Latest Product Reviews


Novatec Factor 327 Complete Wheel

Vital Review

“Tested: Novatec Factor 327 Wheelset”

Review by Johan Hjord // Photos by Tal Rozow and Johan Hjord There is no shortage of options in the current carbon wheelset market. Ranging from almost “cheap” to “more than you’d pay for a really good used bike”, we’re nearly at a point where there’s a carbon wheelset for every budget, if you take into account the direct sales brands out of China. Where does that leave us as consumers though? Carbon wheels have traditionally been one of those areas of the bike where you could spend a lot for what appears to be marginal gains in weight and performance, and with most high-end offerings still commanding a premium price tag Read More »

MRP G2 Chainguide

“Old Faithful”


The Good:

Burly, reliable.

The Bad:

Bulky, not the lightest option.

Overall Review: To truly appreciate the success I've had with this chainguide, you need to know that the other half helping retain the chain was a Sram X5 long-cage derailleur. And yes, this setup was actually mounted on a DH bike. That's how companies get low prices on their lower-spec bikes. Cutting corners. Except in this case, the corner being cut hasn't caused issues in three years of downhill slamming and grating. MRP no longer produces the G2, but carried over the reliability of it to the G3; a refined successor. I will make some statements on the older guide and let you put faith in the progression of MRP's products. The G2 is a Read More »

Fly Racing Transfer Shoe

Vital Review

“Tested: Fly Racing Transfer Shoe ”

by Justin Schroth Already established in the motocross world and with a growing MTB presence, Fly Racing continues to expanded their cycling product line for 2015. One of their new products is the Fly Racing Transfer Shoe, a skate-style clipless shoe that offers some of the key features most look for in a shoe at an affordable price. Fly Racing Transfer Shoe Features Skate-style SPD compatible shoe Stiff mid sole Velcro lace enclosure Ventilated side panels Colors: Black/Hi-Vis (pictured) & Black/White MSRP $99.95 US Initial Impressions The Transfer shoe has all the makings of a solid skate-style SPD shoe: an Read More »

Five Ten Freerider Women's Shoe

Vital Review

“Tested: Five Ten Freerider Women's Shoe”

Review by Monica McCosh / Photos by Ryan Grani We hate glossy reviews – they seem untruthful. While the following may come across as glossy, we think you’ll appreciate the facts. We’ve been wearing the Freerider, Five Ten's new women's specific shoe, for over a year now. From dusty Sedona trails to mucky, wet Pacific Northwest days, concrete floors to longboards to pubs and meetings. The new women’s Freerider shoe proves to be as durable as it is stylish. The ultimate “trail-to-ale” shoe was put to the test. Five Ten Freerider Women's Shoe Highlights Non-marking Stealth Phantom rubber outsole Split grain Read More »

Rock 'n Roll Gold Lube

“Rock 'n Roll Gold Lube”


The Good:

Good all around, Keeps chain clean and quiet, Competitively priced,

The Bad:

Not as easy to apply if cold

Overall Review: It is hard to say a lot about a chain lube, but when you find one that works good , you know it! I have been using this lube for several years and it is always my go-to. I have tried others in the past and I am never as happy with them due to reasons such as application or chain cleanliness. The Gold Lube just needs a slight shake before using to mix the ingredients together. Apply it on the chain like any other lube and wipe excess away. It seems to keep my chain very clean even in muddy conditions. It will last through a long day in the rain/mud on the DH bike no problem. It seems to be a waxed based lube, Read More »

Troy Lee Designs Moto Shorts

“Heavy Duty Shortpants”


The Good:

Thick and durable. Comfortable- stretches in all the right places. Good pocket size.

The Bad:

Thick and heavy. Warm up fast. Pockets can lint up your phone screen if you get sweaty (Oh wait, no I forgot my Whistler lift pass in the pocket and they went through the wash. This is paper pulp on my phone. Nevermind.)

