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November can seem like a bit of a downer, with all the big events well and truly behind us and the start of the new season some ways away still. But we prefer to think of it as a time to recharge the batteries, and to check out things we'd normally not pay a lot of attention to. It's also a time when the pro riders let their hair down a bit and take a moment to enjoy themselves on their bikes, away from all the pressure. And finally, with Xmas just around the corner, it's also a good time to get your new bling itch scratched, and we have enough new goodies lined up to make Santa want to go out and hire extra reindeer to haul your loot around. So go ahead, put on your slippers, light a fire, and relax for a bit with the best-of-the-best coverage on the net - Best of Vital!

"Backcountry Extreme" with Fairclough, Pilgrim, Reynolds and Wilkins

Backcountry riding is all the rage, obviously. Well, for the Sorry For Partying crew, they took it to mean literally going out "back" into some piece of "country", so that's whet they did. Cut a whole new line in 1 day and then ride it sounds like a perfect recipe for...going over the bars. Well there's some of that but there's also some of the sickest straight up bike shredding you've ever laid your eyes on.

The S4P crew putting everybody to shame with their short travel bikes and non-groomed track.

Anka Martin's MTB Bucket List

Anka Martin has been fortunate enough to spend the last 10-plus-years riding and racing her bike in, and across, some of the most spectacular parts of the world. When we asked her to give us 5 locations that any mountain biker should add to his or her bucket list, she thought she was in for a cakewalk. Turns out the world is an amazing enough place that it's actually pretty hard to keep the list short. Well, November is a great time to be planning your next adventure, so let Anka's musings inspire you!


SHRED VIDEO: The Shaw Brothers Ripping on the 2014 Specialized Camber EVO 29

More short-travel shred goodness coming your way! North Carolina young guns, Luca and Walker Shaw make the leaves on their home trails fly as they rail the Camber EVO before the snow flies. With 29-inch wheels, 120mm travel, 68.8-degree head angle and a 330mm BB height the 2014 Specialized Camber EVO 29 is definitely ready for some serious shenanigans. Yeow!

See the Shaw brothers shred their Speshys. Try saying that really quickly ten times in a row.

Bar Drag Bounty III - Dragging Bars and Making Scars

The rowdiest video contest on the internet came back for its third edition this year, and as usual, we were impressed by the creativity and fearlessness of our members. With a rad Giant Trance Advanced 27.5 on the line, who could blame them for laying it all on the line? In the end, three entries were rewarded by the judges, but everybody's a winner in this one!

Drag them bars yo!

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

Big Wheels for downhill have certainly arrived. Intense Cycles, true to their gravity roots, are the first manufacturer to produce a full DH/gravity specific bike with 27.5-inch wheels - the 951 EVO, a reworked, reborn version of the original 951. We sent Griz out to test one, and he came back pretty stoked about what he discovered. Perhaps he was less stoked with THAT voicemail...

Griz gets rowdy on the 951 EVO and gets a voicemail from a disgruntled admirer. All in a day's work.

The End of One Story, But Not of the Adventure

All good things must come to an end, or so they say. Such is the case with Teva’s bike program. After entering the market as a serious contender during the summer of 2011, Teva will cease production of its mountain bike line in 2014. Looking back at what the team and the athletes and events they supported achieved in 3 short years is nothing but amazing - on behalf of everybody who loves bikes, thanks for the good times!

At less than three years old, the Teva Links are destined to soon become classics.

What Does It Feel Like To Hit the Oakley Sender at Rampage?

OK, so you're never gonna know. But Kyle Strait tells you plenty of other things you want to hear in this Just Riding Along interview. Like for example how he got so good at bass fishing.

How many times has Kyle Strait slept in a bathroom since Rampage?

Bike Checks

It's almost Xmas! What a great time to be dropping subtle hints to your entourage about that new bike you've been meaning to get. Pick out a rad build or two from our Bike Checks, and copy-paste them to your e-mail to Santa. For example, this Carbon Devinci Troy from Fanatik Bike Co was our Bike of the Day on November 4 - it sure would look great under any Xmas tree! All the Bike Checks can be found HERE, and if you didn't share your bike yet - add it HERE.

Stocking filler.

