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2021 Marin El Roy Steel Hardtail

Vital Review

“Marin El Roy Steel Hardtail Review”

2021 Marin El Roy Steel Hardtail
It's April 1, but this isn't a joke. What has a 480mm reach and a wheelbase that approaches size-large-DH-bike territory, but is made for a rider 5'5" to 5'10"? The punchline probably won't make you laugh, but the ride sure will. The Marin El Roy is one of those freakishly long, slack, steel hardtails and the ride on this limo is considerably more entertaining than any MTB April Fools attempt. Marin is no stranger to the hardtail game when we consider they made their first hardtail over 30 years ago. Even more specifically, they're no stranger to the modern hardtail game. Marin has been pushing their line of Read More »

2021 Kona Process X Bike

Vital Review

“Kona Process X Review - This is Not a Do-It-All Bike, and That's a Good Thing”

2021 Kona Process X Bike
What an era to be a mountain biker! It seems gone are the days of spending an entire day loading up downhill bikes in your buddy’s beater truck and hauling up a winding dirt road for a handful of loose runs before dark. Now, options are endless for efficient, pedal-hungry enduro bikes that excel on steep, rough and aggressive descents. Answering the calls of adrenaline-starved riders is Kona with their Process X — a brave, capable, carbon 29er ready for serious action. Strengths Balanced and stable at speed, especially through rough terrain Predictable suspension feel on trail Easy suspension setup Adjustable chainstay length, Read More »

We Are One Composites Union Wheelset

Vital Review

“Long-Term Review: We Are One Composites Union Wheelset”

 We Are One Composites Union Wheelset
Hailing from Kamloops in Canada, We Are One Composites is young company that has been making a name for itself over the past couple of years with a range of in-house manufactured carbon rims. The Union is one of their newest offerings, a rim intended for aggressive enduro riding and racing. It features a slightly lower profile than the Agent downhill rim, to provide for a bit more vertical compliance while retaining ample lateral stiffness. We’ve been putting a pair to the test over the past five months, and we’re here to give you our verdict – to learn more, check out the video below, or keep reading if you Read More »

Specialized Rime Flat Shoe

Vital Review

“Specialized’s New Rime Shoe is Made for Hiking and Biking - Review”

 Specialized Rime Flat Shoe
Hot on the heels of the excellent new 2FO Roost and 2FO DH shoes comes the Rime – another new shoe from Specialized, but this time with a different twist. The Rime was made for those who like to hike almost as much as they like to bike, and as a result, it looks nothing like a regular bike shoe. It does however share the awesome SlipNot ST sole with its aforementioned brethren, which was reason enough for us to want to give them a spin. Read on to find out how we got along! Specialized Rime Flat Highlights “Body Geometry” features: Longitudinal Arch, Metatarsal Button, and Varus Wedge work together to increase Read More »

fi'zi:k Tensor Flat Pedal Shoe

Vital Review

“Fizik’s New Gravita Series Provides Fresh Take on MTB Shoes”

 fi'zi:k Tensor Flat Pedal Shoe
The brand that spells its name phonetically, fi’zi:k, is a staple of the road cycling market, but with the introduction of the all-new “Gravita” series of shoes, they are making a serious commitment to the MTB space. Developed from the ground up to “check all the boxes for competition-leading downhill and enduro MTB riders”, the Gravita series is comprised of the Tensor and Versor models, both available in either flat or clipless versions. Curious to see what Fizik might bring to the table in our little corner of the world, we’ve had the new shoes out for a few rides to form a first opinion. Fizik Gravita Tensor Flat Read More »

2022 Specialized Turbo Levo Pro E-Bike

Vital Review

“Review - 2022 Specialized Turbo Levo Pro eMTB”

2022 Specialized Turbo Levo Pro E-Bike
What if we took one of our new, favorite mountain bikes, the Specialized Stumpjumper EVO, and made it into a dedicated mullet configuration? What if we then threw on a powerful, electric motor and beefier suspension? Enter the 2022 Specialized Turbo Levo. Specialized has taken the previous Turbo Levo platform and improved it on all fronts. The outcome is a bike that is as approachable as it is fun…as long as the price tag doesn’t get you or one of your kidneys down. Strengths Brilliant power transfer Very quiet Excellent suspension feel Long battery life It's real purdy Well-rounded and comfortable Read More »

Ride Concepts Hellion Elite Flat Pedal Shoe

Vital Review

“New and Improved Hellion Elite from Ride Concepts Reviewed”

 Ride Concepts Hellion Elite Flat Pedal Shoe
For a company that has only been on the market for 2.5 years, Ride Concepts has certainly built up an impressive catalog of riding shoes by now. There’s something for pretty much every type of riding, and we’ve had good results with all the models we have reviewed so far. Not ones to rest on their laurels, this Reno, NV based crew is now turning their attention to making further revisions to some of their existing models. After the introduction of the Vice Mid last month, the time has come for the Hellion to kick things up a notch – meet the Hellion Elite. Ride Concepts Hellion Elite Highlights Rubber Read More »

Troy Lee Designs A3 Open Face Helmet

Vital Review

“All-New Troy Lee Designs A3 MTB Trail Helmet Review”

 Troy Lee Designs A3 Open Face Helmet
One plus two equals three, that’s pretty much as simple as it gets. But when Troy lee Designs set out to create the heir to the popular A1 and A2 helmets, it wasn’t just a question of taking the best bits from the two predecessors and mixing them up, although as it turns out, that’s pretty much what the A3 is. This all-new half-shell helmet launches today, but we’ve had our sample out on the trails for a couple of months already so we’re ready to share our thoughts on it. Troy Lee Designs A3 Highlights Co-molded EPP and EPS for low and high-speed, patent pending impact energy management B-Series MIPS Rotational Read More »

Crankbrothers Double Shot 3 Clipless Pedal

“Best hybrid pedal on the market?”

 Crankbrothers Double Shot 3 Clipless Pedal

The Good:

Quality Bearings
Replaceable pins
Easily serviceable

The Bad:

Pins could be taller
No pins anywhere in center

Overall Review: I purchased these pedals to go on my gravel bike, a 2018 Specialized Diverge. The idea being I can be clipped in for the majority of the ride; and switch to the flats when going downhill or climbing steep, slippery terrain and having the ability to put my foot out as needed. After 2 years of these pedals, they have mostly lived up to that expectation. The clipped in side works as intended, and I haven't had any issues so far. Mud is no problem, getting in and out of the pedal is effortless, and it's been secure for 2 years despite some relatively beat up cleats. The flat pedal portion was my major Read More »

Maxxis Shorty Tires

Vital Review

“ Long-Term Review - Maxxis Tires' All-New Shorty”

 Maxxis Shorty Tires
For many years, Maxxis dominated the tire wars with their treads. Other brands tried to compete, but Maxxis seemed to have a stranglehold on the industry. The Minion DHF, Minion DHR, Wetscream, and High Roller pretty much had every gravity rider covered, with less common options such as the Ardent and Minion SS kicking around for more specific needs. After years of playing catch up, other brands such as Schwalbe, Kenda, e13, and a handful of others started to pull even with Maxxis. Not one to rest, Maxxis has been upping its game by introducing instant favorites like the Assegai, and updating old classics such as the Minion Read More »