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Shimano Zee RD-M640 Rear Derailleur

Vital Review

“Tested: Shimano Zee Derailleur - Become a Trail Ninja”

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by Nick Zuzelski In the craze of clutched rear derailleur technology coming out these days, Shimano's newest offering is targeted to fit the market of gravity riders looking for performance while keeping some hard earned money in their pocket. Enter Zee. Zee RD-M640 Highlights 10-Speed Only Short Cage Weight: 250 grams MSRP: $109.99 The Zee rear derailleur features Shimano's Shadow Plus technology. Translation: The rear derailleur is strategically mounted and tucked in with a low profile design, decreasing the vulnerability of hits or impacts, and thanks to an innovative clutch, you aren't going to hear much Read More »

2013 Niner RIP 9 RDO

Vital Review

“2013 Test Sessions: Niner RIP 9 RDO”

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Reviewed by Matt Thompson and Jess Pedersen // Written by Brandon Turman // Photos by Shawn Spomer and Brandon Turman First introduced at Interbike 2012, the full-carbon Niner RIP 9 RDO is the next evolution of their popular and widely-loved aluminum RIP 9. Switching frame materials allowed Niner to tweak a few things and they took full advantage of the opportunity. Travel has been upped 5mm, chainstays shortened 5mm, tire clearance improved, cable routing revised and internalized, ISCG tabs added, stiffness boosted, and weight reduced… In short, they made it more capable of hauling ass and charging through the rough stuff. Read More »

2013 Rocky Mountain Altitude 790 MSL

Vital Review

“2013 Test Sessions: Rocky Mountain Altitude 790 MSL”

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Reviewed by Steve Wentz, Joe Schneider, and Brandon Turman // Photos by Shawn Spomer and Brandon Turman The all-new, all-carbon, 650B wheel equipped 2013 Rocky Mountain Altitude came to life just a few months ago, making it a perfect candidate for Vital MTB's Test Sessions in Southern Utah. This 150mm travel rig is Rocky's flagship trail bike, designed with the goal of getting the job done well regardless of the terrain. From the first minute of the Altitude’s design process, Rocky says there was never any doubt that they would build it around 650B wheels, citing limitations of both 26-inch and 29-inch wheels for Read More »

Guerrilla Gravity GG/DH Frame

“Sweet ride in a amazingly simple package”

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The Good: No Flex / Easy to tune / Simple maintenance / Great geometry options / Clean cable routing / Easy to build up / Great on fast or steep tight trails / Pedals well / No noticeable brake-jack

The Bad: Hummmm of the top of my head I can't think of any to date...

Overall Review: The GG/DH is on par or surpasses many of the current mainstream downhill bikes. A weekend warrior or a seasoned racer can set-up the bike for fun and to win races. I know for a fact that the bike can be built up to a 36.5Lb race bike with basic downhill parts. It is a great bike to ride, rails corners, rips through steep gnarly trail sections and is simple to maintain. Set up is super easy with the GG/DH baseline recommendations, a couple runs to tweak in the suspension to personal preference, and the bike is ready for race day.

Santa Cruz Heckler Frame

“you to spend hours with it enjoying”

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The Good: one very agile bike in slow single track , does not require much experience to enjoy.Very comfortable, lets spend many hours on it.

The Bad: Tihs is a weak bike, you can not require too much of it, but the price is justified

Overall Review: You can not put chain guide. It's a pretty simple bike which corresponds very well to the less demanding!

Kore OCD Handlebar

Vital Review

“Tested: KORE OCD Bars, Repute Stem, and Rivera Lock-On Grips - Back in the Game”

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by Kevin Shiramizu KORE has been around for a long time and to be honest, I haven’t given them much thought since I was last shopping for a 120mm cross-country stem and some kinked bar ends, which was like two years ago. No wait, 12 years ago. But then these spiffy new bars, stem, and grips showed up for review and I realized, I should pay more attention to KORE because someone woke up something good inside those company walls. KORE looks to be back in a big way for 2013. OCD Handlebar Highlights AL7050-T6 Triple Butted 31.8mm Bar Clamp Diameter 5 Degree Upsweep, 7 Degree Backsweep Zero, 20mm, 35mm Rise Options 800mm Wide HRT Read More »

Easton Havoc Carbon Handlebar

“Vibration Damping where it's needed”

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The Good: Light, incredible vibration damping, looks good

The Bad: None really, maybe price but this is handmade so I get the price

Overall Review: I've ridden carefully chosen carbon bars for years now and when Easton launched their latest Havoc it was a no brainer. Light, strong and incredibly forgiving, sucking up negative energy on the trail. I have the Haven on my trail bike as well with the same positive results. It's one of the few bars I trust after instant failure on a aluminum bar a few years back.

Royal 2014 Race Short

Vital Review

“Tested: Royal Race Short and Jersey - Form AND Function”

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Review by Johan Hjord // Pictures by Johan Hjord and Tal Rozow Royal Racing has been producing mountain bike specific clothing for over 10 years, and as you would suspect from the name, the catalog has always included a well thought-out range for you to race in. Given that the brand was co-founded by Peaty himself, and that he is still very involved with Royal Racing today, that comes as no surprise. For 2013, Royal has taken a step back towards a somewhat toned down style on the Race line, which is probably a good thing – a couple of the last iterations may have been a bit over the top in terms of graphics. The Read More »

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