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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 23, 2017

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

XTR stuff is obviously great. Whether you prefer it over the SRAM offerings is purely personal preference really, I've had both recently and couldn't even say which one I prefer so I just go for whatever I can find the best deal on. I've had this derailleur for a few months now and it has performed flawlessly. My only beef, and the on area where I think SRAM is the clear winner, is in how you disengage the derailleur to remove your rear wheel. On SRAM there's a handy lock button, so you just extend it full and lock it in that position and it stays out of your way. Instead of that option, Shimano just let's you flip a lever to disengage the clutch so that there' s no resistance. This means you still have to flip the derailleur while pulling the wheel out (I know, life is SO HARD), but more importantly it means you have to remember to re-engage your clutch once your bike is back together. I always forget until I'm part way into my next ride and wonder what all the noise is about.

That's a pretty minor, possibly even stupid, complaint so I still give it 5 stars. If you're shopping for this stuff you're probably making lots of decisions about where to splurge for XTR and where to save some pennies (lots of pennies) and go XT. Both are great really... I've always done as much XTR as the pocketbook allows to save weight, but I've also always been happy with both groups.

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Vinny Mauro

Vinny Maurowrote a review of on June 23, 2017

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

Great balance of price and performance. I love all the shimano XT stuff I have used. Almost a nice as XTR, but much more affordable. Obviously if you're going for the all-out build of a lifetime you have to send it and go XTR for that extra bling. XT though is light enough for just about anything, and lasts seemingly forever. While XTR is nice, but not necessary, I do think you get a lot of benefit shelling out for the XT instead of the lower end shimano stuff. A little more money up front, but less broken bits means more fun and less repair bills throughout the summer.

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Vinny Mauro

Vinny Maurowrote a review of on June 19, 2017

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

I love these I9 wheels. After some bad experiences with carbon I just couldn't handle another heartbreak of cracking a rim and waiting on warranty. Don't get me wrong, carbon wheels are incredible, but for those of us who can't afford carbon rims AND a backup wheelset it can result in too much off-bike warranty time. Enter I9s... I had always heard that they were as good as it gets for aluminum wheels so I ordered some up last summer hoping to get more reliability and comparable feel to my previous carbon wheels.

They aren't quite as light, but these things definitely feel just as good on the trail. Very stiff and very responsive. The hubs might be a love/hate thing, they are loud as sh*t. I don't really love the noise, but we have crowded trails here so it actually is nice to let people know where I am. They also have absurdly instant engagement which is a noticeable advantage on technical climbs.

I since sold the bike from last season that had these, but ordered a new set to put on my new bike this summer because I liked them so much.

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Vinny Mauro

Vinny Maurowrote a review of on June 14, 2017

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

After trying and being disappointed by other tires, I keep coming back to the minion DHF for front wheel traction and dependability. It's confidence inspiring, weight is within reason, and doesn't feel horribly slow for how knobby it is. I also personally think the 2.5 width is just about as perfect as it gets for all around aggressive trail riding. Definitely will be overkill for some I suppose so luckily they offer a 2.3 option for folks with other priorities.

I pair it with either a DHR, High Roller II, or Ardent rear depending on mood/conditions. All of those work great for their intended uses. DHR being super aggressive riding where maximum brake traction is needed, HR II for all around riding with solid compromise of traction and rolling resistance, and the ardent for maximum speed as long as you can sacrifice some traction and durability.

All of my opinions are formed entirely around my experience riding in Utah and the surrounding rockies, so dry and rocky terrain. Mud, loam, and roots are not common here. The few times I've had these tires on such terrain though.. I found them to be incredible in loam/soft dirt, ok in mud not perfect, and mediocre on wet/slippy roots. Then again, are any tires great in mud and slippy roots? Maybe... I have no idea.

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Vinny Mauro

Vinny Maurowrote a review of on June 7, 2017

5 5

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

In 2017 not many folks ride with these heavy, fragile things in their tires. However, pretty much everyone has one either strapped to their frame or in bag in case of emergency. My favorite part about bike tubes is that they're one of the only bike parts you can just buy whenever you want without checking your bank account first. Makes me feel like a real baller.

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Vinny Mauro

Vinny Maurowrote a review of on April 26, 2017

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

This helmet is the perfect compromise of comfort, safety, and looks in my opinion. The comfort aspect is definitely a personal thing since we all have different shaped heads, but overall I have loved this helmet. Stays put very well with no bouncing around and no visor flopping, and feels very safe compared to my more XC style helmet I used to have. Still fine for super hot days though, not overkill.

