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Check Out: Iridescent XC Shoes, Wireless Earbuds, POC Knee Pads, & More

Jul 16, 2021 at 11:10
by Sarah Moore  

A lot of gear comes across our desks here at Pinkbike. Check Out is an occasional round up of everything our tech editors have gotten their hands on. Sometimes it's products we're doing long-term tests on, other times it's stuff we're stoked on but don't have time to fully review. And, sometimes it's crazy shit someone sent us unsolicited and we're having a laugh.

POC Infinite All-mountain Women's Shorts




• Constructed from a stretch fabric with wind-breaking properties
• Water repellent fluorocarbon-free DWR treatment
• Zips on the thighs for ventilation
• Velcro-adjusters on the waist
• Envelope closures on the leg pockets and a zipped card pocket
• Seam-free gusset
• Uranium Black
• $130 USD

bigquotesThe POC Infinite All-Mountain shorts fit true to size and are easy to adjust thanks to the velcro-adjusters at the waist. While they might appear to be just another pair of black shorts with minimalist design at first glance, they're actually really well thought out.

The material is durable but stretchy, which makes the shorts comfortable for pedalling and there are no seams near the saddle, which also adds to the comfort. The material has a DWR treatment to repel water and is doubled up on the bum area for extra durability. As for the length, they're the perfect length to wear with knee pads. While I was slightly hesitant to use the "envelope enclosures" for storage initially, I mean they're basically pockets without zippers, I got over my fear and I now use them to carry my phone and snacks. I haven't lost anything yet. I even put my Whistler Bike Park pass in the non-zippered enclosure and it stayed there for an entire day in the park.

The reinforced material with wind-breaking properties means that they aren't the lightest or coolest of shorts and the zips on the thighs are definitely appreciated when it's warm out. I've found them to be best-suited to pedalling in cooler temperatures and gravity-focused rides in hot weather. 

Shimano SH-XC501 Women's XC Shoes




• 1 BOA (L6), 1-strap
• Mesh/TPU/Synthetic leather composite upper
• BOA L6 dial
• Glass fiber reinforced midsole
• Michelin tread pattern outsole
• Reinforced spike mount,18 mm spike option
• Women’s specific last
• Sizes 36 - 44
• $170 USD

bigquotesShimano shoes fit my feet well and these are no exception. Unlike some XC shoes that are comfortable once they're on, but a struggle to get into, these shoes are both easy to get into and comfortable. The synthetic leather upper feels supple yet sturdy enough for off-road use and the Boa L6 dials are easy to adjust. They also don't back off as you ride so there's no need to be constantly adjusting them.

The XC5 shoes have found a great middle ground of pedalling efficiency and walkability. They have a glass fiber reinforced nylon sole and not a carbon sole which means that they aren't going to be as efficient and lightweight as a pricier shoe, but they're also going to be much easier to walk in if you do get off the bike.

As you might expect, it was incredibly easy to get SPD cleats on and in the right position and I've found the XC5 shoes becoming my go-to shoes for both casual cross-country laps and gravel rides. 

Jaybird Vista 2 Wireless Earbuds




• Play time: 8 hours + 16 hours in the case
• Charging time: 2 hours
• Active Noise Cancellation + SurroundSense mode
• 2 microphones
• Find My Buds feature in the Jaybird App
• Adjustable equalizer in Jaybird app
• Three sizes of interchangeable eargels provided
• IP68 Waterproof & Sweatproof
• 5 colours
• $199.99 USD

bigquotesMost earbuds I've tried in the past end up hurting the skin around my ears or falling out when I start to sweat, so I've generally avoided them while out on the bike, trail running, or in public gyms. I've had great success with the Jaybird Vista 2 earbuds however, and they stay in place so that I can listen to music and podcasts out on the trail without being one of those people blaring tunes on Bluetooth speakers for the world to hear.

