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Ion Avic Riding Short

Vital Review

“Tested: ION Avic Short and Helium ¾ Jersey”

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ION popped up on our radar in 2013, when we discovered that the watersports apparel company had arrived in mountain biking with a full complement of bike-specific wear and protection and a style all their own. More than just a source of inspiration, the MTB offering draws on materials and construction used in the watersports line, the end result an eye-catching design that we were eager to put to the test. The Scrub range is designed for all types of riding and long days in the saddle, and with that being right up our alley, we set out to see what the fuss (and those colors!) were all about. Read on to find out more. ION Avic Read More »

Ion Helium 3/4 Riding Jersey

Vital Review

“Tested: ION Avic Short and Helium ¾ Jersey”

C138_47500_5013_ion_tee_ls_34_helium_red_f
ION popped up on our radar in 2013, when we discovered that the watersports apparel company had arrived in mountain biking with a full complement of bike-specific wear and protection and a style all their own. More than just a source of inspiration, the MTB offering draws on materials and construction used in the watersports line, the end result an eye-catching design that we were eager to put to the test. The Scrub range is designed for all types of riding and long days in the saddle, and with that being right up our alley, we set out to see what the fuss (and those colors!) were all about. Read on to find out more. Read More »

Knolly Endorphin Frame

“Incredible Endo! ”

C138_knolly_endorphin_day_glow_yellow

The Good: Confidence inspiring, stiff, durable, nimble.

The Bad: Not available in carbon.

Overall Review: I have my endo built up with a 150mm pike rct3, and a ccdb cs, ks lev, hadley/flow ex wheels. 1x10 32/11-36. The bike can handle almost anything from epics to gnarly dh runs. It's also a very capable climber in the tech, pair it with the a ccdb cs or inline and it's hard to have a better 26" frame.

Race Face Atlas 35 Stem

Vital Review

“Tested: Race Face Sixc 35 20-mm Rise Carbon Bar and Atlas 35 Stem”

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Carbon this and carbon that. It wasn’t long ago that a. carbon wasn’t available for your bike unless you were Donald Trump, and b. nobody in their right mind would trust the stuff on critical parts anyway. Fast forward to today, and the fantastic plastic is everywhere. From the frame to the wheels, your bike can drop weight faster than a bimbo in beach season thanks to this light weight and highly tunable magic material. Race Face is among the companies pushing the carbon boundaries, their Sixc and Next SL cranks a benchmark in the drivetrain market for example. Naturally we were curious to test their latest carbon handlebar Read More »

Race Face Sixc 35 20mm Rise Carbon Handlebar

Vital Review

“Tested: Race Face Sixc 35 20-mm Rise Carbon Bar and Atlas 35 Stem”

C138_1_sixc35_20mm_bar_silver
Carbon this and carbon that. It wasn’t long ago that a. carbon wasn’t available for your bike unless you were Donald Trump, and b. nobody in their right mind would trust the stuff on critical parts anyway. Fast forward to today, and the fantastic plastic is everywhere. From the frame to the wheels, your bike can drop weight faster than a bimbo in beach season thanks to this light weight and highly tunable magic material. Race Face is among the companies pushing the carbon boundaries, their Sixc and Next SL cranks a benchmark in the drivetrain market for example. Naturally we were curious to test their Read More »

2014 Kona Process 153 Bike

“Can live up to the hype - sort of.”

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The Good: Geometry is great. Downhills are superb. Climbs are ok,

The Bad: Weight. Some weak / underdimensioned components. Sizing is a bit far out.

Overall Review: I bought the Process 153 in mid jun. The bike has an instant feel of going fast downhill. The slighly bigger wheels does the job well and maintan momentum on flatter parts. Suspension works very well: the pike is almost as sensitive as my old Marzcocci 66. Rear suspension is great. Climbing is ok. I have taken the bike to some epic mountain 5-6 ours climbs and yes its ok for that - but it shines on the downhills. I have also done some enduro racing on the bike and its an awesome descender. The climbs did not kill me eihter. Compared to Trek Slash (mid model 2014) I think the slash has better wheels but the fork is far more Read More »

Kitsbow Wind Vest

Vital Review

“Tested: Kitsbow Wind Vest ”

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Review by Zach White // Photos by Don Stefanovich and Zach White Self-confessed textile OCD sufferers, Kitsbow make no secret of their mission - producing high-end mountain bike wear, with passion and a lot of attention to detail. They go out of their way to find the best materials for any given application, and then they make sure they design and manufacture to the same high standards. It's always nice to lay your hands on high-quality gear, but how does this no-holds-barred combination of fashion and function actually work out on the trail? We donned the Wind Vest and set out to find out. Kitsbow Wind Vest Highlights Read More »

Birzman Maha Apogee MTB Floor Pump

Vital Review

“Tested: Birzman Maha Apogee MTB Floor Pump”

C138_birzman_maha_apogee_mtb_pump
by Brandon Turman As we've written before, Birzman tools combine good looks, clean design, and clever innovation that make working on your bike a more pleasurable experience. The statement certainly applies to their high-end hand tools, but what of their new Maha Apogee floor pumps? Could the already relatively simple task of pumping up a tire be made even easier? Let's take a look at Birzman's answer to that question. Maha Apogee MTB Pump Highlights MTB specific high volume track pump design Pump tilts towards the user providing unparalleled ergonomic comfort Stable aluminum alloy base with high Read More »

Cane Creek DBair CS Rear Shock

Featured Review

“Contender for the BEST air shock? (once you set it up)”

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The Good: Crazy amount of adjustment, smooth, many sizes, the best climb feature I've tried yet, stays cool

The Bad: Crazy amount of adjustment may scare some, very expensive

Overall Review: Purchased the Double Barrel Air CS to replace the 2014 Float Evolution that came stock on my Carbon Nomad. Currently unknown tuning as I set the DBA accordingly to the SC Nomad settings found on their site and made my own adjustments as I rode. With that said, it feels, dare I say it, perfect. No volume spacers, but has the XV air can installed. Tested on a '14 SC Carbon Nomad with both the '14 Float CTD FIT and '14 Pike. Right after mounting it on the Nomad, there was definitely some out-of-the-box stiction, but smoothed out after a few tunes+rides. The factory tune definitely felt weird on the VPP Nomad so there was Read More »

RockShox Pike RCT3 Fork

Featured Review

“One of the best trail/AM/Enduro forks out there”

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The Good: Buttery smooth, Bottomless Token tuning, lightweight, stiff, longer damper service interval than competition (recommended time), and looks good on any bike.

The Bad: Stanchion not as hard as the other vulgar looking gold ones, difficult to find parts and oil (0w-30) as this is a relatively new product.

Overall Review: As a long-time Fox Racing Shox user, I never did like Rockshox forks as my Tora 302 died in a months time and the Fox Talas that replaced it made it clear that Fox makes stunning products, but today in 2014, it seems as if the roles changed. The 160mm 26" Pike is mounted on a 2014 Santa Cruz Carbon Nomad with a Cane Creek Double Barrel Air CS. Prior to the Pike, I had a 2014 Fox 34 Float CTD FIT, until the aluminum bolt holding it together on one side snapped. Compared to the Fox 34, I feel as if the Pike is in a different league. Not only is it stiffer and lighter, it also doesn't dive under braking (massive issue with the Read More »