My one complaint is that while you can adjust it one handed while riding, the dial on the back is not the easiest to use. It works just fine so I don't care, but for the premium price Troy Lee charges I would expect a more thought out design. Again, not something that would deter me from buying again just some feedback in case anyone out there cares.

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Vinny Mauro

Vinny Maurowrote a review of on April 24, 2017

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

After riding many of the popular VPP bikes out there I was on a quest for something just a fun to rip through rough stuff, but with better support pedaling. The DW link pivots seemed to be very popular for what I was looking for, so I took the plunge and have not been disappointed. Overall, this is such a fun do-it-all bike for me. If you're used to super light and fast XC bikes then this will feel slow, but relative to the mid and long travel competition it is a very efficient climber, great traction and you can keep your shock wide open without much bob. On the downhill, the geometry is slack enough to feel stable, but not as extreme as some bikes out there so it's also very responsive.

I wouldn't recommend this bike for full on DH trails with huge features and super gnarly rock gardens, and I wouldn't recommend it for XC racing, but I would definitely recommend it for pretty much everything in between.

As for 27.5+ vs. 29... I've ridden mine in both and both are great. Where I ride the trails are fairly smooth with long grinding climbs so my plan is to do 29er most of the time, but for rough terrain the extra suppleness and traction of the plus is sweet and the sacrifice in efficiency is much less than I expected. I can ride with my buddies in either configuration no problem. My only gripe is that super boost plus makes it difficult to get a good deal on a wheelset at the moment... but luckily there are some great hub options so as long as you don't mind the hassle of piecing something together yourself you can get a great wheelset together. That is the only gripe I can think of right now... that and I did not love the Rekon tires this came with, so I switched to Maxxis Minion DHR and High Roller II both in 2.8.

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Vinny Mauro

Vinny Maurowrote a review of on April 20, 2017

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I'm a huge fan of the frame-less style for biking. Better field of vision, and less weight to bounce around so they feel very planted on your face even in rough terrain. Lens swapping is fast and easy which is also great.

If you have a big head, definitely get this max version. Even if you have a normal head, probably still worth considering they aren't over the top huge.

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Vinny Mauro

Vinny Maurowrote a review of on April 12, 2017

5 5

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

Got a handful of rides on my SB so far and I am loving it. My last bike was a Bronson, which I loved as well. The bronson was certainly more light and playful feeling, the SB feels much more stiff and stable. It is incredible climbing, feels very efficient yet supple when you need the traction. Descending, so far it feels more controlled and planted whereas my bronson was quick and poppy feeling. Granted this is mostly due to suspensions set-up and wheel size... Both bikes were crazy fun. I decided to go with big wheels this season since most of my trails in Utah are pretty wide open and not terribly steep or tech. The reality is that pretty much all bikes in this price range are insanely fun these days... For an efficient do-it-all trail bike with enough travel to rally descents the Switchblade is looking like a great choice.

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Vinny Mauro

Vinny Maurowrote a review of on April 10, 2017

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

I've never been into the super wide bar trend, the widest I go on my trail bike is 740-760 and I am 6' tall.

However, I got convinced to try a set of these out... I figured what the heck, they look great and I know Enve makes quality carbon, so I'll give them a go and then cut them down to maybe 760-780.

I put them on my HD bike (specialized Demo), sure enough they felt absurd. However... from the second I dropped into one of my usually DH trails I felt super comfortable and at-home with them. They were great all day, and I rode my usual trails feeling smoother than usual.

I'm not 100% sold still and there is a chance that I might trim them down a tiny bit to find a happy medium... but I would highly recommend trying these out and starting at the stock 808mm. The rise and sweep is also perfect for my liking, but that's just personal.

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Vinny Mauro

Vinny Maurowrote a review of on April 10, 2017

5 5

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

These are really bright for how small and cheap they are, and being USB rechargeable is great. Only drawback is that they way they're designed they are hard to mount so that they're pointing straight forward, instead they just point whatever direction your bar points (so just off to the side a little if you have bars with some sweep). Assuming you're just using these for visibility though, they are great.

