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Vinny Mauro

Vinny Mauro

Salt Lake City/Park City, Utah

Vinny Mauro's Bio

I am a Group/Corporate Sales Rep here at Backcountry! If you are interested in any large/bulk/custom orders, or just have specific questions about any of the gear I have reviewed, please feel free to contact me directly. My email is vmauro@backcountry.com.

Vinny Mauro

Vinny Maurowrote a review of on June 16, 2016

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

It was no secret that the Pike swiftly knocked Fox out of the top spot for 140-160mm travel forks. The Pike came out and was lighter, stiffer, smoother, and had better dampening. It seems to me like it took Fox some serious R&D to mount a comeback, but based on the 30 or so rides I have on this fork I'd say they have pulled it off finally.

The 34 chassis makes for a super light fork, but they've got it plenty stiff. In a blind test there's no way I could tell you which is stiffer this or a Pike. Whatever they've changed with the air spring has definitely made the beginning stroke much more supple as well. My 2015 (maybe 2014? had the RC2 damper) 36 Float was very rough and chattery and made for numb hands on long descents, this are is greatly improved on this fork. The RC2 damper in that 36 I had was pretty decent as well, but it was unfortunate they used the CTD damper in the 34 chassis exclusive since the CTD gave you very little control over compression dampening. This Fit4 damper has the same useful on the fly adjust-ability of CTD, but with much more actual control over the dampening.

Overall this fork is light, smooth, and easy to set up (with some basic understanding of the fundamentals of suspension tuning, not as turn-key as the previous CTD). I still dig the Pike for sure, but it's nice that there is now a comparable offering from Fox to choose from based on exactly what you need. If weight is a priority then this fork is a no-brainer over the Pike. Other than that, I'd say you really can't go wrong either way. Got to love when some healthy competition in the market makes for such sweet products!

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Vinny Mauro

Vinny Maurowrote a review of on June 13, 2016

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I was traumatized by some bad experiences with Sram/avid brakes 5-6 years ago and didn't touch them for years. I finally made the leap back since this 4 piston design looked promising and they have been out for a couple years with solid reviews. Glad I didn't wait any longer, they are awesome. I don't plan on going back to a 2 piston brake any time soon. Compared to the 2 piston brakes I've been riding the last few years these have far more power AND modulation. I can't really comment on longevity, but I've gotten a few hundred miles of hard riding so far without having to mess with them. Even if I have to bleed them a couple times per season... that's fine my me for the extra performance, and as long as you have the Sram bleed kit it's stupid easy to do anyway.

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Vinny Mauro

Vinny Maurowrote a review of on June 13, 2016

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

It's no mystery that Sram/Avid had some duds in their brake lineup in the lat 5-7 years and lost a lot of customers to Shimano. Myself included, many have defaulted to Shimano for their steadfast reliability and reasonable prices. These Guides were enticing enough for me to give Sram another try, and they have definitely redeemed themselves. While I still appreciate the low maintenance functionality of my XT brakes, I have put a few hundred miles on my Guide RSCs and have been very happy. I can't comment on long term reliability yet, but the extra power and control from these 4 piston calipers is HUGE. Sram has always had the actuation dialed, now that they have paired that with a super powerful 4 piston caliper I'd say these are definitely the best trail/enduro brakes I have ridden. So far I haven't even used the pad contact adjustment, but as the pads wear down I'm sure that will become useful.

At the end of the day, I would purchase these again all day.

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Vinny Mauro

Vinny Maurowrote a review of on June 2, 2016

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions

I just got one of these after riding a Nomad all of last year. My initial impressions were exactly what I expected based on the marketing and just looking at the bike... it feels like a quicker, more nimble Nomad. I would say climbing ability seems very comparable actually, not as much improvement there as you might expect but both are perfectly capable of climbing lots of vert. Going down is when I really noticed the difference. The Nomad is insanely stable and begs to go fast. The Bronson feels reasonable at speed, but really excels when you go to move it around. Picking up the front wheel, popping off a lip, dipping into a turn, etc. all happen with much less effort than the nomad.

Both bikes are crazy good. For all out speed I would still take the Nomad, but for general fun-having I am very excited about the Bronson.

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Vinny Mauro

Vinny Maurowrote a review of on June 2, 2016

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

Ok ya there isn't much special about this stem. But it works great, uses hex bolts which is nice, and looks pretty good/blends in.

