Author Archives: "Vernon Felton"

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.

The Web Monkey Speaks: That “Oh, Cr@p!” Flavor

03.03.2014 //

I’m not hell bent on breaking myself. I’d love a season without slings and crutches, but I’ve also found that when I go long periods without a wreck, it’s not because I’ve hit some new plateau of awesomeness. It’s usually because I’ve stopped taking risks. I’ve stopped pushing myself. And, invariably, I’m not having nearly as much fun on the bike.

Preview: Kona Hei Hei Deluxe

02.27.2014 //

A lot of race bikes have a fairly narrow range in which they excel. To wit, if you aren’t pinning it on a relatively buff course, some of those bikes are about as fun as donating blood. This, of course, is understandable—they are race bikes, after all, and racing generally isn’t concerned with smelling the roses: it’s about gritting your teeth and putting the hammer down and tasting blood. Fair enough. Well, the Hei Hei can do the race thing just fine, but it’s also actually fun to ride as well.

Matter: Shades of Change

02.25.2014 //

Go on a group ride today and nearly everyone sports some kind of eyewear. Cyclists, however, rode through the bulk of the 20th century with no eye protection whatsoever. It was truly a devil-may-care period during which condoms were for French sailors, helmets were for astronauts and protective eyewear was for… army snipers? Maybe CIA agents? The Oakley Razor Blade changed all that.

The Web Monkey Speaks: Perfect Day for a Ride

02.24.2014 //

Get out and ride. It’s cold as hell. The mud is going to play hell with your fancy new drivetrain. You’re going to need some lobster gloves and that balaclava that makes it look like you’re gearing up to rob the nearest Dunkin’ Donuts. In other words, it’s a perfect day for a ride.

Tested: Five Ten Freerider VXi

02.20.2014 //

Tested: Five Ten Freerider VXi Price: $120 By Vernon Felton I’ve been running Five Ten Impact Highs for an eternity or two and while I’ve gone on record here vowing my love for that old standby, I was intrigued when Five Ten released the Freerider VXi model last year. The VXi is a much lighter […]

The Web Monkey Speaks: The Straight Dope

02.17.2014 //

The peloton is dirty. The UCI had their hand in some of that. You don’t have to be a cynic to believe this, you just have to be conscious. An investigation is pointless. You don’t ask a drunk guy with vomit stains on the front of his shirt to launch an investigation into who puked on him.

Preview: Santa Cruz Bantam

02.13.2014 //

The Santa Cruz Bantam is designed around 650b wheels and sports a bevy of smart features that include 142×12 rear thru-axles, ISCG-05 tabs, Santa Cruz’s excellent collet-axle pivots and a threaded bottom bracket. Best of all, the frame can be had for $1,300.

The Web Monkey Speaks: Does This Make Me a Stalker?

02.10.2014 //

I don’t have a serial-killer van. Let’s be clear about that. No restraining order either. But I can’t deny the basic facts: I’m distracted. I’m irrational. I spend my days plotting how I’ll bring home the thing I desire… I’m pretty sure I’m ticking off all the little boxes on the stalker personality profile. And it’s all because of a bike…

First Impressions: GT Force Carbon Expert

02.06.2014 //

What exactly sets the new GT Force and Sensor apart from past GT models? Why did GT decide to change things up this year? We gave Todd Seplavy, GT’s director of product management, a call to get the answers and we pulled this new GT Force out of its box and took it for its maiden voyage.

The Web Monkey Speaks: Fanny Packs and Gorby Gaps

02.03.2014 //

When I consider the big picture—just how lame we cyclists appear to the rest of the world—I have a hard time saying which is worse: Is it the fanny pack or the gorby gap? The purple baggies or the Team Sky sausage suit? The tri-geek’s banana hammock or the dirt jumper’s skinny jeans? We are all cyclists. We all look lame. We are united by our lack of cool.

Tested: Chromag Lynx Saddle

01.30.2014 //

The Chromag Lynx has taken several seasons of abuse, but the durable leather saddle just keeps on keeping on. Surprisingly, I have yet to bend the ti rails. On the whole, the Chromag Lynx is one tough, yet lightweight, saddle.

The Web Monkey Speaks: Bang for Your Buck

01.27.2014 //

Are there any new bikes that I think actually present a good value? Bikes that are ready to rock and roll right out of the box without a bunch of pricey upgrades? Yup. Plenty of them. Here are a few of my personal favorites–from hardtails to big-hit bikes.

Preview: The XX1 Hack

01.23.2014 //

Can you create an affordable alternative to SRAM’s impressive XX1 single-ring drivetrain (an XX1 hack, if you will)? And would it actually offer XX1-level performance? We’re about to find out.

The Web Monkey Speaks: The Rising Price of “Kick Ass”

01.20.2014 //

Yes, bikes are stupid expensive these days—I’m not denying that—but there’s also no denying that you generally get a lot more for your buck today. Some thoughts on why bikes cost so damn much, why we write about them and what you can do to avoid bleeding your wallet to death the next time you buy.

Tested: Cratoni Rocket Helmet

01.16.2014 //

The Rocket is Cratoni’s high-end, XC-style lid, weighing in at just 270 grams and features extensive venting. How does it stack up to the competition? Here’s the review.

The Web Monkey Speaks: The Other Guy

01.13.2014 //

There’s this guy that I hate. He’s a complete tool. I guess my dislike for him is sort of ironic because we have a lot in common. We’re from the same town. We ride the same trails. We wear the same general-issue, bike-dork uniform, except his fits better. Bastard.

Tested: Thule 917XTR T2 Rack

01.10.2014 //

I’ve subjected Thule’s T2 rack to plenty of abuse—winter snows, spring rains, summer heat, lots of mud, no maintenance given, no kindness shown. The T2, however, keeps on keeping on.

The Web Monkey Speaks: A Strange Love Affair

01.06.2014 //

I hear some people arguing that all this wheel-size talk is just crap. I understand that sentiment perfectly. It truly doesn’t matter what wheel size you’re riding, so long as you are actually out there riding. I’m simply interested in the tipping point and how we reached it with so little debate this time around. Most new products are met with serious skepticism–650b, on the other hand, was given a global, sloppy kiss and a free pass. I find that odd.

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