I like the the fact that you don't have to take out your phone to adjust the volume (just press and hold the left earbud to reduce the volume or press and hold the right earbud to increase the volume) or change songs (just double tap on the right earbud to go to the next song). Even if you're wearing gloves, it's easy to go to the next song, pause your music, and change the volume. You can also switch between the Active Noise Cancellation setting and the SurroundSense setting depending on whether you want to hear more or less of the noise in your surroundings. Someone calling you? A single press allows you to answer and you can chat on the phone without taking your phone out of your pocket thanks to the two microphones the earbuds provide. The earbuds were easy to connect to my phone and the Jaybird app allows you to dial in your settings and help you find the earbuds if you misplace them.

If you still manage to lose the charge case, you can buy a new one for $69.99 USD and if you lose a single earbud, you can buy one for $79.99 which I appreciate. You can have the best of intentions but if you somehow lose the charge case or suddenly find yourself with just one lonely earbud, it's nice to know you're not going to be out $199.99. Oh, and speaking of details, according to Kate Courtney's Instagram there's also a special edition "Sparkle On" version available right now to celebrate her partnership with the brand. 

Fox Ranger Drirelease 3/4 Jersey and Ranger Pants




Fox Ranger Drirelease 3/4 Jersey

• 85% polyester, 15% cotton
• Full garment uses recycled fabrics
• Built-in odours guard
• Matte blue or pale pink
• Size XS - XL
• $49.95 USD
Fox Ranger Pants

• Tapered lower leg
• Snap closure
• Two zipper pockets
• Stretch fabric
• Size XS - XL
• $99.95 USD

bigquotesFox's Ranger Drirelease 3/4 Jersey combines the comfort of your favourite cotton T-shirt with mountain-bike specific Drirelease fabric that Fox says dries four times faster than that cotton tee. The material that the Fox Ranger Drirelease 3/4 jersey is made of is incredibly soft to the touch and made entirely of recycled fabrics. The jersey also comes in a short-sleeve version and a long-sleeve version in a variety of colours.

The Ranger pants are a simple design and less expensive than any of the pants in Nikki Rohan's Ridden & Rated: 11 of the Best Riding Pants. As you might expect with a less expensive product, some of the details are lacking - the waist adjustment is quite basic and hard to use and the pockets place items right in the wrong place for pedalling, but the stretchy fabric is comfortable to pedal in and there is ample room for knee pads.

POC Oseus VPD Knee protector




• Slip-on design with wide elastic grippers
• Extra protectors on inside of knee
• Tested at -20°C and +25°C
• VPD knee protector is certified to CE EN 1621-1, Level 2 standard
• VPD material is perforated for improved ventilation and breathability
• Uranium black
• $140 USD

bigquotesThe POC Oseus VPD Knee protectors are flexible and smooth to the touch, which makes them super comfortable and easy to slip on. The grippers on the thigh are secure and I didn't feel like I had to keep pulling up the pads when I was pedalling. As for sizing, I generally wear a size large in Fox, Chromag, and IXS knee pads and these POC pads also fit me in a size large.

These are a middle ground pad, not super minimalist, but also not so bulky that you only want to ride downhill with them and to put them around your ankles or on your handlebar if you encounter a climb. They're just a great knee protector for riding mountain bikes of all kinds. While they're pricier than any of the knee pads that Mike Kazimer tested six months ago, they've been excellent so far and I've found that the flexible material moves incredibly well with your leg as you pedal. I'll have to see if they give me any chafing on extended pedals as they start to wear out, but so far, I'm impressed.

