Latest Product Reviews


e*thirteen TRS Race Cranks

Vital Review

“Tested: e*thirteen TRSr Cranks - Refined and Reliable”

by Lee Trumpore e*thirteen has embraced the rising popularity of all-mountain bikes and enduro racing by designing components specifically for the unique needs of each. With the TRSr crankset (short for TRS Race) they’ve taken this a step further by eliminating a traditional triple-ring setup and spider in favor of a unique one piece, interchangeable one or two-ring design. TRSr Crank Highlights Spiderless chainrings shave grams and efficiently transfer power Uses integrated Guidering that can be interchanged with other single or integrated shift rings Exalite R forged material Single ring: 28, 30, 32, 34, 36-tooth options Read More »

Santa Cruz Blur TR Carbon Frame

Vital Review

“Long Term Test: Santa Cruz Blur TRc”

by AJ Barlas At a time when the majority of industry chatter is around 'new' wheel sizes, frame materials and Enduro - testing anything that doesn't check all the appropriate boxes can result in it appearing a little lackluster and obsolete. Thankfully I'm not really one to concern myself with the rumor mill and e-spec too much, at least not without looking deeper into the product being speculated about before forming my own opinion. Nevertheless, everything I had discussed and heard from trusted, respected riding buds and others regarding the Santa Cruz Blur 4x left me very intrigued to throw a leg over the updated and more Read More »

Atlas Crank Neck Brace

Vital Review

“Tested: Atlas Crank Brace - Protect Your Neck!”

Review by Sean "Griz" McClendon // Action photos by Ian Collins Designed and developed in Canada by Brady Sharron and his father Rick, the Atlas line of neck braces launched in Spring 2012. Built for the rider looking to protect their neck, Atlas offers six variations of their neck brace including the cycling specific Crank brace. We’ve noticed top MX racers Ryan Villopoto, Jake Weimer, and Jeremy McGrath using Atlas braces and that got us excited to test the Crank brace. At $330 it offers a wide range of adjustability and is of a competitive weight. Let’s put the Atlas Crank brace to the test... A Word On Neck Braces Neck Read More »

Crank Brothers Mallet DH/Race Clipless Pedals

Vital Review

“Tested: Crank Brothers Mallet DH/Race Pedals”

by Noah Sears It's no secret that Crank Brothers products have a reputation for emphasizing style over longevity, so when the new Mallet DH/Race pedals arrived in the mail I was excited yet skeptical. They looked great, but would they perform? The Mallet DH/Race pedals debuted early this year to much fanfare, and were seen throughout the 2012 season on a number of World Cup race bikes. The original Mallets built a legion of followers, but each generation since has been less and less heralded. In their most recent variant Crank Brothers utilized a half polycarbonate two-piece design and a much smaller Read More »

X-Fusion Velvet RL2 DLA Suspension Fork

“Excellent on the trail, but have long term durability concerns”


The Good:

Syntace X-15 axle, plush, light, taper option

The Bad:

Long term durability fears

Overall Review: Clever to do your R&D on another company's dime, but this is what X-Fusion have done, as they are according to my sources the Taiwanese manufacturers behind some of Fox's product range. I'm on my second fork as the first one got locked down probably due to a busted negative air chamber, died on the first ride. It was replaced on warranty but took a frustratingly long time to arrive. This fork performs flawlessly on the trail, but my experience suggests that some riders would be better off without the travel adjust feature. Also I think being bigger at 200lbs (90kg) I'm more suited to the much tougher market Read More »

Schwalbe Nobby Nic Evolution Tire

“Fast but flawed on tough terrain”


The Good:

Light, fast, good climber, tubeless ready

The Bad:

Weak on rear and sketchy on front

Overall Review: I wanted something light for my trail bike as I was keen to shed some weight on a lovely light new build, and also wanted to run faster than my trusty Minions and run tubeless. So I read that Nobby Nic was light, grippy, fast, and tubeless ready so I bought these in 26x2.25, and weighed in super light at 560 grams. At 57-559 erto I thought they'd be fairly wide at least, like my Schwalbe Table Tops which have the same rating on my 4x bike, yet somehow they measured up narrow mostly because the knobs are inside the carcass footprint and do not protrude over the edge like a regular tire. They blew up tubeless on Read More »

Fly Racing Lite Race Gloves

Vital Review

“Tested: FLY Racing Lite Race Glove - See the Lite”

Review and pictures by Johan Hjord Established in 1996, FLY Racing began as a manufacturer of motorcycle handlebars and helmets, and it remains heavily focused on powersports to this day. FLY offers a broad catalogue covering everything from riding apparel to protection, grips, and handlebars. The company also has a few high profile Supercross riders on its roster – Trey Canard and Andrew Short both ride for the brand. More recently, FLY introduced a mountain bike specific range of products, so we went hunting for a glove to put through the grinder. FLY Racing offers a wide range of gloves in many color ways. Most of the Read More »

Avid X0 Trail Hydraulic Disc Brake Set

“Avid XO brakes (not trail version)”


The Good:

Good power and modulations. Good looks. Great when working. Avid replaces without question.

The Bad:

Incredibly unreliable.

Overall Review: I bought a bike that came with Elixir CRs. These had a leak at the seals in the caliper before the first bleed. After replacing the seal I bled the brake and the lever developed a leak and would not hold pressure. The lever leak proved to be the only reliable thing about these brakes. I replaced them no less then 4 times in a year. Avid went ahead and did every time but every time they needed a bleed after 1 or 2 rides then blew a seal during the bleed. I loved these brakes when they worked but they never seemed to work. I'm 200 lbs and ride mostly steep fast down hill stuff and found these brakes had plenty of Read More »

Leatt DBX Ride Neck Brace

“Definitely worth it!”


The Good:

The neck brace keeps your head straight and this in any crash is insanely important. When you crash and roll around, your body tends to move in ways it's not supposed, many times due to the conditions on Downhill, Freeride, Dirt Jumping or Slopestyle the neck moves the way it's not supposed to and this is when injuries happen. Totally preventive.

The Bad:

The neck brace limits some movement of the neck, so lessens your range of view. You definitely get used to it.

Overall Review: This is a great neck brace, considering the price for it and the way it handles it's job, it's a great buy! It does take time to get used to, but the way it prevents injuries from your upper body is great. As your neck remains still while your rolling after a crash, your upper body basically stays put and it suffers a lot less! It's a great BUY!

Chromag MTB Chainring

“Rad Rings!”


The Good:

Could go on for days... Great quality, unlimited size options, tons of colors if your into that, fits 9 and 10 speed chains, taller tooth profile to hold chain, and Machined in North America to top it off. Will never run anything else.. (please never stop making these Chromag!)

The Bad:


Overall Review: Have one on all 4 bikes I own. Simple solid Chromag quality. Wish more dealers in California would carry their goods....