Latest Product Reviews


Giro Feature MIPS Helmet

“Great Helmet”


The Good:

Fits well
Offers great protection
Reasonably priced

The Bad:

Probably have to buy a new one after one ride.

Overall Review: I recently bought one of these, the Blue and lime green one to be exact. From the get go, the way the helmet sat on my head made me feel solidly protected.  Just walking around waiting for a race to start, and having it sit idly on my head for over an hour, I forgot that it was there, which is extremely hard to come by in a helmet.  I barely made it 0.3 miles into my race before taking a huge slam into the ground.  Helmet has a fairly sizeable dent in it now. I suffered from a sprained shoulder and laceration on my arm, but I had no concussion. Now that is either dumb luck, or good engineering on the behalf of Giro and the MIPS.  I would definitely buy this helmet again, and probably will have to judging on the dent in the side of the helmet.
Rate review: +1 Up Down
Vital MTB member Joe_B
41003 Joe_B,41003/all 05/26/16 1

6D ATB-1T Open Face Helmet

Featured Review

“ A New Player in the Trail Helmet Game”


The Good:

Quiet, does not squeak or rattle like MIPS. Comfort was a priority for 6D on this and it shows.

The Bad:

Weight is a touch higher than most.

Overall Review: There's been an increasing demand for helmets equipped with concussion reduction technology, and there has historically been one option for that technology – MIPS. MIPS seemingly took the bicycle helmet industry by storm a few years back, but we now have a new player producing some amazing helmets. 6D has been manufacturing helmets used in motocross and BMX for a while, and has finally ventured into mountain bike with the ATB-1T. This helmet uses a system they are calling ODS, or Omni-Directional Suspension. It's similar to MIPS, but it's executed a bit differently. The system basically creates a ball-in-socket from the Read More »
Rate review: +5 Up Down
Vital MTB member Perry_Hall
5090 Perry_Hall,5090/all 10/28/10,5090/setup 2 9 1

Gamut Podium Flat Pedal

Vital Review

“Tested: Gamut Podium Flat Pedals”

by Fred Robinson Considering we pretty much have three contact points connecting us to our bikes, we’d argue that the pedals might be the most critical in terms of fit, function and feel. That said, over the past seven-or-so years we’ve seen a pretty big change in what’s available as far as pedal shape, weight and profile. We don’t recall exactly when it happened, but it seemed like, all of a sudden, there was a huge race between pedal manufacturers to make the thinnest pedal possible. Some of the resulting pedals were, excuse the pun, flat-out terrifying. One pedal that came along during that period was the Point One Read More »
Rate review: 0 Up Down
Vital MTB member FredLikesTrikes
18548 FredLikesTrikes,18548/all 09/14/12 130 5 255 154,18548/setup 31 216 59 46 1

Race Face Atlas Cinch Cranks

Vital Review

“Tested: Race Face Altas Cinch Cranks”

Bred from a long tradition of quality and durable products in the component arena, the Race Face Atlas cranks have been a mainstay in the Canadian company's product line for years. Originally designed with an all-mountain and a freeride model, Race Face had refined the design over the years creating a single Atlas crank described as being a “do-it-all” crankset that could handle anything from aggressive trail riding to downhill laps. Known for its durability, strength, and an affordable price tag while giving riders the ability to add some flair with their trademark color options, could Race Face update the Atlas crank enough Read More »
Rate review: 0 Up Down
Vital MTB member Lucent
16 Lucent,16/all 07/28/09 8 23 49 68,16/setup 2 23 8 230 25 1

Race Face Chester Flat Pedal

Vital Review

“Tested: Race Face Chester Flat Pedals”

by Justin Schroth Thanks to a market flooded with pedal options, it has become increasingly more difficult for brands to distinguish themselves and standout a sea of anodizing. Race Face looks to break free from their traditional mold (pun intended) of aluminum platforms with the new Chester pedal. The Chester is a composite pedal that looks to offer durability and function at a more reasonable price tag than their metal counterparts. Race Face Chester Features Weight: 356 grams (per pair) 110 mm long x 101 mm wide x 15-18.44mm thick Nylon composite body Chromoly steel axle Sealed bearing // bushing system Cartridge Read More »
Rate review: 0 Up Down
Vital MTB member Lucent
16 Lucent,16/all 07/28/09 8 23 49 68,16/setup 2 23 8 230 25 1

