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Crank Brothers Mallet DH/Race Clipless Pedals

Vital Review

“Tested: Crank Brothers Mallet DH/Race Pedals”

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by Noah Sears It's no secret that Crank Brothers products have a reputation for emphasizing style over longevity, so when the new Mallet DH/Race pedals arrived in the mail I was excited yet skeptical. They looked great, but would they perform? The Mallet DH/Race pedals debuted early this year to much fanfare, and were seen throughout the 2012 season on a number of World Cup race bikes. The original Mallets built a legion of followers, but each generation since has been less and less heralded. In their most recent variant Crank Brothers utilized a half polycarbonate two-piece design and a much smaller Read More »

X-Fusion Velvet RL2 DLA Suspension Fork

“Excellent on the trail, but have long term durability concerns”

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The Good: Syntace X-15 axle, plush, light, taper option

The Bad: Long term durability fears

Overall Review: Clever to do your R&D on another company's dime, but this is what X-Fusion have done, as they are according to my sources the Taiwanese manufacturers behind some of Fox's product range. I'm on my second fork as the first one got locked down probably due to a busted negative air chamber, died on the first ride. It was replaced on warranty but took a frustratingly long time to arrive. This fork performs flawlessly on the trail, but my experience suggests that some riders would be better off without the travel adjust feature. Also I think being bigger at 200lbs (90kg) I'm more suited to the much tougher market Read More »

Schwalbe Nobby Nic Evolution Tire

“Fast but flawed on tough terrain”

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The Good: Light, fast, good climber, tubeless ready

The Bad: Weak on rear and sketchy on front

Overall Review: I wanted something light for my trail bike as I was keen to shed some weight on a lovely light new build, and also wanted to run faster than my trusty Minions and run tubeless. So I read that Nobby Nic was light, grippy, fast, and tubeless ready so I bought these in 26x2.25, and weighed in super light at 560 grams. At 57-559 erto I thought they'd be fairly wide at least, like my Schwalbe Table Tops which have the same rating on my 4x bike, yet somehow they measured up narrow mostly because the knobs are inside the carcass footprint and do not protrude over the edge like a regular tire. They blew up tubeless on Read More »

Fly Racing Lite Race Gloves

Vital Review

“Tested: FLY Racing Lite Race Glove - See the Lite”

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Review and pictures by Johan Hjord Established in 1996, FLY Racing began as a manufacturer of motorcycle handlebars and helmets, and it remains heavily focused on powersports to this day. FLY offers a broad catalogue covering everything from riding apparel to protection, grips, and handlebars. The company also has a few high profile Supercross riders on its roster – Trey Canard and Andrew Short both ride for the brand. More recently, FLY introduced a mountain bike specific range of products, so we went hunting for a glove to put through the grinder. FLY Racing offers a wide range of gloves in many color ways. Most of the Read More »

Avid X0 Trail Hydraulic Disc Brake Set

“Avid XO brakes (not trail version)”

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The Good: Good power and modulations. Good looks. Great when working. Avid replaces without question.

The Bad: Incredibly unreliable.

Overall Review: I bought a bike that came with Elixir CRs. These had a leak at the seals in the caliper before the first bleed. After replacing the seal I bled the brake and the lever developed a leak and would not hold pressure. The lever leak proved to be the only reliable thing about these brakes. I replaced them no less then 4 times in a year. Avid went ahead and did every time but every time they needed a bleed after 1 or 2 rides then blew a seal during the bleed. I loved these brakes when they worked but they never seemed to work. I'm 200 lbs and ride mostly steep fast down hill stuff and found these brakes had plenty of Read More »

Leatt DBX Ride Neck Brace

“Definitely worth it!”

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The Good: The neck brace keeps your head straight and this in any crash is insanely important. When you crash and roll around, your body tends to move in ways it's not supposed, many times due to the conditions on Downhill, Freeride, Dirt Jumping or Slopestyle the neck moves the way it's not supposed to and this is when injuries happen. Totally preventive.

The Bad: The neck brace limits some movement of the neck, so lessens your range of view. You definitely get used to it.

Overall Review: This is a great neck brace, considering the price for it and the way it handles it's job, it's a great buy! It does take time to get used to, but the way it prevents injuries from your upper body is great. As your neck remains still while your rolling after a crash, your upper body basically stays put and it suffers a lot less! It's a great BUY!

Chromag MTB Chainring

“Rad Rings!”

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The Good: Could go on for days... Great quality, unlimited size options, tons of colors if your into that, fits 9 and 10 speed chains, taller tooth profile to hold chain, and Machined in North America to top it off. Will never run anything else.. (please never stop making these Chromag!)

The Bad: ????????????????????????????????????

Overall Review: Have one on all 4 bikes I own. Simple solid Chromag quality. Wish more dealers in California would carry their goods....

Chromag Brandon Semenuks' 'Overture' Signature Model Saddle

“Look no further...”

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The Good: Perfect shape for DJ riding, street, slopestyle, and all around ripping... Grippy, and just enough width to pinch with your legs in the air without feeling like you are running a bus seat. Killer!

The Bad: Could be lighter, but really stretching for something here. Favorite saddle for my SC Jackal.

Overall Review: Was running Chromag Snipe seat, because I hate over sized seats on my DJ bike. Have been avoiding even trying this saddle because it seemed to be thick and heavy. So wrong... Buy one now... You will be stoked...

Chromag Moon Saddle

“Great MTB Seat”

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The Good: Great shape for aggressive trail riding. Nose stays out of the way when post is down and rider is on shred duty, and great alternative spot to climb from when post is extended on long seated climbs. Light with Ti rails and durable leather cover. My newest Moon TI model came with perforated leather and is still super comfortable. Chromag makes great bits...

The Bad: Slightly firm at first use, but what high end saddle isn't... Breaks in well.

Overall Review: Great all-around saddle. Love the shape so much I am running TI model on my trail bike, and Moon DT model on my Entourage. Killer for trail, but makes a great lower profile DH saddle that you can still lean into. Stoked!

Maxxis High Roller II Tire

“F N A Cotton!”

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The Good: I was a big fan of the old HR tires, and the new HR II model leaves zero to be desired... Much more true to size now with killer sidewall and compound options. Less on or off feel through the corners and works well on a pretty wide variety of terrain. Running the 3C 2.4's on my Entourage and will never swap. They give you a ton of trust in your traction... Well done Maxxis..

The Bad: Still can't corner like Minnaar...

Overall Review: In short... They shred, and inspire true confidence when pushing your bikes limits. Whether you choose dual ply or single for trail or DH, can't imagine too many people being let down by these...