2013 Trek Fuel EX7 Review by Jerry Landrum

Long time reader Jerry Landrum had asked us if he could submit a Guest Review of his 2013 Trek Fuel EX7, below you’ll get a chance to read all his findings.

This full suspension bike is a much improved ride over other similar bikes that I’ve ridden. I had tested the Giant Anthem and the Specialized Camber 29er both of those bikes were full suspension as well. Being the Specialized Camber was a 29er I really can’t do justice in the comparison to my 26in Trek Fuel ex7. The Giant Anthem during testing just felt cheap and clunky the shifting was rather weak and clumsy.

When I got on the Fuel and felt the smooth ride, fluid shifting and the Trek specific DRCV. Sitting on this bike at first was like the feeling you get sitting in a new car just said to me “this is your next bike”. The full floating rear suspension makes almost any trail feel nice and smooth; I can roll over rocks and roots without getting too off balance. The Shimano components go great to compliment this bike for its price point. They do not include Shimano brakes instead they went with Avid Elixir 3 hydraulic brakes. For me these work just fine, after about 25 miles of trail riding you begin to hear noises from the suspension and internal parts almost make it sound like a mystery where it comes from, but as advanced as this bike is breaking in, sounds are normal.
Trek Fuel EX7
The TLR wheels by Bontrager roll very fast and smooth on any surface. I was a bit skeptical about the Bontrager xr3 expert tires as in the past they have been less than dependable. However, Trek recruited a new tire designer and I can say these tires have impressed me for sure they will and can like most tires wash out from under you under various conditions but so far for me this has only
happened once within about the first 20-30 miles of riding it. I was already set on replacing them before giving them their fair chance. I am happy to have them on this bike, not saying I won’t replace them later but for now they are great.
Trek fuel ex7 review
The CTD (Climb/Trail/Descend) option for this bike which is included is truly amazing once you get it dialed in just right; Fox suspension makes this great the only complaint I have is not being able to switch between them via cockpit shifter. I have seen them on other bikes, but this option was not on the available for my Trek…yet. As far as the wheel size issue debate this model year was the final that they will make the ex7 in a 26er, now it is a 29er so I was able to get the last 26er Trek will make for the Fuel ex7.

Overall this bike is not for those looking for less than stellar performance for the price you get an amazing bike that you can add a few upgrades to down the road to make it even better while not having to feel like a new bike is needed. I would recommend this bike to anyone who has a budget for their next ride. For those looking to buy this one it is likely reduced right now down from full price of about $2599 to around $1999.

Review Disclaimer

Genuine Innovations Tubeless Ready Kit: Review

Not too long ago I posted a photo of the new Genuine Innovations Tubeless Ready Kit that we received for testing. Since I’m a huge fan of Ghetto Tubeless, this kit caught my attention because it basically takes the same ideas as the Ghetto Tubeless, but it packaged up all in one bundle. It comes with all the things you need to go tubeless. From the Slime Sealant, Gorilla Tape, Valve Stems, CO2 cartridges levers and even a measuring cup.

Genuine Innovations Tubeless Ready Kit

Taping up the rim with the Gorilla Tape included in the kit.


I used a tire lever to tuck in the tape and make sure I had a good seal. One thing you have to do is start from the valve hole and finish about 5-8″ after it. Then just use a razor to cut out the valve hole and install the stem.

Here’s the rim all taped and ready to go with the valve stem installed (not shown)

Valve stem installed.

I followed the directions on the amount of Slime to use per tire and proceeded to fill in the casing with the green goo. What’s interesting about the Slime is that it’s very slick but not too sticky. Unlike Stan’s, there’s no small particles floating inside the mixture.

Though the packaging stated “Tubeless Ready” I went with what I thought most people would be doing with this kit, converting their regular non-ust tires to go tubeless. Some may call it Ghetto Tubeless, I call it budget tubeless. Anyhow on the left you see a GEAX AKA 29 (in which I know works for ghetto tubeless-previous article) and the other is a Kenda Karma. Notice the green Slime leaking out of the Kenda? Well that never sealed.