Author Info:
sarahmoore avatar

Member since Mar 30, 2011
1,432 articles

  • 80 15
 Paywall, paywall something paywall. Paywall.
  • 12 2
 P-p-p-paywall!!! (Singing voice)
  • 2 0
 Hey, did somebody say "paywall"?
  • 2 0
 @leviatanouroboro: That sounded like Changes by Bowie to me...
  • 15 0
 "Tested at +25C" is very important! I'm glad they can be worn in very average temperatures!
  • 1 0
 Can people function above 25 degrees???
Average temp here is 13 degrees for July, the warmest month of the year.
  • 58 52
 "I can listen to music and podcasts out on the trail without being one of those people"

funny callout. "those" people tend to be much more observant and aware than those who have shut their senses off. I hate hollering at you people, with your earbuds, to get out of my way.
  • 118 15
 Hmm, I can't really say that I've found people who blare music on their Bluetooth speakers while riding to be especially observant... Maybe you've had a different experience.
  • 69 18
 I'm with @ace9 . Earbud guy is way worse than handlebar speaker guy. Handlebar speaker guy heard you ask to get by. But yes, both are "those" people.
  • 16 3
 Earbud guy sometimes just pretends to not hear you to be annoying. Bluetooth speaker guy hears you but sometimes has a good song on and I don’t mind following for a few mins until song changes
  • 58 2
 @Somedude0nabike: Personally, I go out into the woods to enjoy riding my bike, not to listen to someone's shitty play list. All time worst was being in line for the first stage of an enduro behind someone who enjoyed the works of Limp Biscuit... came too close to puncturing my own ear drums with a T25 for comfort.
  • 29 4
 The SurroundSense feature is quite good. I actually find it quite terrifying to be completely disconnected from my surroundings while out biking or running and found this was a pretty happy medium between hearing what you're listening to in the earbuds and hearing what's around you.
  • 28 2
 @mikekazimer: yes, death to blue tooth speakers please.
  • 6 0
 I tried riding with earbuds a couple of times, personally I find music gets in the way of the experience.

That said, my post ride tune, as I drive away with windows down, is nearly always Aces High

Strangely enough I don’t have a pre-ride tune. A friend blares Kyuss, which is great build up music

What about you lot? Pre-ride, post-ride music?
  • 12 0
 Out riding on my own late spring last year and was thinking "yeah maybe some buds might change it up" two minutes later mom grizz growls from behind a bush in a ditch. Didnt see her at all, just the three cubs later after backing out. Right there I decided where buds are on the priority list.
  • 2 0
 @sarahmoore: that’s kinda why I like apple’s shitty earphones that used to come with, they don’t form a seal so I can hear and also don’t care if they flop out cause they’re on a safety harness
  • 10 0
 If I’m riding by myself I find listening to a podcast helps distract me from the climb, and I just like listening to them. I never put two earbuds in though, I always like to hear what is going on around me. I’ll take the earbud out at the top of the climb and focus on my riding on the way down, plus I’d probably lose it anyway. I can’t say I particularly like Bluetooth speaker guy, whether it’s on a job site, mountain biking, disc golfing, or at the beach. I don’t want to hear what other people are into listening to.
  • 4 0
 @skiwenric: Maybe try another type of bud?
  • 3 0
 @pudding: single earbud podcast distraction climbing is actually a pretty good idea. I might try that
  • 2 0
 @GravityCandy: yah, there are some buds out there that let ambient noise in, would like to try them for sure.
  • 14 1
 I will take my 300 watt speakers plugged into my electric bike. The world needs to rediscover Nickelback and Air Supply!
  • 4 1
 I never ride off road with headphones, but on a commute it is nice. I use Aftershoxs which are amazing, it's wierd like the music is playing in your head but you can hear everything around you normally. They work through bone conduction and I would never go back to in ear headphones when biking / running
  • 2 0
 @mikekazimer: observant I don't know, but annoying for others for sure.
  • 2 0
 @skiwenric: Samsung's give you the option. It works well.
  • 3 0
 @skiwenric: That’s exactly why I never use earbuds riding or hiking. I saw black bears a lot this spring. Maybe 15 or 20 times while walking the dogs, driving, riding, looking out my back door window. Plus I want to hear others out there as they might want to pass me.
  • 2 0
 @short-but-sweet: single bud is the only way, I always run one and being able to adjust the volume for climbs or descents makes it all the better.
  • 2 0
 "funny callout. "those" people tend to be much more observant..." Uhm...no. I've said this at least thousand times; no matter how awesome your music is NO ONE wants to hear it. I'm sure the Jaybirds are swell and if they can be routed to run stereo to mono even better. I however prefer the simplicity of a single stereo to mono Short Bud which A. lets me hear whatever awful punk rock disco metal crap I'm listening to at a pleasant volume, B. let's me hear everything around me and C. I don't annoy everyone with my aforementioned awesome tuneage. Also it's not even a 10th of the cost of the Jaybirds. farendgear.com/shortbuds
  • 2 0
 @Tristanssid: I put my earbuds in my nose. Same effect. Harder to breath though.
  • 3 0
 I haven't come across any goombas blaring tunes from their Bluetooth speakers over here yet .. I really hope this doesn't become a "thing".
  • 1 0
 @SoddenDeath: you are a lucky man
  • 1 0
 @SoddenDeath: me either. Must be a northern hemisphere thing. Sounds bloody awful
  • 2 0
 It's not about being observant or aware. It's about being so narcissistic to think that everyone wants to listen to your music. Even if I DID want to listen to music instead of nature, it's unlikely I'd be wanting to listen to the same thing as you.
  • 10 0
 Earbuds are the best way to fix a creaky bike.
  • 4 0
 I used to ride with headphones on the trail. I was pretty fast, but also crashed semi regularly when I was riding on the edge. I haven’t listened to music while riding in a couple of years. Only a few crashes since—I still have had plenty of little sketchy moments tho. I’m sure that not listening to music and focusing while riding is a primary factor in my ability to ride park/DH and stay at the threshold of my top speed without going off track, into trees, etc.

