Author Archives: "Vernon Felton"

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.

The Web Monkey Speaks: It’s Still Not About the Bike

03.31.2014 //

We mountain bikers spend an inordinate—no, make that a ridiculous—amount of time obsessing about gear. But none of it actually matters. Here’s the truth—and it’s a simple matter of math—a shitty bike plus an awesome trail equals an amazing day of riding. Conversely, a great bike plus a crappy trail equals a day that would have been better spent flossing your toenails.

Preview: Ellsworth Epiphany C XC 27.5

03.27.2014 //

While I might quibble with the marketing language Ellsworth employs, the fact is their bike does pedal quite efficiently and that traction is good. If you live for climbs, the Epiphany C XC is your kind of bike. Fortunately, the Epiphany does more than climb–it’s also a capable trailbike with razor-sharp handling.

The Web Monkey Speaks: Murder He Rode

03.24.2014 //

Just how many times have I ruined mountain biking for newbies? How many times have I taken people out for “easy” rides that absolutely chewed them up and spat them out? Way too many, if I’m going to be honest with myself. Ed isn’t the first person who’s wondered whether puking was supposed to be an integral part of one of my “fun rides”.

Tested: RockShox Pike

03.20.2014 //

Last spring, RockShox brought the Pike back from exile and frankly, the new and improved Pike is pretty badass. In fact, I’ll go out on a limb here and declare it the best fork RockShox has produced in ages. Yes, it’s really that good.

The Web Monkey Speaks: Geek Love

03.17.2014 //

Unicycles are, a wise man once told me, nothing more than a desperate cry for help—the cycling equivalent of the handlebar mustache or Kokopelli tattoo. I’ve often felt there was something to that characterization…but maybe I’ve been wrong all these years.

Tested: Spank Spike Pedals

03.13.2014 //

Pancake thin, but strong like bull–Spank has created a burly but lightweight flat pedal that has withstood the test of time.

The Web Monkey Speaks: Someone Wants You Dead

03.10.2014 //

When you murder something, you damn well intend to put out its lights. You’ve mulled it over in your mind. You’ve considered your weapon, your approach. You mean it and then some. So, yeah, I murdered the rhododendron bush and made my kid cry: it was the bush or my bike, and it was never even close.

Preview: Cannondale Scalpel 29 3

03.06.2014 //

For the past dozen years, Cannondale’s Scalpel has lived up to its name—a razor-sharp tool that’s all about finesse and accuracy. It was also expensive. This all-aluminum version brings down the price point on racing performance.

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