Latest Product Reviews


2016 Intense M16C Pro Build Bike

Vital Review

“Tested: Intense M16C Pro Build”

Review by Fred Robinson // Photos by @luca_cometti_photo We've all heard that the M16C is here. There hasn't been much talk of how Intense's first production carbon downhill bike actually rides beyond a couple quick articles that barely scratch the surface, like our First Look earlier this month. Well, for the past two months we've been putting the M16C though the paces and feel it's finally time to weigh in on our thoughts about the new bike. While the new carbon M16, which we'll simply refer to as the M16C from now on, shares features like adjustable travel (8.5 to 9.5 inches) and leverage-curve, as well as nearly Read More »

Source Widepac Hydration System

Featured Review

“Works really well, maybe a tad heavy.”


The Good:

No leaks. Easy to clean and dry. No bad taste and no bio film.
Read my tip on drying.

The Bad:

The construction of bladder, hose and mouth piece and connectors is really solid, but may be a bit heavy.
The mouth piece may drip a tiny bit more than some competitors'.

Overall Review: The hydration bladder works as it should. I find with all bladders, it is key to keep them clean and dry when not using them. This one is easy to dry with a towel because of its big opening. I have also found one trick for air-drying the bladder: If you just leave the bladder as it is or even close it after use, it seals itself up and the moisture stays inside forever. But if you look at the third picture above, there are these two holes that can be used to push open the top of the bladder. Of course you can't hold it open forever waiting for the water to evaporate, but if you take the (orange or green) slider and thread it through these two holes, the bladder stays open, the remaining water can evaporate, and there is no chance of losing the slider.

VP Components VP-Aim Flat Pedal

Vital Review

“Tested: VP Aim Pedals”

Review by Nick Zuzelski // Action Photo by Carl Gray Flat pedals come in all shapes and sizes these days, with almost every model boasting some feature that sets them apart. After having lots of luck with VP's clipless offerings in the past, we threw on a pair of their latest budget minded Aim platforms and hit the trails. Aim Pedal Highlights Die-cast aluminum body Forged and heat treated CNC machined cromoly axle LSL and sealed cartridge bearings 105 x105 x18mm platform 425 grams per pair Replaceable steel traction pins Rebuild kit available Colors: Black (tested), Silver MSRP: $60 US Initial Impressions The Aims Read More »

Specialized 2FO Cliplite Shoe

Vital Review

“Tested: Specialized 2FO Cliplite Shoes”

Review by AJ Barlas // Product Photos by AJ Barlas // Action Photos by Steve Li Specialized first launched their 2FO range of shoes mid 2014 and their clip model has since made its way onto many a riders foot; from world cup downhillers to the regular Joey. They’re a very good shoe with a number of qualities that set them apart from other more casual styled clip shoes. Specialized weren’t prepared to stop there though and less than 12 months later they released the 2FO Cliplite; a shoe that’s aesthetics blend those of the more casual, skate styled shoe (like the regular 2FO), with the more performance driven Read More »

Guerrilla Gravity GG/DH Frame

Featured Review

“The GG/DH is one BAMF”


The Good:

Fantastic geometry, stiff as hell, pretty light, simple to maintain, easy to set up according to rider taste, you get to support a truly good company made up of really cool guys and gals, great perks including free T-shirt and access to discounted component purchasing

The Bad:

My hopes of smoking Loic Bruni on the WC circuit remain unrealized.

Overall Review: Specs: Large frame CCDB shock Dorado Expert Zee drivetrain and brakes Saint crankers 823s on Hadleys (26) 'Woo approved G5 rubbers Mandatory Thompson post, WTB saddle and Renthal bars Just to give some context, I am coming off a 2012 V10.4 and an IH Sunday before that and have spent a good bit of time on a demo some years ago. I liked a lot about the V10, but as my trail bikes grew longer, the (large) V10 really started to feel small and did not give me the same sense of security I love about a DH bike. I found myself wishing that my DH bike could just be a bigger, badder version of my Banshee Spitfire in terms of fit Read More »

Kenda Small Block 8 Tire

“Fast Rolling but Slippery”


The Good:

These tires roll extremely smooth and efficiently, and have nearly no resistance to steering input. They are agile and fun to snipe tiny transfers and root/rock lips with. On a bike that sees both asphalt and dirt, they are a great balancing act. And after 4 years of use they are holding up great. These tires are perfect for trails coated with pine needles; slide when you want to, track when you need to.

The Bad:

They suck for use in the Pacific Northwest. Do you like riding in the early Spring of Fall? Then you don't like these tires and they don't like you. These things shed mud like an air hand-dryer dries your hands. They don't. Even if they did, the front wheel would be retreating from you at every turn. Fishtailing is fun though, maybe pair with a slightly beefier front tire.

Overall Review: These tires are good for what they are; fast rolling cross tires. They get put on 'hybrid" bikes and that's a very good application, but dry xc is a good target too. If you have dry and packed conditions, these tires will be fun and precise, as well as long lasting. Even on pavement.

