Author: Jason Mitchell

A native of the Pacific Northwest, Jason quickly developed a love for the outdoors and a thing for mountains. That infatuation continues as he founded this site in 1999 -- sharing his love of road biking, mountain biking, trail running and skiing. That passion is channeled into every article or gear review he writes. Utah's Wasatch Mountains are his playground.

Back to Vegas for another round of Interbike Outdoor Demo fun. Since the demo has moved to a superior venue (Bootleg Canyon), the ability to demo the bikes has improved. The trails in Bootleg Canyon are rocky, twisty and sandy. For the DH guys, there’s also a shuttle to take you to the top of the downhill course. Since I didn’t bring my body armor, I stuck to the XC trails, but found several fast and fun descents to test the mettle of both me and the bikes. Look for quick reviews of several bikes (Intense 6.6, Maverick ML75, Rocky…

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Moonstone has long been a leader in both synthetic and down sleeping bag technology since the early 1980’s. From its roots in the coastal mountains of California, Moonstone has been dedicated to providing warm, packable synthetic sleeping bags. Wet, rainy environments are great proving grounds for synthetic insulation in sleeping bags and that’s just where Moonstone sleeping bags earned their strips. As Moonstone evolved, they also branched out into down bags and eventually outerwear. By the late 80’s, Moonstone had a complete line of durable, quality outdoor gear. But, as we will see here, their sleeping bags are still their…

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GCI Outdoor was founded in 1996 by a savvy engineer, Dan Grace. His first idea was to create an outdoor chair that adjusted to the typically uneven terrain found outdoors. He was tired of trying to sit in a chair that was made for a perfectly flat surface–because, if any of you have checked the outdoors lately, nothing outside of your kitchen table is perfectly flat. So, out of this endeavor, GCI Outdoor was formed and the successful “Everywhere Chair” was introduced to the market. Since that time, the “Chair Guys” have been tinkering with new outdoor chair designs that…

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Pippin Osborne and the crew at Banshee Bikes have been hard at work this year–testing bikes as usual. Although this time, their extensive testing has given birth to an entirely new bike in the bombproof Banshee lineup. Introducing the 2006 Banshee Pyre in all its glory. We were offered exclusive photos of the Banshee Pyre by the man himself. Go ahead… drool away! The 2006 Banshee Pyre utilizes a virtual 4-bar suspension inspired by the VPP design. The frame features adjustable travel between 4.3″ and 5.5″ of squish to eat up any terrain on your epic XC or freeride adventure.…

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Hitch mount racks have come a long way in the past 3-4 years. During this evolution, many different designs have been introduced–some more effective than others at carrying a variety of frame designs and bike styles. Well, the folks at Sportworks (now Thule), have come up with a design that’s been proven on mass transit bike racks for years. This design offers the simplest and most secure bike attachment on the market today. Thule has worked hard to integrate the Sportworks consumer bike rack line into their own line and was completely Thule branded for Outdoor Retailer 2005 in Salt…

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It’s definitely time to look hard at the components and accessories you use every time you go out for a ride. I know that your helmet is permanently formed to your noggin’ and that you have to hold your shifters just right to keep the right gear… that’s just the way things are. And you’re OK with that. Well, we’ve found a few items that should prod you to upgrade your bike or gear right now. There’s still plenty of riding to be had for this season, so get on it! DAKINE GLOVES DaKine Ventilator Gloves The Ventilator is the…

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Eastern Mountain Sports was founded in 1967 by a couple of ambitious rock climbers. Their goal was to offer a better selection of outdoor gear at competitive pricing and build a business around their lifestyles. Along the way, they realized that not only could they sell big name brands like The North Face, Sierra Designs and Marmot, but that they could also develop their own house brand EMS products. As EMS products have evolved and expanded in scope, their quality and functionality has also improved. The EMS Ascent 4700 backpack is a great example of this fine-tuned product development. The…

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Under new management and from its new headquarters in Beaverton, Oregon, Yakima is setting the stage for the future with new designs and company direction. The already successful company is ready to make some big moves that will set the tone for the car rack and ear storage industry for years to come. For 2006, Yakima is introducing a brand new line of rooftop bike racks with sexy lines and radically different design philosophy to years past and to every other standard rooftop bike rack in the industry. Gone are the standard aluminum trays that have been on bike racks…

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I don’t want to be too over the top at this point after only having this little wonder in our hands for a little over a month, but I can’t help myself. The Suunto t6 is hands down the best training watch I’ve ever used. First, it’s a Suunto, so you know it’s packed with all the latest and greatest features known this side of Finland, plus, it’s finally given me the insight into my workout that I’ve been missing with standard heart rate monitor watches. About the Suunto t6 We’ve been testing Suunto wristtop computers for years. Since the…

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Since 1977, Moonstone has been making bombproof outerwear and sleeping bags. While Moonstone lurks in the shadows of big-time players like The North Face, Marmot and others, their quality and commitment to delivering the best product for your hard earned money is paramount. Now, Moonstone has committed ownership and is Pacific Trail’s premium brand. Moonstone is prepped to crash the party with high-tech outerwear and bags at more affordable pricepoints for as good or better gear. Using quality fabrics and a keen attention to detail, these Moonstone products should be on your shopping list. Ridge Line Jacket The Moonstone Ridge…