I think there’s a place for music, but I also think that it’s going to greatly impact the quality of your riding.

Disregard if you just like to chill or squid about.
  • 7 0
 Just going to sit here and watch this space.... Control-R
  • 6 0
 F5 is faster.
  • 9 0
 @Neechy: Alt + F4 is the fastest
  • 7 0
 130usd for a pair of short?? Wow
  • 16 0
 Comes with empty pockets too
  • 15 7
 @DizzyNinja: It would be more fun if they came with Swedish Fish in them wouldn't it?
  • 1 0
 I'm sure it doesn't even comes with a liner... I'll go with the fox pants, 30$ cheaper with more fabric Wink
  • 1 0
 @sarahmoore: you’d be surprised what is in our pockets, but I doubt those shorts ever saw Swedish soil.
  • 1 0
 They have breaking wind properties. Worth the price of admission!!
  • 3 0
 Riding with air buds on trail ? I would consider that only when i plan to buy new ones;

Easiest thing to lost over the trail shutter;
However silicon straps allows avoid that, i would say must be included in case u advertising towards MTB usage
  • 2 0
 I’ve been using the v1 Jaybird vistas for the past year on the bike and never dropped one once, even had a big over the bars recently and was surprised to find they stayed put. I was skeptical too when I first got them but I have to say I have been impressed
  • 4 0
 Love seeing more CE Level 2 knees make it to MTB. Right now, I'm hacking mine by using a L2 insert in a standard kneepad. Great to see POC, 7iDP steping it up on safety by offering L2. We go fast!
  • 1 0
 +1 on that.
7idp Sam Hill are great L2 knee pads that work perfectly for long pedalling rides. Only minus being they're quite tight around the knee (tried both M and L without seing any significant difference on that point). Top strap stays perfectly in place and the pads too. Not overly warm either.

Wish there were more body armors with L2 on elbows and back too (only found the POC VPD 2.0 vest and 100% Tarka)
  • 1 0
 hopefully these won't move down in a crash like my VPD air knee pads
  • 28 22
 Excuse me but $200 for some shitty offbrand earphones?

