Latest Product Reviews


Banshee Spitfire V2 - 2013 Frame

“Fantastic trail bike”


The Good:

Descends like a bigger bike than it is, durable, excellent frame stiffness

The Bad:

A bit heavier than some similar carbon options

Overall Review:

I've had my 2013 Spitfire for about 16 months now during which time it has been my primary bike for all sorts of riding. It is still going strong and remains my favorite bike ever. I had a V1 spitfire and experienced the known bushing issues (although that was also a really fun bike). Banshee took care of me with a heavily discounted V2 frame which has more than addressed shortcomings with the prior frame. It had been ridden in a wide variety of conditions from my mellow non-mountainous local trails in NC to our jump trails to the roughest stuff in the mountains of western NC. Essentially, I agree with the other Read More »

Rate review: +2 Up Down
Vital MTB member SuboptimusPrime
8648 SuboptimusPrime,8648/all 06/04/11 1 36 5

Banshee Rune V2 - 2016 Frame

“Easily the best bike I've ridden in years.”


The Good:

Spectacular downhill & in the air. Climbs better than many shorter travel bikes.

The Bad:

Really couldn't find anything.

Overall Review: <p>I rode one whilst helping some friends who were running a demo day. Apart from the comments in the post/neg sections I'd say the other big plus is that the suspension setup doesn't impact the bearings when you hit a bump or land a jump. They aren't put under excess stress. With some bikes you only need to look at the frame to know bearing life will be poor. Also the Rune uses standard sized bearings so quality ones aren't expensive. More detailed review here- </p>
Rate review: +2 Up Down
Vital MTB member ChasingTrails
2102 ChasingTrails,2102/all 03/02/10 1 1

DVO Emerald Fork

“27.5 dvo emerald ”


The Good:

Stiffness, suppleness, inverted design

The Bad:

Slightly heavier than competition but more then makes up for it in performance

Overall Review: <p>I have been using the 27.5 emerald for about 5 months now and can say I have never ridden a overall better fork. Bryson and his team took all the positive aspects from Marzocchi and improved them to create the ultimate downhill fork. The fork requires little to no maintenance and allows you to be in full control of how you want it to feel. The ott or off the top is very beneficial to aid with hand and arm cramping and makes your front tire stick the the floor. Overall very impressed and can't wait to try out more dvo products in the future </p>
Rate review: +1 Up Down
Vital MTB member lucacometti
2498 lucacometti,2498/all 04/10/10 3 2 3,2498/setup 3 20 1

Buzzy's Slick Honey All Purpose Grease

“Slick Honey ”


The Good:

works well and lasts a long time

The Bad:

the tub is overkill size wise

Overall Review: <p>Sometimesthe small changes you make to your bike are the ones you end up noticing the most. After years of forgetting about that slick honey stuff I used a while ago, I recently picked up a tub of this stuff.  After washing the bike (every couple of rides or so) I will apply it to the suspension and dropper post and the result is a smoother feel as they cycle through their travel.  It's a simple and cheap thing to do and has helped the performance of those parts. Unless you are servicing a rental fleet, go ahead and pick up the 2 ounce tube as a little goes a long way and the 16 ounce tub is really way too much. Slick Honey has been around for a while now and there's a reason why it's still popular - it works! </p>
Rate review: +3 Up Down
Vital MTB member SaddleRags
8938 SaddleRags,8938/all 06/10/11,8938/setup 1 15 88 48

MRP Stage Fork

Featured Member Review

“MRP Stage 160 mm 26/27.5”


The Good:

The 5 star rating is well deserved. See Overall Review portion for more details.

The Bad:

I have been on the fork for a couple months and nothing has come up that I can even nitpick over.

Overall Review:

by Weston Walker Ok…so this is the part of the review where I’m “supposed” to discuss all the technology inside the MRP Stage. I’m going to go ahead and skip that and get right down to the question a review is “supposed” to answer, and that is “Does the product work?” I just don’t see the point of regurgitating something you can read on the manufacturer’s website. This is not a slam at MRP because this product is jammed full of patented technology, but in all honesty so is every other product on the market. So does it work? The answer to that question is yes it does work…incredibly well. I could probably just stop here, but that Read More »

Rate review: +6 Up Down
Vital MTB member Weston Walker
31691 Weston Walker,31691/all 07/05/14 3 1

Schwalbe Albert Tire

“Rear Fat Albert 2.40 Pacestar Review”


The Good:

Climbing grip and reasonable rolling resistance, can be picked up cheaply online, big volume, easy setup tubeless and matches up with Hans Dampf.

