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Novatec Diablo 26 Complete Wheelset

Vital Review

“Tested: Novatec Diablo Wheels”

C138_diablo26
by Steve Wentz and David Howell With Enduro and aggressive trail riding gaining in popularity with every passing minute, the need for a wheelset that is durable enough to keep you rolling but light enough to tackle epic rides grows too. Novatec offers the Diablo wheelset specifically to meet this need. While not the cheapest wheelset on the market with an MSRP of around $750 USD, these wheels complement any bike with subtle and simple rim graphics and red anodized hubs that go well with most color schemes. Curious to see if they would match their easy-on-the-eye looks and good specs with performance on the trail, we threw Read More »
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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 58 714 1757 http://www.vitalmtb.com/community/iceman2058,94/setup 44 277 3346 79 26

Five Ten Freerider VXi Shoes

“Problems with the sole: FIVE TEN have been in touch and want the shoe to study, so I am being dealt with.”

C138_285_fivfv3_chr_0

The Good:

Sturdy uppers. Very grippy and comfortable.

The Bad:

Didn't last. They developed a hole in the 3mm thick sole. Holes mean wet feet in the UK. SINCE POSTING FIVE TEN HAVE BEEN IN TOUCH AND WANT TO TAKE THE SHOES BACK. I'M HOPING THAT THEY WILL GLEAN SOME INFORMATION ABOUT WHY I ENCOUNTERED THIS PROBLEM WITH MY SHOES.

Overall Review: The other reviewers have listed all the good attributions of this shoe and i wholeheartedly agree with them. I thought this would be a shoe I would buy again, due to it's great grip, comfort and good looks. However, one of my shoes developed a pea sized hole in the sole after 4 - 5 months equalling 70 hours of usage (I Strava all my rides). This was due to the central pins on my HT pedals, which ironically, Vital has used for their photo shoot. I guess movement from my feet has picked away at the stealth rubber, which I guess are 3-4mm thin! I contacted the UK distributor who pointed me at the shop I bought Read More »
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Vital MTB member lev
797 lev http://p.vitalmtb.com/photos/users/797/avatar/c50_89341830_1252229392.jpg?1290151629 http://www.vitalmtb.com/community/lev,797/all 09/06/09 2 10 102 3 2

Schwalbe Hans Dampf Tire

“Enduro in it´s maximun way”

C138_schwalbe_hans_dampf_tire

The Good:

Cornering, weight, rolling resistance, comfort, predictable

The Bad:

Wear, not recommendet for muddy terrain, price

Overall Review: I have mounted the snake skin tubeless version on my Cannondale Jekyll and the result coudnt be better, the first thing i noticed descending in rockie singletracks is the great confort even rolling fast, is easy to keep the confidence when cornering because is a predictable tire thanks to a soft knobs, big volume it also helps in a way, i compared with a Conti Mountain King 2.4 and the difference is visible to the naked eye.Despite its appearance when pedalling it behaves even better like some trail tires, so your legs gonna apreciate. The main enemy of this excellent tire is the mud, the small space between the knobs dont Read More »
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Vital MTB member Bacalardo
28201 Bacalardo http://p.vitalmtb.com/photos/users/28201/avatar/c50_Imagen1_1383183796.jpg?1383183755 http://www.vitalmtb.com/community/Bacalardo,28201/all 10/30/13 1

Softride Hang 5 Rack

Vital Review

“Tested: Softride Hang5 Hitch Rack”

C138_hang5_26496_dimensional_fit_drawings_side_medium
Review by Matt Thompson // Photos by Dave Trumpore Back in Spring 2013, as we were getting ready to start a season of downhilling once again, I was excited to get my hands on the Hang5 from Softride. Although I've got an open-bed truck, I was looking forward to mounting up this hitch rack in an effort to minimize the damage shuttling can sometimes inflict on one's vehicle. Instead of hanging bikes over the tailgate and dealing with pads/blankets/cardboard/etc, the Hang5 provides a solution that keeps the bikes away from the truck. If your dirtbag friends rely on you to provide a shuttle vehicle for them, you will Read More »
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Vital MTB member ballr
12 ballr http://p.vitalmtb.com/photos/users/12/avatar/c50_91639130_1248750604.jpg?1290149919 http://www.vitalmtb.com/community/ballr,12/all 07/23/09 3 20 3 1 http://www.vitalmtb.com/community/ballr,12/setup 2 19 99 3

Schwalbe Hans Dampf Tire

“Rocking tire for the Rockies”

C138_schwalbe_hans_dampf_tire

The Good:

Bloaty tire volume without the weight. Super grippy in the corners. Tubeless setup with little effort and holds the pressure well without burping at lower pressures.

The Bad:

Price and long term wear. After 1000 miles trail riding I noticed the side knobs were tearing off from hard cornering

Overall Review: Lots of great things to say about these. I ran them for the first part of the season front and rear at 2.35 width on a Transition Covert 29er. they are well spec'd this way from Transition as the stock tire. Great job Transition! They hold corners, roll fast and climb well. I can say enough about the volume of the 2.35 it is huge huge huge compared to Maxxis Minion DHF 2.5. Yep they are bigger! Plus they are 200 grams per tire lighter. I will be going back to these next season after I put some more miles on the Minions. The TrailStar compound is the real deal. I liked its fast rolling middle and grippy edges. The tire has a Read More »
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Vital MTB member Christian Peper
1131 Christian Peper http://p.vitalmtb.com/photos/users/1131/avatar/c50_88173630_1260934116.jpg?1290152491 http://www.vitalmtb.com/community/Christian-Peper,1131/all 10/22/09 6 22 8 4 25 208 11

