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Category: Reviews

Happy Valentines Day. For get the flowers, get her Carbon!

Posted by RL Policar On February - 14 - 2014

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If you’re lucky like me you’ve got a wife who is into riding. For the most part Lady P nerds out on bikes just as much as I do. But for about the last 6 months, she’s been wanting carbon bike. Why? Well she likes how they look. She loves the carbon weaving and how pretty the frames are. So this year I surprised her with a new Titus Rockstar Carbon frame. Don’t think I got this thing for free, I actually paid for this bike. The fact that I paid for it with my own money and not tapping into our regular finances, makes this gift more thoughtful in her eyes.

I had actually been checking out this frame for quite some time for her and I was talking to El Guapo of Titus Cycles in Portland to get some advice. He answered all my questions, even on the weekend and when it was 10 o’clock in the evening. Now that’s customer service! After mulling it over, I finally bit the bullet and placed the order online.

The process was pretty painless. I placed the order Wednesday and by lunch time on Monday, UPS dropped off the frame. At this time I hadn’t told Lady P what I got her, but since both don’t really like Valentines Day, I went ahead and gave her the frame later that evening. She was pretty surprised to see the frame and when I told her that it was Carbon, she got even more excited.

I took some glamour shots of the frame to show you how sexy this bike is going to be. Check it out!

Titus Rockstar Carbon

I simply love the lines on this frame. Shapely+Curvy=Sexy Bike

Now that’s one sexy frame!


I can’t get over how pretty this frame his…that gloss. Superb!

I forgot to mention that this frame has internally routed cables. In fact the rear brake and front derailleur cable goes into the same routing. So that means I’ll have to cut her brake line, feed it, then re-install it. I love the idea of internal cables, makes for a cleaner looking bike.

I’m really looking forward to this build. I’m still waiting on a few parts to come in before I start working on it. But I figured once I have everything, it should only take about 1-2 to get all the parts on and have it dialed in.



We’ve got a Fatty for you!

Posted by RL Policar On February - 6 - 2014

Actually this Fatty isn’t what you’re thinking, it’s the On-One Fatty available at PlanetX. Ghost Rider, our Managing Editor on our sister site, is putting this Fatty through the snowy paces for a review. We Voluntold Ghost Rider for this review because of the obvious…snow. He’s at our Dayton, Ohio facility to see what all the hoopla is all about with these fatties.

On-One Fatty being tested

Check out the small rooster tail being kicked up from the rear tire. From what GR tells us, under the 4″ of  powder, there’s a few inches of ice that even the big fat tires can’t seem to break through.


Apparently you can pretty much do anything with these bikes despite the larger tires.

Stay tuned as GR does more testing on this fun bike!


Nashbar Bee’s Knees Review

Posted by Moe Ramirez On February - 3 - 2014


While the rest of the country freezes their butt off, So Cal mountain bikers are enjoying quite a warm winter. Warm winter=more riding! To up the winter fun factor, I’ve been riding Nashbar’s Bee’s Knees 650b single speed fully rigid bicycle.

Calling this bike a “beginner entry level” bike would be a mistake, the $499.00 may say otherwise but I would not recommend this bike to a person who’s just entering the sport. Why? First of all, the bike needs to be re-geared to be more “knee” friendly for mountain biking, the 32X18 gearing seems to be working fine for most people that have ridden the bike. Another reason why this bike would appeal to a more seasoned rider is that this bike is quite customizable and adding middle of the line parts that maybe gathering dust from a previous upgrade would be an decent upgrade to this bike.


One look at the spec sheet and it easy to see that this bike comes with mostly no-name parts such the saddle, seatpost, bars and the cranks. These parts do attribute to the heaviness of the bicycle. However, it is nice to see that the bike does come with Avid mechanical brakes and Kenda Nevegal tires.


What is the appeal of this bike? It’s a singlespeed 650b bike! As I mentioned on my first impression, I love Singlespeed bikes for their simplicity and how challenging they can be to ride.


How does it ride? Having had experience with both 26″ and 29″ singlespeed bikes, the 650b has blown me away. The bike is nimble, the steering does not feel heavy like a 29er, the lower center of gravity on the 650b does not feel that you are riding too high and once you get rolling, the momentum that 29ers have over a 26er is also present on a 650b bicycle. The choice of tires on this bike help out a lot, Nevegals are a superb all-around tire and that helps the bicycle track with easiness in all kinds of terrain.


