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October sure came and went quickly. For us northern hemisphere dwellers, by now the day job seems like it's been going on forever, it's getting dark and wet outside, and we can hardly remember all the two-wheeled radness that went down at the end of the season. Well don't worry, Best of Vital is here to the rescue! Every month we round up the good, the bad, and sometimes a little ugly for you in one convenient place. So go ahead, uncheck your e-mail, grab a hot mug of your favorite caffeinated beverage, and treat yourself to the best-of-the-best mountain bike content on the net - Best of Vital!

Red Bull Rampage - The Finals

Looking back over the Rampages of years past, the one aspect that stands out is the incredible progression from event to event. 2013 was to be no different, although very few of us actually suspected just how much more the guys had in the tank, compared to 12 short months ago. Not to take anything away from past winners, but podium runs in 2012 would have been strictly mid-pack this year. Despite rain storms during the week of building, and strong winds on the big day, the 2013 Red Bull Rampage finals broke so much new ground for freeride mountain biking that we have to wonder where can it possibly go from here? But then again, don't we say that every year...?

Red Bull Rampage 2013 Finals - too many iconic moments to list in this caption

Enduro World Series Finals - Finale in Finale

It seems incredible to think that the first ever Enduro World Series race was held only in April of this year. The series has produced spectacular racing and leaderboard drama throughout the year, but the dust had already settled on the overall classification by the time the circus pulled into the small Italian town of Finale Ligure for the last round. This meant only one thing: battling for the race win without the pressure of points and rankings. Be that as it may, two days later the top of the three podiums were each adorned by three familiar figures: Jerome Clementz, Tracy Mosely, and Martin Maes signed their respective series wins with race victories in Finale. A shout-out to our incredible team of nomadic photographer storytellers too - Sven, Dave, and everybody else who chipped in along the way to bring you the best coverage available from each stop of the series. On that note, take another moment to enjoy the goods in this final show of the season, from the finale in Finale!

Sven Martin, Duncan Philpott and Joe Bowman with the nugs from Finale

RAW: Enduro World Series Finals

HOW fast are these guys going? Put on your best headphones for this one, and let yourself be immersed in the sound of these battle-worn steeds hanging on for dear life as the best riders in the world let it all hang out on race day. Yeow!

Joe Bowman with another dose of Vital RAW racing action

Tested: RockShox Pike RCT3 Fork

RockShox reintroduced the Pike for the 2013 season, and they aimed it squarely at the Enduro and trail market. Like the kinda-sorta-cute girl who moved away in the 6th grade, she’s back for senior year, fully grown up and turning every head in class. The fork appears to offer an unprecedented blend of feather-like weight, stiffness and trail eating performance. Check out our review to see how it did out in the real world.


Winning Bike - Kyle Strait's GT Fury

If you're going to send massive suicide no-handers off the biggest drop in mountain biking history, you better have your landing gear in good shape. Kyle stomped his run at Rampage and took home the win, so obviously there was nothing wrong with his equipment (spot the joke). Highlights of his 2014 GT Fury build include RockShox suspension, Avid Code brakes, and a custom short-cage deraileur which seems to be "based on XX1 technology"...a glance into the future, perhaps?


More Rampage Bikes

Kyle Strait was far from the only one with a dialed rig for the showdown in the Utah desert. Check out these 14 hot rides including a few special paint jobs and trick builds - and you can even vote for your favorite while you're at it!


Kirill Benderoni On His Rampage Experience

With all the hype surrounding Rampage, and the overwhelming amount of incredible images that inundate our screens for months after the dust settles over the venue, it's easy to lose track of just how gnarly this event actually is. Kirill "Benderoni" Churbanov earned himself an invite to the 2013 edition with incredible riding back in his native Russia, but he came face to face with his demons in the Utah desert and was unable to stare them down. Check out what he had to say after heading back home, and let's hope he can get back to the kind of riding we so enjoyed discovering in the first place:

Kirill Benderoni 2010-2011 Recap

2013 Taxco Urban DH Finals

The end of the regular race season means only one thing - time for urban DH again! More than just technique, this particular race format requires balls of steel and a willingness to lay it all on the line. Racing down narrow streets littered with staircases, dogs, children, and old ladies crossing the street all while having to tackle monstrous jumps and drops put in your way by the evil organizers is not for the faint of heart. Taxco is one of the marquee events of the urban DH season, and this slideshow from finals will remind you of just why that is. Don't try this at home kids!