Jaybird Bluebud X

Vital Review

“Tested: Jaybird Bluebud X Earphone”

C138_curled_headphones
by Johan Hjord Using headphones to provide a soundtrack to your ride is nothing new. But it’s probably safe to say that many people’s experience with taking standard earphones or earbuds out on the trail is a little underwhelming. They don't fit with a helmet, they fall off, they stop working after they get exposed to sweat, the cables get tangled around your throat, or they sound like a cheap car stereo. Jaybird claims to have solved all those problems and more, so we donned a pair and cranked them up to 11 to see what gives. Jaybird Bluebuds X Highlights Type: In-Ear Style Noise-isolation: Passive Audio Format: 16-bit Read More »
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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 58 714 1757 http://www.vitalmtb.com/community/iceman2058,94/setup 44 277 3346 79 26

2014 Intense 951 EVO

Vital Review

“Tested: 2014 Intense 951 EVO - Real. Big. American.”

C138_intense_951_evo
by Sean “Griz” McClendon Originally introduced in late 2009, the 26-inch Intense Cycles 951 went from experiment to success story with its World Cup influenced geometry, lean chassis and active suspension performance. Unlike the grounded feel of the M6, the 951 spent less time on the dirt and more in the air. The common consensus was the 951 was not a World Cup race bike, rather a fun park bike that could be pressed into race duty at National caliber tracks like Port Angeles. Then we saw the 2013 world elite DH race season close with contenders testing and even racing on 27.5-inch wheels, announcing the arrival of Big Wheels for Read More »
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Vital MTB member 26griz
258 26griz http://p.vitalmtb.com/photos/users/258/avatar/c50_rockblitz1_1380306368.jpg?1380305975 http://www.vitalmtb.com/community/26griz,258/all 08/02/09 3 1 15 18 1 88 10

Chromag Ranger Stem

“The ultimate stem”

C138_88953010_1273302814

The Good:

Lightweight, great design, canadian made ofcourse and stiff

The Bad:

There is no 35mm option, price

Overall Review: It does cost alot but I've just bought the third one. I have one on my freeride bike (black 40mm) and I've had one on my fr/am hardtail (gold 50mm). I've currently sold my fr/am hardtail bike to my friend and am in process of building myself a new one, so I ordered a red 50mm chromag ranger stem. The thing is, I've been so impressed with the performance of this stem, that when I was looking at every other manufacturer's high end stem I still could not get over the fact that I wasn't buying chromag. So in the end, when nothing could even remotely compare to the ranger stem I just ordered a new one :) You can run any width Read More »
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Vital MTB member uros.langus
20031 uros.langus http://p.vitalmtb.com/photos/users/20031/avatar/c50_fb_picture_1340164932.jpg?1353867299 http://www.vitalmtb.com/community/uros-langus,20031/all 11/25/12 5 http://www.vitalmtb.com/community/uros-langus,20031/setup 6 1

Xpedo Baldwin Clipless Pedal

Vital Review

“Tested: Xpedo Baldwin Clipless Pedals”

C138_xpedo_bladwin_pedals
by Mihai Moga Pedals are a crucial part of your bike setup. They are the most important contact points you have with the bike other than your handlebars, and mediocre contact points can ruin the best of bikes. So, when given the chance to try out one of Xpedo's latest offerings I jumped at the opportunity. The brand has been making bicycle pedals for over 30 years, and they have an incredible number option to choose from. I'm always on the hunt for great clips, and the Baldwin pedals looked solid. With that said, let's shed some light on their latest offering geared towards anything from XC to Enduro style riding. Read More »
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Vital MTB member Mihai
359 Mihai http://p.vitalmtb.com/photos/users/359/avatar/c50_99551560_1279167483.jpg?1290150634 http://www.vitalmtb.com/community/Mihai,359/all 08/04/09 9 http://www.vitalmtb.com/community/Mihai,359/setup 9 4

Nukeproof Scalp Frame

“World Cup rig on a budget”

C138_frame_nukeproof_scalp

The Good:

Geometry- this frame was developed as an out and out race bike, and the geometry definitely suits that description. low and slack geometry matched with a decent wheelbase leads to an incredibly stable ride on high speed sections and always inspires confidence on the steep stuff. Suspension- when paired with the CCDB, the linkage driven single pivot performs as well as any frame on the market. Both geometry and linkage wise the frame is very comparable to a TR450, but after riding both frames fitted with a CCDB i would say that where the TR450 completely flattens the trail the Scalp instead offers a little more feedback and feeling. Simply put, to get the best out of this frame you really need to spend some time tinkering with the shock. The frame was developed with the use of a CCDB in mind because with a shock this capable there is no need to over complicate the linkage, for example, bottoming out too easy? just increase the compression damping. Price- the current scalp frame is around half the price of most boutique DH frames, which for a world cup capable downhill frame is amazing value.

The Bad:

Performance wise when compared to a TR450 you can notice a slight increase in flex, but personally i have never found this to be an issue. Also, whilst it can be tuned to become quite an efficient pedaller, this does hinder the suspension over rough terrain, so it will come down to whether you want to burn it on the flat or through the rough stuff. other than that, It does go through DU bushes and top link bearings quite quick, that being said, this is with regular pressure washing and constant British weather, and the overall simplicity of the frame makes replacement a really easy job.

Overall Review: Overall, with both the price and performance in mind, i don't think that you can do much better than a Scalp for the same amount of money without going second hand. Plus, paired with the CCDB it gives you the ability to tune the bike to perform exactly how you want it provided you're willing to take the time setting up the shock.