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Race Face Sixc 35 20mm Rise Carbon Handlebar

Vital Review

“Tested: Race Face Sixc 35 20-mm Rise Carbon Bar and Atlas 35 Stem”

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Carbon this and carbon that. It wasn’t long ago that a. carbon wasn’t available for your bike unless you were Donald Trump, and b. nobody in their right mind would trust the stuff on critical parts anyway. Fast forward to today, and the fantastic plastic is everywhere. From the frame to the wheels, your bike can drop weight faster than a bimbo in beach season thanks to this light weight and highly tunable magic material. Race Face is among the companies pushing the carbon boundaries, their Sixc and Next SL cranks a benchmark in the drivetrain market for example. Naturally we were curious to test their Read More »

2014 Kona Process 153 Bike

“Can live up to the hype - sort of.”

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The Good: Geometry is great. Downhills are superb. Climbs are ok,

The Bad: Weight. Some weak / underdimensioned components. Sizing is a bit far out.

Overall Review: I bought the Process 153 in mid jun. The bike has an instant feel of going fast downhill. The slighly bigger wheels does the job well and maintan momentum on flatter parts. Suspension works very well: the pike is almost as sensitive as my old Marzcocci 66. Rear suspension is great. Climbing is ok. I have taken the bike to some epic mountain 5-6 ours climbs and yes its ok for that - but it shines on the downhills. I have also done some enduro racing on the bike and its an awesome descender. The climbs did not kill me eihter. Compared to Trek Slash (mid model 2014) I think the slash has better wheels but the fork is far more Read More »

Kitsbow Wind Vest

Vital Review

“Tested: Kitsbow Wind Vest ”

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Review by Zach White // Photos by Don Stefanovich and Zach White Self-confessed textile OCD sufferers, Kitsbow make no secret of their mission - producing high-end mountain bike wear, with passion and a lot of attention to detail. They go out of their way to find the best materials for any given application, and then they make sure they design and manufacture to the same high standards. It's always nice to lay your hands on high-quality gear, but how does this no-holds-barred combination of fashion and function actually work out on the trail? We donned the Wind Vest and set out to find out. Kitsbow Wind Vest Highlights Read More »

Birzman Maha Apogee MTB Floor Pump

Vital Review

“Tested: Birzman Maha Apogee MTB Floor Pump”

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by Brandon Turman As we've written before, Birzman tools combine good looks, clean design, and clever innovation that make working on your bike a more pleasurable experience. The statement certainly applies to their high-end hand tools, but what of their new Maha Apogee floor pumps? Could the already relatively simple task of pumping up a tire be made even easier? Let's take a look at Birzman's answer to that question. Maha Apogee MTB Pump Highlights MTB specific high volume track pump design Pump tilts towards the user providing unparalleled ergonomic comfort Stable aluminum alloy base with high Read More »

Cane Creek DBair CS Rear Shock

Featured Review

“Contender for the BEST air shock? (once you set it up)”

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The Good: Crazy amount of adjustment, smooth, many sizes, the best climb feature I've tried yet, stays cool

The Bad: Crazy amount of adjustment may scare some, very expensive

Overall Review: Purchased the Double Barrel Air CS to replace the 2014 Float Evolution that came stock on my Carbon Nomad. Currently unknown tuning as I set the DBA accordingly to the SC Nomad settings found on their site and made my own adjustments as I rode. With that said, it feels, dare I say it, perfect. No volume spacers, but has the XV air can installed. Tested on a '14 SC Carbon Nomad with both the '14 Float CTD FIT and '14 Pike. Right after mounting it on the Nomad, there was definitely some out-of-the-box stiction, but smoothed out after a few tunes+rides. The factory tune definitely felt weird on the VPP Nomad so there was Read More »

RockShox Pike RCT3 Fork

Featured Review

“One of the best trail/AM/Enduro forks out there”

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The Good: Buttery smooth, Bottomless Token tuning, lightweight, stiff, longer damper service interval than competition (recommended time), and looks good on any bike.

The Bad: Stanchion not as hard as the other vulgar looking gold ones, difficult to find parts and oil (0w-30) as this is a relatively new product.

Overall Review: As a long-time Fox Racing Shox user, I never did like Rockshox forks as my Tora 302 died in a months time and the Fox Talas that replaced it made it clear that Fox makes stunning products, but today in 2014, it seems as if the roles changed. The 160mm 26" Pike is mounted on a 2014 Santa Cruz Carbon Nomad with a Cane Creek Double Barrel Air CS. Prior to the Pike, I had a 2014 Fox 34 Float CTD FIT, until the aluminum bolt holding it together on one side snapped. Compared to the Fox 34, I feel as if the Pike is in a different league. Not only is it stiffer and lighter, it also doesn't dive under braking (massive issue with the Read More »

KS LEV C Adjustable Seatpost

Vital Review

“Tested: KS LEV C Adjustable Seatpost”

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by Josh Cady The LEV Carbon (LEV C) is made by KS USA. Based in Foothills Ranch, California, the Orange County company produces hydraulic height adjustable seatposts and rear shocks. Within their array of dropper posts, KS markets the LEV C to cross-country weight weenies (me) looking for a little more confidence on the descents, and anyone else looking to add a very light weight dropper post to their rig. Per my M.O., I took the post's ability to handle my cross country riding style to the extreme, and tested it on many of the same trails Curtis Keene trains on for the Enduro World Series. KS LEV C Highlights Built for Read More »

Biknd Jetpack Bike Travel Bag

Vital Review

“Tested: Biknd Jetpack Travel Bag”

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Review by Fred Robinson // Photos by Brandon Turman Most people will agree, it's always a bit of a hassle to fly with your bike. Back in the day I used to break my bike down into two separate wheel boxes, which involved separating the front and rear triangle and pretty much dismantling the entire bike; the whole ordeal made me dread having to fly with my bike. Enter Biknd's Jetpack, built to simplify your life and make air travel safer for your bike. With another Whistler trip in the works, we took the opportunity to see if flying with your bike could actually be turned into a more enjoyable experience. Jetpack Read More »

2015 Trek Remedy 7 27.5 Bike

“The do it all mountain bike”

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The Good: Super stable, a smooth ride, good at climbing, sturdy yet still flickable, very maneuverable through tight corners, 2x10 drivetrain, shimano shadow plus derailleur

The Bad: wish it had more powerful brakes, front derailleur could be better

Overall Review: A very solid bike for the least expensive in its class. There is nothing that sticks out on the bike as something that needs to be improved, it seems ready to hit just about any trail right out of the box. It feels very nimble while going fast through sketchy rocky turns and feels yet super stable while bombing down descents. It is the do everything bike, it climbs well and keeps your power to the ground and can also get some air going over doubles and drops. The geometry feels like a happy medium for every style of riding.

Troy Lee Designs Women's Skyline Jersey

Vital Review

“Tested: TLD Women's Skyline Short and Jersey”

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Review by Courtney Steen // Photos by Brandon Turman The long days of summer are slipping away. Temperatures are becoming cooler and cooler. Jersey sleeves are becoming longer and longer. Each warm day in the forecast is a carpe diem call to the trail while each cold day’s goosebumps call to the memories of summer. On those summer days and the warmer fall days, I’ve been rocking the Women’s Skyline short and jersey, staples of Troy Lee Designs’ collection. These designs are based on the “no flowers, no butterflies, just bold, aggressive styling” ideal of the company. With color options from wild Read More »