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February's Top Vital MTB Member Reviewer Award 1

You can earn $100 at Jenson USA for your Vital MTB member reviews! See the best reviews from last month's Top Reviewer and learn how you could earn the top spot in March.

February's Top Vital MTB Member Reviewer Award

Every month we award the Top User Reviewer with a little prize, and this month Jenson USA pitched in another $100 gift card! Vital member nature.culture took home top honors in February after writing several great reviews. Here's a recap of his best:


Specialized Butcher GRID 2Bliss Ready Tire - "At first, I found the grip a bit lacking when leaning the bike in corners, and I thought it could be because of the combination of the round shape, wide channel, and smallish side-knobs. I was used to Maxxis Minion DHR II 2.4 and Schwalbe Magic Marys, which both have a more predictable transition before hitting the side knobs, so I had to adapt for a few rides. This was more apparent in the wet, but I got used to lean the bike a bit more and it was good after that. It was my first season riding a 29er, so I probably had to adjust to the bigger wheels’ different lean angles. If the tread pattern works so well for Loic Bruni and Jared Graves, who am I to complain. Compared to the E13 TRS+ tires, the Butchers seemed to be made of harder rubber. Fingernail-feeling-wise, I would compare it to a dual compound or 60A Maxxis, but on the trail, they were more sure-footed than Maxxis’dual compound.

The Butchers work very well in almost all conditions. From dry dusty rides, to rock slabs and damp fall conditions, I haven’t found many situations that this tire didn’t like. They were a bit slippery on wet roots and rocks, and that’s my only complaint. Even in the cool fall rides with close to 0 Celsius and less, I found that the grip was surprising for the cold weather and I expected them to slip much more than that. If a bit cautious in the wet, those tires are great overall, and they seem to last forever.

After 350kms, they don’t have any side knob ripping, all the knobs are still sharp, and the casing hasn’t developed any wobble. I quickly got used to the tire’s shape, tread pattern and compound, and I expect them to still be good for at least another 300-350km.Two things would make them almost perfect in my opinion: a bit wider center knobs (like a Minion DHR II), and bigger side knobs (like the WildRockr2/E13). The new Eliminator tire from Specialized seems to cover those two things, so they could be another nice option to try. I have recently bought some leftovers E13 TRS Classic tires and also plan to try the recently-introduced Michelin Wild Enduro, which both combine what in my opinion could be improved on the Butchers, but in different patterns." - Read more»


Crankbrothers M17 Multi-Tool - "The M17 contains pretty much every bit needed to build a complete bike (8-6-5-4-3-2.5-2mm allen bits, T25 Torx, flat #2 and phillips #2 screwdriver bits, #0-1-2-3 spoke wrenches, and 8-10mm open wrench cutouts. People who have different Torx fasteners to hold their brake levers or else might need to carry another small L-shaped wrench, but I’ve never needed to. If a Torx T-10 is needed, the M19 from Crank Brothers has it and it’s not that much bulkier to carry so you might as well but the biggest model.

I am someone who easily gets annoyed by rattling sounds of parts on my bike or tools in my backpack. With the nice little rubber strap that keeps everything together, this tool doesn’t have any rattling part and is protected from other things that could touch it. It makes for a well held-together and silent tool to carry, and that’s a good thing for those who carry it in their bike’s downtube or wattle bottle. I also use the little rubber piece to hold a quick link and a presta adapter. One could also tighten or loosen the two sides of the multi-tool for easier or harder-to-turn bits.

Durability-wise, you can tell by the pictures that after around 10 years of use, it still looks pretty good and works as well as a new one. Nothing ever came loose, the finish is durable (and well protected by the black rubber band), and the bits don’t seem to use. I have never seen rust on it, and it spent many summers in my backpack without rain protection. It’s backed with a lifetime warranty, but after already many years of good use, I don’t see myself needing the warranty at all. I seriously can’t see how there could be a better multi-tool ever. Five stars!" - Read more»


OneUp Components Composite Flat Pedal - "The One Up Composite pedal is as grippy as anything out there. The shape is perfect, and lines and cutouts on the body help them grip better than my previous Deity pedals. The pedal's shape is also a bit better fitted for my feet, and it's big enough for any size feet. The pins are well placed and keep my feet planted all the time. It happened to me to lose the pedals on a few sections of trail with the Deitys on my hardtail, but the same sections were fine on the One Up. Maybe that's due to the more concave shape and the fact that One Up have added some pins over the axle. This is one spot where we apply more pressure with out feet, so that's a small detail that counts. That's the only place when I thought that the Deitys could be improved, so the One Up are even better.

The only negative thing that I could find is that they trap mud a bit more that the competitors because of the pedal's lines and texture, but that's not a big deal and it can be easily cleaned with a brush while cleaning your bike after a muddy ride." - Read more»

Big congrats to nature.culture! Thanks for helping out the riding scene with your thoughts on these products.

Want to be in the running for March'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 winner in early April.

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