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Chromag Brandon Semenuks' 'Overture' Signature Model Saddle

“Chromag Overture Semenuk Saddle”

C138_92492180_1273304652

The Good:

The Chromag Overture saddle is one of the most widely used saddles by dirt jumpers slopestyle riders and freeriders alike. The seat can be spotted on the bikes of a large number of pros and can look good on any bike. The saddle itself is extremely high quality. It is extremely comfortable and it provides a great pinch for suicide no handers or barspins. Though the saddle does look nice, Chromag also put some grippier material on the sides of the seat to achieve a better pinch which is going above and beyond any other companies efforts as far as seats go. The shape is perfect because it stays out of the way but is there when you need it. On top of sheer performance, the seat will instantly make any bike look way nicer, adding a splash of color, or a clean looking addition to a top end build.

The Bad:

The overture isn't surprisingly strong. I have had friends Overtures creak from the moment that they were purchased and I had one develop a small bit of movement that I cannot seem to fix. They also seem to break more than other saddles. Both of these issues I have never heard of with any seats from Deity or other brands making seats. The color on the Overture also fates a bit. Colored ones will turn more gray gradually, and the gummy material on the sides has begun to peel off on my own.

Overall Review: Overall, this seat is the best they come. Any high end DJ or slope bike needs one. They are the absolute best and truly have raised the bar as to the standard for saddles. Though there are some apparent problems present, I will continue to have the overture as my saddle of choice. This is really just the best you can use hands down.
Rate review: +2 Up Down
Vital MTB member Billy3197
11757 Billy3197 /images/default/avatar/c50.png http://www.vitalmtb.com/community/Billy3197,11757/all 11/20/11 1 6 4 21 15 1

Race Face Flank Knee/Shin Pads

Vital Review

“Tested: Race Face Flank Knee/Shin Guard”

C138_race_face_flank_leg
by Andy Holloway The Race Face Flank Leg Guards aren't new on the scene, they were first introduced back in 2010 and three years later the same basic design is still going strong. With a few years of feedback under their belt, the Race Face crew have made further improvements to material and construction for 2013. The core concept remains the same, with open-back construction for ease of removal and D3O pads for protection, in a full-length design that extends well down onto the shins. We were eager to get these on the trail to see what the improvements would bring to an already successful design. Flank Read More »
Rate review: +1 Up Down
Vital MTB member 970biking
307 970biking http://p.vitalmtb.com/photos/users/307/avatar/c50_11110451_10102277742308143_8701777566279777981_n_1435152886.jpg?1435152470 http://www.vitalmtb.com/community/970biking,307/all 08/03/09 4 35 12 2176 1 16 1 116 11 10

2012 Specialized Demo 8 I Bike

“2012 Specialized Demo 8 1”

C138_screen_shot_2011_12_26_at_2.10.23_pm

The Good:

The bike is good for all types of terrain and all levels and styles of any rider. This frame will last forever I bought it used and all the components where broken down on the bike and beaten to hell had to replace a lot of stuff but the frame is still working fine and I love this bike.

The Bad:

heavy but its not carbon so that is to be expected.

Overall Review: This is a great bike end of story and it is made by a great company that builds great bikes.

Formula R1 Racing Disc Brake

Vital Review

“Tested: Formula R1 Racing Disc Brakes”

C138_2014_r1_racing_disc_brake_pull_master_cylinder
by Kevin Shiramizu Formula has been in the brake game for a long time now. Worldwide, the brand might have struggled for a while to make an impact, whether that was due to distribution issues or just the feeling that this was one of those “other guy” brands. However in recent years, Formula brakes have become a more common sight on the trails everywhere and they have also been getting the thumbs up from people who have the option to ride other brands. With that in mind, we were quite interested to get our hands on Formula's all-new R1 Racing brakes to see how they would stack up. R1 Racing Disc Brake Read More »
Rate review: 0 Up Down
Vital MTB member k.shiz
14 k.shiz http://p.vitalmtb.com/photos/users/14/avatar/c50_image.jpg?1292282110 http://www.vitalmtb.com/community/k-shiz,14/all 07/24/09 75 23 52 591 101 165 1 260 19 12

2014 Kona Operator Bike

“Kona Operator 2014”

C138_operator

The Good:

- Price.
- Ride handling.
- Low stand over height.
- Factory down tube protector.
- Internal cable routing and external cable routing options.
- Integrated fork bumpers.