In fact the Slime sealant it self just wasn’t that great in sealing either tire. I tried to let it set up and seal in a span of a few days. Basically I’d air it up, shake the wheel around to get the Slime sloshed around towards the leaks, but it just wouldn’t hold. I’ve done tubeless before with Stan’s and usually it’s a pretty easy thing to do. But with the Slime sealant just didn’t work.

Here’s how bad it got. After about 4 days of trying to get my tires to seal, I gave up and dumped out the Slime and replaced it with Stan’s. Guess what, that held. It worked so well that I’m currently running Stan’s sealant with the Genuine Innovations Tubeless Ready Kit.

Now I can’t certainly say that this kit is a flop. Actually it’s pretty clever to package up all the things you need to convert to tubeless, but it’s that Slime Sealant that makes this kit pointless. The retail for this kit averages to $50. But what if we do the math and create our own kit, could it be cheaper? Keep in mind that the kit comes with C02 cartridges, and tire levers.  However, if you were to get the basic things you need to go tubeless, then it’s going to be way cheaper.

Stan’s Sealant: $15

DT Swiss Tubeless Valves:$15 ( for a set)

1″ Gorilla Tape: $4

Total of $34.00

Ghetto Tubeless is even cheaper

2, 20″ presta valve tubes: $12

Stan’s Sealant: $15

Total of: $27.00

So take it for what it’s worth, the Slime Sealant didn’t work for our test, but the kit is a great idea. If you decided to go with the Genuine Innovations Tubeless Ready kit, go ahead and get a bottle of Stan’s Sealant with it.

FTC Disclaimer

Check Your Head

So RL and I were talking the other day when he tells me a little story. He tells of how he was just riding along with the lovely Lady P when they see a fellow mountainbiker suddenly eject himself from his bike. This poor soul decided to do a little helmet testing right there on the trail. RL being the stand-up man of action he is immediately renders aid. He calls for a helicopter, clears an LZ, stabilizes the victim by placing him in full c-spine, establishes a large bore IV, advises the trauma center of their in-bound patient, and tunes up the guy’s bike so it will be ready for him upon discharge from the hospital. He then asks me, “Albacore, not everyone who reads this site would be able to jump into action without hesitation like I did. They may be scared or unsure of what to do when someone rattles their noggin. Would you mind putting together a little something so our fine readers may be able to help a downed rider like I did?” “Of course!” I replied.

Firstly, if you or someone you’re riding with takes a spill, remain calm. Once you start spinning you make a manageable situation spiral out of control. If said unlucky rider bumps their melon, don’t wail like a banshee as you jump and down. You remain calm then you keep them calm and still. If you are unsure if you can manage the situation then get help. Call 911 or flag someone down. Don’t move him unless there is an immediate need to do so. Establish his mental status. Yes, I know, he was nutjob before he got hurt. But find out if he is kookier than usual. Ask simple questions he is sure to know. What is your name? How old are you? Do you know where you are? What hurts? If he can not answer any of those questions readily of if he repeats the same questions or statements over and over, annoyingly so, that is a sign of a more serious injury. If he has pain to his neck or back keep him still. Do not move him unnecessarily. Again, no screaming and dancing at the sight of blood. Lacerations to the scalp bleed moreso than cuts to your legs or arms. Apply pressure to control any serious bleeding but don’t freak out. It is the bleeding within the skull, that you can’t see, that will kill you; not the superficial cactus needles you wear on your forehead from Aliso. Look at their helmet to clue you in where his injuries may be. Scratches, dents, and cracks will say a lot about what part of his head suffered an impact and how hard.

People often say, “He hit his head so I made sure to keep him awake.” Big deal. Again, if he is tired after an OTB smackdown it doesn’t matter. He was riding his bike, he should be tired. It is when he unresponsive upon crashing that is a concern. If he crashed hard enough to knock himself out don’t yell and shake to wake him up. Instead, keep him still and in a position that will keep his airway open and allow him breathe. If possible, while supporting the head, roll him to his back while keeping his head inline with his spine. Watch that he doesn’t vomit while unconscious. If he starts to throw up gently roll him to his side while still keeping his head in line with his spine. Your concern should be keeping his airway open until help arrives. If he is awake but feels nauseated watch that he doesn’t lose consciousness. Keep him still and calm. Again, he may have bits of brain and lint and dust rollin around up there. You don’t want him to suddenly decide to HTFU and walk or ride himself out only to DFO (pass out), fall, and now add to his injuries. Support him so if he loses consciousness you can gently lower him to the ground.