Catch me Outside
  • 19 20
 If you don't like these ones, what ear buds would you suggest?
  • 16 1
 Jaybirds have been around for a long time. I had a pair, worth the price.
  • 4 1
 @kbakes: Agreed. Jaybirds make good stuff.
  • 24 7
 It's 100$ for the earphones, the other 100$ is for this yuge paywall that's being built.
  • 1 0
 They seem to be a good choice if they actually stay in. I have lost 2 pair of cheap ones riding, one from vibration and sweat and one from crashing. I am back on wired head phones, what a pain in the ass. Miss my Bluetooth. Might check em out
  • 7 3
 @mikekazimer: Sony XM3, Thieaudio Oracle (although expensive), Jabras, even Ankers cheap $50 Wireless Earphones are better then the Jaybirds as the Jaybirds are typical rebranded earphones with some things tweaked, and also the Huawei Pro Freebuds whatever they called, much better than Airpods and Airpods Pro (for comparison for a regular person), these were just some I remembered, probably could list way more.
  • 4 7
 @theoskar57: lost me at jabras lmfao

literal trash
  • 3 2
 @nvranka: the 65T are a good option for $80, far better than these Jaybirds lol
  • 8 1
 Jaybirds shitty off brand? They were one of the pioneers in the sweatproof bluetooth headphones designed to be used while active. It's like calling a Ford and off brand car.
  • 4 1
 I ran a set of Jaybirds through the washer and dryer and they survived. I would stand by them.
  • 1 0
 @DeoreDX: well yes you're correct, except they basically cheaped out after creating a community around their name and started selling rebranded cheap headphones with slightly different drivers, lost all my respect to Jaybird after their bad few decisions...
  • 11 5
 @mikekazimer: already seeming more cranky since the Outside acquisition eh?
  • 2 0
 Surprised a mtb youtuber hasn’t mentioned Raycons yet
  • 1 0
 @BoobyHill: won't be surprised if Pinkbike out of all sudden will brand them as a "Rider's Essential"
  • 1 0
 @theoskar57: I have had a set of Jabra Elite 65T's for a couple of years now. Retailed for like $180. picked them up on sale for like $120 though. Best ear buds I've ever owned. And I've owned a bunch of them over the years.
  • 1 0
I use the Jabra Elite Active 75t. Water and dust proof with a slightly grippy rubber coating to help them stay in your ears. I have not had one fall out.

They are low profile so the dont interfere with your helmet. They have 3 sound modes, normal, pass through (which uses the microphone to combine exterior noise with the sound so you can talk to people or hear people riding up behind you), and ANC active noise cancelling. I mainly use them in the normal setting when I'm out in the bush on my own, and the pass through is tunable so I use that if there are people around so I can hear them approaching. If you just want to wear one ear bud it has to be the right ear one. In normal mode I get 6 or 7 hours before they need a charge. You can recharge them in their case at least 3 times from fully flat. Call quality is great.
  • 29 7
 @hi-dr-nick, I'm not cranky at all - it was a legit question. If someone's going to trash a product they might as well suggest what they think is better. It makes the comments more useful.
  • 1 0
 @mikekazimer: I can give more suggestions if you want
  • 1 0
 Cool headphones though
  • 1 0
 @tmwjr777: I haven't owned Jabras myself but we sold them in the shop sometime and we test every product before we sell it, they are indeed very good, we were all impressed especially that they could be sold as cheap as $80 with special offers/points.
  • 5 0
 @mikekazimer: yeah I agree but this is pinkbike, that’s almost every comment these days haha. Useful isn’t a term I’d use to describe these comments.
  • 1 1
 I've had many earbuds and they're better than most for sports earbuds in terms of sound, fit and comfort. I've had the original Vista since they came out and won't use anything else now (at the gym and on the trainer). I was waiting for these with ANC, but the ANC is a big fail it seems. Everyone's been complaining about loud wind noise with ANC turned on.
  • 1 1
 @BoobyHill: do you have good experience with Raycons?
  • 2 0
 @mikekazimer: definitely aftershockz brand, bone-conduction headphones are my favorite if I had to ride with a set. They're flexible, waterproof, and don't prevent you from hearing surroundings when wearing. I like to hear my tires/brakes/gears, so this is a win-win for me. The downside, the sound quality isn't exactly bose. The sound quality is akin to having an external bluetooth speaker, but I'm the only one who can hear it... I didn't see if PB had reviewed these yet, but worth trying if you've never used a pair! $100 gets you a set.
  • 2 0
 @mikekazimer: I suggest JVC wired ones that are water resistant and have around the ear loops that help keep them from ever falling out. $15. Eventually when they get destroyed, buy another pair. You'll be dead before you spend $200.
  • 5 0
 @hi-dr-nick: Give him a break. You can troll PB for the Outside decision all you want, but chopping @mikekazimer for responding is weak.
  • 1 0
 @rrolly: especially when his comment was perfectly valid / constructive lol
  • 4 1
 PB invest in a photographer that will entice some posing on the clothes fit shoots, @sarahmoore might as well be T-Posing c'mon
  • 1 0
 I will vouch for the Jaybirds, I am not paid to say any of this. I have had my original Vistas for a year and a half and the only thing that shows any wear is the case from me twirling it around in my fingers. They sit firmly in my ear, are waterproof, have a tiny footprint making them easy to carry, and sound very good. I would buy the Vista 2's if i weren't a broke college student
  • 1 0
 I obviously haven’t been on here enough to to know why the threads are getting spammed with paywall comments…someone care to enlighten me?

