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Pearl Izumi MTB WRX Jacket

Vital Review

“Tested: Pearl Izumi MTB WRX Jacket”

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Review and photos by Justin Schroth Pearl Izumi has long been in the cycling game creating clothing, shoes, and accessories for road, triathlon, and mountain bike athletes. Building on their experience and reputation for creating high quality apparel, Pearl Izumi has launched a new line of mountain bike apparel for 2015, including the new WRX jacket. While there are a huge range of options on the market for general outerwear that is lightweight, functional, and protects from the elements, Pearl Izumi adds their own touch with some cycling specific features. Read our review to find out how we got along. MTB WRX Jacket Read More »

2015 Specialized Epic Comp 29 Bike

“Everything you want nothing you don't”

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The Good: Solid frame, good suspension, and nice drive train

The Bad: Not a big fan of the Magura mts and would prefer a more common shock stroke

Overall Review: I have had the bike for about a month and a half now and have been thrilled with it's performance. Straight out of the box the bike build up real nice and an hour or two later the bike was dialed. Right off the bat I noticed that the suspension responded very well and I loved the brain. It certainly helps you put the power down on the flatter straightaways yet remains responsive when set up properly. The drive train felt nice and crisp even with a fair amount of dirt and grime. The Geometry is spot on. Even with the 29er wheels it handles very well and is very easy to flick around. The only thing I'm not a big fan of Read More »

Five Ten Freerider Contact Shoe

Vital Review

“Tested: Five Ten Freerider Contact”

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Review by Johan Hjord // Photos by Tal Rozow and Johan Hjord Five Ten’s Stealth rubber is legendary among flat pedal riders, and with good reason. To this day, it remains what is widely considered to be the stickiest, grippiest sole option available short of clipping in. For a few years however, the only shoes available with this magic compound were slightly heavy and bulky items, often lacking a bit in finish and in the general level of construction of the shoe (if you’ve ever glued the outsole back onto your Impacts you know what we mean). Fast forward to present day, and there’s a multitude of options Read More »

Ryders Eyewear Strider Anti-Fog Photochromic Glasses

Vital Review

“Tested: Ryders Strider Anti-Fog Glasses”

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Review by Courtney Steen // Photos by Courtney Steen and Brandon Turman I don’t know what it is, but I swear my eyeballs are magnets for crap when I am out on a ride. I’ve had bugs, mud, dust, hair, my own fingers, and some close calls with branches. It’s never fun calling a timeout halfway down some rad descent for an eyeball check or to try irrigating out my eye with a water bottle. Talk about a buzz kill. Therefore, I am a rider who pretty much always rides with glasses. Then I also face the age-old problem of fogged lenses, especially on the climbs. There are different shapes of glasses that Read More »

SRAM PG-950 9-Speed Cassette

“Smooth Shifting All Day”

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The Good: Smooth shifting
Multiple gear ranges
Inexpensive
SRAM/Shimano compatible

The Bad: Heavy
Steel

Overall Review: This came as an OEM cassette and has provided years of flawless shifting. This cassette comes in at a budget friendly price and offers great quality as well.Compatiblity with SRAM and Shimano makes changing/upgrading other components a simple task. This cassette shifts very smoothly and any shifting issues I have encountered have come from the derailleur and not the cassette. The cassette stays super clean and sheds mud and other debris on its own. The SRAM PG 950 is easy to find with many online retailers and offers multiple gear ratios to fit different styles. Whether your are running this as a weekend warrior or a daily rider it will not disappoint.

Race Face Narrow/Wide Chainring

“Narrow/Wide = Simply/Awesome!!!”

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The Good: Light and strong
Variety of colors
Variety of sizes
DIY simple setup

The Bad: Color wears fast

Overall Review: Does Race Face do anything bad? Cause the Narrow/Wide ring is spot on and near perfect in every way. SRAM kicked off the whole 1X setup, but Race Face made it accessible for the masses by creating this bolt-on simple and inexpensive ring. I have been riding a 104 32T for about a year and have been so happy with it. I bolted it up to a slightly heavy Gravity StepUp crank set and it really brought new life to these cranks. I was never using the big and spent most of my time in the middle, so it was a no brainer to get rid of all the extra pieces that weren't being used and just adding unneeded weight. Set up was super Read More »

Source Ultimate Hydration System

Vital Review

“Tested: Source Ultimate Hydration System”

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Review by Fred Robinson Source has been in the hydration game for over 25 years and is sold worldwide in more than 25 countries. Based in Israel, all of Source's products are made in-house by a team of over 200 workers with a percentage of their net-profit going towards local environmental activities. With their recent push towards a more complete line of mountain bike specific products, we got a chance to check out their Ultimate Hydration System: a stand-alone reservoir with some unique accessories intended to fit not only in Source's own packs, but any other hydration pack you may already own. Read Read More »

Syncros AM20 Handlebar

“Just Not Enough”

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The Good: 31.8 Freeish

The Bad: Small Width
Flexy
Scratches easy

Overall Review: This was oem bar and came within a week. This bar really isnt' much more than an inexpensive filler for a complete bike. The bar is way to thin at only 670mm and felt super cramped when riding. This bar was also flexy for being thin. Any time going over anything bumpy or really pumping and this bar moved at the ends. Only good part was that is a 31.8 so that leaves lots of options with the stem for another bar. This bar wouldn't be bad for a city/commuter bike were you want a mountain bike feel, but aren't going to be hit a lot of rough terrain.

Topeak Alien II Folding Tool 26 Function

Featured Review

“Lots of Tools in a Small Package”

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The Good: Great variety of tools
All metal tools
Chain holder
Break apart design

The Bad: Pocket heavy
Not a shop tool replacement
Plastic can flex

Overall Review: Topeak's Alien line of multitools has been progressing for sometime now and this version is top-notch. The Alien has a great variety of tools and the metal constuction feels solid, but the plastic frame can be flexly for certain jobs. The break apart design is one that sets this tool apart and allows you to integrate the different sides. The chain breaker is a great example as it uses the hex wrench to turn the breaker pin in. The breaker works so well on this tool that I have never purchased a more shop specific one. Also love the included chain holder, fits perfect and means no more homemade Read More »

Shimano Deore Disc Brake M596

“Deore = Unbeatable Quality and Price”

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The Good: Solid build
Split bar clamp
Good modulation
Comfortable lever

The Bad: Reach adjustment
Sucks to bleed

Overall Review: Got these as a replacement for some Hayes and have always had good luck with Shimano and the Deore line. These brakes stay true to the Shimano way of Deore being a great price point match to great quality. Feel of these are the bar is sport on. The angle of the master cyclinder puts the levers and a great spot. The levers themselves our a great feel and comfortable. Levers feel great whether you use two finger or one finger braking. Modulation is also smooth and realibable. Reach is adjustable, but would love to have a dial on these instead of the allen wrench adjustability they have. Setting these Read More »