You are not going to fix Joe Lawndart on the trail if he has a serious head injury. The trauma docs at the hospital will do that. You want to minimize any injuries and keep him stable until help arrives or you determine his injury is not that serious and you can carry on. If in doubt, get help, call 911, find a ranger, flag down another rider to get someone to help. I often get asked about ridiculous calls we go on. I say we respond whenever someone calls 911. It may not be something I consider an emergency but to that person who called it is. Do not be afraid to ask for help or call 911. Head injuries can be troublesome because so much can be going on inside that you can’t see. Remain calm, keep him still and breathing. Next time I’ll discuss simpler topics like broken bones and gaping wounds.

Check Your Head

Burt Reynolds gets soft.

Hey! Don’t think this soft thing means that Burt is a wuss, NO! It just means he got a new-2-him fork! Scheck it out kids, this is my latest acquisition for Burt Reynolds, it’s a Rockshox Reba RL (that part is my favorite, you know, that fact that it says my name, RL).

So take a look at this. My steel Redline Rigid Fork weighs around 2.5lbs. Which is awesome compared to the stock/OEM fork that weighed over 7lbs!
Redline d600
Now look at the Rockshox Reba RL, it weighs a tad bit over 3.0lbs! I was pretty surprised on how light it was.
Redline d600
Here’s Burt with his new fork looking all fancy and stuff with his matching white bits.
rockshox reba rl

Looks sharp don’t it? Rides pretty nice too. It sure will be fun to see how it will do on the trails.
Redline d600

Wow, I’m loving how Burt Reynolds is turning out. He looks pretty good!
Redline burt reynolds

2013 Airborne Goblin Review

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 MtnBikeRiders.com


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.

KORE Bicycle Components: OCD Handlebar and Repute Stem

KORE Bicycle Components had sent the MtnBikeRiders.com World HQ a handsome pairing of the OCD Handlebar and the Repute Stem for testing.
KORE OCD handlebar
KORE OCD Handlebar
kore ocd bar on mtnbikeriders.com
These items were mounted on the KHS XCT 556 during the test since this my AM bike that I typically spend my time riding. Though these worked great on the AM bike, it would actually compliment my downhill bike nicely. Currently my Airborne Taka DH is already equipped with OEM Kore products, so adding the bar and stem would have bee a perfect match.
kore OCD
800mm is plenty wide! So this means a few things, you can leave it alone and rock it wide or cut it down a few notches for a custom fit.
AL7050-T6 Triple Butted
31.8 Bar Clamp Diameter
5 Degree upsweep, 7 degree back sweep
Zero, 20mm, 35mm Rise Options
800mm Wide
HRT graphics
Polish Grey, Red ED Or Black ED
Weight – 285g
Price: $50

KORE Repute Stem
kore repute stem
AL6061 T6 3D Forged With Post CNC
CNC Center Bore To Reduce Weight
Cross Clamp Steerer Bolts
Zero Degree Rise
35mm and 50mm Extensions
31.8 Bar Bore, 1 1/8 Steerer Clamp, 35mm Stack Height
High Polish Black
Laser Logos
Weight – 126g / 35mm, 163g / 50mm
Price $60

One of the things I loved about the Kore Repute stem is that it’s short. At 35mm, it gives me the PERFECT fit on my bike. I’ve mentioned this before, but I’ve got short arms so that means I love any stem that is at least 40mm. With the Repute being 35mm, there was now way of disliking it. The Repute stem had me at Hello!
kore repute stem

