Latest Product Reviews


Manitou Dorado Pro Downhill Fork

“Racer feel with a freeride package”


The Good:

small bump compliance is amazing. there are so many adjustments so getting it dialed is a snap. SUPER stable on the big hits

The Bad:

honestly nothing

Overall Review: Better than fox rockshox marzocchi and DVO. i have tried all of these extensively and this is truely the best downhill fork ever made.
Rate review: -2 Up Down
Vital MTB member Billy3197
11757 Billy3197 /images/default/avatar/c50.png,11757/all 11/20/11 1 6 4 21 15 1

e*thirteen LG1+ Crank

Vital Review

“Tested: e*thirteen LG1+ Cranks and Guidering”

Review and photos by Johan Hjord e*thirteen is a brand that most people will associate with chain retention systems (aka chainguides), and rightfully so – the original e*thirteen guide and bash combos were certainly among the most innovative designs out there at the time, and could be found on many a bike whether it was at a World Cup race or at weekend warrior basecamp. In 2010, e*thirteen was acquired by and became part of The Hive, a company that was at the time mainly producing cranks. The e*thirteen brand was kept alive, and has since then grown to include not only guides but also cranks, wheels, and pedals. e*thirteen is Read More »
Rate review: +3 Up Down
Vital MTB member iceman2058
94 iceman2058,94/all 08/01/09 773 78 832 1729,94/setup 53 341 3835 90 28

FOX DHX RC4 Rear Shock

“Best Rear Shock I have owned to date!”


The Good:

Easy to tune.
Amazing Damping.

The Bad:

Only that it took me soo long to wake up and buy one.

Overall Review: The Fox DHX RC4 is the third shock that I have run on my current rig. And let me start byapologizingto my bike for not buying this shock right away. Okay, so for the experiences. As soon as I installed it, Ipromptlytook this shock up to one of my favorite trails. The trail has somegnarlyrock sections, with some nice big drops too. Perfect for tuning. I had found and copied the Fox tuning guide for the RC4, and found their instructions and suggestions perfect for helping me quickly and accurately fine tune the settings. After about an hour, I had my rear shock dialed in to perfection. The RC4 takes all the hits I Read More »
Rate review: +1 Up Down
Vital MTB member taldfind
17596 taldfind,17596/all 08/06/12 1 5,17596/setup 30 60 8 1

RockShox Lyrik RC2DH Solo Air Fork

“Tougher than You think”


The Good:

-Light for 170mm of travel
-Dual flow Rebound
-High and Low speed compression adjust.

The Bad:

-Could be smoother.

Overall Review: I rode my Rockshox Lyrik RC2 DH Solo Air for all of last season. I love to catch air and tackle technical terrain, and took everyopportunityto hit lots of both while tuning in the damping. I did a lot of playing around with setting on this fork, which thankfully is made easier by the little turtle and jack-alope icons. Maybe it's just the way I think, but I found Rockshox's tuning tips to be of little help, so ittook me quite a while to find my settings. Once I found my settings however, I felt a lot more comfortable on the bike. The one thing that i couldn't overcome was the slightly sticky feeling Read More »
Rate review: +1 Up Down
Vital MTB member taldfind
17596 taldfind,17596/all 08/06/12 1 5,17596/setup 30 60 8 1

2013 Giant Reign 2 Bike

“Truly a do it all bike”


The Good:

Very Pedal efficient Jumps good. Feels like a little DH bike coming down. Drifts surprisingly steady. Comfortable for long climbs. As I ride in Ashland, OR we have a lot of fun descents but they take a lot of work to get up to.

The Bad:

Nothing, This bike is a slayer

Overall Review: Upon purchasing this I immediately changed a few parts out : Chainguide, Straightline Pedals, Shimano XT Brakes, Super Short Stem, Race Face Atlas Freeride Bars (uncut). After riding with these upgrades I have no desire to change out anything else. Even these tires are pretty dope and are predictable. I also ride a 2007 Santa Cruz V10, and I set to replace my 2007 GT iDrive 5 3.0 with this Reign. I still have my V10 but the more I ride this Reign the more I love it. I can pedal all day long and still flick and throw cutties around with the Reign. Super Fun Bike. I am really impressed of the downhill capability this has. Of course Read More »
Rate review: +1 Up Down
Vital MTB member lukaszkrolak
7285 lukaszkrolak,7285/all 03/19/11 1 1 1

