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Bikes, bikes, and more bikes! February is probably the best time of the year to get your drool on over all the new bikes and components on offer for the upcoming season of shred. Sure, most 2014 models were announced last year, but by now they're actually being ridden, and the stragglers finally have their wares on display, too. And if shiny new gear isn't enough to stoke your fire until spring gets here, there's a lot of exciting racing action on tap. From the inaugural Andes-Pacifico ultra-Enduro to the first two races of the brand new City Downhill World Tour, there was more going on between the tape this month than any February we can remember. With so much happening on Planet Mountain Bike, we'd understand if you worried you might have missed out on the crucial bits. But fear not, Best of Vital has your back. We've rounded up more gear, racing, and general mayhem than we know what to do with, and all you have to do is sit back, relax, and take in the show!

2014 Test Sessions - Rolling Out the Reviews

The 2014 Trek Slash 9 27.5 was one of our favorite bikes from the 2014 Vital Test Sessions, and we tested 25 of them. Find out what made it so special here, and when you're done, check out more Test Sessions reviews here.


Andes-Pacifico Enduro Stage Race

The guys from Montenbaik in Chile have been wanting to put on this race for some time, and in 2014, they finally made it happen. Starting at an altitude of 3600 meters, the 4-day race takes the riders across the Chilean Andes right down to the Pacific Ocean for a total elevation loss of 11000 meters. With at least 1000 meters climbing per day and conditions ranging from #antigrip moondust to jungle floor, the race was classified by many as one of the hardest ever. Mr. Enduro, Jerome Clementz, and Anka Martin took home the hardware, but everybody was truly a winner in this spectacular event.

The pure spirit of Enduro?

Stairway To Hell - 2014 Valparaiso Cerro Abajo

The Valparaiso Cerro Abajo has been running for 12 years now, and it is truly a landmark of urban DH racing. Naturally, it had to be part of the all-new City Downhill World Tour, and for 2014, it saw an even more prestigious list of riders line up to take on the infamous stairs, gaps, and stray dogs in a bid to become King of the Streets. But to do so, there's always the small matter of out-shining the Polcster...

Excuse me, is this the way to the beach?

The Mountain Goat

Capra Ibex means the mountain goat, and that is exactly what YT Industries set out to create with their newest Enduro machine. Offering long-travel performance with short-travel climbing abilities is nothing new, but the package created by the German company manages to combine these traits in such a way that we called it a game changer. Our launch feature has all the details to help you decide if you agree with us.

Meet the YT Capra.

Australian DH Series Racing

February saw the Australian National DH Series conclude with rounds 2 and 3. Back from his injuries, Troy Brosnan wasted no time showing who's the man with the early season speed. Get your fill of dusty OZ gnar in the banging race report below!

Thunder Down Under.

Bike Checks

We have to admit we have a little something for RAW'd frames...and this Liteville got the month off to the right start with Bike of the Day on February 1. All the Bike Checks can be found HERE, and if you didn't share your bike yet - add it HERE.

Who cares if it's cold when winter looks this good?

Riding the X-Fusion RV1 HLR Fork

X-Fusion are one of the latest companies to propose a serious alternative to the mainstream dual-crown classics. We were lucky enough to get to spend a few months rallying one, and we found it to be an excellent performer. To learn more and find out if the RV1 could be right for you, check out our full review righthere.

Delicious dual-crown.


We see lots of great shots from all our members on a daily basis, but some stand out. With whips as flat as pancakes, Kris Magenheim is no stranger to our Daily Shot selection - this one added to his tally on February 19 (and it won the weekly photo comp a few days later as well). If you want your shots to be considered too, upload them HERE.


Zerode's Prototype Full Carbon 27.5 Gearbox Trail Bike

Zerode founder, Rob Metz, built this incredible prototype carbon gearbox trail bike in his garage. The 27.5-wheeled machine was built to see how the Pinion Gearbox system, which features 18-speeds, works in the real world. Will this beauty ever see the light of day for the masses? Watch the slideshow and find out.

Hard to believe this was made in a garage.

Messing with the Wrong Rock

Will Ockelton clips a pedal during Day 3 of the Andes Pacifico and pays the price with a serious tumble. Thanks to his cat-like crashing skills he was just a little bruised and continued the race without any major problems. #hardasnails

How to fall off your MTB 101.

Canfield Brothers Balance 27.5

The Canfield Brothers have thrown their hat in the new-school Enduro bike ring with the Balance, a bike Canfield claims is what a 27.5-inch (650B), 160mm travel all-mountain ride should be. Our first look feature has the full list of features, build specs, finalized geometry, and pricing.

Mid-sized wheels and Canfield linkage, chances are this might pedal pretty well...

The End of Pinch Flats?

Schwalbe and Syntace have teamed up to apply what appears to be something similar to the TU Bliss system used in MX to mountain biking. We are all for anything that helps run lower pressures while reducing flats, and we'll be eager to give this a proper test as soon as it becomes available. In the meantime, check out what Schwalbe had to say about it.

Yep, two nipples.

Around the Web

Totally awesome stuff we found on the internet...

Slamming in Santos

Tomas Slavik blows a tire at the wrong time, and ends up crashing hard during his qualification run at the Descida das Escadas de Santos. Luckily, he walks away with just a few bruises.

Misery and mayhem at 50km/h.

Rage Against The McCaul

Not only can Rage Against The Machine's Tim Commerford outslap you on bass, he can outspank Cam McCaul at dirt jumping too. #myhero

Killing In The Name Of Shred.

Mountain Bikers Charged By Grizzly Bear

Momma Bear don't want to hear no more talk 'bout no stinkin' wheelsize, K?

All-natural, advanced sphincter relaxation technique.

Airs and Alleys - Brett Rheeder's Insane Urban Extravaganza

Brett Rheeder took to the streets in a display of next-level bike control and daring. Don't try this at home kids...try it in the streets!

"I'm gonna go do it again" - Brett Rheeder, Airs & Alleys

Flying Monkey and the Wagon Wheeler

Just in case there are still people out there wanting to debate what big wheels can and can't do...

Nate Adams having a good old rip around Utah.

Bike Mayhem - Freeride MTB Game on Your Phone

Not that we know much about wasting time playing games on our phones, but if we did, we'd think this was a pretty rad way to do it!

Draaaah-pin' iiiiiiiin!

Stevie Smith and Josh Bryceland Rip Stevie's Home Trails

Two pinners at the top of their game. It doesn't get much better than this...

The only thing missing is Stevie's Mom for the shuttle.

Danny MacAskill Gets Inspired in Barcelona

Danny Mac and his Inspired team-mates hit up Barcelona for a little R&R - Rowdy and Rad.

City slickers!

Sam Reynolds Like You Have Never Seen Him Before

You know Sam Reynolds the dirt jumper and Sam Reynolds the FMB rider. But how well do you know Sam Reynolds the SHREDDER???

All-around radness on any bike.

There is Always a Legend

Dark and moody edit from the damp and loamy PNW. Deep and mystical forces at play...

Just because you're paranoid, doesn't mean they aren't after you - Joseph Heller.

Best of Vital will return next month!

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