The Bad:

- Could do with a stock DM stem.

Overall Review: The frame is amazing. Coming from an 'All Mountain' bike (2010 Giant Reign X1) the Operator was my first DH bike. Obviously the way it handles DH trails is better, so much better. In terms of geometry and the feel of the ride, I can't fault the bike. The way it rides is great; sticks into corners, jumps really well, the feel of the walking beam, four-bar system is solid, and it pedals good for a big bike. If I were a more experienced rider (and more familiar with suspension setup), I would have gone for a more adjustable fork and rear shock. However, for the price of the bike, the components are pretty much spot on. For what you Read More »
Rate review: +3 Up Down
Vital MTB member Koper25
28434 Koper25 http://p.vitalmtb.com/photos/users/28434/avatar/c50_IMG_0049_1_1384329140.jpg?1384328194 http://www.vitalmtb.com/community/Koper25,28434/all 11/12/13 http://www.vitalmtb.com/community/Koper25,28434/setup 1 1 3 1

Transition TR250 Frame

“Transition TR250: Ultimate Park Machine”

C138_tr250v1_4

The Good:

The transition TR250 is a park bike. It is a do it all freeride machine for somebody who wants a bike that will take them to the race, the jumps, or the back country. The geometry is designed explicitly for bike park riding and this gives it an incredible amount of versatility. The 250s link design allows it to float through the technical sections and take the big hits just as well. Its head tube angle makes it feel right at home and along with the chainstay length, the bike corners like its on rails, even in off camber situations. The frame has a way of feeling like its part of your body, making technical lines where line placement is key no trouble at all. Jumping on the bike is another strong point. The bike feels incredible comfortable in any sort of hip, drop, stepdown, kicker or speed jump. It feels so comfortable and with comfort comes confidence which is a huge resource to have on a ride.

The Bad:

The frame itself is a bit heavier than many of the alternatives, this increase in weight can be detrimental for park riders who want trickability, yet that is a small margin of riders. I would have also liked to see a cheaper alternative, seeing as many buyers looking at frames are wanting to save money. Going along with the fact that the price is steep, it confuses me to see a coil shock on the bike. This is not their downhill race bike, so a shock like a Rock Shox vivid air or a Cane Creek DBair would seem to make more sense to me especially considering that price doesn't seem to be of much concern here. Being a park pike, I also would have loved to see the seat tube go a bit lower or maybe a raised bottom bracket. I don't feel that this would affect the cornering too much but for a freeride bike I think it is a logical step. The bike is also very hard to setup. Routing the brake into place through the linkage is a long and tedious process and could certainly have been simplified somehow.

Overall Review: Overall this is the ultimate park bike. It will go where you want, do what you do, and kill it the whole way. The 250 is certianly one of the most versatile freeride bikes I have ever tried. This is truely a quality bike and it will prove that over and over and over if you give it the opportunity. If you like gravity, and want a bike to conquer it all, this is it.
Rate review: +1 Up Down
Vital MTB member Billy3197
11757 Billy3197 /images/default/avatar/c50.png http://www.vitalmtb.com/community/Billy3197,11757/all 11/20/11 1 6 4 21 15 1

FOX 32 831 100 RLC Fit Fork

Featured Review

“Fox 32 831”

C138_fk260a17

The Good:

The Fox 831 gives first impressions much like that of an expensive car or a work of art. Every contour, every inch of the fork just screams "look at me I'm better than you." It is truly an engineering masterpiece and Fox shows no intention of hiding that. Although many products are capable of looking nice to hide performance flaws, this is not at all the case with the 831. The 831 features a light yet stiff chassis, providing it with a steady base without the extra grams. A 15mm thru axle anchors it to the wheels, and although this seems to be a bit lacking for a dj fork, it actually provides an incredible amount of stiffness. The axle is quick and easy to use and requires little or no attention in terms of mechanics. The 831 also has Fox's CTD damper allowing for three settings of suspension tunability. Although this seems not to make sense for a dj fork, it actually provides a great variation of setups for different scenarios a dirt jumper might encounter, weather it is natural lines in the woods, slopestyle contests, pumptracks, skateparks, or a stair set. It is easily tunable for the riders liking and provides what is without a doubt the most responsive suspension I have tried to date. On top of that the 831 weighs in at almost a pound lighter than a Rock Shox Argyle RCT, which saves the weight to make the bike much more movable and controllable.

