The Caged Animal
In the beginning, there was a cage. And in that cage was an animal named Kevin Phelps.
Kevin is a Chromag OG since day one. The Caged Animal! There are many a legend about his prowess on a bike, and for the last 15 years it’s always been a Chromag steel hardtail.
Always involved in Chromag development and for sure one of the hardest rippers to shred a steel hardtail. Kev is our poster boy, one of the nicest guys around and currently shreds his red Chromag Doctahawk called “Lavastroke”.
In his own words, this is his current setup:
Bike: M/L Doctahawk
It has been clear coated with a dark red stain and some glitter. After using this bike for nearly half a year, my 6 year old son and I were discussing how sad it was that it didn't yet have a name. Without hesitation, he suggested Lava Stroke. Perfect.
Stem: BZA 35mm length
Bars: BZA 15mm rise full width, 800mm
Someone let the caged animal out. Farwell Canyon circa 2002
Grips are so important because they're one of the 2 points that always keep you connected to your bike. I love the feel of these grips, even after 6 months. The mix of solids and of raised patterns hold up to wear exceptionally well.
Seat: Trailmaster LTD
The Trailmaster is my go to seat. Just the right amount of cush, especially near the wide flat tip. This feature is much appreciated when I'm grinding up some super steep tech climb trying desperately to keep traction. The leather in the LTD model makes it a little stiffer when new, but it forms in nicely.
Rims: BA30 rims
These rims can really take a beating.
We made a big poster from this around 2004. The lower woodwork on Gargamel has all rotted away now.
Tires: Maxxis 2.5 DH casing Maxgrip
Assegai in front, DHF in back. You can’t beat the feel of these big, grippy and sticky tires.
Rim inserts: Cushcore plus
I’m definitely an advocate for running inserts. What’s not to like? They protect the rims, keep from pinch flatting and, best of all, allow for lower pressure. The added traction on climbs is my favourite benefit. They aren’t just for downhill anymore. Plus, they help take the edge off the hardtail.
Fork: 180 mm Lyrik Ultimate with 1.5 tokens
With the Tokens I can run at a pressure that feels super plush initially but not bottom out on full travel. The sag on these forks make the headtube angle of the Doctahawk feel more conservative than its 62 degrees.
Brakes: Codes RSC with 180mm rotors
Drivetrain: Eagle with 30t chainring
The riding around my place has big long climbs. I love the challenge of riding hard technical climbs. The 30 tooth is crucial for this.
Phelps dropping into the Psycosis race, early 2000's. Kevin would generally be the only guy hitting the road gap on a hardtail. He'd win the hardtail category and give the top 15 full suspension riders a run for their money!
Dropper post: Reverb 170mm
I’m 5’ 11” The range on this post is right for me.
I like to keep it real with flat pedals every now and then. They make you ride properly. My kids use them. So when I'm out ripping with the kids, I use a pair of Chromag Contacts that I take off my pump track bike.
A bonus image for a bonus lap. Getting in some gnar on 306 after racing the Mackenzie DH in Pemberton, 2019.