Latest Product Reviews


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.

SRAM X0 Type 2 Rear Derailleur

“SRAM X0 Type 2 Rear Derailleur”


The Good:

Good Shifting, Pretty Durable, Helps With Front Ring Retention

The Bad:

Goes Through Derailleur Cables Quickly

Overall Review: I converted from a 2x10 drive train over to a 1x10 short cage and changed out to one of Sram's Type 2 derailleurs to help keep the chain from slapping around and falling off the chain ring. I use a NW ring up front with no chain guide with an 11-36 cassette. It does a very good job of doing just so as I have only had the chain drop a couple of times in the past 2 years with these derailleurs. Th shifting with this derailleur is pretty crisp and very similar to other Sram set-ups I have had in the past. One thing you can to to help with chain retention it to adjust the clutch over time. You can take off the plastic Read More »

Acre Traverse Short

Vital Review

“Tested: Acre Traverse Short”

Review by AJ Barlas // Photos by Steve Li Acre - a brand that focuses on the minimalistic, functional side of products and less on meaningless marketing slogans - has been steadily building a network in the cycling industry for a number of years now. Their products are aimed at getting riders to the great outdoors with only what is needed, because more than this often results in things going wrong. Whether going on a multi-day trek or just a quick power hour rip, no-one needs the hassle of garments getting in the way. The Acre Traverse short is a prime example of their mantra. This super minimalist short is all about Read More »

Race Face SixC Handlebar

“Race face Sixc Handlear”


The Good:

Strong, Absorbs Vibration, Great Shape

The Bad:

None I Have Had

Overall Review: These were the very first carbon product I had ever used and was a little bit weary at first as most new to carbon people are. I have had them several years now and they have held up great with only a minor scuff in the carbon. They are lighter then aluminum bars and one of the good properties of carbon and the way these are designed it that they help absorb vibrations that can lead to arm pump quicker. RaceFace also has a great sweep to their bars that fits me naturally that I do not have to think about while riding. I have thrown these bars on 2 different bikes and will keep them going as long as I can. I would definitely buy another one in the future when the life of these are over.

2014 Specialized S-Works Demo 8 Bike

“Best bike i will ever own.....”


The Good:

c'mon it's the SWORKS.

The Bad:

Der. hanger could be fine tuned.

Overall Review: thanks A-1 Cycling, VA.

Maxxis Ikon Tire

“Definitely for xc, Good tire.”


The Good:

This tire has a low weight and as far as I'm concerned, awesome rolling resistance. I found grip overall to be good, not great, but good.

The Bad:

This tire has little protection, and therefore easily tears and gets punctures.

Overall Review: ​Good XC tire for riding. I feel like the knobs could have been spaced more, especially in the middle. Wears quite fast in my experience.

2014 Specialized Crave Comp 29 Bike

Featured Review

“Decent bike, with some flaws”


The Good:

The bike climbs quite well.
For what it is, the bike descends OK on technical terrain. Decently lightish.
Feels good on flowy singletrack.
Nice fork, and remote lockout.
Good frame. Decent brakes.

The Bad:

Most of the stock components are not that good. Tires are light but easily tear / wear, don't have really good grip especially in wet or loose conditions
Rims and wheels are heavy, need truing often (4 times in 8 months)
Cranks wear fast, as do both front chainrings
Saddle bent after a small crash.
Seatpost screw in the front is hard to get to with a larger screwdriver.
Seatpost clamp is awful, CAUTION for anyone like me who raises / lowers seats on climbs and descents.
Geometry / bike feel gave me the impression that the bike was a little confused; seems a little between a full on xc bike and a light trail hardtail.

Overall Review: Essentially, this is the first real mountain bike I have ever had. I am now looking at purchasing an enduro bike, but this bike was strong and affordable, so I chose it. After riding for a few months, I realized that all mountain riding is more of my style. I have done a few upgrades on my bike (wider bars, bigger brakes, big tires) and those DEFINITELY improved the bike, while keeping it at the same / lower weight. I think the way that Specialized markets this bike is not really good. I don't see this bike as an xc race bike at all. Given the relatively low price difference between this bike and a low end stumpjumper Read More »

Crank Brothers Mallet DH/Race Clipless Pedals

“Crank Brothers Mallet DH”


The Good:

Durable, Strong Spindles, Nice Platform, Low Maintenance, 2 Year Warranty

The Bad:

None I Came Across

Overall Review: I decided to get into clipless again when I was doing quite a few local DH races to help in the gnar we have here on the East Coast. I decided to go with these pedals as they had some good initial reviews and all else failed Crank Brothers provided these with a two year warranty. I paired them up with some 510 shoes. I used them throughout a solid season of DH racing and general rides. They have gone through dry and very muddy weather and they have not been taken apart once. They still spin freely and smooth. If I could change one thing, it would only be to have a slightly stiffer spring to make Read More »

Straitline SC Platform Pedal

“Straitline SC Platform Pedal”


The Good:

Very Durable, Good Grip, Easy Maintenance

The Bad:

A Bit Heavy Compared To Others

Overall Review: I have had these pedals for several years and they have held up great even without any rebuilds. The bushings may not spin as freely as pedals with bearings, but under foot I do not notice that at all. They have held up to countless rock strikes and the spindles are both still very true. As one noted, if you use them frequently in wet weather, you will need to take them apart every once in a while to clean and use a slight amount of grease. It only takes a few minutes for each pedal to do so and all you need is a small flat blade screw driver to get the clips off. I have found they have good grip in all kinds of conditions and they have a nice large platform. The pins also hold up very well and Straitline includes some spares if you need them.

Trek Stache 9 29+ Bike

Vital Review

“Tested: Trek Stache 9 29+”

By gordo If you're reading this review, I figure you have one of three attitudes toward the 29+ tire size: Why would this clown bike be reviewed on Vital? I'm going to hate on it in the comments because that's what any cool mountain biker would do. I'm actually interested in the wheel/tire platform and how this bike rides. What the heck is that thing, I know nothing about it. If you have attitude #1, you can skip to the comments and leave your territorial pissings. Your internet friends will approve of your hate and your life will go on. If you have attitude #2 or #3, keep reading. Trek Stache 9 29+ Highlights 29 x 3.0-inch Read More »