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Latest Product Reviews


2015 Trek Slash 9.8 Carbon 27.5

Vital Review

“2015 Test Sessions: Trek Slash 9.8 Carbon 27.5”

Reviewed by Dylan Stucki and AJ Barlas // Photos by Lear Miller After much anticipation, the Trek Slash goes carbon for 2015. The 160mm travel bike underwent a major redesign last year, gaining 27.5-inch wheels, noticeably better pedaling performance, and even more capable geometry. This all-mountain/enduro ripper was just waiting to unleash its fury on the trails at the 2015 Vital MTB Test Sessions. Highlights OCLV Mountain Carbon frame with aluminum chainstay 27.5-inch wheels 160mm (6.3-inches) of rear wheel travel // 130/160mm (5.1/6.3-inches) front travel E2 tapered headtube 65 or 65.6-degree head angle 66.5 or Read More »

2013 GT Ruckus Dj Zero Bike

“Love my 13 ruckus zero”


The Good: Very good all around, whether im at an indoor park, dirt jumps or blitzing the trails the bike rides perfectly. Very comfortable on jumps, pops well. I love it being single speed but it could be converted.

The Bad: I rode my at least 5 days a week on trails or rahs mtb during the winter and I've noticed some trouble with the wheels. Me and others I've spoken with have dealt with flat spots in the rims.

Overall Review: Absolutely love mine, with any bike after a few years you may need some replacement parts, depending on how you ride. It's worth writing the check for.

2015 Banshee Phantom Race

Vital Review

“Tested: 2015 Banshee Phantom”

Review by Brandon Turman // Action Photos by Courtney Steen The Banshee Phantom is a 105mm travel 29er. We wouldn't blame you for immediately thinking "cross-country" when you first hear those kinds of numbers. We did. But no, the new Phantom is decidedly not an XC bike, but instead a special blend of XC/trail/all-mountain/enduro magic. It brings together the efficiency and precision of a short travel ride, the capability of a slack head angle, big wheels to get your roll on, and well-chosen components that let you get away with murder. We spent a few months getting acquainted with the new bike (and new concept) in Read More »

2015 Norco Fluid 7.1 Bike

“Norco Fluid 7.1 2015 w XT wheels - first ride impressions”


The Good: Looks sleek and fast, 27.5 better than 26, over all performer for a great price.

The Bad: Heavy for the travel

Overall Review: My first new mtb in over seven years. I wasn't sure of the looks from pics online, but in the flesh the fluoro lettering is fine, and overall the bike looks the schiz. Many bikes have that almost S shaped curve in the downtube, the straighter downtube on the Fluid gives it a leaner look than others like a trance or a specialized etc. I organized with the bike shop to swap the wheels to an XT set, and upgrade the front rotor to a 180. I needed an XL size and weigh about 83kg, so prefer the larger front rotor for when I ride longer descents. I am comparing the ride to my old Trance, and from the get go I appreciated the larger Read More »

SixSixOne Rage Knee Guard

“Not the Kyle Strait replacements”


The Good: Lots of front and side protection. Good ventilation. Comfortable during long rides.

The Bad: They slide down during long descends rendering them useless in a crash. Tighter than the previous model and can be hard to put on especially after washing.

Overall Review: I got these pads after not being able to find any 661 Kyle Straits which were my go to pads for years. I figured that these would be the same in design if not an improvement.  Although not as bulky as the previous model, they are just as comfortable and can be barely noticeable on long AM rides.  I've crashed a couple of times and they've saved my knees but there are a few times when they slipped down during long descends and prevented me from receiving coverage on unexpected falls.  If they could just stay up I'd give them a higher rating but they can't protect you if they continue to fall down.

2015 Pivot Mach 6 Carbon X01

Vital Review

“2015 Test Sessions: Pivot Mach 6 Carbon X01”

Reviewed by Steve Wentz and Brandon Turman // Photos by Lear Miller Pivot's Mach 6 Carbon has existed for a few years now, a veritable eternity in the world of changing designs and all-new products. It does, however, build off the success of the already refined Mach 5.7 and Firebird, blending the best qualities of each into one do-it-all machine. It certainly looks like it checks all the boxes, so lets mull over the details and hit the trail to see if the Mach 6 is indeed worthy of the name. We spent some time getting acquainted with it during the 2015 Vital MTB Test Sessions. Highlights Carbon frame 27.5-inch wheels Read More »

2015 Trek Ticket DJ Bike

“Just got mine”


The Good: Majority of the bike

The Bad: The line for the hydraulic rear brake was not very long. It is long enough to get to the brake and only enough extra to make about 90% of a bar spin.

Overall Review: So far I have not even ridden the bike other than around in the shop. The main reason I wanted to write this review is to alert people to the fact that the bike does NOT come with the fork spec' don't Trek's website. Both Trek's website as well as the specs on here state it coming with a Rockshox argyle. The bike came with a pike dj. Like I mentioned in the bad the brake line for the rear is a bit short of what I would expect to come on a dirt jump specific bike. The only other thing I would say is that The bike came with a chain guard on it. I actually had to remove the crank to remove the chain guard mount. I threw the finished build up in the scale. Just over 26 pounds without the mechanical front brake set up that it comes with.

2015 Juliana Furtado Carbon CC XX1

Vital Review

“2015 Test Sessions: Juliana Furtado Carbon CC XX1”

Reviewed by Courtney Steen and Amanda Wentz // Photos by Lear Miller This being the pilot year for women's Vital MTB Test Sessions reviews it seemed appropriate to check out a bike from Juliana, a brand focused solely on women's cycling. The 125mm travel Juliana Furtado, twin sister to the Santa Cruz 5010, includes a women's specific saddle, narrower bars, and a few other touches that make it better suited to the ladies. Using the latest VPP suspension technology atop 27.5-inch wheels, this bike is touted as a snappy, agile ride that descends well and climbs with the efficiency of an XC bike. Sounds like she's more Read More »

2015 Intense Spider 275 Pro

Vital Review

“2015 Test Sessions: Intense Spider 275 Pro”

Reviewed by AJ Barlas and Dylan Stucki // Photos by Lear Miller When the original VPP-equipped Intense Cycles Spider debuted in 2003 it was a bred for the cross country racer with speed and weight as top priority. Over the next decade it morphed into a marathon style trail bike with a penchant for pounding out the miles, and eventually a 29-inch option was born. Today the Temecula, California based brand is proud to release their latest in the long line of handcrafted Spider frames. The new Spider 275 maintains an adjustable 115/130mm of rear travel while becoming even more capable with updated geometry, revised Read More »

Specialized Dissident Full Face Helmet

Vital Review

“Tested: Specialized Dissident Full Face Helmet”

by Nick Zuzelski It is a good time to be in the market for a DH helmet. With the protective level of full face helmets increasing while weights are decreasing, riders are spoiled for choice when it comes to protecting their head. The fight at the top of the helmet game is a no-holds-barred battle and Specialized has rolled back their sleeves and thrown their new carbon Dissident helmet into the mix. Eager to discover just what they had cooked up for us, we settled on the super-stealthy matte carbon finish version and set out to put it through a little testing. Specialized Dissident Full Face Helmet Highlights Read More »