Underneath the robe you find a man. Underneath the man you find his nucleus.

2013 Airborne Goblin Review

Posted by RL Policar On January - 7 - 2013ADD COMMENTS

During Interbike 2012, we had a meeting with Airborne Bikes Brand Manager, Jeremy Mudd about all the great things that are being planned for 2013. One of the things he mentioned was the new Goblin and he had gladly offered us a bike to test out. Fast forward to the Fall, we received this…
airborne goblin small
The New 2013 Airborne Goblin, Small. No doubt it’s a handsome bike and we liked that the small frame has a sloping top tube to allow stand over height for shorter folks like us at


FRAME: Tapered HT with increased rear wheel mud clearance, increased stand-over clearance on the 16″ frame-size.

Tapered Reba RL fork with increased 100mm travel

Larger 180mm rotor up front for increased stopping power and fade resistance

New 38/24 gearing on the all new SRAM X7 crankset that offers a better gear range for climbing paired to an 11-36 cassette.

Geax AKA 2.2 tires that roll fast on hardpack and offer outstanding grip on loose and rocky terrain

New Selle San Marco Ponza Power Saddle

Finally, the most important thing: we managed to do this all for a price of $1199. That’s only $50 more than the past Goblin in spite of rising industry costs!
Price: $1,199.95

We did make a few changes to the Goblin due to personal preferences and short arms like a T-Rex. First thing we did was install a 40mm stem and then we also swapped out the Selle San Marco Power Saddle with a Serfas Tegu saddle. Why? Because my butt, it’s just so big...

Before we get on with the review, we wanted to do something different with this bike than any other bikes we’ve tested before. We figured we’d give 3 different perspective of 3 different riders who have different riding styles and prowess. We’ve recruited Team Racers, Lady P, Art Aguilar and yours truly, RL Policar. Just to give you a brief background on each rider, LadyP is a Sport level XC racer, Art Aguilar is an Expert Downhill Racer and I am a Beginner XC Racer and Sport Downhiller. Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s hear from each person.
airborne goblin
First up is Lady P

I had the opportunity to give the Goblin a few test rides on a couple of different trails. My interest in the 29er was recently peaked again when I test rode a couple of 29er bikes at Interbike/Outdoor Demo this past September, so I was eager to see what this Goblin offered in comparison. I have to say overall I was really impressed. At 5’5 I’ve always been a little intimidated by the larger wheels as I thought it may just be too big for my size. The Goblin proved me wrong. As a cross country rider/racer there are two aspects of performance that are most important to me: speed and climbing ability.

There is no doubt that the Goblin improved my speed on the trails. What was most surprising to me was how effortless it was. My output of energy was noticeably less than I am accustomed to. I rode trails that I’ve ridden for years with improvement on time and felt less tired. Increased speed and more energy is a winning combination for any rider. My performance on climbs was equally impressive.
I thought it would be more difficult to climb but that wasn’t the case. The bike handled nicely on the steep inclines and it proved to make the climbs very efficient. The Goblin definitely added a different element of fun to my riding and the price point is excellent as well for those who are looking to purchase a 29er.

Words from Art Aguilar

Well my good buddy RL Policar and I finally got together so he could hand over the new AIRBORNE GOBLIN 29er hard tail could give it a little test ride. I say an expert’s view because well I’m a expert downhill racer, come on I can put this baby through the ringer, besides I want to know what all the hoopla’s about with these 29er’s. OK this is going to be my second ride in a 29er, my first was at InterBike on the new Giant Trance X 29er full suspension bike and I know all you AIRBORNE fans out there already know about the HOBGOBLIN Full Suspension by AIRBORNE and if you don’t check out their website “NOW” ( in my best Arnold Schwarzenegger voice).


Again they hit it on the spot with cost, layout, parts spec, and a cool look. Layout, climbing, descending, speeds, breaking, and handling. I really wanted to see if it’s all they say it is, this 29er thing. The one thing that’s kept me away from 29er’s is the size, no size for a little guy(height wise) like me (RL knows what I’m talking about), well AIRBORNE delivered. The small frame has a sloped bent down tube which offered a great stand over height and that fit me just right, of course the stem change that RL made was perfect for me as well, which made the GOBLIN’s layout or what we call ergonomics,great too!

