Latest Product Reviews


Easton Havoc 26" UST Wheelset

Vital Review

“Tested: Easton Havoc UST 150 Wheelset”

by AJ Barlas The lightest aluminum downhill specific wheels on the market?! That should be enough to pique your interest, as it did for this individual just over a year ago when Easton announced their latest DH wheel. Now add in the fact that these are being raced all over the world under the likes of Steve Smith, Sam Blenkinsop and Loic Bruni, and these wheels certainly deserve your attention. When the opportunity presented itself to attempt to crush a set by ripping about the classic Whistler Bike Park trails for a few months, you can bet that I jumped at the opportunity. Havoc UST 150 Wheelset Highlights Easton's Read More »
Rate review: 0 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

2012 Specialized Demo 8 I Bike

“Introducing a Budget Oriented, Semi-Affordable Downhill Bike”


The Good:

Specialized race geometry with a weekend warrior's build.

The Bad:

Inferior components.

Overall Review: The 2013 Specialized Demo 8 I is an incredible machine, the most fun I've had on a bike by far. The weakest link however were the components. Out of the box the Avid Elixir 5's required a bleed(rear brake was not even functional), Rockshox Boxxer required a rebuild, x7/x9 shifter/derailleur combo worked great. I think my biggest beef is with Sram and a blatant lack of QC, Specialized has produced a superb bike, the bike excels everywhere, from local jump and DH trails to a week spent in the Whistler bike park pounding laps down A-line and Original Sin, and finished off with 12 hours of riding at Trestle Bike Park for the Red Bull Final Descent with no problems. This bike KILLS it!!!! (I swapped out the Sram drivetrain with a Zee build(brakes and shifting))Five stars for the bike, 0 stars for Sram!!
Rate review: 0 Up Down
Vital MTB member john.larsen.10
20776 john.larsen.10,20776/all 01/06/13,20776/setup 1 1

Five Ten Freerider VXi Shoes

“Great shoe for on and off the bike”


The Good:

Great looks, lots of color choices, don't look like ski boots

The Bad:

The VXi does not offer the same protection as the Freerider version

Overall Review: I’ve tried several bike specific shoes in the past, most recently Sombrio shoes as well as the Five Ten Freerider and after really liking the old Five Tens I thought I would try out the newer Freerider VXi versions. The first thing I noticed about the Freerider VXi versus the standard Freerider is the lack of bulk, the VXi although still offering quite a bit of protection are nowhere as bulky and stiff/rugged as the older Freeriders. This is great when the shoe is used as a casual sneaker but there have been some occasions that I’ve missed the thick toe covering of the old shoe, this was noticed when sticking Read More »
Rate review: 0 Up Down
Vital MTB member vics26
549 vics26,549/all 08/18/09 2,549/setup 15 30 70 49 1

2013 GT Force 3.0 Bike

“Christmas Wish List: GT Force 3.0”


The Good:

Price, components, shred-ablility, fun-ness?

The Bad:

Not amazing pedal efficiancy

Overall Review: I demoed this bike at Canyon's resort, Utah. I actually first used it to downhill.  It was fine going down hard blues and blacks. My friend was on a more expensive downhill bike, and I was beating him down and getting bigger air.  The only time I had a slight problem was when I went off of a big drop, but hey! This bike wasn't made for that.  Then I took it all-mountain riding.  Again, it was super fun downhill, it was great uphill until I hit this really steep scree field, and the forks don't completely lock out, so I could really feel my pedal efficiany failing.
Rate review: 0 Up Down
Vital MTB member Lilshredman
27553 Lilshredman,27553/all 09/17/13,27553/setup 1 2 1

Yeti 575 Bike

Featured Member Review

“The Ultimate All-Mountain Single-Pivot?”


The Good:

Short wheelbase provides excellent maneuverability; Suspension travel feels longer than its 5.75”; Carbon rear triangle dampens vibrations and reduces weight; Quality components, no house brand stuff; Reasonably light weight for an aluminum bike with this much travel.

The Bad:

Front end can feel a little light on steep climbs; 32 mm fork stanchions can feel a little wobbly on really big hits.

Overall Review: [Bike reviewed: 2010 Yeti 575 Carbon "Race" build, size medium.] [About me: 5’10” 205 lbs. 30” inseam.] I’ve always been a huge fan of Yeti bikes, a company with roots dating back to the genesis of the sport and an enthusiastic, if not cult-like, following. After years of ogling I finally threw down the dough for a 575. My impressions of the 575 are overwhelmingly positive. I even entertain the possibility: is this the ultimate single-pivot all-mountain bike? Read on to find out. Why the 575? This isn’t Yeti’s most advanced 26” suspension platform. For that you would need to look at the SB-66. Still, the 575 is Yeti’s longest Read More »
Rate review: +1 Up Down
Vital MTB member Arkstorm
26789 Arkstorm /images/default/avatar/c50.png,26789/all 08/08/13 2 5