The Bad:

Hideous cornering feel, wobble central on road or hardpack or even anything remotely not soft, even if soft very average. 'It's more expensive therefore it's better' marketing.

Overall Review:

Seems like Schwalbe Albert is a prototype for Fat Albert, and Fat Albert front and rear are simply the prototype for Hans Dampf. I have a Hans Dampf Pacestar on the front and had a Rock Razor on the rear. The Razor and Hans Dampf are great tires but the side knobs ripped off the Pacestar version of the IMHO too weak Rock Razor sadly, the Hans Dampf had plenty of life left in it, and I wasn't ready to quit on Schwalbe (for a 2nd time) yet so I picked up the Fat Albert rear specific tire online for a nice little discount ($30). Wish I hadn't and I'd waited for a 'performance' single ply HD. Put simply, although there are many Read More »

Rate review: 0 Up Down
Vital MTB member ZMC888
6998 ZMC888,6998/all 03/03/11,6998/setup 5 25 59 1

Acre Hauser Hydration Pack

Vital Review

“Tested: Acre Hauser - Hauler of Fun”


by Kevin Shiramizu With the creation of Acre, the folks behind Mission Workshop have taken their geekery for bags to the dirt, and by now you've probably come across some of the meticulously crafted stories they have put out in various media for the launch of their mountain biking brand. I really wanted to see if all that attention to detail went into the product and not just into the presentation, unlike our collective experience with some other brands. So when the chance to test the Hauser bag came along, I dove at it. Acre Hauser Highlights Bladder Capacity: 3 Liter Camelbak or Hydrapak (also compatible with Platypus, Read More »

Rate review: 0 Up Down
Vital MTB member k.shiz
14 k.shiz,14/all 07/24/09 75 23 52 591 101 165 1 260 19 12

Niterider TL5.0 Rear Light

“Light it up”


The Good:

Easy install and battery swap.

The Bad:

nothing so far.

Overall Review: <p>If you cruise around town or commute to work via bike, you probably already have lights sorted out for your bike. If not, the Niterider TL5.0 is a good inexpensive option to alert those behind you that you exist. Some of the nice features about this Niterider is that it is easy to install, comes with a rubber shim that should help fit any size post, it uses a common battery size (AAA), and it has a number of different flashing modes that you can cycle through. It's probably not the fanciest or toughest rear light out there, but at under $10, this has been a good purchase and adds a little peace of mind when sharing the road. </p>
Rate review: 0 Up Down
Vital MTB member SaddleRags
8938 SaddleRags,8938/all 06/10/11,8938/setup 1 15 88 48

Öhlins TTX Rear Shock

“Öhlins TTX 22M - SantaCruz ed.”


The Good:

Very sensitive, smooth and precise. Also easy to calibrate.

The Bad:

It cost a lot of money.

Overall Review:

Last June 27, 2014 I bought the new Öhlins TTX shock 22M from the most famous Italian reseller called Andreani Group. The suspension has been modified on the classic head of the shock which is usually assembled on the Demo 8 with a totally redesigned one for reasons of space specifically for Santa Cruz. The functioning, however, remains the same. The length is 240mm and the stroke is 76mm while the average price for Italy is 780 + 22% VAT (government taxes). Andreani Group has been really helpful and professional: during the iXS European Cup in Val di Sole their engineer support me all the day while I tried and set up the Read More »

Rate review: +6 Up Down
Vital MTB member RiccardoCerato72
26976 RiccardoCerato72,26976/all 08/20/13,26976/setup 5 1 1

ODI Rogue Lock-On Grip

“That's what you need!”


The Good:

The size and feel of this grip makes it a winner in my eyes. I prefer a larger grip as my left hand is knackered from multiple breaks. This grip is very durable too, I didn't need to replace them at all last season.

The Bad:

If the grip was slightly softer, it'll damper more vibration and make it more comfortable for the all day epics, but then you'd lose some of that durability.

Overall Review: <p>My new bike came with a set of ODI Cross Trainer grips, they will be swapped out with the Rogue asap. </p>
Rate review: 0 Up Down
Vital MTB member kieron.ash
23396 kieron.ash,23396/all 04/06/13,23396/setup 1 1