Giant Glory Frame

Featured Review

“Giant Glory- 3 Years Later”


The Good:

I have utilized this bike in Oregon at flowing and fast trails at Blackrock Mountain, and at wide-open and dusty trails at Mt. Ashland. I always tried a harsher and clunkier rental Glory at Whistler. From the very start, this bike puts you in attack mode. I'm 6'2" and on a large frame I'm comfortably over the bike, balanced and at home. That's what i noticed first; this bike's huge downtube and headtube junction inspire confidence and instill a laid-back attitude. The geometry was updated from earlier years to be more aggressive and race worthy, but I would note that this bike still feels like an absolute couch. There are no distractions on this bike; get on and ride. The shock and linkages are hidden from view, and from dirt and debris, don't worry there. You won't. On smooth and occasionally flatter trails at Blackrock (the green trail there) I noticed no real issues with handling. The head angle is slack for sure, but this bike feels like it's being pulled ahead, as if one of your buddy's towing you behind his 2-stroke. Things get really fun when the trail turns nasty. I find myself seeking out the chunkiest lines I can through rock gardens and root patches. The stability of this bike's suspension is inspiring. It wants to take care of you, so let it. If you relax enough, you'll be down the gnarliest chutes in no time. Pedaling is surprisingly efficient on this bike. Giant's Maestro suspension platform is obviously great on smaller bikes, but on eight inches? There will always be some bob, but the Glory cooperates when pedal-mashing is required. Braking in the rough stuff is not a terrible experience either. The rear wheel tracks great under braking forces, but the suspension can get bogged up a bit if it reaches mid-travel. Be light on the braking bumps and it won't be an issue. Blackrock Mountain bike park has been a great place to test out the agility of this machine, with tight and unrelenting berms, frequent jumps and tables, and finicky drops. The Glory's stability on land absolutely translates to stability in air (and sea if it's been raining the week before). This bike excels on big drops, rolling in or not. Bigger jumps are also treated well, but on smaller jumps the longer chainstays can make themselves apparent. Make no mistake though, this bike is playful. It has encouraged me to hit stupid lines and every lip I can find, and rarely ever felt sluggish in it's rear suspension. And on top of that, I probably don't even have optimal suspension settings. The longer chainstays may affect slow speed and finer handling, as well as manual-ability, but they translate to superior stability and confidence. In summary I will say that this bike is for those who want a balanced platform that creates a well-rounded riding style. The Glory loves sailing over gaps and smashing drops, but it is also confident in rocky chutes where the rear wheel leans back and carries you down gently. As far as downhill bikes go, this one is the most ready for diverse conditions. You have a trail in front of you, the Glory wants to lay waste to it.

The Bad:

With its well-rounded nature comes certain short-comings. For starters, braking in steep and rocky chutes can stiffen up the rear wheel to the point that hardtail-handling skills are brought back to memory. If you can be confident and rail the descent you'll be fine and the wheel will stretch out and take care of business. While the bike is very fun to toss around the trail, it can feel a bit too monster truck-like. Manuals are not easy; the chainstay length is already long and the Maestro design stretches it out further. This creates stability, but also station-wagon handling at times. At high speeds I would take no notice, but lining up slower berms can be a little less fun. If your usual trails are wide open, don't worry about this. It'll probably even help. The paint on the downtube of my bike has a couple tiny scrapes, so take care. My biggest qualm with this bike is that the cables (THE F*CKING BRAKE CABLE) are routed underneath the downtube. Above the front wheel. The waterwheel of a front wheel. Avoid razor blade thin gravel. I haven't had issues with this however, but it is concerning. The cables below the bottom bracket also make a clicking type of noise when setting the bike into its sag.

Overall Review: After three years of riding this bike, and knowing it has been surpassed by it's 27.5 wheeled and carbon counterpart, I can say that this bike will remain valid for a long time. The steeper Glories remained on the trails for a long time, and I still see them often. I think Giant aimed for a bike that fit any type of downhill rider, and if you're not new then you know how many different types there are. Giant hit the mark too, creating a gravity platform that is cozy and relaxed, but prepared to attack steep terrain. If you're looking for a used bike, pay attention to the Glories. They are refined machines, and will take care of you.

Deity Tyler McCaul Signature TMAC Pedal

Vital Review

“ Tested: Deity TMAC Pedals”

Review by Fred Robinson // Photos by @luca_cometti_photo Tyler McCaul and the team at Deity Components have been cooking up something special. Having first spotted these pedals at the 2015 Sea Otter Classic and later seeing them pop up on various Deity-supported athletes' bikes, to say we were eager to get our hands on a set of them would be quite the understatement. With almost three years in development, Deity cut no corners when it came to creating a pedal both Tyler McCaul and they, themselves, were completely satisfied with. Deity even went as far as making a second mold after they weren't 100% Read More »

Ergon BE1 Backpack

“Best bike pack around!”


The Good:

This pack is amazing. super lightweight and with enough storage to get you through a grueling 8 hour enduro race. Back Support. Vents extremely well. Sizing never an issue.

The Bad:

Waist band not ment for people with larger stomachs.

Overall Review: As soon as I saw this pack hit the market I knew it would be a winner. Having the water be down low more in your center of gravity just makes since. Also incorporating a back protector allows you to carry your good without having to slip into a stiff crash vest. If you are looking for an all around race pack or weekend ride pack look no further as this is the pack for you.