Review: Tune Bug Shake

The Tune Bug Shake is a small portable speaker that takes the place of headphones or earplugs. It uses a standard 3.5mm audio jack that plugs from your mp3 player into the Tune Bug Shake. The Shake can then be mounted onto a normal vented mountain biking helmet or a skater type helmet as well. Power up your mp3 player and you get music from the Tune Bug Shake (msrp: $119.95).

Tune Bug Shake, small, clean design with just two buttons… very Apple-esque if you ask me.

When I ride solo I like to have my mp3 player with me. I enjoy rocking to some tunes when out on the trail but doing this has its downsides: not hearing what is going on around you, ear plugs falling out or moving around at inopportune times and having so many accessories and necessities in and around my ear. With the Tune Bug Shake I am able to eliminate all of these problems which makes this device pretty cool in my book.

Not being able to hear what is going on around me is probably the main reason I have enjoyed the Shake. I HAVE to be able to hear what is happening on the trail. With earplugs I lose out on this even when the volume is very low. I have a difficult time hearing people communicate with me and I feel disconnected since I can’t hear the tires on the trail. I have had more than my share of people scare the crap out of me when riding with earplugs but with the Tune Bug Shake I am able to hear the surrounding sounds including the other riders or hikers around me. I also hear the tires as they interact with the trail helping me be in tune. Sorry, I had to.

3.5mm audio jack.

The Tune Bug Shake has also eliminated the ear bud falling out of the ear problem. I have tried a variety of different ear buds: buds, buds that wrap around the back of your head, buds that wrap around your ear… all of them have a tendency to become dislodged at inopportune times. When using the Tune Bug Shake it always stayed on top of my helmet except for the one time I crashed and I found it on the trail a few feet away, none the worse for it.

When riding, it doesn’t add much weight; definitely not notice-able after you put the helmet on.

Lastly, the tune bug eliminates having anything on my ear. With ear plugs, sunglasses, a head sweat band and a helmet I can have a lot going on in and around my ears. This occasionally led to minor headaches while riding and I normally had to give up on something… usually the music. With the Tune Bug Shake I am able to keep the necessities while still playing my music too.

I did find that the Tune Bug Shake’s sound quality was not as good on a vented helmet as it was on a skater type helmet. The sound on a vented helmet had more treble and needed a bit more bass but it was still listen-able. I would also prefer to have a wall charger rather than a USB charger but it does charge quickly. These issues are a small price to pay for all the advantages the Tune Bug Shake brings to the table.

Although sound quality is better on a non-vented (skater type) helmet, I would still listen to the Shake on my vented helmet.

The Tune Bug Shake is a great, safe way to play your music while on the trail. For more information on the Tune Bug Shake, click here.

Our FTC disclaimer.

First Impression: Vholdr HD Vented Helmet Mount

Vholdr Contour HD Vented Helmet Mount in Box

Here are we’ve been tasked with testing the Vholdr Contour HD 1080P camera, and though the initial impressions are awesome, the lack of a vented helmet mount left a bitter impression in the staffers minds. The goggle strap that comes with the camera is awesome, relatively secure and adjustable. The rub was, just how often does a mountain biker wear goggles? For most of us, that’s during DH shuttle runs and maybe free-riders. Here in sunny so-cal there just aren’t that many shuttle runs to explore and most of which could be ridden comfortably on a 6″ all-mountain bike.
So what does all this babbling lead to? Most mountain bikers wear XC style lids most of the time! This left us hoping for a vented helmet mount. Well, Vholdr was aware of this and was working hard behind the scenes and the wait is over!

The mount is similar to those used by Nite-Rider to mount helmet lights.  A dual strap arrangement that loops through your helmet vents.  The mount also has a three-position tilt adjustment feature which is very helpful in getting that picture just right.

Mounted to my XC skid lid
With Camera
With Camera

We’ll be taking advantage of a break in the busy holiday schedule to squeeze in a ride with our newbies on the Fullerton Loop, I’ll try to take some video with the mount and post the results here.  Stay Tuned!

POC Sports: Cortex Full Face Helmet Review

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I’ve been testing the POC Sports Cortex Full Face Helmet.