All-new Crankbrothers 2014 Wheels

OK, so Santa says times are tough and you can't have a new bike? Well, new wheels should brighten up your ride, especially if they are as sexy as the new 2014 Crankbrothers hoops.

The redesigned, all-new 2014 Crankbrothers wheels.

Cedric Gracia Uses Up Another One of His Nine Lives

Our favorite Frenchie let his hair down a bit too much while training in the Reunion Islands, and ended up in hospital with an injured femoral vein. Not something to take lightly, which of course has never stopped CG before and doesn't look like it will any time soon either. By his own account, CG is recovering well. We're not sure if the same can be said for the nursing staff, the hospital is refusing to comment. CG, get well soon, the internet wouldn't be the same without you!

Cedric Gracia showing off the goods - photo by Sven Martin.

Tested: 2014 Cane Creek DBair CS Rear Shock

Santa must be super stoked on Vital - so many rad gift ideas in this one place! Cane Creek's highly rated Double Barrel Air shock recently received a new climbing assist feature dubbed the "Climb Switch" or CS for short, and if our test is anything to go by, that should put it pretty damn high on your goody list. The only question that remains is how goody have YOU been?


Launching at the Lumberyard

Steven Bafus and the 'Merican Radness crew get boosty at the Lumberyard Bike Park in Portland. It's good to see some legit quarterpipe blasting and turndowning on big wheels!

Careful with dem family jewels boys!

Sombrio Halts Operations, Seeks Strategic Investor

Sombrio was another one of an unfortunate string of sad announcements to hit the bike industry lately. After what we've seen of the 2014 collection, we can only hope that a visionary investor will step up and help bring it to market! We wish Dave and the whole team success in this quest, and hope to see them back on their feet soon.

Damn the Claw looks good in pink!

Bar Dragging

That's right, we haven't had enough bar dragging yet. With a shot like this one, how could you blame us? Alvino Garcia got rowdy while shooting for Bar Drag Bounty III, and Matt Edwards was on hand to get this rad snap. It was our Daily Shot on November 11!

Do you even drag bar bro?

Around the Web

Totally awesome stuff we found on the internet...

We Never Want To Crash Like This Ever

Remarkably, Richard Bumbalough was riding again just one week after this massive crash.

Anybody know a good lawyer for that case?

Would You Strap Your Kid into this Bike Seat and Pop Wheelies?

Ever wish your young kids could join you on a real mountain bike adventure? Glen Dobson wanted exactly that when he started working on this project a few years ago, but couldn't find anything that really fit his and his son's needs. Now in the crowd funding stage, he's hoping to bring the children's "Mac Ride" bike seat to market.

Hold on tight little buddy!

Girls Just Wanna Go Fast - Casey Brown's Deathgrip

When Casey Brown found the Deathgrip line in Kamloops, she knew she wanted to push herself to see just how fast she could go. So she removed her brakes and rolled out beyond the point of no return. After the dust settled and the sun went down, what would the radar gun say?

Get a grip girl!

Berrecloth and Hunter Go Huge in Kamloops

Watching what goes into making some of the banger shots we maybe take for granted sometimes is always a privilege. When it involves two of the greatest freeriders of all time, it's even more special. Throw in a legendary photographer and you know you need to be clicking this - NOW!

Sharing is caring. Claw and Hunter go for for a couple of simultaneous senders.

One Bike is Enough

With a ton of bike skills and flow on tap, this Russian shredder shows us just how versatile today's mountain bikes are.

Bike skillz!

Adrenaline Made Makken Scream like a Chick... A Dirty Chick

Makken rocks, that's all there is to it. At Nine Knights he went all moto, all in, and the result made him use a little post-watershed Norwegian - pardon the French!

This can only be shown after 9pm in Norway.

Jaws Rides the Bullet Trail

Jaws always gets us stoked to ride, and when the edit is this good, well that's just gravy.

FOCUSED - Jaws by Flairmotion

Harry Steele's Phantasm

We'll leave you with 3 minutes of pure shred. Harry Steele makes light work of Whistler - and the huge sender to rock slab is ridiculous! Braap!

From hucks to flow, Harry Steele is dialed.

Best of Vital will return next month!

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