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2011 Santa Cruz Nomad Freeride Bike

“The All Mountain Beast”

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The Good: The VPP suspension is a no argue fact that this bike has to accomodate various trails

The Bad: nothing so far

Overall Review: I used to ride this bike either for all mountain trails rides and xc rides, the bike is predictable even when Im on speedy ride down the hill. I totally recommend this bike for you who seek the all mountain rig and be your daily best friend.

Crank Brothers Iodine 11 AM Riser Handlebar

“Comfortable, Durable bars”

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The Good: -Comfortable
-Great Vibration Dampening
-Durable
-Perfect amount of rise for XC/FR

The Bad: I guess should come in different lengths to support different styles of riding

Overall Review: I ran these on my '08 Turner Sultan in an FSA alloy stem and they worked great for harder XC and freeride. Awesome vibration dampening, good rise, had no complaints. I like twitchy bars so the 680 width was awesome. Stable, comfortable bars. Pretty durable too. They did crack on a major crash, but to be fair I am 6'7" and 190 lbs, so I have no business with carbon anyways. Took an impact of 35 mph directly on the outermost left grip to produce a hairline crack. Wish I could say the same for me (double snapped collarbone, 2 broken vertebrae, collapsed lung). I would recommend these as budget friendly carbon bars to anyone

Bell Full-9 Helmet

Vital Review

“Tested: Bell Full-9 Helmet - Lovin' Yo Dome”

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Review by Sean "Griz" McClendon // Photos by Brandon Turman Inspired by their award-winning Moto-9 and developed with Aaron Gwin, the Bell Full-9 is purpose built helmet for biking with features you'll find nowhere else on the market. At a price tag of $400, Bell caters to the penny-pincher who wants the best performance enhanced gear money can buy at food stamp pricing. With its carbon shell, magnetic cheek pads, integrated POV camera mounts, Overbrow Ventilation system and Soundtrax speaker pockets – you get more than what you pay for. Bell Full-9 Highlights ASTM F1952 DH Certified, F2032-06 BMX, CPSC, CE EN 1078 Read More »

Spank Oozy 26AL EVO Complete Wheels

Vital Review

“Tested: Spank Oozy EVO Wheelset - Light & Affordable”

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by Lee Trumpore Due to the added benefits of reduced rotational weight, wheel selection has always been given special attention by riders looking to lighten or liven up their ride. With the increasing popularity of light, aggressive, and ~160mm travel all-mountain frames, the demand for equally capable parts often finds riders in a bind trying to balance cost, weight, and durability. These bikes are capable of keeping pace with DH bikes from not so long ago, yet they are light enough to be comfortably ridden up thousands of vertical feet. This has ushered in a new generation of wheels light enough for climbing, but Read More »

Continental Der Baron DH Tire

“All around grip from ze Germans”

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The Good: Grip beyond belief on al things wet and slippy. No lug separation problems. Fast enough to be a xc tire, acts like a spike tire in the mud.

The Bad: Blew out the sidewall of the APEX casing tire after 6 months of use. Did not grip very well in sandy type soil.

Overall Review: I ordered this tire thinking it was going to be the 2ply, 2.3in tire of my dreams. When I received it, I noticed that it was not a 2ply tire at all. What I received was a single ply folding bead with an "APEX" casing, which I was told was a super tough "Freeride" tire and great for tubless too. I initially installed them tubless on a stans flow wheelset. Eventually, I determined that due to burping tires every ride, I would just run them with tubes. I loved them for six months on all types of rides and through all conditions, they were my new favorite tire. Recently, I hit a fast g-out and blew the sidewall of the Read More »

POC Trabec Race MIPS Helmet

Vital Review

“Tested: POC Trabec Race MIPS Helmet - Unique Style Meets Safety Innovation”

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by Mihai Moga POC, a fairly young and very successful Swedish company known primarily for high quality ski helmets, has made waves in the world of mountain biking over the past few years. Their unique designs and innovation are quickly gaining recognition. The new Trabec Race MIPS is their top of the line trail helmet for 2013. This helmet stands out for several reasons, including the use of the radically different MIPS technology. POC Trabec Race MIPS Highlights Inner Aramid filament reinforced EPS core Outer PC shell with seams in the areas of least exposure Equipped with the patented MIPS system Aerodynamic Read More »

2012 Transition TR450 1 Bike

“great frame”

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The Good: strong, reliable, predictable , smooth and nice jumping

The Bad: weight , 5. something kg with the shock

Overall Review: i haveridden a transition tr 450 since 2011, i had a green one from 2011 and know i ride a 2012 black like the one on the photograph. i like the  bike performance , handle and versatility , i have ridden it in a race like avalanche, 12.5 km with fire roads, little climbs and single tracks and it old up perfectly .very good choice, since the frame and the hole bike it's not one of the most expensive on the market.

Royal 2014 Membrane 3/4 Bib Riding Short

Vital Review

“Tested: Royal Racing Base Membrane 3/4 Bib & Jersey”

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by AJ Barlas Base layers… for biking? Isn't that more of a ski thing? I'm sure some of you muttered something to that effect when you saw the title for this review, but hear me out. Three years ago I would have been caught thinking precisely the same thing. "Throw on a hoody, some moto pants and a cheap rain jacket and it'll be fine," I'd say, and do! But you won't catch me dead doing that in the last couple of seasons. Why? Maybe this aging game is actually making me wiser (I won't go as far as to say smarter, after all, I do let the computers in my life do a lot more of my thinking than years ago). Read More »

ODI Troy Lee Designs Lock On Grip

“ODI TLD Lock-on's!”

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The Good: Very grippy, they look awesome, easy to install.

The Bad: Nothing really. Could be a little cheaper, but you get what you pay for.

Overall Review: Had these on my DH bike for a while, but moved to the Rogue's since I like a thicker grip. Threw these on my XC bike and they work like a charm. No complaints.

X-Fusion Vector HLR Rear Shock

“X fusion vector”

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The Good: Plush and fluid all the way through its travel. Zero catch when suspension is first activated. The mid stroke doesn't blow through its travel. This also enhanced its pedalling abilities. I had the elka stage five before, but it would stick when first engaging and it blew through the travel too easily for my liking. The Vector fixed all the dislikes I had with my previous shocks. The bottom out is controlled, giving it a bottomless feeling. The adjustments do what with are designed for.

The Bad: Depending on your preferences in riding there could be one thing that you might not like- or you may like it if it suits your riding style. The last part of the rebound before it returnes to length slows down. It doesn't give you a pop off the lip of a jump. But at the same time it won't buck you if you come off a lip off balance. I think this charactistic adds to the constant fliud feel. Going fast through big rocks I think it gives smoother control. Adjusting the rebound changes it but doesn't make it go completely away.

Overall Review: This shock does what it was designed for. I think it works as well as the best rear shocks out there and better in some ways. I am very impressed so far. The lower cost in this case dosen't mean less.