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Every 30 days, we award the Top User Reviewer with a little prize. This month Jenson USA pitched in a $100 gift card! Vital MTB member Vegas Jekyll Rider wrote several thorough reviews and we'd like to highlight a few that helped earned him the Top Reviewer spot.

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Giro Hex Helmet

"Shopping for a helmet is an interesting thing, You go to your LBS, you look through the stacks of helmets and find the one that you like the look of, and then try it on your head. It fits OK, looks good, hits the price point you are looking for, buy it. Familiar process we all go through every couple of years. The interesting thing is once we put the helmet on our head we don't see it any more, but the helmet does become an identifying feature of yourself to other riders. That is what my bright orange Giro Hex helmet has become for me. It is not uncommon for other riders to say "I saw your helmet" when we are out on the same trail system. Check the box for makes an impact on the trail.

Features - The Hex has all of the features the modern trail rider is looking for, deeper coverage, and adjustable visor, and excellent ventilation.I live in Las Vegas and ride all year long so having a well ventilated helmet is key for me. The Hex has 21 vents and ample air flow. The coverage is good but not as good as some other modern helmets. I particularly like the visor. It has a wide range of adjustability and stays where you put it. Every since they started putting visors on helmets back in the 90's I have doubted their usefulness. They were there to identify you as a mountain biker and that was it.  Not so with the Hex, when up it disappears giving you an unobstructed field of view. But when you put it down it becomes an effective tool to use against the rising/setting sun.

The straps are perhaps a bit wider than I like but the adjust to where you need them and stay put. Perhaps my least favorite feature of the helmet is the color matching between the straps and the shell. Bright orange shell along with bright orange straps, can be a bit overwhelming.

The shell is molded to the foam and has a very clean appearance.

Fit - I wear a medium helmet and the medium Hex fits just the way I like. Because I live in Las Vegas year round riding is a reality, but the summers are hot and the winters can present riding situations were you are riding in temps of the upper 30's. I like to have enough room in my helmet to wear a skull cap underneath if necessary and that is the case here. The Roc Loc 5 retention system fully locks the helmet down onto you noggin during the rowdiest descents.

The pads are comfortable but they create a channel at the front the helmet. As you sweat, it all gets pushed toward this channel and then drips off onto your glasses. With this I have to wear a seat band under the helmet to block the sweat from dripping onto my glasses.

On The Trail - On the trail the Hex does what it is supposed to do, it disappears. It allows air to flow through, protects your head, and stays where you put it. In addition it provides a functional visor that aids your vision if you ride during sunrise or sunset situations.

Bottom Line - Here is the deal, $90 is the basement price for a decent helmet now days, but this helmet packs in a lot more performance than a value oriented helmet should. After 10 months of riding the helmet is going strong. Straps are sweaty, but the shell is holding up to all of the I leave my helmet in my Jeep all the time abuse like a champ. I like the bright colors that Giro offers on this lid but I understand that others like the more boring stuff, but they have have those too. I struggle to find something negative to say about this helmet. If I were to need to purchase another helmet tomorrow, I think I would buy the green Giro Hex, just to change it up a bit."

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WTB Trail Boss Tires

"If you have ever ridden in the desert, you know that there just never seems to be the right tire. Tires that are tough with good sidewalls have huge lugs and roll like a tank. Tires with low lugs are so flimsy the razor sharp rocks and spiny cacti kill them in a few rides. When I was riding 26" wheels I had found a few tires that help up to these conditions well, but when I got my new bike with 27.5" wheels I struggled to find some tread that would last. I went through Hans Dampfs, Continental Xkings, and Nobby Nics. I spent the entire InterBike show in September looking at tires that I thought would hold up to the conditions that I ride in.

I was impressed when I went to the WTB booth and saw their new line of tires. I liked the combinations of rubber and sidewall protection they were offering. After all this searching I decided to try a set of the Trail Boss tires, thinking that the combination of low nobs and edgy side lugs would work well. I chose a 2.4 light fast rolling for the front, and a 2.25 tough fast rolling for the rear. I chose the "tough" casing because I have a tendency to pinch flat tires on ledges.

Mounting and Initial Impression - When I unpacked the tires I was impressed with the feel of them right away. The front tire with the light casing felt sturdy and there was no sense of flimsiness to it. The rear with the tough casing was impressive. Just holding it in my hand i could tell that I could take on any line up on the Cowboy Trails without fearing a pinch or tear.

The front tire mounted easily onto my Atomlab Superlite wheels. A little Stans and a shot of air from the compressor and it was good to go. The rear with the narrower profile and stiffer casing was a bit more of a chore. It required the use of some DH tire levers and a few air up let the air out's to get it to seat right. The internal width of my rims are only 22mm so this does add to the problem a bit. If your rims have a wider internal profile it will most likely be easier.

The profile looked spot on on both tires. The 2.4 has a large volume but not quite as high as a 2.35 Hans Dampf. What really surprised me was how high volume the rear was. It has to be the highest 2.25 tire I have seen. In fact you have to look close to tell that the front and rear tires are different sizes. I run 21 p.s.i. in the front tire and 27 p.s.i. in the rear.

Performance - After seeing the tires mounted I had high hopes that these were going to be the tires I was looking for. For my first ride I rode Church Rocks, which is a combination of Moab style slick rock and sand. The tires hooked up well and the high volume helped smooth out the chatter. Also the tires rolled much faster that I anticipated. For my next ride I did one of my favorite loops, the 20 mile Goulds Wash to JEM trail. This trail is mostly hard pack with a lot of hard corners. I was pleased with the way the tires held their edge and roll over was minimal even with only with 21 pounds in the front tire.

After riding the smooth flowy trails for I few days I was anxious to get back on the chunky trails of Las Vegas to see how they would hold up. On the Bears Best trail system (my primary riding location) they have taken everything I can throw at them. The cornering of the Trail Boss is excellent, much better than a Hans Dampf. The side nobs are stiff and hold your line like a chihuahua humping its favorite toy.

The Trail Boss tires are not perfect. They do leave a bit to be desired in terms of braking traction, but nothing that is a deal breaker. I have not ridden them in loamy conditions, but there isn't much of that around here.

Durability - To date the tires have over 300 miles on them and they are going strong. I would anticipate I have more than half of the tires life left. The side walls are holding up better than any other tubeless tire I have owned (except for possibly a Kenda Nevgal), and the side nobs on the rear tire are holding up to hard braking and cornering (another problem I have with tires). I have had no issues with pinch flats and no spines have caused any catastrophic failures.

Bottom Line - This is a great desert tire! If you ride in the SW USA and find that the popular tire's out there just don't meet up with your needs, give these a try. Sedona, St George, Hurricane, Las Vegas, Phoenix, these tires are for you!"


Big congrats to Vegas Jekyll Rider! Thanks for helping out the riding scene with your thoughts on these products.

Want to be in the running for next month's award? Start reviewing the parts you use in the Vital MTB Product Guide and keep an eye on the Top Reviewer leaderboard. We'll announce the next winner in early July.

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