Author Archives: "Vernon Felton"

The Web Monkey Speaks: Your Biological Clock is Ticking

06.02.2014 //

Every June, without fail, my mountain biking version of a biological clock starts screaming. I’ll wake up one morning and every fiber of my being that has anything to do with industriousness has suddenly gone on strike. I am suddenly overwhelmed, one might say “pregnant”, with an overriding desire to bail on anything that doesn’t involve me pedaling a bike.

Preview: Speedplay Brass Knuckles Flat Pedals

05.29.2014 //

When Speedplay introduced their Drillium pedals way back when, they were considered a relatively light and svelte for the flat pedal market, but that was a decade ago and pedals have grown thinner and lighter in the interim. I’ve been waiting for Speedplay to bring some of the burl and innovative features of the Drillium to something lighter and a lot less chunky. Enter the Brass Knuckles.

Bike test: Santa Cruz Bantam

05.28.2014 //

The single-pivot Santa Cruz Bantam offers a lot of bang for your buck.

The Web Monkey Speaks: My Riding Partner Licks Himself

05.26.2014 //

Dogs don’t sit around at trailheads and glower at other dogs because they are chasing bikes with too little or too much travel. Dogs don’t care if you have a racing license or whether or not your jumps could be said to possess the right amount of steez. Dogs just want to get out there and chase a wheel—all day, every day. We can all learn a lot from the average dog.

Preview: Cannondale Trigger 29 Carbon 1

05.22.2014 //

A lot of bikes claim to be versatile and many of them do a good job of handling a wide range of trails, but a few select bikes twist the knob to 11, so to speak. The Trigger is intriguing in that it has the potential to bridge the gap between cross-country race whip and all-purpose trail bike. On paper, those two categories may seem similar, but on the trail, they are like tuna fish and vanilla ice cream.

The Web Monkey Speaks: Please Don’t Kill The 29er

05.19.2014 //

You may not have liked the 29ers of the past. I understand why—I didn’t either—but times have changed and we are on the verge of bringing 29ers into their own… and, yet, product managers are asking themselves whether they should cut 29ers out of their lines altogether and simply replace them with 650b. The 29-inch wheel has become uncool….again. But is that reason enough to banish it to the glue factory?

Preview: Ellsworth Epiphany 275 Enduro SST.2e

05.15.2014 //

By Vernon Felton Preview: Ellsworth Epiphany 275 Enduro SST.2e Price: $2495 (frame only) A few months back I began riding Ellsworth’s Epiphany C XC 27.5—a lightweight, all-carbon rig that is probably best described as a long-legged cross-country racer. Sure, it has 5-and-a-half inches of travel, but the bike’s steep geometry lend it razor-quick handling, making […]

The Web Monkey Speaks: My Nipples Hate Me

05.12.2014 //

Duct tape. Nipples. Duct tape. Nipples. There’s no getting around it, I’m going to have to duct tape my nipples. This is everything I hate about running boiled down into one red, swollen and angry moment. Here I go again…

Tested: Showers Pass Refuge Jacket

05.08.2014 //

If this review sounds like an unmitigated love letter to Showers Pass…well, I guess it does. The Refuge, however, merits that kind of sloppy-kiss praise; it’s simply an outstanding piece of kit. Here’s why.

Matter: Marzocchi Bomber Z1

05.06.2014 //

In 1997, Italian suspension manufacturer, Marzocchi, unleashed the Z1 Bomber. Marzocchi’s engineers had received the same “How to Build a Fork” memo as everyone else, but with the Z1 they essentially doused that memo in gasoline, lit it on fire, went on a bender and woke up the next morning with a hangover and this mutant lovechild of a fork. The Z1 Bomber was heavy, ridiculously plush and built like a brick shithouse. The Z1 changed the world of bicycle suspension, sure, but it also changed the way products were marketed and sold in the bike industry.

The Web Monkey Speaks: I Mock You Because I Care

05.05.2014 //

We all do stupid things. It’s part of being human. Our friends, however, are supposed to function as our de facto idiocy buffer. Friends are the ones who cut the crap and tell it like it is: a mullet isn’t ironic, it just makes you look inbred, a 1986 IROC-Z is not a classic and there is no way in hell I am going to be seen anywhere in public with you if you wear that f@cking cape. We mock those we love, as Sigmund Freud once noted, because we care about them.

Preview: Fresh Rubber

05.01.2014 //

For my money, there’s no greater upgrade than a fresh set of rubber. Good tires boost traction, reduce rolling resistance and improve braking performance. Well, they might not do all three, but chances are you’ll get at least two on that list and that’s still a hell of a lot bang for your buck.

The Web Monkey Speaks: Cut the Crap

04.28.2014 //

I understand why people sell their products as “the best” even when calling any bike or component “the best” is an exercise in absurdity. But where does that get us, really? Your average rider searching for a new bike is forced to stumble through a jungle of bullshit. Few of them will have the opportunity to actually ride the bike or widget they eventually purchase. They have to rely, to some degree, on the marketing and when each marketing department says the exact same thing….none of us winds up with what we actually want or need.

Preview: Chris King Press Fit 24 Bottom Bracket

04.24.2014 //

I hate Press Fit bottom brackets. But….here’s the rub: it’s fair to say that the Press Fit bottom bracket will soon be the only bottom bracket in the future. Accordingly, I’m on a mission to find the best of this breed. Today’s candidate? Chris King’s Press Fit 24 model.

The Web Monkey Speaks: Parachute Pants and Press Fit Bottom Brackets

04.21.2014 //

I hate you, Press Fit bottom bracket. You are the U-brake, the parachute pants, the Macarena dance of bicycle technology. And you are the future. Dammit.

Tested: ACRE Meridian Jacket

04.17.2014 //

Is the Meridian the right jacket for you? The top-tier price tag will keep some people from even considering it, but the ACRE has few equals in the “waterproof yet breathable” arena.

The Web Monkey Speaks: The UCI Considers Extracting Head from Arse

04.14.2014 //

The headline should have read, “UCI considering being less dickish, but will not commit to timeline for becoming cool”. That would have been a precise summary of the article. Instead the bikeradar piece was titled, “UCI’s ‘outdated’ 6.8kg minimum bike weight rule to be replaced?” It amounts to the same thing.

Tested: Sugoi RSX NeoShell Jacket

04.10.2014 //

The RSX NeoShell is Sugoi’s latest top-shelf rain jacket for mountain biker and the company is making big claims about this piece of gear. Big claims along the lines of “100 percent waterproof.” Is it worth the $300 price tag? Here’s the verdict.

The Web Monkey Speaks: Sorry. You Were Right.

04.07.2014 //

How many great ideas and inventions have surfaced, only to be ignored and forgotten by the masses… Until some lucky slob brought that idea back into the limelight and made a ton of money off it? Today’s column is dedicated to a such moments in cycling’s recent history.

Preview: Michelin Wild Mud Advanced

04.03.2014 //

The new Michelin Wild Mud comes in a new, super soft rubber compound (MAGI-X) that should work wonders on wet roots and is supported by a burly, reinforced casing (there’s an additional ply running from one bead to the other) that should help fend off gashes in rocky conditions. This is a mud tire that can take some abuse and has some decent width to it. It’s not your average wet-weather tread.

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