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Latest Product Reviews


Birzman Studio Tool Kit

Vital Review

“Tested: Birzman Studio Tool Kit”

by Brandon Turman For years I’ve gotten by with a beat up, sticker covered toolbox full of tools I’ve collected here and there. Some of the tools are hand-me-downs, others I purchased along the way, and I even made a few. Being the frugal type, a good chunk of them are the bargain bin variety. It’s often said that ignorance is bliss, and a few months ago I learned just how clueless I was. My wrenching world was turned on its head when the Birzman Studio Tool Kit arrived. You see, I had no idea what it was it was like to own nice tools. Sure, my oddball collection got things done, but I never realized how much Read More »

Gamut Cillos Stem

Vital Review

“Tested: Gamut Cillos Stem”

by Kevin Shiramizu Gamut has a knack for keeping things simple, which is a lot harder than it first seems. If Jiro Dreams of Sushi, then perhaps Juan Dreams of Bike Parts. I’ve been riding some form of a Gamut guide on one bike or another for a long time so when it was announced that they would be branching out into other parts, I was excited to see that same design mentality brought to the rest of a bike. With thick-thin rings around to stay, and guides becoming a smaller slice of the market, was Gamut diving into the components mix for a quick buck or were they doing it right? Gamut Cillos Stem Highlights Clamp size: 31.8mm Read More »

OneUp Components RAD Cage

Vital Review

“Tested: OneUp Components RAD Rear Derailleur Cage”

by Nick Ducharme Single chainring drive trains are becoming increasingly popular on the trail. With 11-speed upgrades still expensive, and the lack of proper wide-range 10-speed cassettes on the market, several manufacturers have jumped onboard the oversized replacement cassette cog bandwagon. These larger cogs take up the cassette real estate that one of your smaller cogs would usually occupy and installing one means you are typically forced to choose if you love your 15 or 17 tooth cog more. OneUp is cool enough to include a 16 tooth cassette cog with your 40/42t up-sized ring which bridges this shifting Read More »

Atomlab DHR SL 650b Wheelset

Vital Review

“Tested: Atomlab DHR SL 650B Wheelset”

Review by Cory Tepper // Photos by Emily Peterson and Cory Tepper As a long time fan of Atomlab I was quite stoked to see new product rolling out after some bumpy years of management changes and reduced industry presence. As a go-to rim for DH and DJ bikes the Pimplite has been in my stable for years and whilst indestructible she is not a light horse. Well, my favorite workhorse hit the gym, shed some grams and picked up an “SL” tattoo. Pulling these wheels out of the box was rad. They are light, loud and flashy, and I couldn't wait to mount them up and hit the trails. Atomlab DHR SL 650B Wheelset Highlights 102 HUB: Body: Read More »

Mavic Crossmax Hydropack 15 Hydration Pack

Vital Review

“Tested: Mavic Crossmax Hydropack 15”

Review by Johan Hjord // Photos by Tal Rozow and Johan Hjord Say Mavic and most people think of rims and wheels, of the bright yellow variety more often than not. Well, over the recent years the company has also been developing a line of apparel and accessories, aimed squarely at the kind of riding the staff at Mavic themselves enjoy the most – climbing a hill and bombing down it. First introduced at Eurobike 2013, the Crossmax 15L hydration pack was developed to be the perfect companion for longer days out, and we’ve been putting it through its paces for almost 4 months now to see what gives. Mavic Read More »

Five Ten Hellcat Shoe

“Good Shoe for DH and #Enduro riding”


The Good: Rugged, Sturdy, Supportive, Stiff Sole

The Bad: Heavy, Bulky, Cleat may be too recessed and may not be easy to clip out of with certain pedals (ie Crank Bros. Mallet 3)

Overall Review: I have had these shoes for about a year now and ride them on DH and am/enduro riding. I use the Crank Bros. Mallet 3 pedals and have not tried any other pedals. The shoes are GLUED to this pedal, this can be both good and bad. There are times I need to clip out and cannot, I think this is in part to the pin height on the mallet pedal as well as the deepness of the cleat on the shoe, combined with the stealth rubber, your foot isn't going anywhere. You can significantly lower or remove the pins to remedy this issue, it then is much easier to clip in and out.  The shoe is pretty stiff, and good for pedaling, when you need to. I have had some gnarly wrecks while wearing this shoe and it has seemed to handle them like a tank. Overall, I would recommend them to people with a gravity focused riding style.

Five Ten Hellcat Shoe

“Awesome shoes!”


The Good: Not warm, tough, good grip even when your not clipped in

The Bad: Not really comfortable to walk, but who does that?

Overall Review: Using them for DH riding, no problems yet. Aren't warm, doesn't wear out, no problems... They are very stiff, so they're not comfortable to walk, but for me as a DH rider it's not a problem..

Race Face SixC Cinch Crank

Vital Review

“Tested: Race Face SixC Cinch Crank”

by Lee Trumpore It wasn't long ago that carbon crank arms were only found on the bikes of the gram-counting XC crowd who had money to burn. But just as carbon frames are becoming commonplace under the world's most abusive DH racers, it's fast becoming the material of choice for the rest of their components as well. Race Face is the latest major brand to throw their hat into the DH/All Mountain/Enduro crank ring, and at 540 grams the redesigned SixC Cinch cranks are still light enough for the XC crowd, but now stiff and sturdy enough to put up with the abuse of DH racing. Race Face SixC Cinch Crank Highlights Completely Read More »

2014 Giant Anthem 27.5 3 Bike

“Great for all day riding”


The Good: Rockshox
climbs anything

The Bad: No problems yet.

Overall Review: Picked this bike up from my local shop after riding one at a demo event. I have been loving every minute of my riding.  the 2x10 deore system shifts smoothly even under heavy loads. the shimano brakes were great right out of the box and  their stopping power is amazing.

Five Ten Hellcat Shoe

Vital Review

“Tested: Five Ten Hellcat Clipless Shoe”

by Nick Zuzelski All it takes is a quick look around today's World Cup races and you'll see Five Ten Hellcats strapped to some of your favorite rider's feet. Coming in hot with a new colorway, Lime Punch, we got the chance to run these tried and true clipless shoes ourselves and we wasted little time putting them through about as much abuse as we could muster up to see what they are made of. Answers below! Five Ten Hellcat Highlights Sole material: Stealth S1 rubber Upper Material: Synthetic / Leather Closure:Laces / Velcro Pedal type: Clipless Weight:(Size 9) 20.1 Oz/ 570g each Available sizes (US):6-12, 13, 14 MSRP: Read More »