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2018 Giant Trance 2 Bike

“2018 Giant Trance 2 XT Drivetrain”

C138_trance_2_2018_color_b_neon_red

The Good:

Love both Fox Shocks and all the adjustability. Swapped out the SLX for all XL components including 32T from chain ring and cranks. Went with the Sunrace 11x46 cassette and KMC Gold-SL chain. Love the 2.4" High Roller IIs

The Bad:

Had to change out the seat for a MTB team saddle. Giant saddle was a little tough.

Overall Review: <p>This bike has taken me to the next level.  Very confidence inspiring with its suspension travel and the 2.4" wide Maxxis High Roller II tires.  It shreds twisty singletrack, climbs very confidently, and takes rocky/rooty descents like a champ!   </p>

Leatt DBX 3.0 Enduro Full Face Helmet

Vital Review

“Best of Both Worlds? We Ride the New Leatt DBX 3.0 Convertible Helmet”

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With the rise of enduro, and more specifically the actual racing discipline, the good old helmet has found itself the subject of much attention recently. Combining near World Cup-level tech and speed on the downs with long, grueling climbs means that your helmet now has to offer full-face levels of protection yet still remain breathable enough to cope with long, hot climbs. One solution that has seen a bit of a renaissance lately is the convertible helmet, where the chin bar can be removed for better ventilation on the way up the mountain. Leatt joined that party at the end of 2016 with the launch of their DBX Read More »

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Vital MTB member iceman2058
94 iceman2058 https://p.vitalmtb.com/photos/users/94/avatar/c50_johan_1385064431.jpg?1385063576 https://www.vitalmtb.com/community/iceman2058,94/all 08/01/09 751 94 1473 1679 https://www.vitalmtb.com/community/iceman2058,94/setup 65 409 4435 123 31

Race Face Next R 35 Handlebar

Featured Member Review

“Race Face Next R 35 Handlebar”

C138_race_face_next_r_35_handlebar

The Good:

Awesome graphics, natural feel, stiff and supportive yet dampen small bumps well, just a really good bar.

The Bad:

For a "enduro" option, they weight just as much as the "DH" SixC.

Overall Review:

Earlier this year, Race Face came out with a new component lineup to meet the demands of one of the fastest growing disciplines in the industry, Enduro. The called it Next R and it fits, snuggly in between the XC Next and DH SixC product lines. I get my hands on a new Next R 35mm rise bar and with just a short few weeks on it, here are my impressions: Out of The Box: Pulling the Race Face Next R carbon bars out if their packaging, the first thing I ask myself was if I accidentally ordered a SixC bar. I then realized the decals were different but besides that, the profile, feel, and weight were nearly identical. Made to Read More »

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Vital MTB member dirtworks911
14755 dirtworks911 https://p.vitalmtb.com/photos/users/14755/avatar/c50_14881538_1588539877838281_1800798274_o_1477766735.jpg?1477766635 https://www.vitalmtb.com/community/dirtworks911,14755/all 04/09/12 8 4 https://www.vitalmtb.com/community/dirtworks911,14755/setup 1 2 46 108

Ibis 3D Forged Stem

Featured Member Review

“Ibis 3D Forged Stem”

C138_ibis_3d_forged_stem_02

The Good:

Good looks, good shape, decent weight, oversized 5mm steerer bolts, great value

The Bad:

narrow bar clamping surface allows for a bit of flex on aggressive trails.

Overall Review:

I just picked up a new Ibis HD4 and wanted shed some light on stock Ibis 3D stem that came on it. With a few rides on it’ here are my impressions: Out of The Box: This stem appeared to be an average stock stem that comes on pretty much every middle grade bike. This was, until you look at some of the finer details of it. The first thing I noticed was that, however “stock” this stem is, Ibis put some effort into giving the 3D some flavor. That flaver is a simple “Ibis” band around the center of the stem. The best part is that it’s not overpowering like other stock stems which means you can potentially put it on a different bike Read More »

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Vital MTB member dirtworks911
14755 dirtworks911 https://p.vitalmtb.com/photos/users/14755/avatar/c50_14881538_1588539877838281_1800798274_o_1477766735.jpg?1477766635 https://www.vitalmtb.com/community/dirtworks911,14755/all 04/09/12 8 4 https://www.vitalmtb.com/community/dirtworks911,14755/setup 1 2 46 108

Maxxis Ardent Tire

“Utterly mediocre. Not up to Maxxis standards.”

C138_ardent

The Good:

Was stock on new bike, so I didn't pay retail. Performance on first half dozen rides was tolerable.

The Bad:

Almost any other tire on the market climbs, rolls & corners better than the 2.25" Ardent. Even if you get them free, you'll still have to swap them out every dozen rides since the side knobs decay so quickly.