The Bee’s Knees is no racing machine by any means, but the fun factor of this bike scores highly on my scale. I really like riding this bike even though it can beat me up sometimes and it also has proven to be very reliable with zero problems and zero chain drops. Another great reason to ride a singlespeed bicycle is that it increases one’s stamina and physical condition and it is great for losing the weight you gathered during the holiday season.

If you are wanting an inexpensive singlespeed with 650b tires, you should really consider the Bee’s Knees, it surpassed my expectations.

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Beer Review: Samuel Adams Winter Favorites

Posted by Moe Ramirez On December - 23 - 2013

We used to do beer reviews a while back by beer connoisseurs, well they are gone now so you are stuck with me. Every year around the holiday season I look forward to Sam Adam’s winter favorites; a collection of seasonal beers that vary from ales to porters to IPAs.

Since I’m no beer expert, I’m going to tell you which beer I liked and then I’m going to try my best to describe each beer at a “high level” (New term I learned in management meetings).

The first beer I had was the Winter Lager. Nice crisp beer with a little bitter aftertaste. I wasn’t really impressed with the flavor nor the aroma so I would rate this one a 6 out of 10 on the Buzz meter.

Second beer I tried was the White Christmas. This beer I liked since I’m a fan of wheat beers, the flavor reminded me a lot of Blue Moon, but it didn’t have that weird bitter aftertaste of Blue Moon. Definitely a beer that I would buy in 12 packs; 9 out of 10 on the Buzz Meter.

“Cinnamon, ginger and orange peel”, that is what the Old Fezziwig Ale bottle read at the bottom. I thought that this beer was going to smell a lot like cinnamon, but one whiff of this beer and I picked up the orange peel smell. This beer tasted quite good, a little on the exotic side and the orange peel aftertaste was quite palatable. 9 out of 10 on the Buzz meter.

Stouts, bocks and porters are my favorite beers of this season, I was quite disappointed that this sampler did not include any porters but the inclusion of a Cherry Chocolate Bock really caught my attention. I’ve tasted cherry beers from Sam Adams before and they were not my style, so I proceeded with caution. One quick smell of this beer and I was able to smell the cherry, the chocolate and hints of coffee… I had a drink of this beer and I was very pleasantly surprised that the cherry flavor was not over powering. If you are a fan of cherry fountain drinks, this beer is for you. I really enjoyed the chocolate taste of this Bock, not as bitter as a stout and the bitter-sweet aftertaste left me yearning for more. 10 out 10 on the buzz meter!

The last beer of the winter pack was the Juniper IPA. I’m not an IPA person, I just don’t like their bitterness but I approached this IPA with an open mind. First thing I did was do the smell test, eh.. not bad, then I took a swig out of the glass; great “fizzy” and refreshing taste… until the bitter aftertaste hit my taste buds and annihilated them and I was quickly reminded why I don’t like IPAs. So what did I do with the rest of the beer? I chugged it of course! I wasn’t going to let it go to waste! Kind of hard to rate this beer on the buzz meter since I don’t like IPAs but since I had worse, I would rate it a 6 out of 10 on the buzz meter.

So what happened to the Boston Lager review? Well, the Boston Lager is not really a select “Winter beer”, it is readily available and I think it is a great beer on tap.

If you happen to be the type of person who enjoys most types of beer, you should give this winter pack a try, you won’t be disappointed.

Black Tiger Jerky Review

Posted by RL Policar On December - 19 - 2013

In this review we’ll be talking about some delicious products from Black Tiger Jerky. If you recall, they sponsored our Interbike 2013 coverage. During that time, the kind folks of Black Tiger Jerky sent us a care package so we can test out the jerky and give our thoughts about them. Here’s a spoiler alert, Black Tiger Jerky is pretty darn good! But for the sake of having a review, let’s get started on the review shall we?

