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RockShox Lyrik RCT3 Fork

“The best in class”

C138_rockshox_lyrik_rct3

The Good:

Smooth, controlled, easily tuned, supportive

The Bad:

Slightly awkward if your wheels aren't torque cap compatible

Overall Review: After trying a buddy's Lyrik, I replaced a 160mm Pike with a 170mm Lyrik on my Norco Range late last season. Not that the Pike is a poor performer in any way, but the Lyrik simply does what the Pike does just a little bit better in every way. The Lyrik definitely feels smoother and more plush off the top than the Pike and it has some added stiffness even without using the torque caps (more on those later). In the 170mm version, there is also the option of putting up to 3 tokens in instead of just 2 in the 160mm Pike. I find this makes it possible to run the pressure slightly lower, allowing for a smoother beginning stroke, Read More »
Rate review: +2 Up Down
Vital MTB member NMK183
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Norco Range Carbon 7.1 Framekit

“Small improvements over previous year's model”

C138_2015_norco_range_c_7.1_framekit

The Good:

Better cable routing than 2014, fun geometry

The Bad:

seat-tube angle could be steeper, not the lightest of carbon frames

Overall Review: I loved the 2014 Carbon Range so much that I now have a 2015 Range. The few small things that bugged me about the 2014 Range have been fixed. The cable used to sit against the frame near the bottom bracket and it actually rubbed away some of the frame's material over time. They added a metal guard to better hold the cable and protect the frame. They also added little plugs that hold the hoses tightly in position so that they don't rattle inside the frame. I also just personally like this year's colors better. You can't tell from pictures, but the 7.3 model is a BRIGHT neon yellow and looks amazing. Riding the Range Read More »
Rate review: +1 Up Down
Vital MTB member NMK183
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CamelBak Blowfish Hydration Pack

“Great hydration pack with two weaknesses.”

C138_97553750_1265400082

The Good:

Large reservoir volume, good storage organization

The Bad:

No back ventilation, warm.

Overall Review: Perfect volume to stash a rain jacket, tube, pump, tools, small 1st aid kit, food, cell phone, and wallet. It stays close to your back and doesn't move around when descending. The straps are wide and don't chaff, and it carries its weight evenly. There is a tool pocket and an organizing compartment inside, a nice touch for securing tools inside the bag. I have two complaints: The back panel does not breathe and gets hot and sweaty after long climbs. It holds moisture/sweat and needs to be washed periodically to stay salt-stain free. Secondly, there is no helmet carry feature. So if you use a Bell Super 2R and remove Read More »
Rate review: +1 Up Down
Vital MTB member NMK183
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Ryders Eyewear Seventh Glasses

Featured Member Review

“Game Changers”

C138_seventh_r02310i_1024x409

The Good:

Photo-chromatic lenses are phenomenal. Ear and nose pads are grippy.

The Bad:

Getting more expensive every year

Overall Review: After trying several different pairs of glasses in order to figure out how to deal with changing light conditions on the same ride, I decided to try a pair of photochromatic glasses for the first time. I can't believe it took this long to try! Where I ride, it is often open climbs into dark forest and I usually had lenses which allowed to me to see in the low-light conditions. Fire roads are usually bright dusty affairs, and staring into the sun in low-light lenses is hard on the eyes. If I switched it up and rode with a darker lens to combat the glare, I would suffer in the shadows. Enter the Ryder Photochromatic Read More »
Rate review: 0 Up Down
Vital MTB member NMK183
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KMC X11L Chain

“Performance, value, durability. What more could you ask for in a chain?”

C138_57318

The Good:

Lasts well, multi-directional, quick link, price.

The Bad:

Isn't made of solid gold?

Overall Review: After being dissatisfied with both Shimano and Sram chains, I gave KMC a try. Asthetically, they come in black, silver, or gold and look better than the competition. They last at least as long as Shimano, and longer than Sram chains in my experience. The quick link they supply is the best in the business, super easy to operate, though a tool is recommended to open it. I have reused the quick links, though they don't recommend it, and have had zero failures. Its also nice not to have the directional chain, like Sram uses. If you're like me then at least once you've gone and changed a chain, taken the time to get everything all ready to rock, only to find that you put the lousy chain in the wrong direction and have had to start all over again. Its a simple thing, but a nice feature.
Rate review: +1 Up Down
Vital MTB member NMK183
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WTB Silverado Team Saddle

“A good all-around saddle”

C138_wtb_silverado_team_saddle

The Good:

Can move around on it easily, cover is durable and doesn't absorb water, long nose to get forward on the climbs

The Bad:

Flexy rails, after long rides can be a bit uncomfortable

Overall Review: Hop on the Silverado and take it for a ride around the parking lot and you probably won't have much to complain about. It feels like a very generic mountain bike saddle to me, which is a good thing. The nose is longish and curved down so you can get forward on steep climbs. The cover is synthetic and doesn't absorb water. This keeps it clean and fresh when you need it, and is a breeze to clean. It also keeps it from chaffing when it gets sweaty. I would definitely get a bit sore after long rides, and would chalk it up to "that's just what happens after long rides" except that after switching to the WTB Volt and then the Ragley Tracker, I don't find I'm as sore as I was with the Silverado. But then again, everyone's bum is different. Good value, good durability, and good comfort. Recommended.
Rate review: +1 Up Down
Vital MTB member NMK183
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Chromag Lynx DT Saddle

“Quality saddle if it fits you”

C138_89906220_1273303933

The Good:

Quality cover, good color options, unique style

The Bad:

Doesn't fit everyone

Overall Review: This saddle came on a DH bike that I bought and decided to try it on my trail bike. The first ride I had to turn back and put my old saddle on about 20 minutes into the ride. The 2nd try I toughed it out the whole way, but only because I wanted to give it an honest go. I REALLY wanted to like this saddle, the color matched my trail bike way better than the one I took off, but I just couldn't get on with the shape. Just sitting and peddling on it was painful and it got worse as I started to climb steeper ascents. For comparison's sake, I've ridden the WTB Volt, WTB Silverado, and Ragley Tracker saddles over the past two seasons Read More »
Rate review: +1 Up Down
Vital MTB member NMK183
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Fox Racing Rampage Pro Carbon Full Face Helmet

Featured Member Review

“Pro Level Protection”

C138_fox_racing_rampage_pro_carbon_helmet_white

The Good:

Excellent protection, airflow is good for a full-face, remove-able inserts, crash replacement policy. Looks good!

The Bad:

Not as light as you would expect from a carbon helmet, a bit bigger shell than some others. Pricey.

Overall Review: I had a pretty crazy crash in Whistler a few years ago where I broke my old Fox helmet and needed to replace it. The shop I went into hooked me up with a crash replacement and 30% off this new lid. As it usually goes, I was drawn to the great looking colors, cool looking carbon inlay and overall feel of quality that the Fox Rampage Pro Carbon has when you put it on. The vents do a good job of dumping heat as long as you are riding. I wouldn't climb with this thing on my head on purpose, but its better than any other dedicated full face helmet I've ever used when talking about vents. It has a snug feel Read More »
Rate review: 0 Up Down
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Smith Fuel V.1 Max M Goggles

Featured Member Review

“Great lenses in a no-nonsense frame”

C138_smith_fuel_v.1_max_m_goggles_orange_red_mirror

The Good:

Lenses are excellent, and look good too, helmet compatible, value is good.

The Bad:

Will fog in extreme conditions, no quick lens change system

Overall Review: I bought these for downhill 3 seasons ago but started wearing them for enduro as well after getting dust in my eye racing in Rossland a couple of years ago. As someone who wears contacts, a little dust in the eye can ruin a day on the bike very quickly. I find that not only do I get great protection with these, but I actually see the trail better because they don't bounce around on my face while going over rough stuff like glasses do. I never noticed this until I started wearing goggles, but the strap just holds them tighter onto your face than glasses could ever hope to be, even with rubber arm and nose pads which I Read More »
Rate review: 0 Up Down
Vital MTB member NMK183
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Hope Technology Pro 4 Rear Hub

“A New Hope 4”

C138_blue_orange_purple_pro4

The Good:

engagement is fast, reliability you know and love, beautiful anodized colors

The Bad:

Not the fastest engagement available or the lightest

Overall Review: I'm hard on rear hubs. I have gone through 3 rear hubs in the past 3 years. Sunringle? Dead. Spank? Dead. Shimano? Dead. I kept replacing them with a full pre-built wheel and was on a budget, so this the nicest hub I have ever used, though I have ridden around the parking lot on I-9 and King hubs. If you drew a 10 inch line and on the far left performance was terrible, and on the far right performance was excellent, these would be about 1 inch from the right. They are excellent. The engagement isn't insanely fast, but is a huge improvement over any of the hubs I've used before. 8 degrees is quick, make no mistake. Yes Read More »
Rate review: +1 Up Down
Vital MTB member NMK183
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