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2014 Specialized Epic Expert Carbon World Cup Bike

“Great bike but not the WOW factor I keep hearing”

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The Good: Climbs like a rabid billy goat and honks in the flats.

The Bad: The fork is definitely not my friend. Not a very happy bike in long technical downhill sections in courses.

Overall Review: Overall a good bike. Climbs like a billy goat and probably the best thing about it compared to the other bikes I have raced/ridden over the years, the newer rear Brain is different from other Brains I have had in that over roots etc in the trail it doesn't release as drastic and give you that "flat tire feel" as if you just hit a rim but overall a pretty rough riding rig and get some rear wheel hopping in fast chattery descents. The head angle is a bit more aggressive and if someone is used to the older Epics you will over-steer coming out of hair pin turns until you get used to it after a ride or two. Read More »

SR Suntour Aion Fork

Vital Review

“Tested: SR Suntour Aion RC Fork”

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The 160mm fork market has certainly been heating up over the last few years, and there is an array of impressive top-of-the-line options available from all of the major suspension players. SR Suntour has also made serious progress during this time, its flagship Auron fork a prime example. The Aion is a mid-market offering aimed at riders looking for a complete package at a lower price point, and curious to see how this would compare to the current cream of the crop, we set out to find out. SR Suntour Aion RC Highlights Travel: 150 or 160mm (ships in 160mm setting) Wheel size: 27.5 and 29-inch only Adjustments: Low speed Read More »

Fox Racing Flux

“it's ok...”

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The Good: fits well l/xl does its job I guess

The Bad: 1 endo and the helmet was toast

Overall Review: For a 100 dollar helmet I thought the quality would be a lot better. When I got the helmet, I noticed that some of the plastic pieces that hold the straps in place were popped out. I attempted to pop them back in only to find that they were broken and would not stay in place....No big deal, I wanted to ride. Every time I pull the helmet out for a ride, the stupid pads that are velcroed in fall out, its annoying. I took one spill and now the helmet has a huge dent in it and is useless....I would not recommend this helmet, spend the extra 50 dollars and get a TLD

2015 Giant Reign 27.5 1

“Surprising All Rounder ”

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The Good: Excellent descender, surprisingly capable climber, excellent performing build kit, tubeless kit included, proper large sizing

The Bad: Cost is relatively high for alloy frame and X1, some flex from separate upper maestro links, some noises and creaks

Overall Review: I've had my Reign 1 for around 3 months now, and the bike continues to get better as I continue riding it. It's so good on the downhills my Demo 8 is for sale, and it climbs as well as many smaller trail bikes I've ridden. The Pike dual position air I've found to be a great asset, as with the fork in 130mm mode the bike feels like a much more aggressive trail bike making getting round feel much more natural, and extended climbs much easier. On the descentsyou canforget aboutfinding theeasiest line choice and instead plow throughthe harshest yet most direct route. The sizing would seem quite large, and the top tube figures are Read More »

Leatt 3DF AirFlex Knee Guard

Vital Review

“Tested: Leatt 3D Airflex Knee Guard”

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Review by Lee Trumpore // Photos by Lee Trumpore and Emily Scott Once upon a time armoring up for a mountain bike ride meant either dressing up as a ninja-turtle or just wearing long sleeves. If you're either too young or too new to the sport to remember those days, trust me, you aren't missing much. It's a good time to be a mountainbiker. In addition to several wheel sizes and a half dozen axle standards there are multiple options for just about everything, from the gear you keep in the garage to the gear you hang in your closet (and if you're anything like me, the gear you scatter around the house Read More »

2015 Mondraker Foxy Carbon RR

Vital Review

“2015 Test Sessions: Mondraker Foxy Carbon RR”

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Reviewed by AJ Barlas and Dylan Stucki // Photos by Lear Miller After three years of development, Mondraker's first foray into a bike with fantastic plastic has arrived in the form of the Foxy Carbon, a 140mm travel trail machine. The Foxy comes in a lightweight package and features the now dominant 27.5-inch wheel size. Mondraker bikes are renowned for having some of the most unique geometry, and the new ride is no exception. We got to know the modern looking Spanish creation during the 2015 Vital MTB Test Sessions. Highlights Carbon frame 27.5-inch wheels 140mm (5.5-inches) of rear wheel travel // 140mm (5.5-inches) Read More »

Canfield Brothers Balance Frame

Vital Review

“2015 Test Sessions: Canfield Balance”

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Reviewed by Steve Wentz and Brandon Turman // Photos by Lear Miller For 2015, the Canfield Brothers are bringing you the culmination of their last 10 years of trail bikes. The Balance is a 160mm slayer designed to do it all, integrating ideas from both their downhill and former 180mm travel "The One" bikes. With a build and suspension design oriented to provide maximum fun, we couldn't wait to throw a leg over it at the Vital MTB Test Sessions. The beautifully welded aluminum frame can run 26 or 27.5-inch wheels, and looks to be a beast when pointed down. A Cane Creek DBair CS shock and slack head angle point towards Read More »

2015 Specialized P.3 Bike

“Great Bike ”

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The Good: Everything about this bike is great! I love how you can change how much compression you want while you ride it. My other bike you couldn't change that at all.

The Bad: I would change the pedals personally because I don' like plastic pedals. My feet slip easier

Overall Review: There is nothing wrong with this bike besides the pedals. I would recomend it. If you Live in North OC, go to BikeLand Cypress it is only $1210 there plus tax.

2015 Specialized Women's Rumor Expert EVO 29

Vital Review

“2015 Test Sessions: Specialized Rumor Expert EVO 29”

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Reviewed by Courtney Steen and Amanda Wentz // Photos by Lear Miller The sun is rising over the the gorgeous green hills in San Luis Obispo, the Vital MTB Test Sessions house smells of espresso and bacon, and it's time to test out another bike. Oh yes. For us lady testers, Specialized sent their Rumor Expert EVO 29er - a bike they boldly claim is the "ultimate women's full-suspension trail bike." We imagine if Batgirl rode mountain bikes, she would probably be on something dark like this murdered out M5 alloy bike with big ol' 29-inch wagon wheels, 120mm travel in the front and rear, and a design specially Read More »

2015 Cannondale Jekyll 27.5 Carbon Team

“Destroys Trails up and down”

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The Good: Is the best cornering bike I have ever ridden, Very comfortable cockpit. Inspires confidence

The Bad: Needs a seat dropper with longer travel than 120mm. The Magura brakes are very powerful. too powerful for my taste

Overall Review: Whoever wrote that review is absolutely nuts! I sold my brand new 2015 Nomad after riding this bike1x . It is a great all mountain bike. Very refined and unique. The bike does not feel "tall".Its nice not to mash pedals against rocks and flip off of your bike. I cant wait to race the bike this season.