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Latest Product Reviews


Race Face Khyber Knee Guard

Vital Review

“Tested: Race Face Khyber Women’s Knee Guard”

by Monica McCosh With the Khyber kneepads, a relative of the already successful Khyber clothing kit, Race Face is the only company we know of to offer pad protection specifically for women. First introduced in 2014, Monica McCosh recently tested the only sample of the 2015 Khyber kneepad prototype. Read on to see how it treated her and vice versa. Khyber Knee Guard Highlights Open-back construction Women's specific fit Perforated Neoprene Terry lined Foam padded side walls Integrated stabilization pad Branded rubber grab tab closures MSRP $69.99 Initial Impressions I felt privileged to receive an exclusive Read More »

Specialized Mountain Bib Liner with SWAT

Vital Review

“Tested: Specialized Bib Liner with SWAT”

Review by A.J. Barlas // Photography Jon Anthony One of the best aspects of mountain biking is creativity. It can be found in how a rider will approach a section of trail, how a builder will interpret and utilize the terrain they are crafting in, all the way down to how an individual will dress. Some choose to wear what they feel comfortable in, while others will wear what they think they are supposed to (and then there's the #sh*tmtberswear). When Specialized released their SWAT range of gear there was a definite split in the armchair critics, but a surprisingly large number of riders were Read More »

Spank Spike Race28 Wheelset

“Excellent all-around wheelset”


The Good: tough and relatively light at a good price

The Bad: hub adapters for 142mm or 157mm axles cost extra

Overall Review: Earlier this spring I decided to pick up a set of these wheels to help drop some weight on my DH bike and to add a little bling to the bike. The somewhat heavy stock wheels were the obvious choice for me to shed some weight and after calculating what the swap would do, I estimated that I would save a pound from going to the Spank Race 28 wheels and another pound by going to slightly lighter tires (Schwalbe Magic Mary super gravity casing) set up tubeless. The change was noticeable right away. After three months of riding them on shuttled trails and bike park tracks, I am glad to have gone this direction and have seen no Read More »

Jett Hornet Jersey

Featured Review

“Jett Hornet jersey”


The Good: solid construction

The Bad: thicker fabric can get a bit hot

Overall Review: I've been using Jett's Hornet jersey on and off for the past two years and have found it to be a keeper. Each piece of clothing has it's own characteristics, not that they are good or bad in and of themselves. This jersey is made of a somewhat thicker fabric with perforated mesh holes to aid in breathability. The fabric is stitched well and has survived a couple of my minor tumbles and shown only minor damage. A couple of snags have appeared over the years and this could be due to scraping rocks or even a dreaded velcro scrape. Since it is a little heavier duty than many of the other jerseys I have, I often wear it Read More »

DVO Emerald DH 203mm Inverted Suspension Fork

“Solid, Incredible Fork”


The Good: This fork has it all! Highly adjustable, inverted design, smooth, air spring fork, 2 year warranty, carbon composite. Beautifully designed fork. Everywhere I go I get compliments on it.

The Bad: Nothing. I'm very pleased with its performance.

Overall Review: The Emerald is simply an amazing fork! Its has it all, does it all, and takes anything you throw at it. I really love how adjustable it is. I ride all different terrains; from drops and jumps, to rock gardens, to smooth and flowy trail. The fork is easy to adjust with just the turn of a knob. I used to run the 2012 WC Boxxer. It was a good fork, but the Emerald surpasses it's performance. It's gives a much smoother ride and the fork simply rides better. The Boxxer was also air sprung, but the adjustability of its high/low speed compression just doesn't compare to the Emerald. The fork doesn't stick like some Read More »

Five Ten Maltese Falcon LT Clipless Shoe

Vital Review

“Tested: Five Ten Maltese Falcon LT Clipless Shoe”

Review by Jeff Brines // Photos by Ryan Hoff (action) and Jeff Brines (product) Five Ten has long owned the flat pedal shoe market. The company’s stealth rubber shoes offer platform pedal grip that has proven unrivaled. As a clipless pedal rider, I’ve long wanted a 5-10 stealth rubber shoe that offers SPD compatibility at a reasonable weight and with good sole stiffness. Enter the new Maltese Falcon LT. Five Ten Maltese Falcon LT Highlights Stealth S1 rubber sole Upper shoe material: synthetic textile, water repellent Closure: laces/velcro Weight – 475 grams each (claimed) 498 each (actual) Price: MSRP $140 Read More »

Dainese Rhyolite Body Armor Jacket

Vital Review

“Tested: Dainese Rhyolite Jacket”

Review by Justin Schroth // Photos by Justin Schroth, Dave Smutok, and Ryan Thibault Dainese has long been in the body armor game and carries with it a reputation for creating some of the best protective equipment on the market for those who love to point their wheels downhill or twist the throttle to the red line. When I first cut my teeth on downhill in the late 90s, it seemed like the go-to protection for pro racers was the Dainese Gladiator or Shuttle Pro full body suit, but it carried with it a pretty hefty price tag for a weekend warrior like myself. In addition to price, the biggest hurdle to overcome when Read More »

Banshee Bikes Rune V2 Frame

Featured Review

“Hard to believe?”


The Good: The Rune V2 is an amazing descender, climber and is makes you way more handsome that most can handle.

The Bad: It doesn't do my laundry or make me a post-ride cocktail, but I will be able to cope.

Overall Review: I have been a mountain bike rider for over 27 years. I am bigger guy clocking in at just under 200 lbs and I ride aggressively. I made the leap to 27.5" wheels with the Rune V2. I have been a Santa Cruz fan since '99 having owned five of them. I test rode a fully decked out Bronson and a number of other 27.5" wheeled bikes last fall. I was all set to buy a Heckler (the Brony did not really do it for me), but several of my friends had Banshees and would not stop raving about them. I pedaled theirs around and was duly impressed with the feel. After doing some research I found that the new Rune was a better fit for me in Read More »

Banshee Bikes Spitfire V2 Frame

“Fantastic trail bike”


The Good: Descends like a bigger bike than it is, durable, excellent frame stiffness

The Bad: A bit heavier than some similar carbon options

Overall Review: I've had my 2013 Spitfire for about 16 months now during which time it has been my primary bike for all sorts of riding. It is still going strong and remains my favorite bike ever. I had a V1 spitfire and experienced the known bushing issues (although that was also a really fun bike). Banshee took care of me with a heavily discounted V2 frame which has more than addressed shortcomings with the prior frame. It had been ridden in a wide variety of conditions from my mellow non-mountainous local trails in NC to our jump trails to the roughest stuff in the mountains of western NC. Essentially, I agree with the other Read More »

Banshee Bikes Rune V2 Frame

“Easily the best bike I've ridden in years.”


The Good: Spectacular downhill & in the air. Climbs better than many shorter travel bikes.

The Bad: Really couldn't find anything.

Overall Review: I rode one whilst helping some friends who were running a demo day. Apart from the comments in the post/neg sections I'd say the other big plus is that the suspension setup doesn't impact the bearings when you hit a bump or land a jump. They aren't put under excess stress. With some bikes you only need to look at the frame to know bearing life will be poor. Also the Rune uses standard sized bearings so quality ones aren't expensive. More detailed review here- http://www.chasingtrails.com/2014/07/banshee-rune-quick-review/