Specialized SWAT Pro Bib Shorts

Vital Review

“Tested: Specialized SWAT Pro Bib Shorts”

Review by AJ Barlas Back in 2014, Specialized released a product that caused a little bit of a stir in the mountain bike world. The release of the first SWAT bib seemed to unintentionally pit those that don’t have an issue with wearing a pack up against those that dislike packs. Those that choose not to wear a pack were generally excited to have a way of stowing some spares and food, while pack lovers just didn’t see the point. Now, two years later, Specialized and a number of other brands have released more apparel capable of holding the essentials. It seems that there is a demand for this among riders, but how do 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

Five Ten Maltese Falcon LT Clipless Shoe

Featured Review

“Five Ten Maltese Falcon Race Clipless Shoes review”


The Good:

Stiff/ grippy soles, good protection, lightweight, comfortable for longer rides. Great shoe for the more aggressive trail rider looking for the benefits of clipless and the benefits of a flat pedal DH shoe.

The Bad:

Not as stiff as an XC shoe (good thing and bad thing), cleats are lower than rubber sole which makes them loud to walk in and slippery if you are not on your toes or heels. Broke cloth eyelet after a month of riding with them.

Overall Review: Mountain bikers have a huge range of shoes to choose from these days depending on style, location, application etc. and it is easy to get caught up in the gimmicks and marketing ploys. I started riding clipless a few years ago and haven’t looked back since, but finding a shoe that ticks all of the boxes has been tough. Enter the Five Ten Maltese Falcon Lt: a shoe that has the protection and grip of a flat pedal shoe but with the sole stiffness and cleat compatibility of a more XC-minded option. When I first looked at the shoes, I was definitely unsure about the looks. It has some of the skate shoe styling Read More »
Rate review: +2 Up Down
Vital MTB member lagocza
32917 lagocza,32917/all 10/07/14,32917/setup 5 5 26

Shimano SLX M530 Clipless Pedals

“Good Pedal!”


The Good:

Good value, robust, wide platform

The Bad:

None so far

Overall Review: It is a good pedal with a good value for money. I got this pair of M530 with $28, compared to the upper XT and XTR level pedal. Spring tension is easy to adjust . For the first time, I used the weakest spring tension with SM-SH51 single release cleat (cleats included with the pedal). Then, for more comfort, I added the spring tension several turn. And it makes me more comfortable and confidence on the bike. For trail use, I prefer SM-SH51cleat and for commuting (bike to work), I prefer SM-SH56 multi-release cleat. I recommend this pedal!! Five stars.

Maxxis Minion DHRII Wide Trail Tire

Vital Review

“Tested: Maxxis Minion DHRII Wide Trail”

by Joel Harwood Tire choice is a tough one. Every brand has a variety of tread patterns, casings, rubber compounds, and a never-ending list of acronyms. Maxxis led the industry with the Minion DHF and High Roller for eons, and other tire manufacturers were playing catch up. As more riders and bike manufacturers have transitioned to wider rims, Maxxis has updated some of their classic treads with a wider casing optimized for wide rims. Maxxis’ Wide Trail (WT) casing is optimized for rims with an internal width of 35mm, but also seems better suited to modern trail bikes than the relatively narrow 2.3” casing. It’s Read More »
Rate review: +1 Up Down
Vital MTB member hurricanejoel
27998 hurricanejoel,27998/all 10/17/13 1 38 4 23 17

2014 Santa Cruz Bronson Carbon SPX AM 27.5 Bike

“Awesome Ride”


The Good:

27.5 Kashima fork and shock Fox 34 kicks butt.

The Bad:

Heavy tires

Overall Review: I bought this bike in 2014 and it's the best bike I've ever owned. Gt, trek, specialized, this beats them all. Fast smooth and agility are tops when the suspension is set up correctly. I am going to get some lighter tires though for local riding that's not that tech. I did do a DH race on it too and it blew through all that I hit with ease.