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2020 YT IZZO Pro Race Bike

Vital Review

“YT IZZO vs. XC Race Bike | Long Term Review”

2020 YT IZZO Pro Race Bike
When we swung our legs over the new YT IZZO for our First Ride feature a couple of months ago, we were blown away by how good the bike pedaled and carried speed over flat terrain. But what if our tired old legs were just playing a trick on us, so used to dragging our big enduro bikes up a hill that we had simply lost our reference points? To put our first impressions to the test, we called in some reinforcements to help us evaluate the IZZO against some seriously fast competition. Check out the video review below to see how this new trail bike performed when we took it to Cross Country school, as well as how it did later on Read More »

Five Ten Sleuth Shoe

“Great for the price”

 Five Ten Sleuth Shoe

The Good:

- Stealth Rubber works as expected
- Sleek and clean look
- Very Comfortable

The Bad:

- Needs a stiffer Sole
- Poor ventilation
- Sweat soaks into the body of the shoe

Overall Review: I decided to give flat pedals a try again for all types of riding, not just downhill. 5.10 was always the shoe of choice back in the day. Though the options have grown, 5.10 still seems to be the go to brand for grippy soled riding shoes. I was going to get the Freerider Pro, but when I tired them on they were a bit too wide for my taste. Turns out the 5.10 Sleuth is more narrow and has more of a lifestyle look to them. I liked the look and feel so I decided to give them a try. I wear a size 10 in most shoes in my life, but I ordered a 9.5 in these. The 9.5 sized Sleuth has worked well for me so far. The toe box Read More »

RockShox ZEB Ultimate Fork

Vital Review

“RockShox ZEB Fork TECH TALK & Ride Report”

 RockShox ZEB Ultimate Fork
Featuring 38mm stanchions and travel lengths up to 190mm, it's clear the all-new RockShox ZEB is ready for business. As enduro race bikes gain additional travel and courses get rowdier, demands on forks increase. The same is true in the rapidly evolving eMTB space. The ZEB looks to meet those needs head-on with a robust, chiseled-looking package and impressive performance traits. In this Tech Talk Q&A podcast, Vital MTB's Brandon Turman calls up RockShox Product Manager, Jon Cancellier, to discuss the ins and outs of the ZEB fork. The two cover everything from stiffness considerations to how it compares to a Lyrik, Read More »

Sprindex Adjustable Coil Spring

Vital Review

“Sprindex Adjustable Coil Reviewed - Find Your Perfect Spring Rate!”

 Sprindex Adjustable Coil Spring
You can set an air shock to any pressure you'd like, making them quite popular in mountain biking compared to coil shocks. You'll need a pump to make that adjustment though. With this new coil spring system from Sprindex, no tools are needed to adjust a coil's spring rate to a finer degree than ever before. Join Vital MTB tester and Trail Peek ripper, Zach Petersen, in the video above for a closer look at Sprindex and his ride impressions. Fewer active coils make for a stiffer spring. Twisting the Sprindex dial varies the number of active coils. Strengths Weaknesses No tools required for adjustment Easy Read More »

ANVL Forge Stealth Ti Alloy Saddle

Featured Member Review

“ANVL Forge CrMo Saddle”

 ANVL Forge Stealth Ti Alloy Saddle

The Good:
Doesn't need fixed butt position to be comfortable
Price
Weight
Neutral shape

The Bad:
I broke one
Overdesigned cover
Not widely available

Overall Review: Intro When buying my 2019 Transition Scout, this house brand saddle was something I thought I would be changing “as soon as”. Year later, after early demise by crash, I found myself scouting (whoops) the internet for the very same saddle. Here is why... Full disclosure: I ride without a liner. Review Why the prejudice? After riding most years on Specialized Henge and Power saddles ANVL Forge seems to have little cush, not that much of a perineal cutout and quite a sharp edge to it in all 4 corners. With friction amplifying multi-surface upper on the top of it, it just seems like all the things I don't like on the Read More »

DMR V6 Flat Pedal

Featured Member Review

“DMR V6 Flat Pedal”

 DMR V6 Flat Pedal

The Good:

Very low price
Comfortable shape
Easy on the shins if concerned

The Bad:

Quality matches the price
Pins and bearings doesn't last long

Overall Review: Intro DMR V6 is a plastic version of a familiar shape seen in the updated DMR V12 pedal. (Originaly Shimano DX copy, now the revised modern version is a classic on its own). I bought 3 pairs of this pedal, as a quick replacement for a trail bike, until I decide what higher tier pedal to get next. The rest of them ended up on pumptrack bike and commuter. Review What brought me to this pedal is its very promising shape. The prolonged platform, rounded edges, and deep center section doing its best concavity impression. Looking pretty much same as a DMR V12, which is the father of “almighty” DMR Vault, it must be good. And I’m happy Read More »

iXS Trigger FF Helmet

Vital Review

“Super Light & Breathable! iXS Trigger FF Helmet Reviewed”

 iXS Trigger FF Helmet
The iXS Trigger FF builds on the company's Trigger AM half-shell helmet, providing full-face protection on more rides. It's fully certified up to the DH-specific ASTM 1952 standard and achieves its low weight by relying on an in-mold, single-layer EPS construction with an internal X-Frame "skeleton" molded into the chin bar to increase frontal impact strength and security. The Trigger FF is made in two shell sizes with an adjustable internal retention system and a set of different thickness pads to fine-tune the fit. The visor is adjustable and there is a clever "gripper pad" around the back to help make sure your Read More »

2019 NS Eccentric Lite 1 Bike

“Couldn't be happier”

2019 NS Eccentric Lite 1 Bike

The Good:

The perfect "tweener". Cross Country agility with the ability to climb like a goat. Went back to a hardtail after rolling FS the last number of yrs. So glad I chose this bike. The trails I ride are technical with quick elevation changes and loads of switchbacks. It eats them up. Even long rooty climbs are no match. I will say the most surprising thing about the bike was the X fusion fork. I was leary and ready to switch it out immediately. Decided to give it a real chance, and so glad I did. it was almost a deal-breaker. I had read A LOT of mixed reviews, but have to say, I couldn't be happier. Took a minute to get it dialed, but since then it has performed incredibly well. Also, the SX groupset has been hassle-free to boot. I had the NX on my last rig and honestly can't tell a difference. I think it actually shifts better under load than the NX did. Love the head-tube geometry, just slightly slacker than traditional XC which makes bombing descents a little less nerve racking. I'm old...50, and have ridden more styles of bikes than I can count after 30 years in this sport. I honestly think NS got just about everything right. I have upgraded a few things, carbon bars, seatpost, 50mm stem, etc., etc., and will continue to do so, but they did a good job on this bike straight out of the box. Wheelset is not too shabby and the Octane One components are nothing to sneeze at. I get stopped quite often as folks are still not too familiar with NS. They should be...

The Bad:

The ONLY thing I will say, is it's a tad heavy for a hardtail out of the box (28 + lbs), but a few simple things have already shaved some weight. Without spending big bucks we are down to right around 26 with A LOT of room to put her on a serious diet and get it down to the sub 24 range.

Overall Review: For tight, technical singletrack and some lung-burning climbs this is a bike that should be considered. For the price, I feel you get a bike that is versatile, agile, and fun as h@ll to ride. I was looking in the sub $2000 hardtail class. I easily could have spent more, and gotten less. I did a ton of homework before picking this bike and feel after riding her for a cpl of months, think my choice was a good one. I am definitely the weakest link as far as the capabilities this bike has to offer.

Shimano XTR M900 Front Derailleur

“Last of the great Shimano race groups...”

 Shimano XTR M900 Front Derailleur

The Good:

~ Buttery, smooth shifts
~ Machined with precision and care
~ Stunning, blue accent colorways
~ 122g for 31.8mm bottom pull FD

The Bad:

~ NOS or used, is now triple in price

Overall Review: One of the finest, non-disposable Shimano XTR race parts ever made. I prefer FD-M900 over newer, FD-M970 any day. Even the lighter, Shimano XTR FD-M950/951/952/953 don't compare! Everything about this VRC part reeks absolute quality. Be prepared to pay through the nose...

Birzman Zama Shock Pump

Featured Member Review

“Birzman Zacoo Zama”

 Birzman Zama Shock Pump

The Good:

Highly packable and light.
Robust and precise.
Cheap.

The Bad:

Too shiny for my photographic skills

Overall Review: Intro I own and regularly use this pump for 6 years. It was purchased in a local sports goods shop.I just dumped most of my college paycheck on a new bike and realized I have no way of inflating the suspension to my liking. So I went ahead and bought the cheapest shock pump I could find around. Review Little did I know in that moment, that this little gem will still work as well as new those 6 years later. It's lovely to work with, the pump head does let very little air out when unscrewed, so screwing in and out (whoops) is a nicely controlled way of finely adjusting pressure trailside. Just about 3 psi with Read More »