Author Archives: "Vernon Felton"

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.

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.

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