Dave Trumpore documents the Taxco madness and lives to tell the tale

2013 Trans-Provence

You can hear the exhaustion and elation in the voices of everyone who participated in the 2013 Trans Provence. After navigating French mountainsides for 6 days, the difference between 1st and 2nd place was only 1-second. The results, however, seem to be an after-thought as riders reflect on an incredible of week mountain biking through the south of France. The Last Gunslingers of the West Gary Perkin and Sven Martin rode all the stages with a ton of camera equipment to bring you this slide show - and even that didn't stop Sven from getting his revenge on last year's misadventure and winning the Masters category!

Pleasure and pain - Sven Martin and Gary Perkin with 3 days' worth of storytelling gold

Bike Checks

Apart from sending our readers into bling-induced coma and causing wallets to shrivel up in fear the world over, Vital Bike Checks are also a great way to discover new brands of equipment. Straight out of the Czech Republic, this rad Agang Ninja DH was our Bike of the Day on October 27! All the Bike Checks can be found HERE, and if you didn't share your bike yet - add it HERE.


CRASH OF A LIFETIME: Dustin Schaad Gets Away with One at Rampage

HOLY SH*T! Dustin Schaad, a recent Utah transplant, has been riding Rampage style terrain for years. Unfortunately the desert bit back during the qualification round at Red Bull Rampage, but amazingly, he walked away pretty much unscathed from this absolutely monstrous fall.

Dustin Schaad mixes base jumping with mountain biking, under Brandon Turman's watchful lens

Threading the Needle

Taking a great action shot requires many elements to come together. Composition, lighting, exposure, scenery, and athlete performance - miss any of the ingredients and it's a recipe for blandness. This sweet shot of Bryan Gioia by Dave Mackie is a great example of getting it right. It was our Daily Shot on October 10!


An Incredible Journey to British Columbia’s Remote Narrows

Logan Peat joined the Coastal Crew for an epic adventure to the Narrows Inlet in British Columbia. Between epic backcountry rides they also took the time to fully appreciate the wilderness experience and recharge the soul - let their pictures and video do the same for you.


Around the Web

Totally awesome stuff we found on the internet...

The Craziest Manual Combos You'll Ever See

Uhm, what??!!

These kids ride better than you

What Were You Doing at Ten?

10 Year old Seth Sherlock absolutely crushing it in Squamish B.C.

How old did you say you were again? Video by Art Barn

How NOT to Jump a Road Gap

When Lewis Seagram rolled into this massive road gap he thought he had enough speed to clear it. Apparently it was built but not hit by Kurt Sorge and Garrett Buehler a while ago. Turns out he was going a bit too slow, and the result could take the cake for biggest huck to flat of 2013.  Luckily Lewis walked away with just a sprained ankle and this awesome video clip. Respect for sending it!

MTB How Not-to By: Lewis Seagram // Leroy Maarhuis // Ansel Anderson

Quere Attitude 2

If you've already had the Nico Quéré experience, you know what to expect from this video: weird and wonderful antics, and absolute top-notch shredding. Braap!

Quere Attitude 2

Luke Beers Shreds the Gully

Luke Beers rips this gully trail a new one - to the soundtrack of tires on dirt and dead leaves. How sick is that jump between the trees? So very sick!

Shredding the Gully by Matty Miles // Silvia Films

Changing Mountain Biking Forever - Cam Zink Lands the World's Biggest Backflip

We've watched this 100 times and we still don't understand what it takes to take on AND pull off this incredible move. The only person who ever goes bigger than Cam Zink is Cam Zink. In fact he goes so big that Troy Lee had a chat with the Indycar boys and came up with a new and innovative piece of protection that might have saved Cam's life, had things not gone to plan.

Cam Zink going bigger than anybody else, ever. Video credit: Red Bull

Britney White Shreds Bellingham

We love girls who shred! Yeah Britney!

Team Freehub rider Britney White's WMBC 2013 Shoot The Trails entry

Revolution Bike Park Quarry Line with Dan Atherton

Tickets on this flight aren't easy to come by! Dan Atherton doing what Dan Atherton does best - boosting huge lines at mach 2.

Dan Atherton back to his best after shoulder surgery ripping it down the Revolution Bike Park quarry line

How To Be A Mountain Biker In 29 Steps

Are you a real mountain biker? Want to become one? Then check out this nugget from NSMB!

Matt Dennison and Jason Lucas show you how to be a mountain biker in just 29 easy steps

Best of Vital will return next month!

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