Latest Product Reviews


Chromag Ranger Stem

“Have money? Give it to Chromag.”


The Good:

Stiff, solid finish, variety of lengths, looks solid.

The Bad:

35mm? Probably in the near future

Overall Review: Got one for my Rune when I was trying to save weight without compromising on performance. Holy cow! The guys at Chromag hit the nail on the head. I have the 45mm in red. I was going to get a Thomson stem but I'm glad I didn't. This thing keeps my bars close in a light package. The quality is excellent so i'm never worry about anything going wrong. The company does a kick ass job with their service too. I bought a saddle from them directly and USPS lost it. I shit them an email and BOOM they had one to me in 3 days with a boarder crossing. Most companies wouldn't probably get back to me in the time it took these guys to get me a new saddle. Hard to beat that kind of attention.
Rate review: +2 Up Down
Vital MTB member ryan_daugherty
97 ryan_daugherty,97/all 08/01/09 3 99 24,97/setup 5 52 312 21

Straitline SSC Stem

“Best 35mm Stem Out There!”


The Good:

Strong, light, clamps on solid, slides on steerer tube without any resistance, many colors available, looks good.

The Bad:

The 2 bolts that clamp the stem to the steerer tube have rusted on mine.

Overall Review: This is one of the best stems I've used. I basically installed it and never had to even think about it again. I like short stems, so the 35mm option is why I got this one (I had a Thomson 50mm that was great also, just too long for my liking). The only issue is the rust on the inside of the two steerer clamp hex bolts, but it doesn't concern me (just figured I'd note it here). I'd highly recommend this stem, mine has lasted years and is still going strong. Actually, I'd recommend all Straitline products, I have the De Facto pedals too and they're as solid as this stem!
Rate review: +1 Up Down
Vital MTB member Boyk1182
20777 Boyk1182 /images/default/avatar/c50.png,20777/all 01/06/13,20777/setup 1

Renthal Strata Duo MTB Stem

“Renthal stem review”


The Good:

Light, stiff, design, quality

The Bad:

None after 3 years

Overall Review: Been rocking this stem for three years now and i still have nothing bad to say about it. It is a nicely engineered two piece design with all excess material removed to bring it's weight down to 150grams with the bolts. As stiff as some other brands big blocky stems that weight 250g. It is very easy to remove and put back since you don't have to disassemble it to remove from the fork steerer. The price is a bit steep but you get the proven Renthal quality and a component that gonna follow you on more than one bike build. By the way, Thompson stems are highly overrated...
Rate review: +1 Up Down
Vital MTB member Jeff Dube
12261 Jeff Dube,12261/all 12/17/11,12261/setup 5 1

Black Market Underboss Stem

“Sweet Stem!!”


The Good:

Rise and Length are spot on! Graphics are legit!

The Bad:

The bolts are weak, damaged 2 of them in a nasty crash!

Overall Review: The Blk Mrkt Underboss Stem is a good stem for it's price, maybe not the lightest nor the best, but it's good looking and cheap! Will do the job if your not a weight weenie and if you're on a budget!
Rate review: 0 Up Down
Vital MTB member Paking
3320 Paking,3320/all 07/06/10 5 3

Troy Lee Designs Ace Shorts

Vital Review

“Tested: Troy Lee Designs Ace Shorts”

Review by Joe Schneider // Action photos by Shawn Spomer and Brandon Turman As trail bikes become more popular, many people from all sides of the sport are upgrading their daily ride to one of these pedal friendly, downhill capable machines. Troy Lee Designs answered the calling from these people who want that classic TLD style in a pedal-able package with the Ace Shorts. Ace Short Highlights 90% Polyester, 10% Spandex material Full waist and hip height adjustment using TPR adjusters Pedal friendly inner side pockets with revered zippers Permanent crotch ventilation via welded intake and exit vents Read More »
Rate review: 0 Up Down
Vital MTB member SchneiderTrucking
22113 SchneiderTrucking,22113/all 02/15/13 4 7