2013 Commencal Meta SX1

Vital Review

“2013 Test Sessions: Commencal Meta SX 1”

Reviewed by Matt Thompson and Jess Pedersen // Written by Brandon Turman // Photos by Shawn Spomer and Brandon Turman When Commencal first reintroduced the Meta range in 2011, they did so with the aggressive rider in mind. Slack head angles, low bottom brackets, roomier top tubes and a fresh suspension linkage system made the bikes stand out. One year later Commencal pushed things even further down the aggressive path with the Meta SX. Now for 2013, they've refined the bike's parts list once more, making it ready to tackle the gnarliest of descents right out of the box. In fact, with its 66-degree head angle and 160mm of Read More »
Rate review: +3 Up Down
Vital MTB member bturman
109 bturman,109/all 08/01/09 1147 94 6100 1028,109/setup 274 1207 2169 136 40

Hayes Stroker Ace Hydraulic Disc Brake Set

“Simple and Strong”


The Good:

4-piston calipers. Great power. Lever adjustment.

The Bad:

No modulation. Lacks contact adjustment.

Overall Review: This is the start of my third season with the same Hayes Stroker Ace brakes. Since purchasing them they have run countless miles of downhill trails, jumps and attempts to get some street tricks on. These are the strongest breaks I have run to date, often allowing me to wait until the lastmomentbefore making a quicksqueezeon the lever the achieve my desired speed. These brakes make me feel faster than other breaks I have run. With four pistons, and a large pad, these things are born for long descents. However, the technology of Hayes gravity brakes is falling behind. Almost every other company sells brakes with Read More »
Rate review: 0 Up Down
Vital MTB member taldfind
17596 taldfind,17596/all 08/06/12 1 5,17596/setup 30 60 8 1

RockShox Totem RC2 DH Solo Air Fork

Featured Review

“Totem - the king of long travel single crowns”


The Good:

Tuneable, Easy to Service, Plush, Stiff, Reliable

The Bad:

Heavy? (hardly...), Expensive

Overall Review: This is the second Totem RC2DH Solo Air I've owned. I loved my last one so much, there was no way I was getting anything else. Here are my thoughts: THE GOOD: Tuneable - This fork has all the adjustments I could ask for, all external so they're easy to use. They improved the external compression adjustments on the current version (I've got a 2012), so they're even easier than previous versions. I can easily turn the knobs with gloves on, so they're easy to dial in during rides. I really appreciated this because this the fork is on my 2012 Giant Faith, and I use that thing for a lot of different types Read More »
Rate review: +1 Up Down
Vital MTB member vogankhadafi
14101 vogankhadafi,14101/all 03/14/12,14101/setup 1 23 1

Manitou Dorado Expert Fork

Vital Review

“Tested: Manitou Dorado Expert - A Worthy Contender”

Review by Sean “Griz” McClendon // Photos by Brandon Turman Manitou has been in the mountain bike suspension game for over 20-years. During the last decade, Hayes Bicycle Group (now Hayes Components) acquired Manitou, and in 2010, under new ownership, Manitou launched a completely redesigned version of the Dorado. Boasting larger stanchions, an improved chassis, new internals, and a new air system, the latest design has improved across the board. When first reintroduced, the 2010 Dorado was only available in the uber expensive carbon variety. Later in the year they released an aluminum Dorado Pro version at $1600. Now for Read More »
Rate review: +7 Up Down
Vital MTB member 26griz
258 26griz,258/all 08/02/09 3 1 15 18 1 88 10

iXS Slope-SeriesEVO Knee Pad

“Pads that you will forget, in a good way.”


The Good:

Great protection. Amazing comfort. Large range of sizes.

The Bad:

I can't think of any.

Overall Review: Amazing.Incredible. Awesome. I hope iXS never stops making the SlopeEVO knee pads. I have worn knee pads for the last 10 years, butuntiliboughtthe SlopeEVO pads, I was always bugged by them. Never before could I wear pad the whole day without feeling relived the moment I took the pads off.With the SlopeEVO pads, I can wear them all day. Plus the stay in place, which no other pads have ever done for me. I think this is do to the larger range of sizes available from iXS. Other pads had me choosing between too big or too small, but these pads are a perfect fit for my rather chicken like legs. I am also pleased to Read More »
Rate review: +2 Up Down
Vital MTB member taldfind
17596 taldfind,17596/all 08/06/12 1 5,17596/setup 30 60 8 1