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WTB Breakout 27.5 Tire

Vital Review

“Tested: WTB Breakout TCS 27.5”

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The modern all-mountain or enduro racing bike is quite an achievement, possessing almost impeccable downhill manners while still being a relative joy to grind up hill or rally day-long on the trails with your friends. Tire options, however, have taken a bit of time to catch up. In their defense it's no easy task to balance weight, casing durability, grip, rolling resistance, volume, wheel size(s), rim width, and the countless trail conditions they are subjected too. WTB's new Breakout 2.5 is the latest all-mountain/enduro offering from a company whose profile has been rising quickly in the tire and rim market, but is it fully Read More »

2015 Trek Fuel EX 9.9 27.5 Bike

Vital Review

“Tested: Trek Fuel EX 9.9”

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Review by AJ Barlas // Product Photos AJ Barlas, Riding Photos Jon Anthony Almost a full year ago now, Trek revealed to the world a special sauce they'd been working on with top motorsports racing outfit, Penske. That technology was the RE:aktiv damper, a unit that took onboard Penske's advanced regressive suspension tech used in their F1 race car suspension, and a range of similar applications. After initially enjoying a couple of days aboard the RE:aktiv equipped Trek Fuel in South Carolina, we were eager to spend more quality time on this bike and suspension technology, on trails we commonly ride in the Pacific Read More »

2015 Fezzari Timp Peak X01

Vital Review

“2015 Test Sessions: Fezzari Timp Peak X01”

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Reviewed by Brandon Turman and Steve Wentz // Photos by Lear Miller Introduced in 2014, the Fezzari Timp Peak is the brand's first full carbon dual suspension mountain bike. Sporting 150mm of travel, 27.5-inch wheels, and geometry that makes it a good all-arounder, the bike is best suited to trail, all-mountain, and light duty enduro race use. For many the most appealing aspect of the bike is the great value it represents - a comparable build on most competitors' full carbon frames would set you back nearly $10,000, while the Timp Peak slots in at just over $6,000 thanks to a direct to consumer sales model. Curious to see Read More »

2015 Liv Women's Intrigue 1

Vital Review

“2015 Test Sessions: Liv Intrigue 1”

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Reviewed by Amanda Wentz and Courtney Steen // Photos by Lear Miller After its debut in 2014, the Liv Intrigue is back for more with some nice upgrades. Liv claims the bike will help boost your speed and skills, and is "built specifically for women seeking maximum control and confidence on aggressive trails." Was this just some marketing talk or is there really a difference? We were in sunny San Luis Obispo, California to find out. Enduro Pro lady shredder Kelli Emmett helped with the design process, so we knew it had potential to be a ripper going into the 2015 Vital MTB Test Sessions. Highlights Aluminum frame Read More »

Atomlab DHR Handlebar

“Sexy and Strong”

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The Good: Great looks, Durable, Wide, great feel, Weight is low for and aluminum DH bar

The Bad: No center marks or cut off lines

Overall Review: I picked up the Atomlab DHR bars after seeing them at Interbike 2014. I was looking to replace the stock cockpit and was impressed with both the DHR bars and SL stem from Atomlab. They have several colors to go with the scheme of most bike, but I went with the white decal black bars and black stem to coordinate with the white accents on my 2015 Cannondale Jekyll. The bars are wide (800mm) and have a good feel with 5 degrees of upsweep and 9 degrees of backsweep. A lot of bars have 10 degrees of backsweep which works well with shorter bars, but on something this wide the angle is a bit extreme at the grips, so I was happy to Read More »

Five Ten Kestrel Clipless Shoe

Vital Review

“Tested: Five Ten Kestrel Clipless Shoe”

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Review by Joel Harwood // Photos by AJ Barlas Five Ten was founded by rock climber Charles Cole. In 1985, Cole created the Stealth S1 rubber compound, which quickly became the gold standard within the climbing community due to its tenacious grip and durability. In the early 2000’s racers like Kovarik and Hill were dominating DH and helped to make Five Ten the go-to shoe among flat pedal riders. When Greg Minnaar came on board, he asked for a SPD-compatible shoe with the advantages of stealth rubber. The Impact Clipless VXi and the Maltese Falcon LT are their most recent shoes that have not only won the hearts of the Read More »

2015 Santa Cruz Nomad Carbon X01 27.5

Vital Review

“2015 Test Sessions: Santa Cruz Nomad Carbon X01”

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Reviewed by Steve Wentz and Brandon Turman // Photos by Lear Miller The 2015 Santa Cruz Nomad is built to be an absolute beast. Now in its third generation, it is longer, slacker, lighter, has updated VPP suspension, and even sports more travel than the previous model. 27.5-inch wheels round out the package, as well as a parts pack that's ready to rock. With all the hype around this bike it was high time to officially weigh in on the Nomad during the Vital MTB Test Sessions. Highlights Carbon CC frame 27.5-inch wheels 165mm (6.5-inches) of rear wheel travel // 160mm (6.3-inches) front Tapered head tube 65-degree Read More »

Alpinestars Alps 2 Knee Pad

Vital Review

“Tested: Alpinestars Alps 2 Knee Pad”

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Review by AJ Barlas // Product Photos by AJ Barlas, Riding Photos by Lear Miller Knee pads in the bike industry have come some way since the early Dainese or Qrank knee/shin, robo-legs of the early days. Softer materials and the use of 'tech foams' are the most obvious changes and have resulted in what often resembles more of a big neoprene knee warmer than leg armour. Despite their soft appearance, there are a number that still meet the stringent CE standards put forth in Europe and the Alpinestars Alps 2 is one of them. Aimed at the more aggressive rider, the Alps 2 was designed to be a "flexible and lightweight Read More »

Dakine Exodus Bike Gloves Black

Featured Review

“Basic glove that requires personal stitching skills”

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The Good: Light, cheap, breathes well, fits bars well

The Bad: Craftsmanship

Overall Review: I bought these last summer as a cheap glove that breathed well so my hands wouldn't sweat so much. I wanted something light, cheap and with no padding so I could contact the bars. I looked at competitors' gloves but saw these for half the price. They couldn't be half the performance, right? Right? Well.... Fit - The gloves fit great. I normally wear a size large glove and these fit great. No extra length in the fingers and it conformed to the palm well. The velcro enclosure wrapped around nicely and didn't cause any pressure points. The velcro was clean and didn't come loose but tears away easily when you Read More »

Commencal Supreme 6 Frame

“Great all around”

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The Good: Super good suspension, gives great traction without bottoming out because of its progressive rate. Feels like it has more travel. Super fun to ride, corners very well and likes to fly high. Easy to get use to it from the first ride. Super versatile.

The Bad: Its a bit heavy for a bike with 6" travel. The paint is not very good and chips easily.

Overall Review: Altough it pedals well, its deffinetly a mini dh bike rather than a trail or enduro bike as its travel would suggest. Anyway its a great all arounder, I have it as my only bike and use it from trail rides to bike park laps, some dh races and even dirt jumping. Its super durable, it bought a used one two years ago and even after two summers in my local bike park and one month in whistler it still rides perfect.