If you have any doubts about the sizing of your stem, you will definitely not regret trying a different size. Do it now! Worst case scenario you go back to your old stem and can spend the rest of the season knowing that you have the correct size stem. Always worth it in my experience to get those little things dialed earlier rather than later so you can just enjoy the ride. Nothing worse than second guessing all summer, or trying your buddies bike with a different stem and realizing you've been hosing yourself.

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Vinny Mauro

Vinny Maurowrote a review of on May 31, 2016

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

This pad definitely has the most thought out design of all that I have seen. As noted in the comments the L/XL does not have the slots on the outside to hold your fork in place, but in that place it does still have a solid thick pad to keep your precious forks super safe. Inside it does have the slots to hold your frame, which does an incredible job keeping things still. The velcro straps are great for peace of mind on longer drives.

The fact that this pad is so similarly priced to the more simple, feature-less options is pretty impressive to me. Lot's of designing and sewing has gone into it, and my bike is grateful.

I put this on my 2016 Ram 1500. The Ram has a stupidly thick tailgate, no pad sits perfectly on it as a result (thanks Ram!)... but this worked just as well as the others I tried, so I picked it based on how well the slots hold the bikes in place. These days it seems like the average bike is a good $5k, so $130 is quite a bargain to protect up to $30k of bike per ride!

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Vinny Mauro

Vinny Maurowrote a review of on May 31, 2016

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

This rack is awesome. Looks good, easy to load and unload your bikes, keeps your bikes super safe, and is easy to set up and install. I haven't had mine very long, but have several riding buddies who have had their Kuats for years so I am not worried about longevity.

I also have buddies with the Yakima and Thule options... I wouldn't say any of them are the end-all hitch rack they all work great, so I would recommend picking out the one you think looks best with your vehicle. I don't generally advise picking things based on looks... but I honestly feel that all of the high end tray style hitch racks are that comparable as far as performance goes. I've owned the Yakima hold up as well, and I have used the thule version on many trips with a friend.

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Vinny Mauro

Vinny Maurowrote a review of on May 31, 2016

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

These are a classic! At first years ago they seemed like a super high end premium offering, one of the first "nice" platform pedals. Now they remain unchanged, still a great pedal, but somehow other pedals have become so insanely expensive that these are now a great "value." Anyway, the price on these is fair and they are a great pedal. There are some lighter, thinner, more sexy options out there for sure, but these pedals get the job done for half the price of those sexier options.

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Vinny Mauro

Vinny Maurowrote a review of on May 31, 2016

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions

This pad is super high quality. The price is on the higher end for sure, but you can tell by the materials and design that Evoc intended on earning your money. Most notable would be the nice metal clips where others use plastic, and the nice rubberized material that seems much more appropriate to live outside in the rain than the other heavy duty nylon offerings. It's still super soft inside to protect your truck as well!

Unfortunately I returned this for a different pad since I struggled to find the perfect fit for my 2016 Ram's tailgate... they are absurdly thick and curved making it pretty difficult. For a more regular tailgate I imagine this would be very nice.

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Vinny Mauro

Vinny Maurowrote a review of on May 31, 2016

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

This tire is awesome. Made for wide rims, but I mounted it to my Mercury X1s with a 26mm ID and they are great on those as well. Basically the difference compared to a traditional Minion of the same size is just that the profile is more round. Since I pedal up hill on most of my rides this is fine by me, and when cornering I haven't experienced any lack of traction it is still great.

I paired this with a DHF Minion WT 2.5 up front and it's a great combo. Just light enough to tolerate for long XC rides with zero compromises on the downhill.

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Vinny Mauro

Vinny Maurowrote a review of on May 31, 2016

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

I've only used these for a couple rides now, but am loving them so far. In the past few years I have also used the High Roller II, Ardent 2.4s, Hans Dampf, and the normal Minions.

I bought these wide trail tires to mount on my Mercury X1 rims which are 26mm ID. So narrower than the intended audience for this tire, but the more round profile appealed to me. Thus far my theory has proven correct that the round profile means less rolling resistance and still the incredible cornering traction I would expect from a Minion. I paired this tire in 2.5 with a 2.4 DHR wide trail in the rear. I have thoroughly enjoyed the High Roller as well so it's hard to pick a favorite. For all out traction and romp-ability the Minion takes the cake for sure, but the High Roller II does offer near comparable traction with some narrower/lighter options which can be good on the uphill. I plan on using my current set up of Minions for lots of XC rides and climbing, but don't expect climbing to be as quick as last summer when I had Ardents front and back. The increased confidence (and therefore fun) on the downhill is a worthwhile trade-off to me.

