Author Archives: "Vernon Felton"
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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”.
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.
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.