When the OCD bar and Repute stem are combined, your bike will feel instantly different. I’ve always been a proponent of wide bars and short stem. Handling increases tenfold, and the aesthetics goes up too.
kore handlebar and stem
Having this great combination of a wider bar and short stem, allowed me to maneuver my bike with more ease. It gives me more leverage when turning causing faster reaction times and a stable ride since my hands are gripping at a wider stance. The only downside to having such a wide bar would be clearing things. What I mean is, if you’re riding on a narrow trail where the brush comes in, you could easily hit your knuckles on plants and trees.
mtnbikeriders.com reviews kore components
As far as the quality of the Kore OCD bar, no complaints here, it’s a pretty stiff bar, no flexing or anything of the like. The Repute stem grabbed the OCD and held it tight. At 126g, this thing is pretty light, yet surprisingly durable. The bar and stem combo has seem some gnarly trails, from berms jumps to drop 4-5feet high, not once did they feel like they were going to break. The KORE Components, OCD and Repute Stem are high in quality, affordable and very durable. If you’re in the market for wider bars and shorter stems, take a look at the Kore OCD and Repute, not only will it be cheaper than some of the other brands out there, but we certainly like it, so that should count for something. Oh by the way, when you get the OCD Bar, you’ll get people asking you ALL the time how wide your bar is. I always answered with a coy smile, “Pretty darn WIDE!”

Our review disclaimer

Serfas TSL-1500+ Headlight Review

I received the Serfas True 1500 Headlight back in Spring, but as soon as I got it, daylight savings hit and I rarely used it at night since the sun wasn’t going down until after I was done on my night rides. With Fall in full swing I’ve been able to log in a few hundred miles at night while equipped with the Serfas True 1500.
Serfas true 1500
Here’s the specs:

1500 lumens
4 Hour Quick Charge
Ram Air Cooling for Increased Brightness and Longer LED Life
Included Quick Release Handle Bar Mount
Included Easy Adjust Helmet Mount
3 Foot Extension Cable Included
Modes: Overdrive, High, Medium, Low and Flash
Weight: 480 Grams with Bracket
Run Times: Now up 3 Hours – 12 Hours Maximum (Depending on Setting)
MSRP $390

serfas 1500

3 super bright LEDs with 4 light functions.Overdrive, High, Medium, Low and Flash.
serfas 1500

Comes with 3 foot extension cord to allow a user to store batter pack in their hydration pack or on the seat post.

Battery pack is equipped with strong Velcro strap that never came lose.
serfas 1500

1500 lumens is plenty bright, and I love it! The Serfas True 1500 basically turns the dark into day light.
Serfas 1500

Let’s get down right to it. The Serfas True 1500 has to be THE BEST LIGHT I’VE EVER USED. Yep, it’s that simple. Here’s why. For starters the most obvious reason is that it’s wicked bright. 1500 Lumens is crazy, every time I turn it on I can’t help but say…”Wow…that’s bright!” When things are as bright as 1500, then you can ride with more confidence at night since it lights up the trail like nothing else.
Serfas true 1500
The kit does come with a helmet mount if you’re into that kind of stuff. I left the light on my handlebar and I have to say the mount is pretty darn reliable. I’ve tried other lights where the mount sucked, some would rotate when I hit a hard bump, which could be dangerous. But with the Serfas True 1500, the mount stays put and never budges even when you’re hitting the hardest parts of the trail. The headlight does pivot so you can turn it left or right to customize the angle.

On Overdrive (the brightest setting) I could push out 1.5 hours of light before the indicator would turn to red. Typically when that happens I’d just go down one level, which is still pretty bright and that would still luminate the trail with enough brightness to see without any issues. Charging time was just a few hours, I basically would plug it in, do some work and by lunch time, the battery is fully charged! Overall I was EXTREMELY happy with the Serfas TSL 1500 LED light set, I had no issues what so ever with it. The lights worked as they described, battery life was pretty reliable, handlebar mount was superb and I can ride faster at night since I can see where I’m going. If you’re in the market for a high powered bicycle LED light, I’d highly recommend you get the Serfas True 1500, you won’t regret it!
serfas led lights
FTC Disclaimer

Review: Pearly’s Possum Socks

Pearly's Logo

Product Tested: Pearly’s Possum Socks, Size Large

Website MSRP: $58

Specs: 45% Merino Wool
40% Possum
Durable Heel
Arch Support
Compression Fit

About Me: 6’1” 210lbs, 32 year old male. I’m a mountain biking enthusiast who enjoys rocking the 29er wheels.
Testing Grounds: All over the Southern California Trails, North Carolina, Winter Rides in the Mountains, Playing in the Snow

The color of the socks on Pearly’s website is more of a gray while the actual sock is tan. A simple clean “P” logo.