Loaded Precision X-Lite Wheelset

Vital Review

“Tested: Loaded Precision X-Lite Wheelset”

by Kevin Shiramizu The Loaded Precision X-Lite wheels are something of a rarity these days. They do not employ a fancy lacing pattern, they use a normal number of conventional elbowed spokes, and the rims are made out of 6066 T6 aluminum. While other companies are out there clambering to reinvent the wheel, Loaded has gone the other direction, making refinements to their craft along the way. X-Lite Wheelset Spec Highlights 32 Hole X-LiteTrue Bead Technology (Tubeless Ready)Rims 6066 T6 Aluminum Rim Material Flash Welded Rim Joint 21mm Inner Rim Width Shot Peened Finish Quad-Butted Seamlessly Drawn Spokes X-Lite Read More »
Rate review: +1 Up Down
Vital MTB member k.shiz
14 k.shiz,14/all 07/24/09 75 23 52 591 101 165 1 260 19 12

Troy Lee Designs Air Gloves

“Solid, simple glove”


The Good:

Great feeling palm, strap on top of wrist, color choices

The Bad:

Seems a little bigger than other gloves, but not an issue yet

Overall Review: Picked these up because I saw them in a video I believe and thought they looked cool. My current gloves were starting to fall apart after almost 2 years. I wanted a basic glove this time around, and something about the look of these gloves stuck out to me. I really like the palm, and it seems thick and durable, but not so thick that you lose feel. I also like that the strap is on top of the glove, because my last gloves had issues with the straps getting messed up in crashes and when pulling on the glove. These gloves even have a slightly extended palm and rubber grips on the bottom of the wrist to make it easier to Read More »
Rate review: +1 Up Down
Vital MTB member StuLax18
24679 StuLax18 /images/default/avatar/c50.png,24679/all 05/24/13 1 21 1

2013 Giant Glory 0

“...entering pursuit mode”


The Good:

good geometry (at 176cm body height)
good bottom bracket height and chainstay length

The Bad:

cabelrouting is a bit funny and cables slaped (noise) against the downtube (is gone since I mounted a rockguard downtube protector)

Overall Review: I got the fram only version - so I can not really tell how good the components are. The frame itself is the best I got so far. It took me about 2 rides on the freeride in Leogang to get used to it. After that it was like - wow, that line was not possible before - wow, I went never that fast into that corner before. I do not think that I ride better (until now ;-) ) but the frame and therefore the bike are easy to understand and do what I want without a lot of effort for the rider. On the second day I rode it down the DH in Leogang and it was the same again. It was easier for me to controle the bike and get my lines. Jumping is a Read More »
Rate review: 0 Up Down
Vital MTB member lister_yu
19924 lister_yu,19924/all 11/19/12 4 1,19924/setup 2 87 65 2

2014 Niner RIP 9

Vital Review

“Tested: 2014 Niner RIP 9 - Alloy Strikes Back”

Review by Brandon Turman // Action photos by Courtney Steen The Niner RIP 9 is the company's best-loved trail bike, and has been for a number of years. For 2014, they decided to make it even more awesome. They upped travel 5mm to 125mm, shortened the chainstays 5mm, added ISCG tabs, boosted the stiffness with the addition of a 12x142mm rear axle, and moved to an interesting new tubing manipulation process. They also dropped half a pound of weight along the way, bringing the bike right up to speed for the new year. Not too shabby... We've already reviewed the new full-carbon RIP 9 RDO during our 2013 Test Sessions (and loved it), so Read More »
Rate review: +2 Up Down
Vital MTB member bturman
109 bturman,109/all 08/01/09 1134 96 6156 989,109/setup 275 1231 2250 159 41

Scott Grenade Pro II Knee Guards

Vital Review

“Tested: Scott Grenade Pro II Knee Guards”

by Ian Collins After three massive (bones visible) holes in the same square inch of my right knee over the last decade, I became a bit wary of most of the run-of-the-mill kneepads I've tried. Last year I saw some pictures of the Scott Grenade Pro II Knee Gaurds and they looked promising. Nothing way out of the ordinary, but a few refinements, techy features and a moderately higher price tag of $139.95 gave it a greater luster than most of the pedestrian offerings. Over the winter I got to check them out in person while trying to keep Brendog in sight during some shuttles in SoCal. I asked him about them and he Read More »
Rate review: +1 Up Down
Vital MTB member Ian Collins
140 Ian Collins,140/all 08/01/09 6 154,140/setup 2 6 148 14 2

Hello Vital MTB Visitor,

We’re conducting a survey and would appreciate your input. Your answers will help Vital and the MTB industry better understand what riders like you want. Survey results will be used to recognize top brands. Make your voice heard!

Five lucky people will be selected at random to win a Vital MTB t-shirt.

Thanks in advance,

The Vital MTB Crew

Take Survey