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The folks at Sportworks have themselves a good thing going. Their bike rack design offers unheard of flexibility to accommodate any bike style coupled with the Quick-load System, which offers the easiest bike attachment of any bike rack on the market. They currently own the mass transit market by providing durable bike racks for the majority of the transit systems in the USA. To Sportworks, the mass transit market is like car racing for BMW or Audi–it provides technology and ideas that trickle down to consumer products. This R&D ultimately benefits the consumers by making for more user-friendly and durable…

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Intense Cycles has produced some of the most coveted bike frames in the industry–from the now fabled M1 down to the recently retired Tracer. Prior to their partnership with Santa Cruz Bicycles to produce their own Virtual Pivot Point (VPP) designs, Intense licensed the Horst link from Specialized. Though the Horst link is one of the most proven designs, the VPP suspension design has quickly proven itself in a variety of applications from full-on DH racing all the way down to svelte XC racing bikes. The VPP design has garnered a lot of attention and has even spurned several similar…

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The boys in at Thule USA are always looking for new ways to carry your bikes either on top of your vehicle or behind. As mountain bike designs have evolved, the need for versatile racks has emerged as a top priority in the industry. Traditional fork-mount designs are a pain in the butt because many people no longer have a standard quick-release front axle. The Cannondale Lefty, all 20mm axle front forks and many bikes equipped with disc brakes are great examples of bikes that don’t work well with traditional, fork-mount racks. Thule Super G Product Details The Thule Super…

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Legendary mountain bikes have been rolling off the Yeti factory in Golden, Colorado for over 15 years. Their reputation for race-bred DH bikes, winning riders and cutting-edge technology sits at the core of what Yeti’s General Manager, Chris Conroy sees as the future of Yeti Cycles. In a world of mass-production and overseas outsourcing, Yeti still acts like a small, rider-owned company by continuing to hand building several of their bike frames here in the States. Continuing Yeti’s innovative streak, Yeti introduced a freeride machine in 2002, the Yeti AS-X, the Yeti 575 long travel trailbike in 2004 and the…

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Along the North Shore in Vancouver, Canada, Norco bikes are everywhere. As one of the pioneers in the freeride scene, their high-quality bikes are as common as Cannondale or Trek are in the United States. This is beginning to change as Norco makes inroads into the States. This year, those inroads are more like a paved super-highway thanks to Mountain Biking Magazine naming the Norco Six their freeride bike of the year. Norco suspension designs employ the venerable Horst-link rear suspension licensed from Specialized. Every bike in their VPS (Variable Point Suspension) bike line uses the buttery-smooth Horst-link mated with…

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In the seesaw battle between upright bike rack supremacy, Yakima struck first with the innovative King Cobra upright bike rack design. The design seemed simple at the time, yet was so welcome in a world of mandatory wheel removal bike racks. Yakima had run the gamut of upright bike rack designs from the venerable Lockjaw to the flexible Anklebiter, but neither of those designs could safely transport a bike of any size, shape or design with ease–they each fell short of the prize. Now, the King Cobra stands at the top of the heap ready to tackle any frame and…

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Giant Bicycles has been building quality bicycles since 1972, and been delivering those bikes to our shores since 1987. Along the way, Giant has garnered a powerful reputation in the road biking scene with their svelte and sturdy carbon framesets. Over the years, they have also begun tinkering with new mountain bike suspension designs and have designed one of the most sought after downhill frames on the market. A few years back, Giant introduced the NRS suspension design, which provides hardtail performance, but squish when it’s needed. And, new for 2005 is the Maestro suspension line, which consists of the…

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Cannondale has been building handmade, quality bikes in the USA since the early 1980’s when they introduced the industry’s first all-aluminum road and mountain bike frames. Since that time, Cannondale has stuck by its guns as a handmade aluminum frame manufacturer. Smooth welds and high-quality paint jobs are just the beginning… Cannondale is evolving the single-pivot suspension design and creating extremely versatile, durable and yet lightweight bikes. After a recent brief foray into motocross, Cannondale is back in the saddle with their prized dowhnill and freeride sensation, Cedric Gracia. He has been a major factor in helping Cannondale further develop…

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Ground™, manufacturer of individualistic, highly technical apparel for the multi-sport lifestyle, raises the outdoor industry’s technical standards by utilizing eVENT fabric technology extensively through its 2005 product line. The US Army’s Natick tests of waterproof-breathable laminates reported that eVENT fabric, a patented ePTFE-based membrane produced and marketed by BHA Technologies, Inc. proved to be the most breathable of all materials tested, averaging twice the breathability of its closest competitor. Testing included the likes of Gore-Tex XCR®, Sympatex®, and various other waterproof-breathable fabrics. “As a premium, technical brand, ground sought to utilize today’s top technologies to create our high-end apparel line,”…

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In the past, upright, roof-mounted bike racks only worked with “standard” bike frame designs, or required some funky way to attach the bike that tried to expanded it’s application. Now, upright bike racks have evolved into user-friendly designs that can accommodate any frame type and any bike style from roadie to BMX and everything in between. These new bike racks adjust to attach and secure the bike by the front wheel, thus stabilizing the entire bike. Best of all, they just plain work for any bike you can throw at them. Roof racks aren’t for everyone, and unless you’re in…

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