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2015 Santa Cruz V10 Carbon CC

Vital Review

“Tested: Santa Cruz V10CC”

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Review by Fred Robinson // Photos by Fred Robinson and Matt Puzel/Brandon Turman (action) With the 2014 World Cup overall title in the bag and only half a second away from winning World Champs, had Josh Bryceland just SLOWED DOWN before that final jump, the new Santa Cruz V10 already has a reputation that speaks pretty loudly for itself. So what else could we find to say about it? Plenty. Check out how well, or sometimes maybe not so well, we got on with the brand new Santa Cruz V10CC. For 2015 Santa Cruz introduces the 6th generation of it's highly successful V10 platform. While maintaining the look and lines of the Read More »

2015 Norco Range Aluminum 7.1 Bike

“T minus 10 seconds for take off!!!!”

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The Good: The suspension, the build quality and the handling.

The Bad: Gives you too much confidence lol!

Overall Review: The Norco Range A 7.1 2015 is a beast!!!! It may not have a carbon frame but it will not stop you getting confidence to take on anything you see on the trail. I have to take my hat off to Norco. They simply hit the bullseye with their line up of mountain bikes. Honestly I still had that frame of mind that Norco just makes budget bikes. A few years ago I never once considered getting a Norco if you were serious about hitting the trails. That was the past, but now I realise that I was very wrong. I love Norco's geometry. The build quality is one of the best. I have owned different brand mountain bikes in the past and I Read More »

Source Pulse Hydration Pack

Vital Review

“Tested: Source Pulse 2L Hydration Pack”

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Review by Monica McCosh // Photos by Ryan Grani Source hydration packs have hit the mountain bike scene with some pretty well thought out design features. While they may not be as widely known or “cool” as some of the lifestyle brands in this space already, their functionality and technology might cause a bit of a paradigm shift in staying fueled. Source Pulse 2L Highlights Bladder Capacity 2L (70 oz) or 3L (100 oz) Storage Capacity 3L (38cm Height x 22cm Width, 412g) or 4L (45cm Height x 24cm Width, 444g) Lightweight Ripstop 70D nylon, mesh shoulder straps, elastic strap retainers, removable waist belt, reflective LED Read More »

2015 Specialized Enduro Elite 650B

Vital Review

“2015 Test Sessions: Specialized Enduro Elite 650B”

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Review by AJ Barlas and Brandon Turman // Photos by Lear Miller At the tail end of 2013, Specialized began to make the shift from 26-inch wheels to 650B, also commonly referred to as 27.5. The move, which began within their Stumpjumper FSR series and is now migrating into the rest of their lineup, was one that the 'Big S' held off on for quite a while. Since making its way into the Enduro range, team riders like Curtis Keene have posted some of their best results in the World Enduro Series aboard the updated bike, leaving many wondering just how good it is? We threw a leg over the top end aluminum model to answer Read More »

7iDP Control Knee Pad

“I love my new control knee pads”

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The Good: Fit well, don't slip, like you aren't wearing anything at all....

The Bad: They don't slip down while riding and protect your ankles from pedal bite...

Overall Review: I have used/tried several other pads in the past, non-7idp, and was irritated by the way they feel, slip, etc. I actually like wearing the Control Knee pad because it stays in place, you can't feel that it's on and of course the protective quality. Out of any pads I have tried/worn, these are my favorite. In fact, I am wearing them every time I ride unlike the others I left in my gear bag. This is a great product.....  I recommend them without hesitation.

WTB Breakout 27.5 Tire

Vital Review

“Tested: WTB Breakout TCS 27.5”

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The modern all-mountain or enduro racing bike is quite an achievement, possessing almost impeccable downhill manners while still being a relative joy to grind up hill or rally day-long on the trails with your friends. Tire options, however, have taken a bit of time to catch up. In their defense it's no easy task to balance weight, casing durability, grip, rolling resistance, volume, wheel size(s), rim width, and the countless trail conditions they are subjected too. WTB's new Breakout 2.5 is the latest all-mountain/enduro offering from a company whose profile has been rising quickly in the tire and rim market, but is it fully Read More »

2015 Trek Fuel EX 9.9 27.5 Bike

Vital Review

“Tested: Trek Fuel EX 9.9”

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Review by AJ Barlas // Product Photos AJ Barlas, Riding Photos Jon Anthony Almost a full year ago now, Trek revealed to the world a special sauce they'd been working on with top motorsports racing outfit, Penske. That technology was the RE:aktiv damper, a unit that took onboard Penske's advanced regressive suspension tech used in their F1 race car suspension, and a range of similar applications. After initially enjoying a couple of days aboard the RE:aktiv equipped Trek Fuel in South Carolina, we were eager to spend more quality time on this bike and suspension technology, on trails we commonly ride in the Pacific Read More »

2015 Fezzari Timp Peak X01

Vital Review

“2015 Test Sessions: Fezzari Timp Peak X01”

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Reviewed by Brandon Turman and Steve Wentz // Photos by Lear Miller Introduced in 2014, the Fezzari Timp Peak is the brand's first full carbon dual suspension mountain bike. Sporting 150mm of travel, 27.5-inch wheels, and geometry that makes it a good all-arounder, the bike is best suited to trail, all-mountain, and light duty enduro race use. For many the most appealing aspect of the bike is the great value it represents - a comparable build on most competitors' full carbon frames would set you back nearly $10,000, while the Timp Peak slots in at just over $6,000 thanks to a direct to consumer sales model. Curious to see Read More »

2015 Liv Women's Intrigue 1

Vital Review

“2015 Test Sessions: Liv Intrigue 1”

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Reviewed by Amanda Wentz and Courtney Steen // Photos by Lear Miller After its debut in 2014, the Liv Intrigue is back for more with some nice upgrades. Liv claims the bike will help boost your speed and skills, and is "built specifically for women seeking maximum control and confidence on aggressive trails." Was this just some marketing talk or is there really a difference? We were in sunny San Luis Obispo, California to find out. Enduro Pro lady shredder Kelli Emmett helped with the design process, so we knew it had potential to be a ripper going into the 2015 Vital MTB Test Sessions. Highlights Aluminum frame Read More »

Atomlab DHR Handlebar

“Sexy and Strong”

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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 »