DT Swiss FX 1950 Tricon 26" Wheelset

Vital Review

“Tested: DT Swiss Tricon FX1950 Wheelset”

by AJ Barlas Wheels. The simple round devices that bring so much joy into many of our lives. It doesn't really matter how light, what size, material, or even whether they're perfectly round, so long as they allow us to rally down the trail with a grin on our faces most are none the wiser! Most. At some point just having hoops that work becomes the need for hoops that are in a certain weight range and can withstand a large degree of punishment. We all have, or will, arrive at one or more of these conclusions some day, but the most important element is what advantage they garner over the terrain and the Read More »
Rate review: +2 Up Down

e*thirteen TRS Race Cranks

Vital Review

“Tested: e*thirteen TRSr Cranks - Refined and Reliable”

by Lee Trumpore e*thirteen has embraced the rising popularity of all-mountain bikes and enduro racing by designing components specifically for the unique needs of each. With the TRSr crankset (short for TRS Race) they’ve taken this a step further by eliminating a traditional triple-ring setup and spider in favor of a unique one piece, interchangeable one or two-ring design. TRSr Crank Highlights Spiderless chainrings shave grams and efficiently transfer power Uses integrated Guidering that can be interchanged with other single or integrated shift rings Exalite R forged material Single ring: 28, 30, 32, 34, 36-tooth options Read More »
Rate review: +4 Up Down
Vital MTB member general lee
957 general lee,957/all 09/27/09 223 14,957/setup 64 247 21

Santa Cruz Blur TR Carbon Frame

Vital Review

“Long Term Test: Santa Cruz Blur TRc”

by AJ Barlas At a time when the majority of industry chatter is around 'new' wheel sizes, frame materials and Enduro - testing anything that doesn't check all the appropriate boxes can result in it appearing a little lackluster and obsolete. Thankfully I'm not really one to concern myself with the rumor mill and e-spec too much, at least not without looking deeper into the product being speculated about before forming my own opinion. Nevertheless, everything I had discussed and heard from trusted, respected riding buds and others regarding the Santa Cruz Blur 4x left me very intrigued to throw a leg over the updated and more Read More »
Rate review: +5 Up Down
Vital MTB member ardor
19406 ardor,19406/all 10/30/12 5 3 312 4,19406/setup 2 24 1 92 31 4

Atlas Crank Neck Brace

Vital Review

“Tested: Atlas Crank Brace - Protect Your Neck!”

Review by Sean "Griz" McClendon // Action photos by Ian Collins Designed and developed in Canada by Brady Sharron and his father Rick, the Atlas line of neck braces launched in Spring 2012. Built for the rider looking to protect their neck, Atlas offers six variations of their neck brace including the cycling specific Crank brace. We’ve noticed top MX racers Ryan Villopoto, Jake Weimer, and Jeremy McGrath using Atlas braces and that got us excited to test the Crank brace. At $330 it offers a wide range of adjustability and is of a competitive weight. Let’s put the Atlas Crank brace to the test... A Word On Neck Braces Neck Read More »
Rate review: +1 Up Down
Vital MTB member 26griz
258 26griz,258/all 08/02/09 3 1 15 18 1 88 10

Crank Brothers Mallet DH/Race Clipless Pedals

Vital Review

“Tested: Crank Brothers Mallet DH/Race Pedals”

by Noah Sears It's no secret that Crank Brothers products have a reputation for emphasizing style over longevity, so when the new Mallet DH/Race pedals arrived in the mail I was excited yet skeptical. They looked great, but would they perform? The Mallet DH/Race pedals debuted early this year to much fanfare, and were seen throughout the 2012 season on a number of World Cup race bikes. The original Mallets built a legion of followers, but each generation since has been less and less heralded. In their most recent variant Crank Brothers utilized a half polycarbonate two-piece design and a much smaller Read More »
Rate review: 0 Up Down
Vital MTB member NoahColorado
128 NoahColorado,128/all 08/01/09 1 3 364 29,128/setup 4 96 403 6