Latest Product Reviews


2016 Felt Decree 3

Vital Review

“2016 Test Sessions: Felt Decree 3”

Reviewed by Fred Robinson and AJ Barlas // Photos by Lear Miller While Felt might be best known for their road bikes, over the past few years they’ve been hard at work further developing their mountain line. Featuring an all carbon frame with Felt Active Stay Technology (FAST) suspension, the 140mm (5.5-inch) travel Decree uses flexible seatstays in order to mimic the performance characteristics of a four-bar system, yet eliminates the need for a pivot near the rear dropout. This simplifies and reduces the overall weight of the rear triangle, yielding an ultralight frame that's still surprisingly sturdy. We were excited to throw a Read More »
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Vital MTB member bturman
109 bturman,109/all 08/01/09 1156 92 5810 1055,109/setup 252 1090 2070 123 40

Giro Cipher Helmet

“Good helmet for the budget conscious”


The Good:

Good fit
Breathes well
Plays well with Atlas neck braces

The Bad:

Chin bar is too close to face
Finish could be better

Overall Review: The Cipher is a great all around helmet with great air flow for staying cool on warm days. The field of view is good, and the helmet appears to be solidly built. Giro's helmet shape has always worked well for me, and the Cipher is no different. As an evolution of the Remedy helmet, the Cipher improves in almost every way - D ring buckle, burly DH-certified protection, and better padding while maintaining a reasonable weight. My main gripes are associated with the value that this helmet provides - it offers good protection for a good price, but the finish quality is somewhat lacking. Many other helmets have moved toward Read More »

Race Face SixC Handlebar

“A carbon bar worth trusting your teeth with”


The Good:

Comfortable sweep / rise

The Bad:


Overall Review: I have typically been less than trusting of carbon bars given some of my prior experiences with lack of durability in crashes. The SixC has changed my mind. RaceFace has done a great job of creating a bar with a great balance of stiffness and vibration damping that is comfortable on all day rides, but still strong enough to go balls out in the bike park. I have not been too kind to my SixC bars and they have shrugged off crashes, botched landings and other rowdiness without flinching.

FOX 2016 Float 36 FIT RC2 Suspension Fork

“Single crown awesomeness for aggressive riders”


The Good:

Incredible damping control
Highly tunable
Lightweight bruiser
Great finish quality

The Bad:

Lots of knobs means more time setting it up
Can feel harsh if not charging
Price a bit steep

Overall Review: Let me just start off by saying this fork is amazing - really, it is astounding that mountain bike suspension has been able to come this far in so little time. My last Fox fork was a 2012 Fox 36 Talas that required a ton of maintenance, was always a bit sticky, and tended to dive a bit. I dabbled with Rockshox products for a bit and even went so far as to try XFusion and Marzocchi's offerings in the long travel all mountain single crown category - it's a good time to be an all mountain rider because of the range of products that are all pretty damn good. But Fox, you win the category in my mind. I had a bad couple of Read More »

2016 Scott Genius LT 710

Vital Review

“2016 Test Sessions: Scott Genius LT 710”

Reviewed by Steve Wentz and Brandon Turman // Photos by Lear Miller Scott's Genius LT received a major overhaul in 2014, and while the 2016 model doesn't look all that different from recent years, the company's continued focus on refinement could help improve the overall ride. Previous Genius LT bikes have had their pros and cons, with suspension that didn't quite agree with us and some questionable component choices. The latest version makes use of FOX's most up to date rear shock technology and custom tuned 36 fork, which much more closely align with how a 170mm (6.7-inch) travel bike can be ridden. Will a slight evolution Read More »
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Vital MTB member bturman
109 bturman,109/all 08/01/09 1156 92 5810 1055,109/setup 252 1090 2070 123 40

2016 Santa Cruz Bronson C S

Vital Review

“2016 Test Sessions: Santa Cruz Bronson C S”