I found the bike easy to pedal. The full SRAM X7 2×10 drive-train worked awesome along with that big WTB wheel-set, the GOBLIN allowed me to go up as well as down fast and they kept me in control the whole time.
airborne goblin
The ELIXIR 7 hydraulics stopped me quick and without issue. Now if you have never been on a 29er I do have to warn these bikes do pick up speed faster than a 26 inch wheeled bike, so be prepared to get on the brakes a little sooner than usual. The RockShox Reba RL lockout fork worked super at taking the bumps. Handling in the single track was good when you were in the wide open, but in the tight technical single track turning could be a little tough. This is all in your approach and I have to say that you’ll need to adjust your riding style a little being on a bigger wheeled bike, that being said you do have the advantage going over stuff easier.
airborne goblin
I was having so much fun on the GOBLIN I hardly noticed I was on a hard-tail. I just have to say I really liked my time on this bike. I can’t wait to some time on the new full suspension HOBGOBLIN (ahh,AIRBORNE buddies small please)

Now it’s time to hear from RL Policar, hey! That’s me!

If you’re anything like me, you may have voiced opinions that the whole 29er thing was just a bunch of horse pocky. Well now I’m eating crow. Here’s what I mean, and bear with me as I go about the long way of explaining my point. When I started riding the Airborne Goblin I first had to adjust to the 2×10 gearing then I had to get re-accustomed to the notion that I’m riding a hard-tail. Once I got dialed into the bike I started having some of my best XC rides ever. I’m sure it was the combination of the larger 29er wheels and the 2×10 drive train that helped me ride fast and faster.
airborne goblin
Ladyp as well as my other riding friends pretty much know me as the slower guy. For years I had always been the guy in the back. But once I started riding the Goblin things changed. With it I was able to start shaving time off my laps at the local trail. 1hour 15mins would be something I used to consider a fast lap. On the Goblin, I started chopping away at that time. I started logging in 1h, 5min laps, then I broke the hour with 59mins. While I was setting personal best records with the Goblin, my own wife and my dear friend Khoala Bear were both skeptical of what I was doing. They said that if there’s no GPS proof, then it never happened.

After work on a Friday, we decided to head out to the trail head. With a Garmin EDGE 205 in my hydration pack, we set out. I was riding so fast that Lady P and Khoala Bear couldn’t keep up! When the ride ended I logged in a 56 minute lap! Mind you, I’ve NEVER and I mean NEVER EVER been able to come near 1 hour on ANY XC bike I’ve ever had. But it wasn’t until I started riding the Goblin that I was able to smash some personal bests.

To the credit of the Airborne Goblin, I am convinced that the combination of larger wheels, 2×10 drive train and XC geometry, and fast rolling XC tires helped me ride faster. The bike really does such a great job on out pacing other bikes on flats. The best way to describe on how fast the Goblin is to picture yourself riding a road bike on dirt. Just think how fast efficient a road bike is on the flats, they can really fly. The Goblin does that exact thing, but on dirt. Climbing is pretty easy with the 24t granny and the large 36t rear cog. You can even make your climbs even more efficient by locking out the Rockshox Reba RL and since it’s a hard tail, you’re not giving up power to your suspension.
Two of my favorite things about the Goblin are the tires Airborne decided to wrap the wheels with. The Geax AKA29 has similar riding characteristics to a Kenda Small Block Eight, but in my opinion with more bite. These tires roll fast, climb great and when it comes to braking they’ll stop you without any issues. I can’t forget the Avid Elixir brakes that it comes with. Not only were they fantastic at stopping me, but I love that the levers can be easily adjusted for reach just by turning a small, easily accessible dial.
From reading the testimonials above, you’ll see that all 3 of us really enjoyed the Airborne Goblin. It will make the average Joe Mountain Biker faster without spending too much on a bike. If you compare the Airborne Goblin to other bikes within it’s price range, you’ll find the Trek Mamba and the BMC Team Elite. Both bikes are name brands, but the parts that come on it are basically entry level. For about the same price as these two brands are selling their bikes for, you can get an Airborne Goblin with 2×10 drive train, Alix Elixir Brakes, WTB wheels, Rock Shox Reba RL fork and overall, a far more superior bike.It’s almost a no brainer if you ask me.
So to summarize what we’ve said, We like the Airborne Goblin and we think you will too. Great bike for the price, you’ll ride faster and your riding buddies won’t be able to keep up!

Our Review Disclaimer.