What’s tough about testing a helmet is checking to see how well they work in a crash. I doubt any product tester would intentionally place them selves in danger for the sake of a review. Well this is how different we are at I actually tested this helmet’s ability to keep me safe and from major head trauma.
POC Cortex DH
Let’s start off with the specs.


Cortex Full Face Helmet

* Carbon outer shell (DH version), Fiber glass outer shell (Flow version)
* PC inner shell
* Multi-impact liner
* Aramid penetration barrier
* Ventilation paths through the inner and outer shells, as well as the liner
* Ear chambers for hearing and balance
* Optimized chin bar for breathing and protection

Cost: Around $500.00

I’ve raced with the the Cortex since November and have put it through the paces in all weather conditions. I’ve been in wind, sun, rain and a combination of super wet and rainy conditions topped off with wind and mud.

The helmet I tested was a medium,I normally wear a large, but at the time, medium was all they had. Though my fat face and head looked like it was going to burst in the helmet, I was actually comfortable. POC says the Cortex has vents in it for breath ability. In all honesty, if you look at the vents, they don’t seem much, but shoot, these things kept my head nice and cool.

The inside liner was also very comfortable. But it got dirty really fast. Between the sweat and dirt that’s out on a DH trail…there really wasn’t anything I could do to prevent dirt from building up.

Now I’ve mentioned that I tested the POC Cortex’s reliability during a crash. This occurred back in November 2008 during a DH race at Fontana. I entered the lower rock garden and as I rode over a boulder, I was bucked off my bike and I flew into another boulder, head first. I shook my head because I was dazed a bit, got up and finished the race. I later checked the right temple area of the helmet to see if it had suffered any damage from the trauma. Nothing! The only indication that I crashed was from the retainer bolt on the visor, its a bit chewed up. Other than that the helmet saved me. In fact, I used this helmet for a few more races as well as training rides.

The POC Cortex has a few things that scored high in style. For one, its white. I REALLY dig white! Then there’s the orange accents, that’s a plus. The ability for me to see from the side was not hindered by the helmet. I was also able to hear just fine, this is important when you’re being counted down for your race run. But the thing that made me fall in love with the POC Cortex was the mouth/chin guard. Did you see how big the vent is for breathing? I was really impressed on how well that worked. It was like an air dam that forced are into your mouth when bombing down a hill. But don’t worry you won’t get bugs or rocks in your teeth since the vent has a screen liner to prevent such occurrences.

The vent is what sold me on this helmet. I’ve used other full face helmets in the past and I HATED the fact that when I am gasping for air, I was breathing in my own breath because air couldn’t get past the chin guard. But the Cortex, that was never an issue. In fact during one of my early morning practice runs, it was cold. At the end of my runs, I felt my lips become numb and chapped from all the cool air that was being forced while coming down the mountain.
poc cortex
So overall, if you were to ask me, and some racers have during the Winter Series, if I would recommend this helmet to them, then my answer would be yes. Though a medium was given to me to test, it fit my fat 23″ head just fine. I’m sure if you had a skinner face, you wouldn’t look so puffy like I did. Other than that, the POC Cortex DH helmet is one great find. I guarantee that the huge vent on the chin guard will help you breath better during your race/ rides.

My helmet makes me look like a…

Sometimes when I see posters of great riders like Lance Armstrong, Greg Lemond, Tinker Juarez, Melissa Buhl and the like, I see them wearing some nice helmets and they look super cool in them. In fact some of them even look better with their helmets than without.

tinker juarez

So here’s my dilema, there are tons of cool looking helmets out there 90% of people in this world looks really cool in them. But for me, being a round face, anytime I put a helmet on, I look like a mushroom….or a big penis.

penis head

Even with my full face helmet, I don’t look cool in it. First of all my face is all scrunched up, and since my helmet is white, I look like a marshmallow….

Just the other day I went into a shop to check out helmets. They had this really cool Giro helmet…it was priced around $70. With a price tag like that, I figured its gotta look cool on me! I slip it on, run to the mirror and was immediately disapointed….again I took the form of a giant penis.

What is it with helmet manufacturers designing their product to look good for people with longer faces. People like me, round faced folks are outta luck.
face shapes
No matter how many vents or different colors helmets have, we’ll always look like mushrooms or penises…