First Impressions: They’re simple with a nice, simple “P”. Very stealth except for the height, which reaches up to just below the calf bulge. Simple is what I am all about. I know that for most bikers, stealth isn’t the norm, but I like my jerseys clean and simple. I like my shorts black, gray or black/gray. Some peeps can rock the Pink Tuxedo and they look smoooooth. I can’t.

The next thing you will notice about these socks are that they’re THICK! They’re surprisingly deceiving in that way and all I could think about when I got the Pearly’s was: will they even fit in my shoes? The answer is they do fit, snugly, comfortably. The Pearly’s do compress around your foot making them extremely comfortable in the shoe. I did notice I could not ratchet down my shoes as much as I do with normal thin summer socks, but that is to be expected with thicker cold-weather socks. I never felt that my shoes were loose on my foot, though.

You will also notice the hair. Yes, there is real possum hair in there. It is a little weird to think about, so don’t. Just stick your foot in and you will realize exactly why the Pearly’s have become my go to sock in cold or wet weather conditions.

The Possum hair. You can actually see it. It is a little disturbing at first.

Strengths: Alright, let’s talk with about the elephant in the room. They’re $58 socks. Are they good enough to justify $58? That’s up to you. Hopefully this review will help you come to a decision.
The coldest I have ridden with these socks is the low 30’s, which I know is not as cold as it gets for some of our readers out there, but that’s cold enough for me. But before we talk about temps, let’s talk about comfort.
The Pearly’s are the most comfortable socks I have ever worn. Hands down, bar none. Unless it is hot outside, my feet CRAVE the warmth and comfort of the Pearly’s. The way the Pearly’s surround the feet, insulate and encase them is something akin to the blissful feeling you get when you reach the end of a physically exhausting day and climb under the covers. It is truly amazing. For this reason alone, I can see spending a nice sum on socks but $58, I think not. But this is not where the Pearly’s shine.

Where the Pearly’s show their worth is when you are out in cold or wet weather on the bike. When the temps drop to 30 degrees and all your bits start freezing off, that is when the Pearly’s come into their own. On those rides I can tell you with confidence that every part of me was cold save for my feet. During those rides, I typically start to assess my body and I realize that what I really want is for every part of my body to be warm and comfortable. If it costs me $58 for a pair of gloves to keep me warm, $58 for a head covering, $58 for leg coverings… it is worth it. So would $58 be too much to spend on socks? Not at that moment.

Works well with my short knee warmers. The gap on the right leg is about 2 inches and reflective of how they normally work. The gap on the left leg is after the knee warmers have crawled up a bit.

How the Merino Wool and Possum Hair mixture work together to make such a phenomenal sock is a little beyond my understanding. Initially, the sight of possum hair on my sock was disturbing but it works and the Pearly’s are not just cold weather socks. They worked very well when the temps heat up. On one particular ride, we started off in the 30’s and ended up in the low 60’s. I shed a lot of my clothing on that ride but never touched the socks.

They Pearly’s are also good when the going gets wet. The Pearly’s have similar qualities as wool socks in their wicking ability, probably because they are 45% wool. On one of my favorite trails, the trail crosses and re-crosses a stream multiple times. Normally my feet are uncomfortable and soaked at the end of this ride but the Pearly’s keep them warm and dry.

The durability of these socks has been impressive. I have worn nice wool socks over the years. I have had a number of pairs of Swiftwick socks, some Smartwool and a myriad of other no-name brands and name brand wool socks but the Pearly’s look like they will outlast them all. The reinforced heel and toe area is a smart move by Pearly’s to ensure durability. I have found that pretty much all my socks get holey in those two areas well before the function of the rest of the sock deteriorates. The Pearly’s, quite frankly, look as good almost one year into it as they did when I first got them. The heal and toe box are still in excellent condition, showing no signs of wear at all.