Reviewed by AJ Barlas and Brandon Turman // Photos by Lear Miller New for 2016, Santa Cruz revamped their ever popular Bronson, the company's 150mm travel all-around trail smasher. While the updates may seem minor on paper, they’re just the right amount to take it from being a pretty "standard" trail bike by today’s standards to something with more potential to get wild and ridden with aggression. You're looking at a revised Virtual Pivot Point (VPP) suspension system, fresh rear shock tune, Boost axle spacing, slacker and longer geometry, lower standover heights, and more. The Bronson faced off with the rowdy, rocky Read More »
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Vital MTB member bturman
109 bturman,109/all 08/01/09 1156 92 5810 1055,109/setup 252 1090 2070 123 40

RockShox Lyrik RCT3 Fork

Featured Review

“2016 Rockshox Lyrik RCT3 160mm Review”


The Good:

Stiffer Crown, Stiffer Lowers, Small Bump Sensitivity, Supple Initial Stroke, Charger Damper

The Bad:

Torque Caps, 15mm Axle Only

Overall Review: Initial Thoughts When Rockshox announced the new Lyrik I was excited. I wanted a fork that could compete with Fox’s 36 FiT4 but feel more active. After reading the initial launch notes and reviews I began to get sad.. I admit I was not excited about “Torque Caps” or that it looked like a beefed up Pike but I decided to save my concerns until I got my hands on it. I decided to get a Lyrik RCT3 27.5 because I found a great deal on it. I got it from for $787.95 with a 10% coupon code “bomber10”. Most places I saw it for ranged from $900-$1000+. This was for a full retail version not OEM. Pump, tokens Read More »
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Vital MTB member
6112,6112/all 01/08/11 1 4 49 2

Canfield Brothers Nimble 9 Frame

Featured Review

“The Hardtail for those seeking Maximum Party”


The Good:

- Unique
- Progressive Geo
- Sturdy
- Sensible features
- Affordable
- Good karma for supporting a rad company

The Bad:

Large footed individuals might clip the stays with their heels a bit

Overall Review: Perhaps we should start at the beginning: why a hardtail? Just the other day, my Nimble 9 was resting against a fence alongside my friend's 6" full-sus über bike. I considered them a while. The fully, hewn in fibres and decked out with state of the art gear, made the Nimble 9 look positively agricultural. Every point was a juxtaposition. His bike was plastic, mine steel. His aesthetic was stealthy black, mine modelled on some sort of exotic gutter slime. His tyre choice made sense together, mine was whatever chewed out tread I'd dragged out of the shed to give its coup de grâce. His internally routed post was a slick Read More »

2016 Jamis Defcon 1

Vital Review

“2016 Test Sessions: Jamis Defcon 1”

Reviewed by Steve Wentz and Brandon Turman // Photos by Lear Miller Jamis has a long history of making decent trail bikes at good prices, and they're taking aim at the popular "do-it-all" enduro/all-mountain category with the new 160mm travel Defcon series. This is the first long travel ride they've offered in years, and of course it's accompanied by 27.5 (650b) wheels - something Jamis has been using since 2010, well ahead of most others. Visually speaking the Defcon 1 holds true to its name and looks like it could stop a nuclear threat with its robust tubing, big tires, and some of the burliest suspension available. Add in some Read More »
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Vital MTB member bturman
109 bturman,109/all 08/01/09 1156 92 5810 1055,109/setup 252 1090 2070 123 40

Loaded Precision X-40 Hookless Carbon V.3.1 Complete Wheel

Vital Review

“Tested: Loaded Precision X-40 Carbon Wheels”

Review by John Keep // Photos by Fred Robinson Loaded Precision is a Southern California-based components brand that was started in 2006. Offering a wide variety of products ranging from handlebars, stems, pedals and wheels, Loaded has hopped into the market of ultra-wide, carbon wheels. With a whopping 40-mm external width (35-mm internal), the new X-40 wheelset is offered in a variety of colors, much like the rest of their line. Having first spotted these wheels at Eurobike last year, we were eager to give them a spin. Available in both 27.5" and 29", we've spent the better part of the past few Read More »
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Vital MTB member jkeep
39519 jkeep,39519/all 02/19/16 1

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