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Latest Product Reviews


Five Ten Maltese Falcon LT Clipless Shoe

Vital Review

“Tested: Five Ten Maltese Falcon LT Clipless Shoe”

Review by Jeff Brines // Photos by Ryan Hoff (action) and Jeff Brines (product) Five Ten has long owned the flat pedal shoe market. The company’s stealth rubber shoes offer platform pedal grip that has proven unrivaled. As a clipless pedal rider, I’ve long wanted a 5-10 stealth rubber shoe that offers SPD compatibility at a reasonable weight and with good sole stiffness. Enter the new Maltese Falcon LT. Five Ten Maltese Falcon LT Highlights Stealth S1 rubber sole Upper shoe material: synthetic textile, water repellent Closure: laces/velcro Weight – 475 grams each (claimed) 498 each (actual) Price: MSRP $140 Read More »

Dainese Rhyolite Body Armor Jacket

Vital Review

“Tested: Dainese Rhyolite Jacket”

Review by Justin Schroth // Photos by Justin Schroth, Dave Smutok, and Ryan Thibault Dainese has long been in the body armor game and carries with it a reputation for creating some of the best protective equipment on the market for those who love to point their wheels downhill or twist the throttle to the red line. When I first cut my teeth on downhill in the late 90s, it seemed like the go-to protection for pro racers was the Dainese Gladiator or Shuttle Pro full body suit, but it carried with it a pretty hefty price tag for a weekend warrior like myself. In addition to price, the biggest hurdle to overcome when Read More »

Banshee Bikes Rune V2 Frame

Featured Review

“Hard to believe?”


The Good: The Rune V2 is an amazing descender, climber and is makes you way more handsome that most can handle.

The Bad: It doesn't do my laundry or make me a post-ride cocktail, but I will be able to cope.

Overall Review: I have been a mountain bike rider for over 27 years. I am bigger guy clocking in at just under 200 lbs and I ride aggressively. I made the leap to 27.5" wheels with the Rune V2. I have been a Santa Cruz fan since '99 having owned five of them. I test rode a fully decked out Bronson and a number of other 27.5" wheeled bikes last fall. I was all set to buy a Heckler (the Brony did not really do it for me), but several of my friends had Banshees and would not stop raving about them. I pedaled theirs around and was duly impressed with the feel. After doing some research I found that the new Rune was a better fit for me in Read More »

Banshee Bikes Spitfire V2 Frame

“Fantastic trail bike”


The Good: Descends like a bigger bike than it is, durable, excellent frame stiffness

The Bad: A bit heavier than some similar carbon options

Overall Review: I've had my 2013 Spitfire for about 16 months now during which time it has been my primary bike for all sorts of riding. It is still going strong and remains my favorite bike ever. I had a V1 spitfire and experienced the known bushing issues (although that was also a really fun bike). Banshee took care of me with a heavily discounted V2 frame which has more than addressed shortcomings with the prior frame. It had been ridden in a wide variety of conditions from my mellow non-mountainous local trails in NC to our jump trails to the roughest stuff in the mountains of western NC. Essentially, I agree with the other Read More »

Banshee Bikes Rune V2 Frame

“Easily the best bike I've ridden in years.”


The Good: Spectacular downhill & in the air. Climbs better than many shorter travel bikes.

The Bad: Really couldn't find anything.

Overall Review: I rode one whilst helping some friends who were running a demo day. Apart from the comments in the post/neg sections I'd say the other big plus is that the suspension setup doesn't impact the bearings when you hit a bump or land a jump. They aren't put under excess stress. With some bikes you only need to look at the frame to know bearing life will be poor. Also the Rune uses standard sized bearings so quality ones aren't expensive. More detailed review here- http://www.chasingtrails.com/2014/07/banshee-rune-quick-review/

DVO Emerald DH 203mm Inverted Suspension Fork

“27.5 dvo emerald ”


The Good: Stiffness, suppleness, inverted design

The Bad: Slightly heavier than competition but more then makes up for it in performance

Overall Review: I have been using the 27.5 emerald for about 5 months now and can say I have never ridden a overall better fork. Bryson and his team took all the positive aspects from Marzocchi and improved them to create the ultimate downhill fork. The fork requires little to no maintenance and allows you to be in full control of how you want it to feel. The ott or off the top is very beneficial to aid with hand and arm cramping and makes your front tire stick the the floor. Overall very impressed and can't wait to try out more dvo products in the future

Buzzy's Slick Honey All Purpose Grease

“Slick Honey ”


The Good: works well and lasts a long time

The Bad: the tub is overkill size wise

Overall Review: Sometimesthe small changes you make to your bike are the ones you end up noticing the most. After years of forgetting about that slick honey stuff I used a while ago, I recently picked up a tub of this stuff.  After washing the bike (every couple of rides or so) I will apply it to the suspension and dropper post and the result is a smoother feel as they cycle through their travel.  It's a simple and cheap thing to do and has helped the performance of those parts. Unless you are servicing a rental fleet, go ahead and pick up the 2 ounce tube as a little goes a long way and the 16 ounce tub is really way too much. Slick Honey has been around for a while now and there's a reason why it's still popular - it works!

MRP Stage Fork

Featured Review

“MRP Stage 160 mm 26/27.5”


The Good: The 5 star rating is well deserved. See Overall Review portion for more details.

The Bad: I have been on the fork for a couple months and nothing has come up that I can even nitpick over.

Overall Review: by Weston Walker Ok…so this is the part of the review where I’m “supposed” to discuss all the technology inside the MRP Stage. I’m going to go ahead and skip that and get right down to the question a review is “supposed” to answer, and that is “Does the product work?” I just don’t see the point of regurgitating something you can read on the manufacturer’s website. This is not a slam at MRP because this product is jammed full of patented technology, but in all honesty so is every other product on the market. So does it work? The answer to that question is yes it does work…incredibly well. I could probably just stop here, but that Read More »

Schwalbe Albert Tire

“Rear Fat Albert 2.40 Pacestar Review”


The Good: Climbing grip and reasonable rolling resistance, can be picked up cheaply online, big volume, easy setup tubeless and matches up with Hans Dampf.

The Bad: Hideous cornering feel, wobble central on road or hardpack or even anything remotely not soft, even if soft very average. 'It's more expensive therefore it's better' marketing.

Overall Review: Seems like Schwalbe Albert is a prototype for Fat Albert, and Fat Albert front and rear are simply the prototype for Hans Dampf. I have a Hans Dampf Pacestar on the front and had a Rock Razor on the rear. The Razor and Hans Dampf are great tires but the side knobs ripped off the Pacestar version of the IMHO too weak Rock Razor sadly, the Hans Dampf had plenty of life left in it, and I wasn't ready to quit on Schwalbe (for a 2nd time) yet so I picked up the Fat Albert rear specific tire online for a nice little discount ($30). Wish I hadn't and I'd waited for a 'performance' single ply HD. Put simply, although there are many Read More »

Acre Hauser Hydration Pack

Vital Review

“Tested: Acre Hauser - Hauler of Fun”

by Kevin Shiramizu With the creation of Acre, the folks behind Mission Workshop have taken their geekery for bags to the dirt, and by now you've probably come across some of the meticulously crafted stories they have put out in various media for the launch of their mountain biking brand. I really wanted to see if all that attention to detail went into the product and not just into the presentation, unlike our collective experience with some other brands. So when the chance to test the Hauser bag came along, I dove at it. Acre Hauser Highlights Bladder Capacity: 3 Liter Camelbak or Hydrapak (also compatible with Platypus, Read More »