First up would be The Legend Spicy. Here’s the ingredients: Beef, BBQ sauce, brown sugar, spice, lime juice, liquid smoke, vinegar, celery salt, sea salt. Contains: soy.
Beef was easy to tear, you can definitely taste some sweetness at first, then the heat kicks in later. But it’s not an overwhelming heat, just enough to acknowledge that your mouth is hot. Great texture, full of flavor and very easy to chew. The aroma is terrific! The Legend Spicy would actually be paired well with a nice cold beer.
The legend spicy

Next up is Jungle Spice. Oooh sounds all exotic and stuff. This may actually have been discontinued since I don’t see it on their website. It’s too bad they did because it’s really GOOD! It has a some heat to it but you’re greeted by sweet overtones. Easy to tear and chew. If the Legend Spicy is too hot for you, then you would have liked the Jungle Spice. It’s made up with barbecue sauce, lime juice, sea salt as well as other ingredients that make this jerky flavor one of my favorites.
jungle spice

Want a healthier alternative? How about some Turkey Jerky? This one is the Teriyaki Honey Spice. This one actually has 72 calories per 1oz serving, while the beef version has up to 112 calories per serving. One of the ingredients in the Teriyaki Honey is pineapple. That’s actually the first thing I tasted when I bit in to the jerky. The flavor is so unique and pleasant. While most teriyaki flavored jerky has an overwhelming soy sauce flavor, this one doesn’t. It’s really light and tasty!
teriyaki honey turkey jerky

Island BBQ is another one I don’t currently see on their website. Dude, if you like Korean BBQ, then you’ll like this! I swear, it has that same flavor but in jerky form. Nice and sweet with just a hint of heat. Again, it’s easy to tear and chew.
Island bbq

Last but certainly not least, Whiskey Jerky. You know, I have to hand it to the guys at Black Tiger Jerky, this flavor is pretty darn yummy of you ask me. Check this out, in their ingredients, it listed ANCHOVIES as one of the items used. Well shoot, if they’re using fish as well as things like Worcestershire sauce and tamarind extract to get this jerky to taste as good as it does, then I would have to give them a high five! Here’s the best part…ready for this? The Whiskey Jerky actually has whiskey in the ingredients! So it’s not just a name, but its actually used in it.
whiskey jerky

So there you have it, 5 different flavors of beef jerky provided to us by Black Tiger Jerky. They even offer Venison, Ahi Tuna and Buffalo Jerky. I’m really impressed with the variety that Black Tiger Jerky offers. Not only are they delicious, but the cuts of meats they use are fantastic. There have been times where I’ve purchased jerky and they’re so hard to chew because the pieces have ligaments or connective tissue in them. But you don’t get that with Black Tiger. They took the time to make sure the cuts of meats they are using are premium and offer the best quality in texture, flavor and in the ability to tear pieces off.

A 3oz bag of Black Tiger Jerky sells for $8. They offer free shipping on all orders. $8 may seem more than what you’d normally pay for at the store for jerky. But one thing they do offer is variety in the types of meats as well as flavors, give them a shot.
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Nashbar’s Bee’s Knees first impression

Posted by Moe Ramirez On November - 30 - 2013


When my buddy RL asked me if I wanted to do a review of a 650b Singlespeed rigid mountain bike I quickly jumped at the opportunity. Singlespeed bikes have always been dear to my heart, I just love their simplicity; no adjusting derailleurs, forks, or rear shocks. I have owned and ridden singlespeed bicycles with both 26 and 29 inch tires and from what I remembered, those bikes kicked my butt but were super fun to ride.


When I first saw this bike, I was expecting something “less” of a bike since it sells for $499, but I was pleased to see that it comes with Avid disc brakes and my favorite all-around tires Kenda Nevegals. I also loved the “British Racing” green paint scheme, the white part is a little odd but it maybe a canvas for some personal stickers!


The first item of business was to make the Bee’s Knees more “knee” friendly, we swapped the stock 38×16 drivetrain to a 32X18 combination. This setup is perfect for the World Famous Fullerton Loop which consists of mostly flat terrain with a few steep short uphills.


Our choice of gearing made riding this bike quite fun. I was going a at decent clip on the straights, I was spinning hard but not to the point of “spinning out”. The full rigid setup made climbing so much easier than on my full suspension 29er, I just had to make sure that I had enough momentum before I hit the climbs. Yes, the ride was a little rough on the downhills, but shifting my body towards the rear and relaxing my arms made it tolerable. As as side note, I hit 21 mph on the longest downhill where I would normally hit 24 mph on my FS.


