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Earn $100 at Jenson USA for Your Vital MTB Member Reviews

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Every 30 days we award the Top User Reviewer with a little prize. This month Jenson USA pitched in a $100 gift card! Vital MTB member astrizzle wrote over a dozen reviews, earning the Top Reviewer spot. Here's a recap of his best:

EVOC CC 16l Hydration Pack - "I needed a new backpack for my long enduro rides and it needed to be something that could hold a large amount of gear and water while not moving around on my back when I ride. I can't stand that on a sick downhill section when the backpack comes and hits you in the back of the head, so annoying! I have tried the Dakine Nomad and the Leatt Cargo GPX packs and did not like them much. The Dakine is cool but the harness that is supposed to keep your back dry didn't accomplish its goal and the Leatt was too constrictive while riding with it. 

The EVOC on the other hand has everything you need to get the job done, it even has a whistle on the top chest strap in case you get into trouble or lost in the woods!! I love the color the most and let's be honest, most of us shop with our eyes first. The pack took a few rides to break in a bit, so it can fit a bit closer to the back and get the back protector molded to me. I love that you can take out the back protector when you want but I leave it in always, why not have it when you least expect it. 

Storage is ample but not huge, I would not take this pack for multiple days, but then again I don't really do those type of rides anyways. The pack did not come with a bladder but it fits my 3-liter bladder no problem and even has a velcro strap at the top which holds it in place so it doesn't sink to the bottom while you ride. I don't have any complaints about the pack yet and the quality seems to be top notch. One accessory included on this that I loved is the knee pad carrier straps on the bottom of the pack, they are hook and loop straps instead of the bulkier plastic (and breakable) closures that are usually found of backpacks. While you aren't using them, they are easily tucked inside so they don't hang out there and get caught on stuff. I would highly recommend that you get this pack and shop around for a good deal on it. Its a clean pack with no straps flapping around on you and does everything you need! Just get a rain cover or the version that comes with one included." - Read more»

7iDP Covert Knee Pad - "I bought these knee pads based on the Vital MTB reviews actually. I do a lot of research when getting new knee pads because I don't live in a place where bike shops sell knee pads and even if they do, it is a 100% certainty that they don't have my size or brand in stock. I usually like Fox pads but they have grown stagnant in the last 4-5 years and I am sick of my big bulky DH knee pads that don't even stay in place when you crash!

I usually don't like the slip on knee pads but since I"m doing more trail riding these days and have no desire to be pedaling for hours with a DH pad on, I decided to get something lighter and more flexible. These pads hit the spot right on! I love how they are customizable with 3 distinct levels of padding on them you can pick and choose. I usually only ride with 2 of the 3 levels of protection installed but always keep the 3rd around somewhere in case I need to beef them up a bit. 

The fit while pedaling is great since the knee pad stays away from your patella a bit and lets air circulate to cool you off. Just make sure to get the bottom part of the knee pad sleeve above your gastroc muscles (calfs) and since these muscles get narrower at the top of the lower leg, that mid leg bulge of the muscle actually helps keep the pads from slipping down while you ride, its a great design. I have yet to crash directly on my knee while wearing these pads but I have crashed while wearing them in general and they have stayed in place and my knees are good to go! I would recommend these to any trail rider or enduro rider who likes comfort and is willing to pay a bit more to get it. The quality of materials used is amazing too, not one seam has come loose on either of the pads. " - Read more»

Five Ten Freerider Shoe - "The 5.10 Freerider shoe is my second 5.10 shoe that I bought. The first one was the sam hill high top used for DH and now that I ride trail mostly, I needed a new shoe that was lighter and more breathable but still had the grip I came to love with my DH shoes. It was great that I didn't even have to shop around much for different shoes. I know the quality that is brought to the table with 5.10 and that my money will be well spent on them, no matter what the initial cost is. I looked at the Shimano and the Specialized shoes too but for the price, I didn't want to take a risk knowing that there was a solid winner right there for the taking. 

The fit is comfy and stiff at the same time so it gives you better grip on the pedals. The flat pedal sole is still in great shape and hasn't worn that much at all in the 2 years that I have owned them. If anything, it just became a bit easier to move my foot around on the pedals while riding, which is not a bad thing. The ONLY complaint I have is that the laces were way to long when I first got them, even tying them in a triple knot didn't shorten them up enough.  Being the cheapskate that I am, I cut the laces and tied them back together again and put them back in my shoe instead of getting new ones and they have worked perfectly ever since. These aren't waterproof but I'm sure you can spray them with some of the water repellent and get them pretty close to a waterproof shoe. Buy these shoes and don't look back!" - Read more»

Big congrats to astrizzle! Thanks for helping out the riding scene with your thoughts on these products.

Want to be in the running for next month's award? Start reviewing the parts you use in the Vital MTB Product Guide and keep an eye on the Top Reviewer leaderboard. We'll announce the next winner in early September.