Overall Review:

Riding in my part of Northern California takes place 90% of the time on "cheesgrater": hard-baked clay imbedded w/ decomposed granite. This surface is merciless & quickly reveals which tires can go the distance. Even in Maxxis' harder-wearing Dual Compound rubber, the 2.25" version of the Ardent is NOT that tire. The Ardent's small knobs shred quickly: the staggered side knobs are the worst culprits, shredding visibly from first ride on due to poorly-placed sipes just a few mm from edge of knobs. Across the board, Ardents roll slower, corner worse on hardpack & loose soil, and offer less climbing traction than competing Read More »

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Vital MTB member BergMann
45298 BergMann https://p.vitalmtb.com/photos/users/45298/avatar/c50_Grutsch2_1511932807.jpg?1511932660 https://www.vitalmtb.com/community/BergMann,45298/all 09/21/17 1 5 1

Bontrager SE5 Team Issue TLR Tire

Featured Member Review

“Bontrager SE5 Team Issue TLR Tire”

C138_bontrager_se5_team_issue_tlr_tire_03

The Good:

Great tread design that holds well in multiple types of conditions, Outstanding tread life, Descent price.

The Bad:

The sidewall ripped on multiple tires.

Overall Review:

When it comes to increasing one’s confidence while riding there are a few components that have a huge impact on finding oneself riding on or fall off a trail. Through my own experience, suspension, brakes, and tires are some of the most critical ones to get right. In hopes to increase my confidence, I picked up a new set of endure specific Bontrager SE4 Team Issue TRL tires at the end of last season. With adequate miles on them, here are my impressions: Out of The Box: Unlike some previous models made by Bontrager, I found the SE5 tires to be very well thought out. From the top of the tread all the way to the Read More »

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Vital MTB member dirtworks911
14755 dirtworks911 https://p.vitalmtb.com/photos/users/14755/avatar/c50_14881538_1588539877838281_1800798274_o_1477766735.jpg?1477766635 https://www.vitalmtb.com/community/dirtworks911,14755/all 04/09/12 8 4 https://www.vitalmtb.com/community/dirtworks911,14755/setup 1 2 46 108

Shimano XTR Race BR-M985 Disc Brake

Featured Member Review

“Shimano reliability, with the better brake feathering too”

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The Good:

- The XTR Race levers do away with Shimano's "Servo Wave" lever movement, which is found on most of their products. This keeps the Race levers super smooth and much more predictable than Shimano's other brakes.
- Surprisingly durable; I've wrecked a few times and thought "there goes my expensive levers..." but the carbon levers have been just fine!
- XTR Race mate up with XT calipers for a budget-friendly, predictable combo.

The Bad:

- Less adjustability than XT levers
- I wish Shimano would offer non-servo-wave in more of their products, for easier brake feathering and better overall feel.

Overall Review: <p>Shimano is known for their precise movement and super reliability. The newest XTR Race levers are just that. I've ridden numerous races (Kamikaze, Sea Otter, Northstar, etc...) with these and they never let me down. I got these XTR levers mainly because of the linear lever feel, allowing me to feather the brakes much better into turns, and control highspeed manuals. Almost all other Shimano brake levers include something called servo-wave, which are super touchy &amp; sticky.  Luckily, you can mate XTR levers with XT M8000 calipers. This isn't advertised by Shimano, but if you've ever seen a Shimano tech's bike.... you'll notice this is the combo they run. Can't argue with that. </p>
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Vital MTB member SCgShoeCo
44826 SCgShoeCo https://p.vitalmtb.com/photos/users/44826/avatar/c50_SCgLogo_white_website_1501901591.jpg?1501900710 https://www.vitalmtb.com/community/SCgShoeCo,44826/all 07/20/17 4 11 5 13 5

PNW Components Bachelor Seatpost

Vital Review

“Tested: PNW Components Bachelor Dropper Post”

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Over the past years we have improved nearly every part of our bikes, yet the dropper post seems to be the one component that still never works quite right. There is often a lot of play in the nose of the saddle or it starts to sag after a few rides, or maybe you would just rather ride your bike than spend a few more hours working on your seat post for the third time this week – shoot, it's just an expensive stick that holds your seat, right? PNW Components aims to change our current perception of the dropper post by offering a high quality, reliable post at a lower price than much of the competition. That had us Read More »

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Vital MTB member AceHouston
2058 AceHouston https://p.vitalmtb.com/photos/users/2058/avatar/c50_73933_10100336831359119_2949514_n_1372187932.jpg?1372187380 https://www.vitalmtb.com/community/AceHouston,2058/all 02/25/10 4 https://www.vitalmtb.com/community/AceHouston,2058/setup 20 5 6

Loaded Precision X-lite Titanium Stem

“Holy Lightweight Stem!!!”

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The Good:

Lightest weight stem on the market!

The Bad:

Nothing significant to report

Overall Review: <p>I got a new bike and went to my LBS for a CK stem. They didn't have the CK in stock, but they had this Loaded one in. Due to it being lighter than all other stems I bought it. WOW! I'm super impressed and became a Loaded fan girl ever since.  </p>