Latest Product Reviews


Spank Royala 762 Handlebar

“A solid piece of functional bling”


The Good:

Great bar, good color. Nice sweep, available high rise.

The Bad:

Could be a bit garish on some builds.

Overall Review: This bar has been growing along with fashion over the past few years, 710, 740 and now 762. Personally I like 40-50mm rise and about 730mm wide, so this bar suits me fine. I have an Easton Havoc on another bike and I prefer the stiffness and sweep on the the Spank.

2012 Trek Session 9.9

Vital Review

“Tested: 2012 Trek Session 9.9 - Bike of the Year”

Review by Brandon Turman // Photos by Sterling Lorence Following the official launch of the Trek Session 9.9 Carbon in Whistler, we've been riding it for nearly one full year. That's a long time for a test bike. The reason? We just can't let go of this one. It's that good. So good, in fact, that we're giving it the illustrious Vital MTB Shreddy for 2012 Bike of the Year. Inspired and refined in conjunction with Trek World Racing and Aaron Gwin, there's no wonder why this bike rips so much. Their success on the World Cup downhill series is a huge testament to the bike's capabilities. Session 9.9 Highlights Frame Material: OCLV Read More »

2012 Haro Steel Reserve 1.2 Bike

“Great bang for your buck!”


The Good:

Light frame makes it easy to handle
Low cost Looks Great
Solid construction

The Bad:

Low end parts
mechanical brakes (just my opinion)

Overall Review: This bike is great for its cost. Not the best bike money can buy but its a great place to start with plenty of room for upgrades and customizing. Although the parts are low end, it is still a solid bike and will do just about everything you need it to. MSRP is $765 but I picked mine up for $600 so just keep your eyes open. Great fun bike.

Schwalbe Nobby Nic Evolution Tire

“Schwalbe Nobby Nic, 29x2.25 Performance Folding- Came OEM on my Giant Trance X29er”


The Good:

* Rolls good with high PSI
* Light

The Bad:

* Super sketchy as a front in mud, loose dirt, rocks, gravel. * Too narrow profile
* Looses grip too easy
* Cornering hard feels risky

Overall Review: This review is for a Schwalbe Nobby Nic, 29x2.25 Performance Folding tire, non snakeskin Came OEM on my TranceX29er, Used only once and did not like it. I am not using it as a front tire anymore, getting a beefier tire for my front (as I ride DH bikes and am used to burly but heavy tires). Maybe the nobs are to small for So Cal dry and loose. I am keeping the rear since its ok in the back. Good for the rear since it rolls good with 30-35 PSI. I wouldnt use it as a front if you like to pin it Super sketchy as a front in mud, loose dirt, rocks, gravel. Steering is poor, breaking is subpar Narrow profile makes it Read More »

FOX 32 831 100 RLC Fit Fork

“Best You Can Buy!”


The Good:

The Fox 831 is extremely light, stiff enough for dirt jumping, and feels absolutely amazing!

The Bad:

The only thing I can think of is the steep price, but what can I say, you're paying for the best of the best, and that 15qr limits hub choices, but now most companies make a 15mm hub, or sell adaptors for their 20mm's. Oh, and for those who complain about it not being stiff enough, just wait a year of two for when it comes out in 34.

Overall Review: Bottom line is, if you have the money and you want the best, the Fox 831 is for you!

Deity Cryptkeeper Frame

“Best Frame On The Market!”


The Good:

The Cryptkeeper has perfect geometry, is decently light weight, strong, and has a great price.

The Bad:

I honestly can't think of a single downside to they Cryptkeeper, besides the limited colors, but black and white work with any build and the green is a nice touch if you want something different.

Overall Review: The geometry feels great! When I first got on my Cryptkeeper, I was jumping higher and farther than before.  Also, the frame is very stiff, and feels strong.  Its not the lightest out there, but its not on the heavy side either.  I would take an extra pound over bending or snapping a frame on a case or crash.   Bottom line, if you're looking for a top-of-the-line steel DJ frame, the Cryptkeeper is for you!

SRAM X0 Type 2 Rear Derailleur

“Works, but far inferior to Shimano clutch derailleurs.”


The Good:

Keeps your chain on.

The Bad:

Knocks when cage is pulled, cage lock feature is incredibly annoying, shifting is nothing special.

Overall Review: I now have used two different (short and medium cage) Sram type II derailleurs on my trail/slope bike (a Santa Cruz Nickel 34x11-36 gearing), and have the Saint m820 derailleur on my DH bike. They both do a great job keeping the chain quiet. The clutch did a surprisingly good job keeping the chain on. For the first two weeks I rode the nickel, I didn't have a chain-guide on it, and the chain didn't fall off once in 4 days of freeriding with 13' drops and all the jumps at Mountain Creek. Everywhere else, the sram derailleur has fallen short. Compared to the switch that engages the clutch on the shimano- Once the cage Read More »

SRAM X0 Type 2 Rear Derailleur

Vital Review

“Long Term Review: SRAM X0 Type 2 Derailleur”

Review by Brandon Turman // Photos by Adrian Marcoux and Brandon Turman When you reach the end of this paragraph, we want you to close your eyes and imagine riding your favorite section on your favorite trail. Take it all in - your movements on the bike, the terrain flying past, your hooting and hollering, the sounds of your tires carving into the dirt, the clank of your chain through the rough bits, and even the wind rushing by. Now do it again, but without the chain noises. To some, like us, this is pure bliss. What SRAM's Type 2 Roller Bearing Clutch technology has brought to our rides is much more than just the Read More »

Shimano XT Disc Brake M785

“Dependable and strong brakes”


The Good:

this is what a brake should be like, reasonable price too

The Bad:

these quiet brakes won't scare off wild animals or hikers

Overall Review: Brakes make a huge difference in both ride performance and confidence on the trail. These are at the top of the pile of brakes I've used in the past decade. Shorter levers allow for controlled one finger braking with plenty of power, and when paired with the cooling fined brake pads and ice-tech rotors, I have seen a noticeable difference in fading (or the lack thereof) from other brakes. Add to that some big rotors and it can even work for lighter DH riders. As far as the XT level componentry goes, thankfully Shimano has created their brakes to work nearly identically as the higher end XTR, while being Read More »

FOX DHX RC4 Rear Shock

“Solid performing shock”


The Good:

works great without complaints, easy to adjust

The Bad:

almost as expensive as a top tier shock

Overall Review: Coming off some of the lesser fox offerings and previous model years, this shock is a real step up. All the adjustments are useful and straightforward and is a great match for the enthusiast who still wants a hand-full of settings to dial in the ride, yet doesn't want to shell out the cash for a super high end shock. After having ridden a CCDB, I can see that there is another level up in performance out there (compared to the RC4), however there are services that offer custom tunes for the Fox so that opens up options for future upgrades if desired. As far as the performance goes, the reason I love coil suspension so Read More »