The darker part of the sock is reinforced with nylon which makes a difference in longevity/durability

Weaknesses: The only issue I have with the Pearly’s is the price. At $58 a pair, they are a major purchase. At the same time, when you put it into perspective, is $58 really all that much? Let’s consider a bike part that many of us give little thought to: the bike saddle. For a top of the line bike saddle, one that provides both excellent comfort and performance (less weight, in the saddle’s case), the cost could exceed $60. $100 to $200 is not out of the realm of possibility either. Even when I consider clothing, $58 socks is not exorbitant in comparison to other clothes. A great pair of biking shorts can easily climb into the $80 stratosphere and more. Jerseys can easily top $150 for the warm wool jerseys.
Is $58 for a premium pair of socks packed with technological goodness, too expensive? I will have to leave that up to you but I know that I can justify the addition of Pearly’s in my cycling wardrobe.

Conclusion: The Pearly’s are amazing socks. The combination of merino wool and possum hair makes for a comfortable, warm bed that my feet love getting in to. My normal sock problem-areas, the toe box and heel, are reinforced for extra durability and after a year of use, they look just as good as when I first got them.
As a regular sock to wear around the house or out into the cold, the Pearly’s are quite good but as a cycling sock, having to deal with the cold weather riding and wetness, this is where the Pearly’s excel. The Pearly’s rock in these conditions and has become my go-to sock when the weather turns cold or wet.

For more information about the Pearly’s Possum Socks, click here.

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LifeProof iPhone Case Review

A few months ago we were sent the LifeProof iPhone Case to review. This product claims it’s water, dirt, snow and shock proof. What better way to test a product than by going mountain biking and giving it to the hands of a teenage girl. I’ll get more into that later.

One of the items LifeProof sent was was a bicycle mount. This allows any user to mount their iPhone onto a handlebar for bicycles, motorcycles and etc.
Lifeproof case review

The case has an MSRP of $79.99. Sounds pricey, but for peace of mind that your precious iPhone will be safe, it’s relatively cheap. The bike mount is another $29.99.

Here’s how LifeProof describes their cases.

Take your iPhone along, wherever life may take you.

Protection: Protects against every-day hazards
Freedom: Ability to swim and take underwater or anywhere
Beauty: Ultra-slim and adds only 1/16″ (1.5mm) when measured from the center of the phone
Convenience: Weighs less than an ounce (28g)
Full Functionality: Double AR-coated optical glass lenses provide unprecedented crystal-clear photo and video quality

Lifeproof iphone case review on mtnbikeriders.com

1.Waterproof vents on all mics and speakers. 2.Anti-reflective optical glass lens. 3.Waterproof and dirt-proof seals on case and port. 4.Scratch-resistant, waterproof screen protector.5.Polycarbonate frame.6.Non-stick cover.7.Shock-absorbing elastomer

One of the things we liked about LifeProof is that you have total control of your phone. All the buttons and even the screen weren’t hindered by the case. In fact, you could even operate the swiping motion of the phone while under water.
iphone case

Surprisingly, you can even hear music underwater! The volume buttons work great with the case.

If you were wondering about the headphone jack, don’t worry, LifeProof addresses that by making a port seal that has a rubber gasket to keep out moisture and dust.
iphone case></a></p>
<p>Did I mention you can take photos and videos with your phone while the case is installed? Well, ya you can and they turned out great! Here’s a photo taken from underwater.<br />
<img src=

The bicycle mount worked pretty well. Once we installed it, the darn thing never would get loose or rotate on it’s own. One of the features we liked on the mount was the ability to pitch the case any direction you wanted just by turning the dial underneath. There’s a pivot ball that allows you to full mobility, but once tightened, it doesn’t budge. This is great for people that want to angle their phone towards them, or lay it flat, heck it’s great just for the fact it makes the LifeProof Case more versatile.
iphone case by lifeproof

