Latest Product Reviews


Royal 2015 Stage Jacket

Vital Review

“Tested: Royal Racing Stage Jacket”

Review by A.J. Barlas // Photography Jon Anthony & A.J. Barlas A riding jacket that works well is a tricky piece of gear to find - both for the consumer looking for the ideal jacket, and the designer developing it. Depending on where you do most of your riding, water repellence, warmth and breath-ability become prerequisites of varying importance, and striking the perfect balance between these attributes is key. In Squamish, we generally need all of the above for a jacket to work well. Our 'off-season' involves plenty of wet, cold rides, with the body working hard enough to really generate some heat. The Royal Stage Read More »
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Vital MTB member ardor
19406 ardor,19406/all 10/30/12 5 3 312 4,19406/setup 2 24 1 92 31 4

2014 Kona Operator Bike

“A solid sled”


The Good:

Great frame and suspension, bike soaks up the terrain with ease.

The Bad:

No direct mount stem, would prefer Minion DHF tires and Zee brakes, USD shock annoying to adjust, wheels are super heavy.

Overall Review: I demoed this bike, I was pretty impressed with the frame, great geometry and graphics, Kona have come a long way even in the last 2-3 years. Other components slightly less impressed, upside down shock was annoying to adjust as as I couldn't see the compression knob properly. The normal stem looked like an ugly cheap option, when there should really be a direct mount stem. I also hate the High Roller 2 tires, seem just far too heavy and squirm around too much. I can't complain about the Code brakes, they work well, but I think they could have matched the Zee cranks with Zee brakes as surely the reliability and maintenance would Read More »
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Vital MTB member ZMC888
6998 ZMC888,6998/all 03/03/11,6998/setup 5 25 59 1

Sun Ringle DJsingle Wheels

Vital Review

“Tested: Sun Ringle DJsingle Wheels”

Review by Cory Tepper // Photos by Emily Peterson and Cory Tepper At a time in the industry where companies are literally trying to re-invent the wheel, I was pleasantly surprised to pull Sun Ringle’s DJsingle wheels out of the box. Intended for the dirt jump/park/street riding crowd, they feature tried and true 3x lacing on high flange hubs with 32 good ole regular j-bend double-butted spokes. As a mechanic this is how I prefer all my wheels - no proprietary funny business, crazy lacing patterns or attempts at weight savings that sacrifice durability, like alloy nipples. The fact that these wheels are blacked out with Read More »
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Vital MTB member
831,831/all 09/11/09 1 2 416 25 2 26 4

2014 Trek Fuel EX 9 29 Bike

“Trek Fuel EX 9 Review ... Swing and a miss”


The Good:

Great build, and very good frame weight as well. If I were to build a bike from frame up, this bike is how I would do it.

The Bad:

The head angle on this trek was a little too steep for my liking

Overall Review: Riding the Trek Fuel EX9 29er The part spec on this thing was amazing, full XT all around, Fox Float front and rear, and at a price just over $4,000, that's a great value. This bike was the first 29er I've ever ridden, and I was immediately surprised on how quickly I became comfortable on it. Riding this bike on smooth single track was a breeze and tons of fun, carrying tons and tons of speed, and cornering quick well. It was quite amazing on how fast this thing could go! Climbing this bike was also great, the bike's monster truck tires allowed me to easily pedals over small loose rocks and larger sized boulders. The overall Read More »
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Vital MTB member Rconroy
2805 Rconroy,2805/all 05/13/10 1 5 20 9

2014 Kona Process 134 Bike

“Kona Process 134 - Its cheap but still pretty good”


The Good:

Overall the bike has awesome features. It boasts great geometry, solid drivetrain and brake selections, Kona has always done an awesome job with picking wide handlebar and short stem combos (and this process has no exception), and last but not least is the addition of a KS Lev Dropper post, which on a build this inexpensive is pretty awesome!

The Bad:

Front Suspension - Man I have got to say that the Rock Shox Sektor fork on this thing was terrible, I felt as if it dove every time I would push the bike into the corners. Trying to compensate for this, I increased the preload air pressure in the fork, without much success.