So I made fried rice…

Posted by RL Policar On January - 4 - 2013ADD COMMENTS

The title was in reference to Burt ReynoldSS again…yep. It’s back because last night during our ride, I dropped the chain 7 times!
redline d600
The zip tie method does work…up to a certain point. The problem I had was there was still a bit of play on my chain line and every time I hit a bump while pedaling, the chain would jump off. I figured there’s a couple of options to remedy this jumping issue. 1. Get a bigger rear cog to take up more slack. 2. Get a bigger front chain ring to do the same.3. Was to use a bigger pulley on the tensioner. I opted for the cheaper route.
I grabbed an old derailleur from my parts bin and took it apart. What’s cool about this derailleur is it has 2 different sized pulleys, both are bigger than the one that came on my tensioner.
You’ll see the pulley on the left that came off the Alivio derailleur and the pulley on the right came off the tensioner.
This is the before shot of the smaller pulley. See how there’s a bit more space between the cog and chain.
Now check out the bigger pulley installed, you’ll see that there’s less space between the chain and cog as well as the chain stay. This translates to a tighter chain overall and SHOULD prevent the chain from jumping. Wish me luck!
single speed tensioner

More work done on Burt ReynoldSS

Posted by RL Policar On January - 3 - 20132 COMMENTS

If you’ve been following my updates about Burt ReynoldSS, then you’ll know that I’ve replaced the stock chain to a nice red one, but I still ended up with chain skipping issues. I’ve tried two different types of tensioners and they both sucked. So I figured I’d ask my beloved friend Jack “Ghost Rider” Sweeney, he’s the Editor AT-Large over at Jack has been working on bikes for over 35 years or something like that. Basically he’s been tinkering with them since the day I was born!

I explained to Jack about my chain skippage (not a real word, but sounds legit right now). He then went on this long explanation on why he is the master of bikes and I should NOT doubt him. Once he got me to confirm his Mastery of Bikes, he proceeded to tell me how to take care of this skippy-skipperton of an issue. He bluntly said, “Use a zip tie and it will work…” I scratched my head for a minute because I wasn’t sure what he meant by the comment. Again he asked me to confirm his supreme power over all bicycles. I did. Then he explained in further detail that I needed to make the chain wrap around the cog more and that spring loaded tensioner I had needed to be pulled forward.

This was before…pretty red chain and all. Notice the tensioner’s position. Then compare it to the photo below.

This was after. I ditched the red chain because the new configuration required a half link. But the half link I bought wouldn’t fit the red chain, so I went back to the stock one. You’ll notice in the photo the zip tie and half link.
burt reynoldss
From my test rides around the neighborhood, I was happy to report that there haven’t been any skippages. I’m going to try it out tonight and see how well it does on the first climb of the trail. If the chain holds up, I’ll be a happy camper. If not…argh…I’m going to fudge-get-about this project and go back to making friend rice. I’m good at making fried rice!

There on the trail…I found him.

Posted by RL Policar On January - 2 - 2013ADD COMMENTS

Today marked the first day of the year where The Moe and I rode together. What better way to tell this story than with pictures! We all know if there’s no pictures or if it’s not on Facebook, it didn’t happen!

So here we go! The Moe showed up to the trail wearing the EXACT SAME jersey as I was! We’re like Twinsies!

The Moe and I actually hadn’t seen each other since Thanksgiving or something like that. So this was our time to exchange presents. I gave him his gift, then he turned around and said in a sultry voice, “Hey big boy, I’ve got your present right here!” Immediately I asked if I could get the gift receipt…haha.

This was The Moe’s first time on the bike since…October. So here I am doing my best impression on how he was feeling.

We saw some goats! The Moe kept saying to one of them, “Damn. DAMN! OH DAMN!Ok, ok, ok. Ahem.‘Scume ca’I talk to yo fo a minute? ESCUME ca’I TALK TO YOU FO A MINUTE? Uhh, yeah, whats up?”

As we rode the trail, The Moe was telling the proper techniques of looking good on a bike even though its been months since he last rode one. He told me to go ahead of him and take a picture so we can document his prowess. Wow, he wasn’t kidding! The Moe looks great!
the moe

When we got a certain part of the trail…there he was in all his glory…JESUS! I had found Jesus on the trail!

It was great to ride with my old friend The Moe. It’s always fun and magical! Yes it’s magical. If you ever get a chance to ride with him, you’ll understand.

Last but not least, check out these big nuts! Wow! Those are some big nuts!
big nuts!

