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2014 Ellsworth Epiphany C XC 275 with Shimano XT

Featured Review

“Its a XC bike - No - Its a trail bike - No - Its the Ellsworth Epiphany C XC 27.5 ”

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The Good: Beautifully constructed work of carbon fiber bicycle art.

The Bad: Difficult to identify its niche in the quiver.

Overall Review: The Ellsworth Epiphany C XC is an ultra-lightweight masterpiece of all carbon construction with 140-millimeters of travel that attempts to bridge the gap between cross-country geometry and trail bike capability. Ellsworth boldly claims that the suspension design of the Epiphany C XC experiences “zero energy loss” and uses this proposition to support the logic behind a cross-country bike with trail capable travel. I got the opportunity to demo the Epiphany C XC at the 2014 Dirt Rag Magazine Dirtfest. The guys from the Ellsworth van did a stellar job of setting up the bike and after a few rounds of Read More »

DVO Emerald DH 203mm Inverted Suspension Fork

“Smoothest ride ever..”

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The Good: Beautiful design,
Popping colors,
Easy to tune, Awesome tech help...

The Bad: Made my rear shock feel crappy once I switch into his fork. Im still working to tune the shock to try and keep up with how smooth this fork rides...

Overall Review: I have ridden this fork for more than 4 months now. Rode it through rough races, muddy trails, flowy park runs and chunky tech.. It seems to be able to do it all with minimal tune changes. I am big boy weighing in at 220 lbs, so having a fork that will take a real beating is always important to me. The Emerald has held up wonderfully for me. And I slammed it into rocks starting the first day I rode it. I also love that its air and you dont have to swap out stupid heavy springs to adjust your ride. For the last 5 years I have ridden on a Fox 40, Marzocchi 888 and a Marzocchi 380. This guy has surpassed all of these Read More »

Easton Haven Carbon Handlebar

Featured Review

“Light and Tough”

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The Good: Light, durable, stiff

The Bad: limited width options, expensive

Overall Review: I've been using this bar for almost two seasons now and it's held up better than I expected. As this is my first carbon bar, I did my research and spent a little bit more than I would normally on a handlebar. I settled on Easton due to its reputation/experience with carbon and because I also have the aluminum version of this bar and liked it. Installation was easy and I made sure to get carbon paste and use a torque wrench. So far no slippage, creaks, or anything that would cause alarm. On the trail, I could immediately tell the difference between the carbon and aluminum bar, however it wasn't as large of a difference as Read More »

Cane Creek 40.ZS44.Short.Complete Headset

Featured Review

“Solid workhorse”

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The Good: reliable, durable, cost

The Bad: not a ton of bling it that's your thing

Overall Review: Cane Creek is my go to headset these days. They are solid, reliable, and inexpensive considering what you get. I've run this headset for almost two years now and haven't had one issue with it. Installation was a breeze (with the correct tools of course). Bearings have held up and are still very smooth. I really love that you can purchase all different configurations separately if you wish. Need just the bottom cup? Just buy the bottom cup. No need to purchase the entire headset. My only minor complaint are the cheap plastic headset spacers that come with the headset. It's nice that they give you some, but I Read More »

Cane Creek DBinline Air Shock

Vital Review

“First Ride: Cane Creek DBinline Air Shock”

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Review by Brandon Turman // Photos by Derek DiLuzio and Brandon Turman // Video by ZfH Productions When Cane Creek first launched the Double Barrel coil shock in 2009, it was the first of its kind to offer a twin-tube design with four-way independent damping adjustment. They created the shock under the belief that “suspension is personal,” meaning one person’s perfect tune is not the same as others. In 2011, the DBair was released, bringing the same level of tunability to an air shock. The DBair would later see the addition of the well-regarded “Climb Switch” in 2013. Today Cane Creek is proud to introduce the Read More »

Schwalbe Table Top Tire

“Nice tire, but not much better than its competitors”

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The Good: Cornering traction, weight, hold air well tubeless

The Bad: Nothing much

Overall Review: I bought this for my city ride/street/park/x4 Nukeproof Snap with Fulcrum Red Zone wheels. Set up tight and true tubeless with no issues. Hardpack you can really push hard without much slip on the corners, but maybe it's a tad slower than some of its rivals. The Maxxis Holy Roller seems to roll a tad quicker and be a tad more stable, the Kenda K-Rad seems to roll a bit faster and have a slightly higher volume with better cushioning. In the end it's a good tire, no better than its competitors, but no worse.

Schwalbe Hans Dampf Tire

“Hans Dampf vs Minion”

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The Good: Braking traction, high volume, weight, cornering grip

The Bad: Not much wrong to be honest

Overall Review: I've done about 1,000 kms on this tire, all in the dry and with it on the front only, enduro style and set up tubeless with Stans (Evo Pacestar 2.35x26). Personally I rate Maxxis Minion as a benchmark and I think the comparison will helpful guide for other riders, I usually use a Minion FR 2.35 EXO maxxpro for reference (old style, pre TR). HD vs Minion Rolling resistance - Similar Braking traction - HD superior Off-camber grip - Minion Superior Fist sized rocks on trail composure - HD superior Light over cornering/carving - Minion Superior Dry ruts - HD Superior Weight for size - HD Superior (700g is sweet) (single ply Read More »

X-Fusion Hilo SL Seatpost

“Another Dropper Post”

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The Good: The spirit of enduro likes this post.

The Bad: Leaky oil kills plants and makes hippies angry.

Overall Review: Over the past few years, X-Fusion has made quite a stir in the MTB suspension industry. These days, when one considers a new fork or shock, the name X-Fusion usually comes up in a conversation along with the major players like Fox Racing Shox, and Rock Shox when discussing suspension options. Given my friend’s raving reviews about X-Fusion’s forks, and the usual customer service benefit of dealing with a smaller company, I figured I would give their new dropper post, the HILO SL 125mm, a try on my trail bike. The Hilo SL has a claimed weight of 450g without the cable, making it lighter than the gold standard of travel Read More »

Cane Creek DBair Rear Shock

“One of the best air shocks today”

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The Good: great tuning range, really good midstroke support, coil-like feel

The Bad: On the heavy side for gram counters, finds its limits on fast, choppy terrain, tough to get full travel

Overall Review: I've been running this shock for about 2 years now and so far it has lived up to my expectations. I've run many shocks (romic, avalanche chubie, push tuned rp3's, push tuned monarchs, push tuned vanilla rc's, stock rp23, CTD, x fusion vector hlr) through the years so I'll compare it my experience. My 200 x 57 came in at 530 grams. Not heavy by coil standards but "heavy" if you're comparing it to a Fox CTD. The X-fusion HLR air I had was around 450 grams. I'm running this on a 5.5" trail bike which is a little overkill but works great. Initially I encountered some trouble getting full travel from the shock (a common Read More »

Banshee Bikes Spitfire V2 Frame

“The Affordable, Downhiller's Trail Bike”

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The Good: Shreds the gnar.

The Bad: Enduro will eat your soul.

Overall Review: In a day and age dominated by $10,000 luxury trail bikes like the Santa Cruz Bronson and Nomad, or the S-Works Specialized Enduro and Stumpy Evo, the all mighty spirit of enduro has led us to believe that the only way we can ever hope to be STRAVA KOM is to empty our life savings. Luckily, for us non-industry, normal people, there are still a few semi-affordable, durable trail bikes with real geometry and the latest bike industry marketing tools (aka 650b), that can keep our hopes alive. Yes bike industry pawns, it is still possible to not spend a fortune and get an absolute ripper of a bike. The Banshee Spitfire is Read More »