Overall Review: Riding the Kona 134 This season I have demo-ed quite of few bikes, and this bike was by far the cheapest, and quite possibly the heaviest as well, which made me think that I wasn't really going to like this ride. While that may have been the case, once on the trail I was pleasantly surprised. Climbing on this bike was quite good, and just as efficient as most other bikes on the market. Additionally, that extra weight seemed to go away once moving along. I did notice a bit of pedal feedback pedaling through larger sized rocks, but it wasn't that big of a deal, and many other bikes I've tried out this season have had similar Read More »
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Vital MTB member Rconroy
2805 Rconroy,2805/all 05/13/10 1 5 20 9

2014 Trek Slash 9 27.5

Vital Review

“2014 Test Sessions: Trek Slash 9 27.5”

Reviewed by Brandon Turman // Photos by Shawn Spomer, Lear Miller and Brandon Turman Originally introduced as a replacement to the Trek Scratch Air in 2012, the Slash was born from the desire for a ride that descended like a downhill bike but pedaled up like the well-regarded Remedy. It boasted 160mm of travel, slack geometry, and the ability to plough through pretty much anything. Fast forward to 2014 and the bike has been redesigned from the ground up around the 27.5-inch wheel size. As we soon found out during our 2014 Test Sessions, Trek had much more in mind with their redesign than just the wheels. The new Slash is Read More »
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Vital MTB member bturman
109 bturman,109/all 08/01/09 1133 96 6155 962,109/setup 276 1263 2306 168 41

Maxxis Larsen TT Tire

Featured Member Review

“Awesome rear tire for dry hardpack conditions.”


The Good:

Super fast rolling and great grip in it's intended conditions combined with low weight make it one of my go-to rears when it's dry. Not to mention they can be had for dirt cheap.

The Bad:

The trade off for the fast rolling speed is decreased braking traction as with any similar tire. The braking edge on the center knobs doesn't last as long as some tires given how short and low the knobs are to start with. The range of conditions the tire works well in is rather narrow.

Overall Review: While originally designed for XC racing Maxxis's Larsen TT is also available in a 2.35" with a single-ply casing making it an awesome rear tire for All Mountain or Enduro style riding. It's tightly spaced, ramped center knobs provide awesome traction on hardpack dirt and fixed rock while offering very little rolling resistance. Grip is achieved from having so much surface area in contact with the ground rather than the knobs actually digging into the dirt. Braking traction is comparable to other similar designs although it can suffer when the conditions get "marbley". The tire's light weight is also a major plus, making Read More »
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Vital MTB member wydopen
23902 wydopen,23902/all 04/25/13 1,23902/setup 3 19 92 3

Source Paragon 25L Hydration Pack

Vital Review

“Tested: Source Paragon 25L Hydration Pack”

Review by Johan Hjord // Photos by Johan Hjord and Tal Rozow Source was founded in 1989, and has since built itself into a globally distributed brand specializing in outdoors footwear and hydration systems. Well-known in the general outdoors/adventure market and recognized for its innovative approach to hydration, the company has also recently introduced a line of packs designed specifically for biking. The Paragon 25L is the top of the line option for riders looking for a big pack with all the bells and whistles (there’s actually a whistle!) – we’ve been rocking one for a few months to see how it stacks up in this Read More »
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Vital MTB member iceman2058
94 iceman2058,94/all 08/01/09 762 94 1064 1698,94/setup 56 369 4185 111 29

Spank Tweet Frame

“my Birdy Numb Numb”


The Good:

Really short so excelent flickability but not so short that it feels sketchy like a BMX. The steel tubing is really skinny so it looks top notch, properly pretty frame. the tubes also magnify the clicking of the hub which sounds epic. The steel absorbs small bumps which is great for DJing (compared to the brutality of my last aluminium DJ frame). Integrated headset so I didn't need a headset press.

The Bad:

The paint is a bit soft so brake hose rubs through very easily and quickly.

Overall Review: The Tweet frame is so nice to ride. It is the most fun bike I have ever ridden. from the moment you get on one you feel light and quick because its so small and throwable. It's not a very heavy frame either my whole build weights about 13Kg which is pretty damn good for a DJ bike. They feel really strong too, in landings they feel strong, it's hard to describe but you would be very supprised to feel it give out in a hard landing because it inspires so much confidence in its strength. I would heavily recommend this frame to anyone and would buy another if mine ever dies in the far future.
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Vital MTB member Jordan_Lewis
24043 Jordan_Lewis,24043/all 05/02/13,24043/setup 1 3 1

2011 Specialized P.1 Bike

“Such a Sick bike”


The Good:

awesome feel to it
super strong
looks awsome

The Bad:

rigid fork

Overall Review: such a sick bike for the price! once you get the chance chuck a 100mm dj fork on and it beats those bikes for around 1000 quid
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Vital MTB member BillieCook97
26937 BillieCook97,26937/all 08/16/13,26937/setup 1 1