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October. Not winter, not summer, kind of in between. The race season wrapped up in style with the last round of the Enduro World Series in Finale Ligure, Italy. The battered bikes and bodies of Rampage went home to celebrate surviving another war with the desert. The World Cup silly season hasn't quite reached its peak effervescence yet, but much scheming and schmoozing is already taking place in the corridors of power as riders and team managers jockey for positions for 2015. But to the backdrop of these almost-melancholic meanderings, the mountain bike machine marches on mercilessly. New teams, new gear, new horizons. For now though, join us as we linger in the present just a little bit longer, still remembering yesterday and just about sensing tomorrow - it's time for your monthly retrospect of all things bike, it's time for Best Of Vital.

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Enduro World Series in Finale Ligure - A Fabulous Comeback

The end of an incredible 2014 Enduro World Series has come and gone. After traversing the globe, the series concluded in the dream-like seaside town of Finale Ligure, Italy. Ancient trails among the scenic hills provided the final set for the battle which saw Fabien Barel and Anne-Caroline take race wins, while Jared Graves and Tracy Moseley rode consistently enough to earn the Enduro World Series Championship titles. The in-depth interviews and breath-taking photos from Sven Martin and Dave Trumpore take you trackside as we bid the season farewell. A huge thanks goes out to Sven and Dave as well as everyone that made the 2014 Enduro World Series a season to remember!

How do you break your back then come back to win the last race of the season? Only Fab' knows!

Vital RAW: Luke Strobel

If you thought you felt an earthquake in the Pacific Northwest earlier, it was probably just Luke Strobel mobbing the trails for this Vital RAW. Flat pedals, spraying loam and hucking to flat are all in a day's work for one of America's finest downhillers.

Is it a freight train? Is it an airplane? No, it's Luke Strobel and he's coming at you RAW, baby!

We Rode the FOX Pros' Bikes, Prototypes and All - Enduro Edition

The morning after the Crankworx EWS, FOX invited us to ride four of their top athletes' bikes. Untouched since the race the previous day, we were allowed free reign over their rides to see the differences in setup and preferences at the highest level. FOX brought along Jared Graves (Yeti), Justin Leov (Trek), Francois Bailly-Maitre (BMC), and Nico Lau (Cube). Nothing could be changed on the bikes apart from brake swapping and pedal preference.To put things to the test we sent Vital chief product tester Brandon Turman up the lift with all four race bikes...

We'll have one of each then please.

Forum Fun: Silly Season is Here And It's Time For Musical Chairs Again

As soon as the start gate beeps fall quiet to mark the end of the racing season, the annual Team Shuffle Ball begins. And although we've yet to reach old knitting lady status, we're fans of a little gossip here at Vital. No better place than our forum to try to second-guess reality and make a few mountains out of the odd molehill or two. Wait, there's "HILL" in "moleHILL". Does that means Hill will be moving to Marmot Racing for 2015? Answers to this and many other burning questions await you inside!

So yeah, the line in the middle points to Intense...but then what with KTM...and who's the kangaroo?

Tested: 2014 YT Industries Capra Comp 1

When it launched, we were so impressed with YT's Capra that we called it a game changer. To see if it truly deserved the tag we rode one for nearly three months - check out our review to see what the score was.

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100,000 Vertical Feet in 24 Hours

At the end of 24 hours Reg Mullett and Mark *Kram* Haimes had completed 27 laps on Mount 7 with a total descent of over 100,000 vertical feet after battling rain, darkness and near-freezing temperatures all in the hopes of setting a Guinness World Record. Whatever the record keepers say, these guys scored a massive win taking on one of the toughest mountains on the planet and coming out smiling on the other side.

Psychosis x27 = does not compute.

Tested: 2015 Specialized S-Works Demo 8 Carbon 650B

Surely you’ve seen Specialized’s new spaceship S-Works Demo 8 Carbon by now. The thing is missing half the seat tube and looks more akin to the concept bikes of the future than to something you’d find at your local bike park. Troy Brosnan and Aaron Gwin also piloted it to three World Cup podium finishes after it was introduced late this season, as well as third place at World Champs. Well, this coming January the future will officially arrive at Specialized dealers around the world. Curious how the alien-looking rig rides, we saddled up for two days of rock, root, and berm bashing fun in Whistler, British Columbia.

We'd hit that. Wait, we did.

Bike Checks

Clean and ready for action - we even looked past the misaligned tire/rim graphics when we made this our Bike of the Day on October 7. All the Bike Checks can be found HERE, and if you didn't share your bike yet - add it HERE.

If this is Enduro, sign us up.