So what are my thoughts of a 650B? I like it… a lot… Steering is quicker, climbing is easier and that famous “29er momentum” is still there. And how about the Bee’s Knees? I dig this bike, it was really fun to ride and the price is quite affordable. Stay tuned for the full review, I will be riding the Bee’s knees during my weekly night rides and hopefully take it to a trail where I can really abuse it.

For specs and price information click on this link:

Vulcan Premium Multi Sport Helmet Review

Posted by RL Policar On July - 29 - 2013

A few months ago we received a set of helmets to review from They’re typically known for their motorcycle accessories, but looks like they’re branching out into the bicycle helmet market.

Here’s how they describe the Vulcan helmet:

Vulcan Premium Multi Sport HelmetThe Multi Sports Safety Bicycle Helmet provides protection, whether on or off the road. This helmet features a lightweight and durable outer shell, multiple air vents, removable padding and an adjustable quick-release retention system.

  • Protection and Ventilation:The outershell allows the helmet to be rated one of the lightest helmets while providing excellent durability and integrity. The multiple vents with inner air channels draw the air through the helmet and over the brow for maximum cooling.
  • Pad Fitting:With the proper fit, the helmet will not move back and forth or side to side while fastened. If the helmet does not fit with installed pads, simply remove them and install a different size pad. To insure the proper fit, mix and match the pad thickness to best conform to your head shape.
  • Retention System:This Multi- Sport Safety Helmet uses a quick-release buckle that is simple and can be buckled without changing the adjustment. The straps must be snugly and evenly tensioned. Place the helmet firmly on your head and fasten the buckle.
  • Available sizes:Small/Medium (55-58cm)
    Medium/Large (58-61cm)

The current price for the Vulcan helmet ranges from $24.95-$29.95, depending on the color you want. They sent us a blue and pink, his and hers set.

In fact here’s a shot of LadyP and yours truly wearing the Vulcan helmets.

Pink and Blue Vulcan Helmet by

The Vulcan does have a good number of vents, 20 total. It comes with a ratcheting adjuster in the rear so you can custom fit it to your head. It also has a padded chin strap for added comfort.

Plenty of rear vents.

Inside view of the Vulcan.

Let’s talk about the fit of the Vulcan helmet. The blue Vulcan I had was a Med/Large. The Pink is a Small/Med. The fit wasn’t as great as I would have hoped. For starters I was constantly having to adjust the chin strap. Not sure if it just kept getting lose on its own or if the helmet would shift on me while riding, which meant I had to readjust it because of the change. This was the complaint that LadyP and I both had on our helmets. There was another issue I had with the blue helmet’s rear ratchet tension dial, it popped out a few times. I was able to pop it back in and it seemed to work after that.

What’s interesting about the Vulcan helmets, they fit kinda big. The Med/Large seemed a bit big even for my fat head. LadyP mentioned the same thing with the pink Small/Med helmet. In fact the smaller pink helmet actually fit my head just fine. Here’s proof, I raced with it because it matched my tuxedo jersey and gloves.

All in all, the Vulcan is an OK helmet. I say OK because the fit just wasn’t right. LadyP and I have owned helmets that cost anywhere from $19-$250. No matter the price, it all comes down to fit and ventilation. Though the Vulcan gets great air flow going through it, and works great for super hot days. I also liked how I was able to wear a bandana underneath. But it’s down fall is the fit, often times you’d see us adjusting the helmets while riding or during our rest stops. Then again the price of $24.95-$29.95 is rather appealing and it would make for a good spare helmet to have around in the event your friend needs one or if you forgot yours.

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Posted by Art Aguilar On July - 24 - 2013


I know why test a water bottle, its just a water bottle. Well you may say its just another water bottle, but that’s just a little far from the truth here. This is a whole new twist when it comes to a water bottle and its not so much the bottle, its also the cage.

You see this is a team, a combo. You can’t have one without the other, a team that goes hand in hand like cake and ice cream, Dean Martin & Jerry Lewis, The Three stooges, or Batman & Robin, The list goes on. The water bottle and cage have been together since the dawn of cycling time.

