Author Archives: "Vernon Felton"

The Web Monkey Speaks: Dragons in the Bathroom

06.16.2014 //

The road trip is a hallowed part of the mountain biking experience. And for good reason. Making those life-changing journeys happen, however, when you’re also toting around a dog, several smelly children and a load of diapers, it’s less-obviously awesome, but still worth every tantrum, mis-timed potty break and parental meltdown.

Tested: Thule Crossover 38L Carry-On

06.11.2014 //

It’s a roller bag. No, it’s a backpack. Wait, it’s both. Kind of sounds like one of those infomercials promising a can opener that can double as a rocket launcher—too good to be true. But in this case, Thule is on target with their claim: the Thule Crossover 38L Carry-On doubles capably as both a mini-rolling bag and a backpack. In short, this is one versatile bit of luggage.

This Derailleur Sells for $1,000

06.10.2014 //

This derailleur would fetch more than $1,000 on Ebay today. Why? There was a fleeting moment in the mid-nineties when the top of the mountain biking food chain was dominated by small, American builders and the Paul Components Powerglide shown here was the ultimate cycling component. Here’s the story…

The Web Monkey Speaks: Naked for the Greater Good? Really?

06.09.2014 //

if you want to get naked, go for it. The wind on your skin, the opportunity to show off your rabbi’s handiwork with a scalpel, what’s not to like? I’m all for it, and clearly so are the people all over the world who keep showing up to beaches and rallies and events without their pants. But if you really want to stop wars, pioneer alternative sources of energy or make our city streets safer, showing off your junk isn’t going to actually do anything other than give small children nightmares.

Preview: Tioga Spyder Stratum

06.05.2014 //

How do you make a saddle more comfortable? Conventional wisdom suggests that you increase the padding. Tioga is bucking conventional wisdom altogether and ditching the padding entirely with their new Spyder Stratum saddle, which they contend is far more comfortable and supportive than traditional saddles. Here’s the story.

Review: Oneup Components’ Wallet-Friendly One-by Hack

06.03.2014 //

Oneup Components’ offers a 42-tooth cog as a cheap one-by hack alternative to SRAM’s XX1

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.

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