Latest Product Reviews


2019 Scott Ransom 900 Tuned

Vital Review

“Versatile Destroyer: 2019 Scott Ransom Reviewed”


With 170mm of travel on tap and the ability to morph itself at the push of a lever, Scott's new Ransom is the best all-mountain/enduro bike the company has created. It's truly a blast to ride and handles so many scenarios well. Listen in as Vital MTB's Product Editor, Brandon Turman, rallies down Purgatory Resort outside of Durango, Colorado, telling you everything he thinks about the orange machine. Be sure to check out Vital's First Look article for a complete tech breakdown. Ransom Highlights One frame, two wheel sizes: 27.5 or 29-inch Carbon and aluminum frame options 170mm (6.7-inch) travel Descend mode, 120mm Read More »

Park Tool Tire Levers - Hooked

Featured Member Review

“Good shape, but made of slippery nylon material”


The Good:

Nice hook shape and perfect lever length.

The Bad:

Slick blue nylon. The working end of the lever is too fat on some rims.

Overall Review:

I have something to say about tire levers. Specifically, the Park Tool TL-1 levers have attracted my ire. But before I begin ranting about what went wrong with them and why you never put blue polish on a three toed sloth, let's focus on what is right with the equation. I am a fan of hooked tire levers and the TL-1 have nice ones. Their overall shape has plenty of arc in the bend which makes it easy to hook on a spoke – even with today's fatter rims. Breaking the bead of a tire that is filled with sealant is a tedious moment. I like to hook one lever at the 2 o'clock position then insert and slide the Read More »

Park Tool Park CT-5 Mini Chain Brute

Featured Member Review

“Spectacular chain tool for home or travel”


The Good:

High quality tool that may outlive you!

The Bad:

Minor note: It isn't blue like other Park Tools (but that would just add weight).

Overall Review:

The Park Tool CT-5 compact chain tool is one of the older residents in my mountain bike tool set. Since meeting, we've been to Canada, Alaska and traveled all over the western USA together. I picked up this basic tool when I was buying a brand new bike. That bike was sporting a gold Judy XC fork up front for an idea of how long ago it was. As I was finalizing the major acquisition at my LBS, we assembled a set of premium minimalist tools that were lightweight enough to bring on rides. Most of that original set is shown in the photo above (although the levers are much newer). Add a patch kit and Read More »

Troy Lee Designs XC Gloves

“Free smiles included with every glove!”


The Good:

Durable, lightweight gloves that are ideal for hot riding days

The Bad:

Less protection than heavier gloves (choose wisely for your terrain)

Overall Review:

Somewhere in the vast tomes of the unwritten rules of mountain biking there is a passage that states "dedicated riders should own one pair of gloves for every day that you may ride in one week." This might seem like excessive advice at first, but it doesn't state that you have to use every pair in every week, just advising that you own this minimum amount. What this does imply is that you will eventually need them all – and perhaps that you will need them all in one week. Gloves are destined for an unglamorous lifestyle. They get sweaty, wet, dusty, mud-encased, soiled by mysterious substances by accident or on Read More »

Praxis Girder Carbon Crankset

Vital Review

“Tested: Praxis Girder Carbon Cranks”


If you are looking for cranks that feel solid under your feet and connect you to the bike and drivetrain seamlessly, the Praxis Girder is an option worth considering. Praxis Cycles, based in Santa Cruz, California, is known for its diverse line-up of carbon and alloy drivetrain components. They keep their products accessible with the Girder carbon mountain bike cranks intended for XC, trail and enduro use. Strengths Stiffness Aesthetics Durability Ease of install Chainring included Weaknesses Chain retention Praxis Girder Carbon Highlights Carbon arm construction 170 and 175mm crank lengths Three-bolt direct-mount ring Read More »

Outsider Bikes Missing Link Long-Travel Conversion for the Santa Cruz Hightower

Vital Review

“Tested: Outsider Missing Link Long-Travel Conversion for the Santa Cruz Hightower”


Outsider Bikes has come up with a crafty new upper suspension link that allows the 135mm-travel Santa Cruz Hightower to be converted into a 150mm machine. The bike retains shreddable geometry and must run a newer Metric shock. Coupled with a 150 or 160mm fork, the new link and shock move the Hightower into a bigger bike category like the Hightower LT without having to upgrade an entire frame. We spent the past few months aboard the “Hacktower” to see what the Missing Link could unlock from our trusty daily driver. Ever since the release of the original Read More »

Fox Racing Indicator Pants

Vital Review

“First Ride: Fox Racing Indicator Pants”


Pants are for downhillers and those who only ride park, right? Wrong, says Fox Racing, and they’ve designed the all-new Indicator pants to help prove their point. Instead of super heavy duty ripstop ballistic nylon, the Indicator is made with lightweight, four-way stretch fabrics, and instead of the baggy cuts of days gone by, these are rather more form-hugging and all the more functional for it. Excited at the prospect of a little extra leg protection while still being able to pedal around, we’ve had the Indicator out for a handful of rides so far and we’re here to give you our first impressions. Fox Racing Read More »

iXS Flow Knee Pads

“IXS Flow Knee Pads - 1 season Review”


The Good:

Ease of movement
Ease of dawning and doffing
1 velcro strap below the knee
Elastic Grip above the knee

The Bad:

Dirt can stain the color even though the pads are a black fabric.

Overall Review:

The comfort of these pads can't be stated enough. I often forget i wearing them after i'm done riding. For being a softshell pad, they take impact extremely well, they move freely while pedalling, and the pads do not bunch up behind the knees. The pads wash well in the laundry. 1 year of use - no tears, no damages. Ridden in the bike park, ridden on 25 mile enduro races, and at the local dj spot. I'll be getting the zipper type this winter for added user friendliness.

Crankbrothers Candy 11 Clipless Pedal

“2017 Revision is Much Improved...”


The Good:

~ Still retains 250g weight
~ Rubber pads improves shoe/pedal interface
~ Fully Serviceable internals
~ Improved bearings
~ Stiff titanium spindles
~ Hex head end cap
~ Improved with Igus-type and Enduro cartridge bearings

The Bad:

~ Car payment price
~ Plastic kick plates destroys itself

Overall Review:

Crankbrothers finally listened to all the buyers of the first, 2014 iteration, which had the seriously-flawed, needle bearings. The #1 enemy of this pedal is not those nasty, trail boulder crossings - its your own cleats. Each attempt to clip-in under harsh conditions(muddy, missed clips) slowly smashes the flimsy plastic kick plates into oblivion, which slowly creates play among the alloy pedal body halves and leading to separation. Do the Factory, "SPA" rebuild annually, to offset this. Yes, they are pricey - but every year you own, use and rebuild these pedals will increase your returns over similarly constructed, disposable cheaper ones. 

ENVE Composites M7 Stems

Vital Review

“Tested: ENVE M7 Handlebar and Stem”


Ifyou’re a “carbon everything” type of person, chances are you’ve already lusted over the odd ENVE Composites part for your pride and joy. The Ogden, Utah-based brand is most well-known for its exclusive carbon wheelsets, but it makes a number of other fantastic plastic products too. To complement the excellent new M730 wheels, ENVE took their cockpits back to the drawing board as well. The new 35mm M7 handlebar and stem combo is billed as the ultimate enduro setup, said to offer a stiff yet compliant ride for people who need the front of their bike to be ready for any challenge. We’ve put it to the test to see what gives. Read More »