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Vinny Mauro

Vinny Maurowrote a review of on April 4, 2017

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

It used to be that XT brakes were pretty much the only trustworthy brakes available. Nowadays there's actually a lot of great, reliable options. However, great to see the XTs are staying relevant as well. Same old reliability, feel, and power as always. They definitely do not have the best modulation out there, but plenty to work with once you're used to them. Like any hydraulic brake they take some maintenance to continue to work well. If you own ANY hydraulic brake I would highly recommend investing in the bleed kit and taking the time mastering the bleeding process, it's worth it.

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Vinny Mauro

Vinny Maurowrote a review of on March 31, 2017

5 5

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

No doubt these are the ultimate "treat yoself" item. Necessary? Not really. Baller upgrade to make your already incredible bike even more incredible? Yup definitely. It's pretty well known the weight can't be beat. I just recently got mine, but I decided to take the plunge because I've been impressed with how durable these have proven to be for friends despite the crazy weight. Granted this is the new G4 version, but looking forward to putting the to the test myself this season. Thus far they are noticeably fancy looking and feel super stiff.

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Vinny Mauro

Vinny Maurowrote a review of on March 28, 2017

5 5

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

After using the fancier Arundel carbon side loader cages for a while I am totally sold on side-loading, but for my new bike I figured I'd try to pinch some pennies and get this thing instead for a fraction of the price.

At first glance putting the bottle in, it honestly didn't look like it had the same quality of fit/grip on my bottle as the Arundel did. However... after a handful of test rides I have had zero issues with the bottle moving around and it is equally easy to load and unload.

The Arundel is still a super nice piece for sure, and adds some nice blind to your bike, but this Lezyne is an awesome alternative if you've tapped yourself out on the rest of your build.

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Vinny Mauro

Vinny Maurowrote a review of on March 28, 2017

5 5

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

Nothing fancy here... just a soft comfy t-shirt. Enough poly in it to function as a bike jersey, but enough cotton to feel nice on your skin and look normal off the bike. The pocket in the back makes it a bit bike-specific I suppose, but I don't really notice it's there and plan on wearing this a lot casually as well since it's so comfy. Fit is pretty generous. I am always between L and XL, I got the XL and it is pretty roomy. Going to keep it because I suspect after a few washes it will be perfect.

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Vinny Mauro

Vinny Maurowrote a review of on March 28, 2017

5 5

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

These shorts are a great compromise between burly/durable and light/comfy. The material is thick enough that it should withstand some wipe-outs, and does a solid job repelling water, but they are just light enough that I'm comfortable using them for all my XC riding. I might be more nervous about them being too thick for hot summer days, but the massive vents on either side make me confident I'll be happy all season.

My only complaint would be having just the zipper pocket on one side. I often bring my ID/credit card with me as well as my phone, so having a zipper on both sides is nice. I like the fit and style of them though so I'm going to make it work and just throw those in with my phone in the same pocket.

Sizing seems spot on to me. I'm always a 34 pant, got the 34s and they fit perfect. They stay up without tightening the velcro at all, but to actually lock them in well enough for riding I did tighten the velcro straps down about half way.

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Vinny Mauro

Vinny Maurowrote a review of on March 28, 2017

5 5

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

Need a shirt that you can ride and sweat in comfortably, but don't want to look like a motocross racer? This is perfect. Super light and breathable, but looks like a plain old shirt from afar. Fit is more like normal shirts than jerseys, definitely runs bigger than most jerseys I've had. However, the back does NOT have the longer drop that most jerseys have so you'll want to get it big enough so that it doesn't ride up in the back. I always wear XL jerseys, so I got this in an XL. The overall fit is more baggy than my jerseys, but not excessively baggy and it is long enough to keep me covered when I assume the position.

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Vinny Mauro

Vinny Maurowrote a review of on March 28, 2017

5 5

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

I like my gloves thin and simple... these fit the bill, and have a nice clean look as well. Fit is great/true to size. Haven't used enough to know the longevity, but they seem on par with any other glove I've had recently.

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Vinny Mauro

Vinny Maurowrote a review of on March 27, 2017

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

The HRII is a proven tire, great for a variety of riding/terrain. This is just an insanely big beefy version of the normal HRII, which is rad. I'm not into the super big bouncy plus tires that are more akin to fat-biking. These are big enough to get the perks of plus, but small enough to run at normal pressures and ride hard.

I used this in the back with a minion DHF in the front, but for a slightly faster rolling setup you could use this HRII front and back for sure. Obviously the Rekon would be the real choice if rolling resistance is your primary concern, but personally I think the traction and confidence you get from going with these is WELL worth the trade off.

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