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Teva Links Mid Shoes

Vital Review

“Tested: Teva Links Mid Shoes, A Worthy Flat Pedal Prospect”

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by Brandon Turman Just a few years ago the options for a good flat pedal shoe were very limited. Edit that, there was only one real option. Since then a handful of companies entered the market and we're now lucky to have several options to choose from. Teva came out swinging when they introduced the Links shoes last year - they were bold, they were bright, and they were designed in collaboration with one of our sport's greats, Jeff Lenosky. Just one year later they're quickly expanding their mountain bike lineup to meet the needs of nearly every rider - whether something dedicated to the ride or something casual to Read More »

Banshee Bikes Wildcard Frame

Featured Review

“I am in love with this bike.”

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The Good: Extremely versatile, relatively light, suspension is well-tuned, very stiff, did I mention versatile?

The Bad: In the short travel mode, the suspension isn't as lively as it could be. Also in the 5'' travel mode, the frame feels more slack, (harder to manual and bunnyhop,) which is kind of backwards.

Overall Review: Where do I start? First of all, the Wildcard has two travel modes. (127 and 165mm)This feature is esstially what makes this bike so versatile. The frame is built around anywhere from a 5 to a 7'' travel fork. The frame also has ISCG 05 tabs, and 1.5'' headtube, and front derailleur routing. My personal setup includes a Fox DHX air shock,Fox Talas 36 fork,Mavic Crossmax SX wheels, and a1x8 drivetrain.The suspension, wheels, and drivetrain that you choose willhave a higher-than-average influence on the bike. Let's start with suspension: I believe that an air shock is the best fit for this frame, The versatility, light Read More »

Kenda Blue Groove Tire

“Good All Around Tire”

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The Good: Grips well on the descents and the ascents. (Though it's better on the descents.) Excellent transitional grip with no lapses in traction. Directional ramped pattern rolls reasonably fast for a bulky tire. Adequate on many types of terrain.

The Bad: Not an excellent mud shedder, Not a very fast roller.

Overall Review: The blue groove is a unsung hero in Kenda's lineup. I haven't seen it on many bikes, which is odd considering the good performance it provides. I've ridden it in bike parks, where it provides ample grip and no squirming or loss of traction. I've also employed it on trail rides, where it dug into loose soil and never slipped on off-camber roots. With that being said, I've also ridden it on hardpack, where it provided good traction whilst being leaned into berms. However, the bulky tread pattern is noticabely slow on hardpack terrain. This tire also excels in mostly dry or slightly wet conditions, as it doesn't shed mud as Read More »

RockShox Totem RC2 DH Coil Fork

“This is My Second Season on a DH Totem.”

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The Good: Bottomless Travel, Super Stiff, Trust This thing 100%

The Bad: Not quite as plush as Fox, some stiction.

Overall Review: I've used this fork at Highland MTB Park, East Burke, Local Freeride trails. Point and shoot, stiffest single I've ever ridden. Gets a little stiction, but with a little Silicone spray on the stantions she gets smooth and Buttery. High and Low speed compression knobs are easy to turn even while riding and between the two adujustments you can make this fork super stiff or plush. I don't use the lock-out, even when riding uphill. Great Fork!

Panaracer Fire Pro Tire

Featured Review

“Surprisingly useful for the price”

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The Good: Usable traction combined with good rolling speed and durability, and less than half the cost of most other tires

The Bad: Doesn't have the cornering ability to be used as a dependable front tire

Overall Review: If you're on a budget and you need to keep your bike rolling, the Panaracer Fire tire is a surprisingly decent option as a rear tire. No, it won't work quite as well as more expensive, refined tires, but if you're not racing and you just need to hit the trails without breaking the bank, it will do the job. While it doesn't have the cornering blocks necessary to hold its own as a front tire, it's fine when used in the back. It's a little narrow for aggressive all-mountain riding, but for riders who frequent fast singletrack more than big drops and rocky chutes, it works okay. Not spectacular, but well enough that you Read More »

ODI Ruffian Lock-On Grips

“ODI Ruffian Grips”

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The Good: 1. Very thin 2. No grip movement 3. Grippy

The Bad: Not so cheap

Overall Review: I am a huge fan of ODI grips. Buy a bike, get ODI's. I recently reviewedthe ODI TLD grips and had nothing but good things to say. Those are great for me but these are a toughcompetitor. This review will mainly be a compare/ contrast between the two. The TLD lock on grips are great for riders with larger hands cause they are wider than these. In my opinion, the TLD's are morecomfortabledue to the flanges and the rampedtexturebut I'm sure I'll get some hate for that. If the Ruffians had flanges (apart from the BMX model which don't play well with shifters), they would be the best grips ever. The locking system is pretty much the Read More »

2012 Kona Entourage Deluxe Bike

Featured Review

“Shred-sled”

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The Good: Solid and versatile with a good overall component spec. Easy to maintain. Predictable and flick-able.

The Bad: One of my best friends wants to beat me up and take mine from me. Otherwise, just little nit-picky things that are just my biased opinion.

Overall Review: I purchased mine a little over a couple of months ago, although I was originally planning on getting their Supreme Operator model. I had demoed their standard Operator and was impressed, but then I demoed/raced the Entourage and I had big decisions to make - as in, 8" big or 7" big. This guy, weighing in at a burly 145lbs soaking wet, didn't really need a FULL full-squish since I race an average of two races a year - nor am I an aspiring WCer. I do a ton of hike-a-bike, shuttle and even lift-access and tend to not shy away from too many jumps - I'm less concerned about my times than I am about styling the jumps. It just Read More »

ODI Troy Lee Designs Lock On Grip

“look great but too thick for my liking.”

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The Good: they look great

The Bad: too thick made my hands feel numb

Overall Review: I bought these grips for my new bike so everything would be shiny and new but I have quickly swapped back to my old ruffians. The grips look great and provide great grip but they just felt too thick in my hands.  IF you like thick grips then they might be great for you but for those who prefer thinner grips and love ruffians then stay away.

Avid Elixir 5 Disc Brake

“Plenty of power, but poor modulation”

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The Good: Raw stopping power is more than enough for trail riding. Split clamp makes installation easy (no need to remove grips or shifters).

The Bad: Modulation is lacking. Noisy.

Overall Review: These brakes certainly have the power for even the steepest trails. The drawback is that modulation is not on par with Shimano's current offerings. It took me quite a while to find the sweet spot in the lever stroke where I could avoid locking up the rear wheel on steep descents. Once you find it, the brakes work well enough, but they never modulate as well as the Shimano brakes I've ridden recently. If you rely on finessing the brakes delicately to get you through technical sections, you should try Avid's higher-end offerings, or switch to Shimano. That said, they've kept me in control through some gnarly trails, even though they can be a bit noisy under hard braking, and I have confidence in their ability to slow me down in a hurry.

ODI Ruffian Lock-On Grips

Featured Review

“My all-time favorite”

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The Good: Knurled pattern gives great traction in dry or wet conditions. Thin enough to provide a good feel for the bar. Sturdy lock-on collars.

The Bad: Wear quicker than some other options

Overall Review: The often-imitated ODI Ruffian is my favorite grip. The knurled pattern is simple and low-profile, and provides great grip without annoying logos or hard spots. They're thin enough to give you a good connection to the bar and bike, but still take some of the sting out of the ride. Whether the day is hot and dusty or chilly and wet, these grips will give you the traction you need. Many other brands have a similar pattern available, but ODI's lock collars are better than most.