Overall Review: These have been the go-to DH shorts for a long time, and there's good reason. These guys have held up to abuse for two years and are still going strong. With multiple crashes (and rocky ones at that) cleared without a scratch, I recommend these shorts for any downhill rider. There are a few reasons why that stand out. The outer material of these baggies is a very heavy fabric that very visibly explains the shorts' friction-fighting properties. Ever rub sandpaper on sandpaper? Me neither, but I assume you get two smooth surfaces fast. The black yoke you can see on the front of the shorts is where the Read More »

SixSixOne Evo Knee Guards Knee/Shin Pad

“The Essential Kneepad”


The Good:

Tried and true- you'll see a lot of these at your local downward trails. Comfy, and fit is easy to determine; it's just what you expect. Solid protection from both abrasive slides, and harsh impacts.

The Bad:

Don't breathe all that well. Lose flexibility over time.

Overall Review: These are what I consider the "standard" set to knee-only knee pads. 661 created a lasting, comfortable, and protective set of guards that really just tick every box. Basically. Knee pads should be comfortable. The Evo knee guards match the silhouette of the aggressively bent knee, only feeling present where it matters; the elastic. That isn't to say your knees will feel vulnerable beneath these pads. There is really a lot of smart material up front in charge, and your knees will take notice. Knee pads should have good protection. Of course the Evo's deliver. With a dense inner padding (visible on Read More »

Avid Elixir 5 Disc Brake

“A Hit or Miss Classic”


The Good:

Stopping power is applicable for downhill shredding. Decent lever feel. Alignment isn't too difficult.

The Bad:

Bleeding is more involved than most brakes, you might decide to make it your bike shop's responsibility. Materials are cheap. Durability and dependability have been put into question by many forum warriors.

Overall Review: I've had a pair of these stoppers for three years, since they came stock on my Glory, and despite what many people would expect, I have had zero issues. The front caliper got really stuck once when I had the wheel off so the bike would fit in the back of my cramped and rack-less vehicle. That's not an exclusive flaw with Elixir 5's or Avid brakes. In three years, you want to know how many times I had to do any maintenance on these slowie-downies? Twice.That's right. One uneventful alignment exercise and one bleed. Just one. After three years of abrupt application and irresponsibly timed chunder-braking, Read More »

Bell Full-9 Helmet

Featured Review

“Bell Full-9 Helmet”


The Good:

Good Fit, Lighter Weight, Nice Features, Good Goggle Room, Magnetic Removable Cheek Pads, ICEdot Enabled

The Bad:

Creaking Noise, A Bit Warm

Overall Review: I was excited to get a new helmet after my last one took a good hit causing the carbon to crack in the chin guard area. I wanted to get something a bit different and compared many models online before biting the bullet on the Full 9. As a person who has had many concussions in the past, I look for a safe helmet that does not break the bank. Some of the Highlights Include: Good fit Lighter weight option Works well with Leatt brace Magnetic removable cheek pads for emergencies ICEdot enabled Good fitment with goggles Integrated GoPro mount The Details: There are many options when it comes to noggin protection, and it can Read More »

Five Ten Line King Shoes

Featured Review

“Full-face Helmets for yer Feet”


The Good:

Classic 5.10 grip, massive padding up top and all around, don't even need to be retied every time you put them on.

The Bad:

Can be chunky looking, not the stiffest of soles, can act as kitchen sponges (pro?)

Overall Review: The Line Kings are very versatile shoes if you want them to be; I've used them for nearly every kind of biking just to see if I could. They're best suited to the casual and gravity-oriented rider, who is wary of stubbing his toes on the trail. Seriously, these things have like 3/4 of an inch of just padding. 510 might be using us as guinea pigs for their prototype bullet proof bike shoes. I gladly support the United States bike-mounted police force. DH- These shoes perform best here, being as heavy and sturdy as they are. The grip is what you expect from this company. I am pretty particular about my foot Read More »