When we go to events its quite easy to miss things as well as not miss things and I must have walked by the Koala Bottle booth several times while at Sea Otter, but when one of the guys called me over to their booth, why not I’ll hear the spiel.
After I was explained how it works I was impressed with this product and just had to get our hands on one to test for and our sister site



Well I thought you really couldn’t do any thing different to a bottle/cage combo, but the guys at Koala Bottle did.
If you look at the cage ( photo to the left) it has no arms around the cage to hold the bottle in and to look at it one would think it should just fall out, you ask why doesn’t it. Well I’m glad you asked. What makes this cage and bottle unique is the cage, the top of it is equipped with two strong earth magnets that are molded into the top of the cage and the bottle comes with a metal ring that once installed around the bottle’s neck will engage the magnets as you place the bottle close to them.

With a loud snap you will know that the bottle is locked in and will not come off. These magnets are very strong. The bottle has such a positive hold it almost feels like it won’t come off, but rest assured with a tug on the bottle it will snap off with no problem.

Another thing to tell you about in the cage design and it’s ability for mounting, if you look at the photo of it (on the left) you will notice the slots as well as the hole positions which is great  for a many number of frames, also on the mounting slot or rib area there are slots molded into it so you can use zip ties to mount the cage to a frame that may not have cage screws. I mounted the cage and bottle to my Giant Reign frame (see pics) to show you how it works. With four zip ties on the top tube it made for a very solid mount and on my trail ride the bottle and cage didn’t budge, even with a ride down eight flights of stairs.





Now depending on you frame this could be a problem. I have a small Giant Trance and the cage mounts are in a tight area. I could only use a 21oz bottle in this area and using a standard bottle and cage makes it very difficult to pull out. I do have to take my eyes off the trail at times to pull the bottle out or put it back into the cage due to how tight it is.
A blessing in disguise with the Koala Bottle. The fit was still tight, but that has nothing to do with the Koala Bottle and more with the frame lay out. This is what makes this set up great if you have a small frame like me. It’s just a side pull out and whoopy it’s out.






Now is the moment of truth, where we go and hit the trail and give the product the test of a life time. At we take a product and test it to make sure it will stand up to guys and gals like you. We jump, ride, go over the roughest trails, smack, and trash to the best of our ability, because we know this is what you do when your on a trail
My first test was the mellow test on my Cross bike to see how it feels to use the bottle while pulling it on and off multiple times.
I found that after getting a feel for pulling it on and off I didn’t have to look down to see what I was doing. At first you will feel like its to hard of a pull, but it really isn’t and its a lot easier to use then the standard cage design.
If you have ever ridden a cross bike it can be quite bumpy, enough to rattle your teeth loose and to no avail the Koala Bottle stuck like a fly to fly paper. Test one complete. Test two was on the Trance doing XC riding and with the bottle in the upright  position as you see in the pics the Koala Bottle preformed great ( just like on the Reign) with know problems, test two was know complete, but the ultimate test, my go to trail to kill just about any product with multiple runs or just one, “ROCKIT”.





I pulled out the Mach 5 for this one ( my old DH rig ) a Giant Faith freeride bike. This frame is equipped with water bottle cage screws and the location is on the down tube facing the ground, which would serve as the perfect test to see if it would come off with ease. Most bikes will come with two bottle screw set ups, one on the down tube facing the inside of the triangle and one set on the down tube facing the ground.
The Mach 5 has it’s cage screws facing the ground and with 8″ of travel and one of the roughest trails in OC lets see what will happen.



RL and I set up on the rough sections of the trail, RL took up the camera and me on the bike. I set out to see if I could shake the Koala bottle off. On the first pass I went for the most bumps I could find starting off with a small jump, then pointing my tires for the roughest spots I could find. When I finished the first pass the Koala bottle was with me. My thought “AWESOME!” I couldn’t believe it was still on after that first pass.  I do have to say this test would be far beyond what most riders would most likely take this bottle and cage through, but just to see how much force it would take to make it come off we had to know.



The second pass again no problem. The third pass though was the breaker. I hit a set of deep ruts and popped up and landed so hard it was enough to wake me up. The bottle hit the floor and survived with a few scratches. The ring on the neck did snap loose from the joint, it is loose on the bottle, but seems not to be a problem.






