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2021 Commencal Ramones 20 Bike

Vital Review

“An Excellent Value on a Solid Kids Mountain Bike - 2021 Commencal Ramones 20 Review”

2021 Commencal Ramones 20 Bike
Long gone are the days when kids had to deal with the not-so-great bike offerings from big box stores like Walmart. Cycling brands like Commencal now have an extensive lineup of youth bicycle options. From push bikes to full suspension bikes, and even e-bikes, the next generation of shredders and their parents are pretty darn spoiled with first-time bike buying choices. The 20-inch-wheeled Ramones is a first-time kids mountain bike sized for riders 115-135cm tall or 3’9" to 4’5". An alloy frame, mechanical disk brakes, 7-speed drivetrain, and beefy 2.6-inch-wide Vee tires are just some of the highlights. All the components Read More »

Cane Creek Helm MKII Air Fork

Vital Review

“Cane Creek Helm MKII Fork Review”

 Cane Creek Helm MKII Air Fork
Zach Petersen spent a few months aboard the Cane Creek Helm MKII air fork, smashing it and bashing it on every type of trail. The 35mm 29er fork with 140mm of travel held up against the likes of RockShox and FOX, and its easily adjustable travel was highlight. The short-coming is a bit of heft and a less-than-desirable finish durability. Watch his video review to see Zach in action on the fork with some *scientific* tests thrown in for good measure. Cane Creek Helm MKII Highlights Available in Air (Tested) or Coil 29er options in 130, 140 (Tested), 150 or 160mm travel with 44mm or 51mm offset 27.5 options in 130, 140, Read More »

2021 Canyon Torque:ON 9 eMTB

Vital Review

“REVIEW - 2021 Torque:ON 9 e-Mountain Bike”

2021 Canyon Torque:ON 9 eMTB
Vital MTBers, it’s new e-bike day. Four to be exact. Today, Canyon announced four new or updated eMTBs for 2021, all featuring Shimano’s EP8 drive system. We have a First Ride review of one of them - the brand-new, long-travel 27.5-inch Torque:ON 9. The other eMTB models from Canyon are the mixed-wheel-size, 150mm-travel Spectral:ON, the 29er Neuron:ON with 130mm of travel, and the hardtail, Grand Canyon:ON. The Spectral and Neuron run 630wh batteries while the Grand Canyon uses a 504wh. U.S. riders shouldn’t get too excited, however, as the Neuron and the Grand Canyon are not available in our market. Direct-to-Consumer Read More »

2021 Devinci Kobain SLX 12-Speed Bike

Vital Review

“Made in Canada, Ready for the Trail - Devinci's $1,699 Kobain Hardtail”

2021 Devinci Kobain SLX 12-Speed Bike
Today's full-suspension trail bikes are versatile, refined pieces of equipment. With blithe disregard, riders can approach ribbons of dirt all over the world on a single bike. What if we took a magic eraser and rubbed out that rear shock and pivots? If we left only the geometry and components attached to a rigid alloy frame, what would we have? Meet the new Devinci Kobain — simple, cost-effective, and heralding tidings of endless woodland fun. Vital has been rediscovering the roots of mountain biking in this wave of hardtail trail bikes and sought to find out if the Kobain makes good on its pledge or if the hype is Read More »

G-Form Pro-Rugged Knee Guard

Vital Review

“First Ride: G-Form Pro Rugged and E-Line Knee Protection”

 G-Form Pro-Rugged Knee Guard
Despite presenting a decidedly polarizing look, G-Form’s original, jello-cube covered knee and elbow pads are actually very popular, in particular with less bro-ey types of mountain bike riders. Those original pads did have some inherent limitations to them when things got gnarly, so in an effort to produce something a bit tougher while also easier on the eyes, G-Form has recently launched 2 new families of protection. We’ve had them both out on the trail, read on to find out what we think of them. You can also check them out in action in our Gear Show video below, jump to 10:00 for the goods: G-Form Pro Rugged Read More »

G-Form E-Line Knee Guard

Vital Review

“First Ride: G-Form Pro Rugged and E-Line Knee Protection”

 G-Form E-Line Knee Guard
Despite presenting a decidedly polarizing look, G-Form’s original, jello-cube covered knee and elbow pads are actually very popular, in particular with less bro-ey types of mountain bike riders. Those original pads did have some inherent limitations to them when things got gnarly, so in an effort to produce something a bit tougher while also easier on the eyes, G-Form has recently launched 2 new families of protection. We’ve had them both out on the trail, read on to find out what we think of them. You can also check them out in action in our Gear Show video below, jump to 10:00 for the goods: G-Form Pro Rugged Read More »

iXS Carve Race Knee Guard

Vital Review

“First Ride: iXS Trigger Race and Carve Race Knee Guards”

 iXS Carve Race Knee Guard
Afew years back, we rounded up a bunch of knee pads in different categories (links HERE and HERE) to help our readers and viewers figure out what’s what. iXS had a couple of contenders in the mix back then that we got on well with, so when the company recently released two updated versions, we were eager to give them a try. Read on to find out how we got along, and you can also check out the Gear Show coverage to see the guards in action (jump straight to 4:56 for the relevant segment). iXS Carve Race Highlights iXS Trigger Race Highlights Xmatter protection foam (exchangeable) Low friction impact shells to absorb and Read More »

iXS Trigger Race Knee Guard

Vital Review

“First Ride: iXS Trigger Race and Carve Race Knee Guards”

 iXS Trigger Race Knee Guard
Afew years back, we rounded up a bunch of knee pads in different categories (links HERE and HERE) to help our readers and viewers figure out what’s what. iXS had a couple of contenders in the mix back then that we got on well with, so when the company recently released two updated versions, we were eager to give them a try. Read on to find out how we got along, and you can also check out the Gear Show coverage to see the guards in action (jump straight to 4:56 for the relevant segment). iXS Carve Race Highlights iXS Trigger Race Highlights Xmatter protection foam (exchangeable) Low friction impact shells to absorb Read More »

Bluegrass Rogue Core MIPS Helmet

Vital Review

“First Ride: Bluegrass Rogue Core MIPS Helmet”

 Bluegrass Rogue Core MIPS Helmet
Italian protection specialist Bluegrass(part of MET Helmets) has been making steady progress over the past couple of years, regularly adding to their portfolio of protective equipment. One of the latest products to join the line-up is their all-new Rogue Core MIPS, an extended coverage half-shell helmet intended for aggressive trail and enduro use. We took delivery of a sample a while back, keep reading to find out what we think of it (it was also featured in our Gear Show, you can jump ahead to 10:16 in the video below to see the helmet in action).   Bluegrass Rogue Core MIPS Highlights In-mould Read More »

2020 Marin Rift Zone 2 Bike

Vital Review

“$1,949 Marin Rift Zone 2 Bike Review”

2020 Marin Rift Zone 2 Bike
This Marin Rift Zone 2 review is from our $2,000 mountain bike group test, where we tested six full-suspension 29ers head to head. See the full story here. The most modern geometry of $2,000 mountain bike group test with 455mm reach and 65.5-degree head angle Extremely fun and capable on descents and in corners. Well-performing RockShox Deluxe Select Debonair rear shock Grippy, aggressive Vee Snap Flow tires keep the bike composed descending rough terrain but slow the bike down on climbs and through flatter portions of trail. Buy directly through Jenson USA but also have Marin dealer support through authorized shops Jenson Read More »