Overall we were really pleased with the performance of the LifeProof iPhone Case. I had my teenage daughter use it for most of the summer and this included her going to the pool with her friends, using it at Six Flags Magic Mountain, the beach, and other places where teens go. It was also used by Lady P who would mount it on her bike so she can use an app called MapMyRide to track her riding. While mounted on her bike, she’d take photos as well. As I mentioned before, the case doesn’t hinder or alter your photo quality. In fact, this photo below was taken while using the case.
photo taken with Lifeproof by mtnbikeriders.com

You also have to keep in mind that the case did provide shock protection. When you have anything mounted on your handlebar, that device will get some indirect abuse from the trail. Between my daughter and Lady P, they’ve dropped their phones with the LifeProof Case installed, and it never caused any damages. So here’s the dealio, we at MtnBikeRiders.com are extremely happy with this product and would recommend it to anyone that likes to bring their iPhones with them when they go on adventures. If you’re not that adventurous type, it’s just great to have for added protection for your investment, iPhones aren’t cheap, so make sure you protect it. Oh and get this, they’re working on a new case for the iPhone5!

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Review: Serfas Glasses

As a part of the MtnBikeRiders.com racing team we are sponsored by Serfas. This year they have provided us with sunglasses. I was able to pick out two models from the product line. After perusing the website, I was able to find two pair that were available with polarized lenses. Polarized lenses are a requirement for me when it comes to sunglasses. Not only are they better for your eyes, they look better and are clearer from the wearer’s perspective. When it comes to sunglasses, I ALWAYS wear them. They might as well be permanently attached. I don’t go outside with them. It’s like my smart phone, almost always within reach.

Serfas Syke Out w/ Polarized Lenses
Serfas Syke Out w/ Polarized Lenses

The two models that I chose are the Syke Out and the Force 5. Both models came with several different sets of lenses, a nice protective microfiber pouch for cleaning, and a good quality case. The different lens options included with both glasses are the following from light to dark: clear (great for night riding!), light tint (rose), polarized (brown/amber), and dark tint (grey).

The Syke Out glasses have been my go to riding glasses, and they have been outstanding. They have a metal, adjustable nose-piece and open or exposed lens edges on the bottom. This is not my preference for a nose piece, but I have not had any issues with it. I tend to find the plastic uni-body more comfortable. When it comes to riding glasses, I have found that a high-contrast amber lens tint has been the best. The Syke out lens (polarized lens) is a light brown/amber tint and is a touch light as well than the Force 5. It has been great for riding in all daylight conditions. These glasses DO NOT slip off my face at all while riding. They stay in place no matter how much I sweat. They breathe excellently, and do not fog up till you stop moving for too long. I do use some lens cleaner that includes anti-fog properties, but these glasses did not really need much help in that area. The lenses have good clarity, and have held up with with 6 months of riding so far. I generally have to replace riding glasses once a year because they just suffer to much abuse are are scratched. The Syke Out’s are still in great shape with no major scratches. My only complaint is not really a legitimate one, but in super dusty trails, I have had trouble with dust in around the glasses and in my eyes, but the only real solution here would be googles. So I don’t really count that as a negative here.

Serfas Force 5 w/ Polarized Lenses
Serfas Force 5 w/ Polarized Lenses

The Force 5 glasses were closer to my aesthetic preferences, so I wear these to work, driving, hanging out, and generally anytime I am not riding. The lenses are a little darker than the Syke Out’s, which I think is good for more relaxed situations. The styling actually reminds me of some Black Fly glasses I had back in the day. They are light and uber-comfortable.

I would recommend both of these pairs of glasses from Serfas. They have held up well, under high use and abuse and still look good with lenses in good shape.

Syke Out Glasses in Use During a Race.
Syke Out Glasses in Use During a Race.

Syke Out Verdict:
Breath-ability: 5/5
Fit/Comfort: 4/5
Lens Color/Shade: 5/5
Clarity: 4.5/5
Lens Durability/Scratch Resistance: 4.5/5

Force 5 Verdict:
Breath-ability: 4/5
Fit/Comfort: 5/5
Lens Color/Shade: 5/5
Clarity: 4.5/5
Lens Durability/Scratch Resistance: 4.5/5