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2013 BMC Trailfox TF02 Trailcrew

Vital Review

“2013 Test Sessions: BMC Trailfox TF02 Trailcrew”

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Reviewed by Matt Thomson and Jess Pedersen // Written by Brandon Turman // Photos by Shawn Spomer and Brandon Turman The BMC Trailfox is a 150mm travel all-mountain rig that BMC lovingly refers to as the "Swiss Army Knife" of their lineup. Much like that beloved pocket knife, the Trailfox was designed to come in handy for a variety of uses. The do-it-all bike is something many companies try to achieve, but few actually succeed. When Switzerland-based BMC set out to make the Trailfox, that's exactly what they had in mind, but did they pull it off? We invited the company to send over their mid-range TF02 model to find out during Read More »

2013 Norco Range Killer B-2

Vital Review

“2013 Test Sessions: Norco Range Killer B-2”

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Reviewed by Steve Wentz, Joe Schneider, and Brandon Turman // Photos by Shawn Spomer and Brandon Turman For 2013, Norco has eliminated the 26-inch version of the Range in favor of a new 650B "Killer B" version. Yes, you read that right, another victim of the big wheel. They didn't do it to spite the 26-inch lovers among us, though. The reasoning behind the switch, according to Norco, was simply in the pursuit of making the best all-mountain bike. In their eyes the way to do that just happened to be with the 650B wheel size, so they rolled with it. The end result is this beauty - a 160mm travel do-it-all shred sled. It Read More »

RockShox Vivid Air R2C Rear Shock

Featured Review

“Vivid Air is a Step in the Right Direction”

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The Good: -Light for a DH/Freeride shock
-High volume air can for a less progressive feel
-Sag indicators
-Dual-rebound adjustment.

The Bad: -Not as smooth as coil shocks
-Air can valve can be a pain to get to

Overall Review: When I bought this shock, I was on a weight loss kick for my rig. Basically I wanted my baby to slim down without loosing performance. At the time, the Vivid Air R2C was the only air shock that I was considering since it has a larger air can, and is built from the ground up to be put on a DH/Freeride bike. The Vivid Air comes in three different compression tunes to match the travel ratio of your bike. The problem I had with this, is that Rockshox doesn't make it very easy to find out which tune fits which travel ratio. After a few weeks of searching and comparing forum results, I found that my bike could run either Read More »

Royal 2014 Signature Shorts

Vital Review

“Tested: Royal Racing Signature Short”

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by AJ Barlas Up until a few years ago, the majority of the Royal range was aimed at downhill riders, but the range has grown alongside the sport. Their riding short range saw the introduction of the Matrix a couple of years back, then came the Hexlite and MW365, and for 2013 the Esquire and Signature shorts were added to the list—all with a goal of being lightweight, comfortable and functional. The Signature Short is specifically aimed at the Trail rider—the guys (and ladies) that just want to ride bikes, whether it be a shuttle, pedal, hike-a-bike, whatever. The premise for the short is to keep you Read More »

2013 Giant Trance X 29er 0

Vital Review

“2013 Test Sessions: Giant Trance X 29 0”

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Reviewed by Steve Wentz, Joe Schneider, and Brandon Turman // Photos by Shawn Spomer and Brandon Turman Dubbed the "Ultimate Trail Bike" and developed in conjunction with super-everything champion Adam Craig, Giant's 2013 Trance X 29er is the latest evolution of the original Trance X trail bike, but re-engineered for 29-inch wheels. The bike grew a little, sprouted bigger wheels, 5-inches of Maestro driven suspension, Giant's OverDrive 2 headtube, and the relatively new Contact Switch adjustable seatpost. With the increased popularity of Enduro races, this bike comes at a time when people are searching for seconds, trying Read More »

Manitou Dorado Pro Downhill Fork

“Racer feel with a freeride package”

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The Good: small bump compliance is amazing. there are so many adjustments so getting it dialed is a snap. SUPER stable on the big hits

The Bad: honestly nothing

Overall Review: Better than fox rockshox marzocchi and DVO. i have tried all of these extensively and this is truely the best downhill fork ever made.

e*thirteen LG1+ Crank

Vital Review

“Tested: e*thirteen LG1+ Cranks and Guidering”

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Review and photos by Johan Hjord e*thirteen is a brand that most people will associate with chain retention systems (aka chainguides), and rightfully so – the original e*thirteen guide and bash combos were certainly among the most innovative designs out there at the time, and could be found on many a bike whether it was at a World Cup race or at weekend warrior basecamp. In 2010, e*thirteen was acquired by and became part of The Hive, a company that was at the time mainly producing cranks. The e*thirteen brand was kept alive, and has since then grown to include not only guides but also cranks, wheels, and pedals. e*thirteen is Read More »

FOX DHX RC4 Rear Shock

“Best Rear Shock I have owned to date!”

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The Good: Smooth.
Easy to tune.
Amazing Damping.

The Bad: Only that it took me soo long to wake up and buy one.

Overall Review: The Fox DHX RC4 is the third shock that I have run on my current rig. And let me start byapologizingto my bike for not buying this shock right away. Okay, so for the experiences. As soon as I installed it, Ipromptlytook this shock up to one of my favorite trails. The trail has somegnarlyrock sections, with some nice big drops too. Perfect for tuning. I had found and copied the Fox tuning guide for the RC4, and found their instructions and suggestions perfect for helping me quickly and accurately fine tune the settings. After about an hour, I had my rear shock dialed in to perfection. The RC4 takes all the hits I Read More »

RockShox Lyrik RC2DH Solo Air Fork

“Tougher than You think”

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The Good: -Light for 170mm of travel
-Dual flow Rebound
-High and Low speed compression adjust.
-Tough

The Bad: -Could be smoother.

Overall Review: I rode my Rockshox Lyrik RC2 DH Solo Air for all of last season. I love to catch air and tackle technical terrain, and took everyopportunityto hit lots of both while tuning in the damping. I did a lot of playing around with setting on this fork, which thankfully is made easier by the little turtle and jack-alope icons. Maybe it's just the way I think, but I found Rockshox's tuning tips to be of little help, so ittook me quite a while to find my settings. Once I found my settings however, I felt a lot more comfortable on the bike. The one thing that i couldn't overcome was the slightly sticky feeling Read More »

2013 Giant Reign 2 Bike

“Truly a do it all bike”

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The Good: Very Pedal efficient Jumps good. Feels like a little DH bike coming down. Drifts surprisingly steady. Comfortable for long climbs. As I ride in Ashland, OR we have a lot of fun descents but they take a lot of work to get up to.

The Bad: Nothing, This bike is a slayer

Overall Review: Upon purchasing this I immediately changed a few parts out : Chainguide, Straightline Pedals, Shimano XT Brakes, Super Short Stem, Race Face Atlas Freeride Bars (uncut). After riding with these upgrades I have no desire to change out anything else. Even these tires are pretty dope and are predictable. I also ride a 2007 Santa Cruz V10, and I set to replace my 2007 GT iDrive 5 3.0 with this Reign. I still have my V10 but the more I ride this Reign the more I love it. I can pedal all day long and still flick and throw cutties around with the Reign. Super Fun Bike. I am really impressed of the downhill capability this has. Of course Read More »