read More »

FOX DHX RC4 Rear Shock

“Best Rear Shock I have owned to date!”


The Good:

Easy to tune.
Amazing Damping.

The Bad:

Only that it took me soo long to wake up and buy one.

Overall Review: The Fox DHX RC4 is the third shock that I have run on my current rig. And let me start byapologizingto my bike for not buying this shock right away. Okay, so for the experiences. As soon as I installed it, Ipromptlytook this shock up to one of my favorite trails. The trail has somegnarlyrock sections, with some nice big drops too. Perfect for tuning. I had found and copied the Fox tuning guide for the RC4, and found their instructions and suggestions perfect for helping me quickly and accurately fine tune the settings. After about an hour, I had my rear shock dialed in to perfection. The RC4 takes all the hits I Read More »

RockShox Lyrik RC2DH Solo Air Fork

“Tougher than You think”


The Good:

-Light for 170mm of travel
-Dual flow Rebound
-High and Low speed compression adjust.

The Bad:

-Could be smoother.

Overall Review: I rode my Rockshox Lyrik RC2 DH Solo Air for all of last season. I love to catch air and tackle technical terrain, and took everyopportunityto hit lots of both while tuning in the damping. I did a lot of playing around with setting on this fork, which thankfully is made easier by the little turtle and jack-alope icons. Maybe it's just the way I think, but I found Rockshox's tuning tips to be of little help, so ittook me quite a while to find my settings. Once I found my settings however, I felt a lot more comfortable on the bike. The one thing that i couldn't overcome was the slightly sticky feeling Read More »

2013 Giant Reign 2 Bike

“Truly a do it all bike”


The Good:

Very Pedal efficient Jumps good. Feels like a little DH bike coming down. Drifts surprisingly steady. Comfortable for long climbs. As I ride in Ashland, OR we have a lot of fun descents but they take a lot of work to get up to.

The Bad:

Nothing, This bike is a slayer

Overall Review: Upon purchasing this I immediately changed a few parts out : Chainguide, Straightline Pedals, Shimano XT Brakes, Super Short Stem, Race Face Atlas Freeride Bars (uncut). After riding with these upgrades I have no desire to change out anything else. Even these tires are pretty dope and are predictable. I also ride a 2007 Santa Cruz V10, and I set to replace my 2007 GT iDrive 5 3.0 with this Reign. I still have my V10 but the more I ride this Reign the more I love it. I can pedal all day long and still flick and throw cutties around with the Reign. Super Fun Bike. I am really impressed of the downhill capability this has. Of course Read More »

2013 Commencal Meta SX1

Vital Review

“2013 Test Sessions: Commencal Meta SX 1”

Reviewed by Matt Thompson and Jess Pedersen // Written by Brandon Turman // Photos by Shawn Spomer and Brandon Turman When Commencal first reintroduced the Meta range in 2011, they did so with the aggressive rider in mind. Slack head angles, low bottom brackets, roomier top tubes and a fresh suspension linkage system made the bikes stand out. One year later Commencal pushed things even further down the aggressive path with the Meta SX. Now for 2013, they've refined the bike's parts list once more, making it ready to tackle the gnarliest of descents right out of the box. In fact, with its 66-degree head angle and 160mm of Read More »

Hayes Stroker Ace Hydraulic Disc Brake Set

“Simple and Strong”


The Good:

4-piston calipers. Great power. Lever adjustment.

The Bad:

No modulation. Lacks contact adjustment.

Overall Review: This is the start of my third season with the same Hayes Stroker Ace brakes. Since purchasing them they have run countless miles of downhill trails, jumps and attempts to get some street tricks on. These are the strongest breaks I have run to date, often allowing me to wait until the lastmomentbefore making a quicksqueezeon the lever the achieve my desired speed. These brakes make me feel faster than other breaks I have run. With four pistons, and a large pad, these things are born for long descents. However, the technology of Hayes gravity brakes is falling behind. Almost every other company sells brakes with Read More »

RockShox Totem RC2 DH Solo Air Fork

Featured Review

“Totem - the king of long travel single crowns”


The Good:

Tuneable, Easy to Service, Plush, Stiff, Reliable

The Bad:

Heavy? (hardly...), Expensive

Overall Review: This is the second Totem RC2DH Solo Air I've owned. I loved my last one so much, there was no way I was getting anything else. Here are my thoughts: THE GOOD: Tuneable - This fork has all the adjustments I could ask for, all external so they're easy to use. They improved the external compression adjustments on the current version (I've got a 2012), so they're even easier than previous versions. I can easily turn the knobs with gloves on, so they're easy to dial in during rides. I really appreciated this because this the fork is on my 2012 Giant Faith, and I use that thing for a lot of different types Read More »