After taking the Koala Bottle and cage on several test rides ranging from cross, XC, and DH (which is a test beyond what most would do) it proved to be worthy indeed. Great mounting ability, easy to get in and out of the cage is what this is all about.
True the water bottle and cage have not changed much, but if you could improve on one of the oldest cycling combos around and make it better the guys at Koala Bottle have done it.

The bottle and cage combo come in two set-ups, one in a 21oz. bottle and cage for $27.99 and one in a 24oz. for $29.99. Now this may sound like a lot, but when you consider a price for a high end cage or insulated water bottle, then the Koala Bottle and cage is a not a bad deal.

Please watch the Koala Bottle Test HERE

You can contact Koala Bottle at

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3M Nexcare Tegaderm Review

Posted by RL Policar On May - 14 - 2013

About 10 days ago I took a spill while taking a flat turn at Whiting Ranch. This little crash resulted in a road rash on my forearm, knee and finger. I started off with bandages to treat them, but found that those things were sticking to my wounds. So I went to the local CVS and found this, 3M Nexcare Tegaderm. If you’ve never heard of it, basically it’s a wound dressing that’s clear. The idea is to keep your wound sealed from the outside world to prevent infection and from you hitting/touching it on other things.Nexcare Tegaderm

The cost for a box of 4 hovers around $17, sounds pricey for fancy “band-aids” right? Below is the worst of my wounds, on my forearm.

I applied 3 of the 4 dressings on the would in a period of 8 days. During that time the wound would ooze out some nasty clear/brown/yellowish fluid. It didn’t smell or anything so it wasn’t infected. The gross thing about this dressing is that the fluid would collect inside and sometimes gravity would cause it to ooze down your arm. The directions say if the dressing starts to leak, replace it.


Here’s the wound after 7 days of being under the Tegaderm. Looks good so far right? No scabs! By the way, one dressing can be left on the wound for up to 7 days. But since I was oozing, I replaced one after one day and the second one after 3 days. The one on the photo was on for at least 4 days.

The dressing did a great job in allowing the wound to heal without scabbing. Here it is after 10 days.

I actually liked using the Tegaderm for my wound because I could take a shower, sleep and even go riding while this thing was on my arm. I highly recommend stocking your medicine cabinet with a box in the event you do crash, you’ll be ready.

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Skratch Labs Review

Posted by RL Policar On May - 2 - 2013

Our long time friend of the Bike Industry, James Thomas of Serfas, has graciously accepted our request to have him review Skratch Labs Sports Drink. Read his review below and make sure you watch the video too!

skratch labs review

When RL asked me to do a product review on the Skratch Labs sports drink, I was very excited. I follow the bike industry news pretty closely and had actually seen Skratch Labs hilarious marketing video before RL asked me to review it.

The truth is, it was probably just a matter of time before I would have purchased some Skratch Labs hydration mix because I am an electrolyte replacement junkie. I have tried them all – Gatorade, Pedialyte, Nuun, Hammer, Clif, Powerade, Heed, Cytomax, etc. Well, I can honestly sum up this review of Skratch Labs Sports Drink by quoting my favorite foodie: Guy Fieri – “Welcome to Flavortown”! The Skratch Labs Lemons and Limes has amazing fruit forward flavor that will blow your mind. I know it’s a cliché, but it really does taste like a pure lemon and lime drink without all the extra sugar and calories.
skratch labs drink review
Two things that I dislike about electrolyte replacement drinks in general:

- The thick phlegm left in your mouth that causes your spit to come out sideways and land on the arm of your jersey while riding

- Leftover residue in your bottle that makes it taste like said sports drink for the remainder of that bottles’ lifespan
skratch labs
I found that when mixed correctly, the Skratch Labs Lemons and Limes to have a clean aftertaste – no phlegm issues and it rinsed clean from my bottle without a heavy aftertaste. Both of these traits make Skratch Labs a winner in my book. Big Kudos to the folks at Skratch Labs for creating a sports drink that is more flavorful with less sugar and calories than other brands on the market. I highly recommend you try it out and see what all the buzz is about.

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