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Latest Product Reviews


Atomlab DHR Handlebar

“Sexy and Strong”


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”

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”

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”

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”


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”


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.

2015 Orange Alpine 160 RS

Vital Review

“2015 Test Sessions: Orange Alpine 160 RS”

Reviewed by Dylan Stucki and AJ Barlas // Photos by Lear Miller For 2015, Orange moves to the 27.5-inch wheel size and slightly more aggressive geometry on their Alpine 160 RS. Still sporting the trusty single pivot suspension design that has taken them through many years of mountain bike history, the Alpine 160 RS aims to contend with the industry’s finest enduro rigs. Vital MTB's Test Sessions was the perfect opportunity to evaluate the merits of the handmade British bomber. Highlights Aluminum frame 27.5-inch wheels 160mm (6.3-inches) of front and rear wheel travel Tapered head tube 65-degree head angle 74-degree Read More »

Atomlab Superlite SL 650b Wheelset

Featured Review

“Great Wheels Great Price”


The Good: Weight, Strength, looks

The Bad: A bit narrow

Overall Review: This summer i picked up an early season Cannondale Jekyll 4. I bought this low end model because it came with the basic frame and fork set up I wanted but then left me freedom to build the rest the way I wanted it. One of those changes that I made right out of the gate was to install the new Atomlab Suprelite 650b wheels. Atomlab components have always been durable and I was looking for a wheel set that would perform over the long haul in the Las Vegas dust, ledges, and drops that constitute the majority of my riding. Installation I set mine up tubeless (is there another way) right out of the box. I used stan's Read More »

Atomlab SL Stem

“Atomlab SL Stem”


The Good: Stiff, Lighter than it looks.

The Bad: None observed, unless you value weight over strength and stiffness.

Overall Review: I have had the Atomlab SL stem on my 2015 Cannondale Jekyll since interbike in September. I put it on to replace the stock 50mm OEM cannondale stem that came on the bike.  The machining is superb and the laser etched graphics are amazing.  But besides giving my bike a much better look the stiffness that it provides along with the DHR handlebar is incredible.  I went with a 70mm on my Jekyll because wanted just a bit more length that the stock set up and my cockpit is perfect.

Troy Lee Designs 2015 Ruckus Riding Jersey

Vital Review

“Tested: 2015 Troy Lee Designs Ruckus Short and Jersey”

Review by Johan Hjord // Photos by Tal Rozow and Johan Hjord Troy Lee’s Ruckus kit has been part of the catalogue for a good few years already. Billed as the do-it-all, all mountain option, it is meant to be lightweight and breathable enough for all-day adventure, yet sturdy enough to get rowdy in. TLD’s full 2015 apparel line actually launched earlier today, but we managed to lay our hands on some early samples, so we’re here to tell you how the stuff performs already. Read on to find out! Troy Lee Designs Ruckus Short Highlights 2 way stretch, 92% polyester / 8% spandex Includes premium removable chamois Read More »