The Bad:

The price tag is a bit high for a dirt jump budget, and even then some will argue that the performance difference isnt there to be worth the extra money. Furthermore there are some apparent problems. Fox, likely to save weight and increase profit margin, equipped it with a CTD damper, and although I am a fan of this feature, many riders would rather it feature one of Fox's dampers more geared towards freeride, giving it more internal strength. This comes from many riders sharing experiences of blowouts with the fork. Fox recently moved to a 34mm body for the fork, and that change was for a reason. The fork likes to develop a bit of movement between the crown and the top of the stanchions. This creates a creaking sound that for any rider can be a bit troubling. The fork also is known to require more service than DJ forks from other brands.

Overall Review: Overall the 831 is for a rider who doesn't want to compromise. If you have any connections to shops, or dealers, or you yourself can service it, I would certainly recommend this fork. I still know several people who ride very hard and have not had theirs serviced and are yet to have any problems with it. Personally I think this fork is on a level of its own, and although it has its drawbacks, it is the best fork for a rider searching for the absolute best possible setup.
Rate review: 0 Up Down
Vital MTB member Billy3197
11757 Billy3197 /images/default/avatar/c50.png http://www.vitalmtb.com/community/Billy3197,11757/all 11/20/11 1 6 4 21 15 1

Shimano XT Disc Brake M785

“certainly worth the money”

C138_67208

The Good:

Great stopping power, great price, look good--seem to last forever. Easiest brake bleed on the planet.

The Bad:

can damage very easy in a crash

Overall Review: Every time I think I am going to try out a different type of brake I always end up coming back to these. They never squeak and bark down the trail, stopping is smooth, and they look classy. I do believe the greatest shimano feature is how easy these suckers are to bleed. As of now, I think one of the top brakes on the market.
Rate review: +1 Up Down
Vital MTB member Snoopshomes
22234 Snoopshomes http://p.vitalmtb.com/photos/users/22234/avatar/c50_Ride_Em_Hard_Logo_1367265653.jpg?1367265195 http://www.vitalmtb.com/community/Snoopshomes,22234/all 02/20/13 13 4

Shimano XT Disc Brake M785

“Performance at an unarguable price”

C138_67208

The Good:

The XT brakes are some of the best out there for any discipline. They are very light and pack the stopping power of any DH specific brake. The lever is short and pulls without any unnecessary movement. The power is consistent and the brake can be dialed in to the riders liking.

The Bad:

Although the adjustments are present, a wider selection of setup options would be nice, the adjustments available seem rather small.

Overall Review: Overall these are a very good representation of "bang for your buck" they are absolutely phenomenal brakes and will be consistent stoppers for all mountain, XC, or slopestyle riders alike.
Rate review: +2 Up Down
Vital MTB member Billy3197
11757 Billy3197 /images/default/avatar/c50.png http://www.vitalmtb.com/community/Billy3197,11757/all 11/20/11 1 6 4 21 15 1

Loaded Precision AmXc Pistol Grip

Vital Review

“Tested: Loaded AmXc Pistol Grip - Locked and Loaded”

C138_black
Review by Johan Hjord // Photos by Johan Hjord and Tal Rozow A grip may seem like a simple component, but get this one just a bit wrong and it can seriously mess with your ride. The grip needs to be comfortable, grippy, and not slip on the bars. Furthermore, it needs to be adapted to each riders hand size and preference with regards to grip thickness. Finally, it’s an obvious place to add a touch of bling to your bike, so a good looking grip is never a bad thing either. With these points in mind, we set out to see how Loaded Precision’s latest offering handles. Loaded AmXc Pistol Grip Highlights Grip Length: 130mm Read More »
Rate review: +2 Up Down
Vital MTB member iceman2058
94 iceman2058 http://p.vitalmtb.com/photos/users/94/avatar/c50_johan_1385064431.jpg?1385063576 http://www.vitalmtb.com/community/iceman2058,94/all 08/01/09 781 60 723 1752 http://www.vitalmtb.com/community/iceman2058,94/setup 46 282 3393 80 26