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Vinny Mauro

Vinny Maurowrote a review of on May 27, 2016

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

Having known and loved the classic Freerider shoe, I was intrigued to see they had made a seemingly improved rendition. These are basically the same concept, casual looks and comfort with a bike-able sole, but designed more specifically for biking. They are stiffer overall to increase pedaling efficiency and protection, and they also have a more airy feeling mesh on top to help keep your feet cool.

If you haven't tried riding with a fiveten shoe, I would definitely encourage you to check them out. I held out with my nikes and vans for years, and was a damn fool for doing so.

Fit is true to size, and they do NOT stretch or break in at all. I'm usually a 10.5 or 11.0, I need to rock these in 11.0 for sure. I've tried 10.5s and since they are so stiff it's painful to force yourself into a pair that's too small.

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Vinny Mauro

Vinny Maurowrote a review of on May 27, 2016

5 5

Familiarity: I gave it as a gift but have feedback to share

Sounds like the other reviewer had a very unfortunate experience, hopefully our customer service got them sorted out. Just wanted to add my $0.02, I bought these for my girlfriend's commuter bike and they seem great so far. Super bright, comes with two cables so you can charge both at once, and takes seconds to put on and take off.

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Vinny Mauro

Vinny Maurowrote a review of on May 27, 2016

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I love this lock. I wrap it around my top tube and lock it there while riding which is sweet. Definitely not great for your frame, I only recommend this storage technique if you ride a cheap commuter and don't care about the paint job!

The size is perfect to get my frame and front wheel locked up. If you live in a super theft-prone area and/or have a nice wheelset you may want to go with something else like a U-Lock/cable combo so that you can lock both your wheels more easily.

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Vinny Mauro

Vinny Maurowrote a review of on May 27, 2016

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

People call things game changers all the time. To me, this is one of the few products that actually really changed how mountain biking works for me. Less stopping, more fun. Droppers are now a mandatory part of any trail bike. It's unfortunate because they are so painfully expensive, but I have never once regretted the investment.

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Vinny Mauro

Vinny Maurowrote a review of on May 27, 2016

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

Yep not much to this product... works great, just like you'd expect. I do like that they offer up different widths so you can get a good fit for your rim. I have used this tape for several seasons now with no issues (knock on wood!). Will keep buying it for sure.

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Vinny Mauro

Vinny Maurowrote a review of on May 13, 2016

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions

I've had Enve and Reynolds carbon wheels in the past, just got myself a set of these X1 wheels since the price was enticing for what looks to be a very comparable wheelset. I used Stan's tape and valve stems, setting them up with my Maxxis Minion DHF/DHR tire combo was a breeze and only required a few gentle tugs of the tire lever.

I took them for the first ride yesterday. On this bike I was upgraded from the stock mediocre aluminum wheels, and I experienced all the expected benefits of going to carbon. Lighter of course, more response and efficient climbing certainly, and much sharper handling on the down-hill. On those first impressions, would say these perform on par with the competition and I'm excited to explore the handling benefits of the hookless rim style.

I'll try to come back for an update later this summer once I can comment on the longevity, but so far I'm very happy with the investment. In my experience with the other wheels, going carbon has always been an incredible upgrade.

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Vinny Mauro

Vinny Maurowrote a review of on May 13, 2016

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I'm on my second HoldUp. Had one for years on my 4runner, which got sold with the car. When I decided to get a new rack for my new truck I went right back to the HoldUp. I've used most of the other options that friends have, and while all of them seem to get the job done just fine I saw no reason to stray from the Yakima. Getting bikes on and off is quick and simple, the built in lock works great to run through the fork and secure my bike while driving around doing errands, and it doesn't hurt that the all black paint job looks good and blends in pretty well. I don't have much experience with the competition in this respect, but with the HoldUp the threaded bolt that goes through the hitch receiver works great to keep the rack from wobbling at all, and the locking cap on it is another nice bonus to keep things secure.

I used my first one for two years without any issues, and am going on year 2 with my newer one.

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