Coconut Oil, your skin’s new friend

Posted by RL Policar On December - 31 - 20121 COMMENT

I’m going to be straight up and honest here, but the other day I scratched my balls way too hard and that caused some chaffing. So I spent the next few days trying to get relief from various products like Okole Stuff, Skin Sake and even Udderly Smooth. But none of them worked as good as plain coconut oil.

This is the stuff I used. You can get any brand out there, but this one is called Aunt Patty’s Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil.
coconut oil for skin

Coconut oil works wonders as a moisturizer for all skin types, especially dry skin and aging skin, leaving you refreshed and looking wide-awake. No headstand required! The fat in the oil helps reduce the appearance of wrinkles without any irritation. Coconut oil can also help with skin problems like psoriasis, dermatitis, eczema and other skin conditions. In fact, the oil is frequently used in expensive skin care products. When applied on scrapes and cuts, coconut oil forms a thin, chemical layer which protects the wound from outside dust, bacteria and virus. Coconut oil speeds up the healing process of bruises by repairing damaged tissues. Plus, it smells a heck-of-a-lot better than anything from the pharmacy.

In room temperature it’s solid. But all you have to do is scrape a bit out with a spoon then spread it where you need it. In this case I took the scrapings off the spoon put it on my fingers and applied. What? Did you you think I took the spoon to my balls? No, that would be so wrong! Back to my balls, about a day later my skin was healed! None of the other ointments performed as well as coconut oil. Besides coconut oil is cheaper. The 12oz jar I have is $8.50. Skin Sake, for a 6 oz tube it’s $14.00 and a small container of Okole Stuff is $25! Yikes! You’re better off getting the coconut oil because it can address your skin issues and you can cook with it!
coconut oil
When you fry with coconut oil, it leaves your food with the best flavoring! Trust me on this! Just make sure you wash your hands and use clean utensils when you come near it…cuz no one wants your skin stuff in their food, ya dig?

Burt ReynoldSS get’s a little upgrade

Posted by RL Policar On December - 27 - 2012ADD COMMENTS

Here’s the most recent upgrade on Burt, it’s a red chain. In my previous article, I mentioned that I’d go with a gold theme. But I realized, I had plenty of red on the components that it made more sense to go with that color. My previous chain broke, so here’s what I got to replace it with.
red kmc chain

It’s a bright color that should pop.
red single speed chain

Looks great don’t it!
redline d600 single speed

As handsome as Burt looks, I’m still having some chain skipping issues. I’m going to try a few more things and see if that helps it. I really doubt that it’s the rear cog, but I’m suspecting the culprit might be the tensioner…aye, we’ll find out.

Merry Christmas!

Posted by RL Policar On December - 24 - 2012ADD COMMENTS

merry christmas santa elf copy

Having a hard time clipping in and out of your SPD pedals?

Posted by RL Policar On December - 20 - 2012ADD COMMENTS

If loosening your tension screws on your pedals just isn’t helping. Perhaps trying some lube would help. I used Boeshield on my pedals and they felt great right after. Just make sure you get the lube right where the arrows are showing because that’s where your cleat would be hitting the pedal the most.
pedal lube

Is it Chink or Kink in the Chain?

Posted by RL Policar On December - 19 - 20122 COMMENTS

Regardless the term, I think you know what I’m talking about. This happened to me recently when I was working on Burt ReynoldSS. After cutting the chain down, I pushed back the rivet to connect the now shorter chain, but all that did was compress the link causing what you see below.
In order to deal with this, I put into practice one of the tricks I learned while working in an LBS. Ya it would have been easier to just get one of those quick link thingies but I didn’t have one so here we go!
If using your chain tool to push the rivet back and forth still doesn’t work, do this. On the link that is tight, use that as a pivot point and flex the chain as if you’re trying to break a pencil or a pretzel. Oh don’t forget to put in a drop of your favorite chain lube on the bad link before you do this.
8 speed chain
Do this on both sides of the chain. Keeping doing so until you start seeing and feeling the chink/kink work itself out.
bad chain
And that’s it! Afterwards, just spin the cranks make sure the chink/kink isn’t causing any problems and go for a ride!

Discount code for Pearly’s Possum Socks

Posted by RL Policar On December - 19 - 2012ADD COMMENTS

Not too long ago, Jeremy Yang reviewed a pair of socks that he really loved. They are called Pearly’s Possum Socks. Right now they are offering a 25% off discount code, courtesy of Here’s your chance to own a pair of the best socks we’ve ever reviewed…without having to pay full price.
pearly discount


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