Man and Machine: Fabien Barel's Canyon Strive CF

When you've "modified" your body as much as Fabien Barel has throughout his long and particularly glorious career, tweaking your bike goes from nice-to-have to basic necessity. Fabien has never shied away from trying left-field solutions, and so when it came time to think outside the box and look to squeeze a few more seconds out of his enduro bike, no chainring was safe...and it sure paid off as Fabien took a win for the ages in Finale Ligure, overcoming a broken back sustained just months earlier.

THIS is how you make a bike your own.

Aaron Gwin, Troy Brosnan & Mitch Ropelato - Inside Specialized Racing - 2014 DH Season Recap

The blur of the 2014 World Cup downhill season has come and gone, but this video featuring Specialized Racing's Aaron Gwin, Troy Brosnan and Mitch Ropelato won't let us forget how incredible the racing was. Gwin won the first race in Pietermaritzburg and rode his rim to the bone in Leogang. Troy won his first-ever World Cup in Fort William and both the boys landed on the podium in Windham. Eric Carter, Gwin and Troy discuss the battle of 2014 through rain, mud, dust and rocks.

You know there's more where that came from.

DownHill Taxco 2014

Urban DH season is here, and as usual it kicks off with one of the wildest races on the calendar. And as usual, it went off with a bang. Dave Trumpore was on site to bring you all the bone-shaking, wheel-eating, eye-melting action you can eat, so go ahead and tuck in!

This is one wall that never expected to be ridden...photo by Dave Trumpore.

Forum Fun: Should the World Cup Downhill Season Have More Races?

Never too much of a good thing! Or is that always true? The debate rages on in the forum, and the consensus seems to swing towards more races, but perhaps not as many more as us race fans would automatically assume/demand. Check the thread to see what your fellow readers as well as racers and managers think, and weigh in with your own opinion too while you're at it!

Why yes, we'll have a little more of whatever that was, please.

Call of the Mountain

When the mountain calls, you answer. Vital member berto captured one of those magical moments that only seem to occur above the treeline, and we were stoked to make it our Daily Shot on October 20! If you want your shots to be considered too, upload them HERE.

When can we go?

Around the Web

Totally awesome stuff we found on the internet...

My Girlfriend is a Mountain Biker

Be careful what you ask for, it might come true...

The ultimate shuttle bitch.

The Best Local Trail Ever Built?

Imagine your favorite local trail. Now imagine five of them stuck together, back to back. Join three lucky locals for a run down this never ending rollercoaster of fun, and don't forget to spare a thought for the diggers who created this monster!

It just goes on and on and on and on...

Lego Mountain Biking

They referred to *Norbs* properly in the making of this super fun video.

We're a bit upset that small plastic men have more steeze than us.

Danny MacAskill Lands First-Ever Bump-Front Flip

Danny Mac never stops pushing the envelop, and he proves it yet again with this ridiculous move. Of course, he goes and pulls it in the middle of nowhere at last light...just to make it interesting!

They don't call him "MegaSkill" for no reason...

Chris Akrigg Goes Fat

Chris Akrigg goes for a nice chilled out ride down at the seaside aboard the Mongoose Argus fat bike. Your definition of "chilled" may vary!

What's next for Chris? Recumbent trials?

If Josh Bryceland Were a Trophy Truck

We can't resist posting this video again, even though it has absolutely nothing to do with mountain biking. I mean, just LOOK at that thing go...

We want one, and we want it NOW.

Danny Macaskill: The Ridge

20 million views in less than 1 month. Yeah, it's a mountain bike edit.

You know those epic videos from awesome places that make you want to go ride there? This isn't one of those.

Tracy Moseley is in the Groove

You don't win back-to-back Enduro World Titles (and a host of DH World Cup/World Champ titles before that!) by being sort of fast on your bike. No, you win those by being faster than a speeding bullet, as T-Mo is happy to demonstrate for you.

Bet you wish you rode like THIS girl, eh?

Playmobil Players - Toys Taking It To the Limit

From freeride to street and dirt, your favorite playmobil riders get their two-wheeled shred on in this new stop-motion edit that's rocking the action sports world. This ain't no game!

These guys shred HARD.

Brendan Fairclough and Friends Love Their "After School Rides"

Tea, biscuits, quaint cottages, the queen... oh yes...and some rocking mountain bikers. Of all products from the UK, we know which our favorite is. Brendan Fairclough happily calls the Surrey Hills home. It might not be Crabapple Hits or Champery, but he still enjoys spending time there and tearing up the trails with friends for "after school rides."

Any video which features Brendan Fairclough smashing corners is always on the must-watch list.

Best of Vital will return next month!

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