Also wondering if those POC knee guards will stay on the knee. My last top-strap pads were tight to begin with, but on impact would just slide right down and expose the knee to all kinds of trail atrocities.
  • 1 0
 Been trying these ones (POC Osseus) on a 1000vm+ pedalling ride and they stayed in place on the knee throughout. However, I found the top strap to settle slightly more down the thigh than wished, just above the knee and the grippers be uncomfortable enough at the back of the knee that I re-sold these. The top strap should be 5cm higher up the thigh like on the 7idp Sam Hill.
Also, sizing will work for prople with not too much size difference between the thighs and calves. I use medium on about almost everything. And these in medium were tight around the thigh but at the limit of being too loose around rhe calf which made it impossible for me to go to large to solve the issue of the top strap being uncomfortable.
Finally, you can't remove the insert when washing these: hand wash in cold water only which is rather impractical.
Otherwise good finish and materials.
But the 7idp Sam Hill take the win here.
  • 1 0
 PB was recently acquired by Outside, times they are a changin'. Check out this article from last week.
  • 3 0
 Zero possible chance I don’t lose at least one wireless earbud per ride
  • 1 1
 Pink-bike comments are always a win, Mods however getting defensive and posting as well may not be a good sign….

Can we all be friends ?

If pinkbike goes to shit, f*ck it. I’ll just go ride my bike.
  • 5 0
 I actually like it when they engage. They're backing their opinion up. That's a good thing in my book.
  • 2 1
 I’d say JBL Tune or Beats Studio buds, but I’d have to try Jaybirds, never heard of em, no pun intended!!!!
  • 8 7
 Exactly….Check Out(side)

checked out…….
  • 13 3
 And yet here you are commenting...
  • 1 2
 Skull candy 30 bucks good ol wire earbuds..but there not on the 10 easy ways of entertaining yourself on one mbosc boring flow trails
  • 1 0
 My gf has those shoes, they are really nice.
  • 2 0
 Who is really nice?
  • 1 0
 ear budded e-bikers.........
  • 1 0
 I was hoping for iridescent and wireless knee pads ...
  • 1 0
 They are technically wireless
  • 2 1
 Those POC kneepads are hilarious. Those are some knee-slapping markups
  • 2 0
 $140 for lightweight knee pads with no velcro is absolutely insane.
  • 1 0
 Has this place turned to shift or have I only just noticed?
  • 1 0
 one bud off amazon. single ear bud. durable wire.
  • 1 1
 This is an advertisement trying to look like journalism or a review. Frown but it is simply promotion/advertising.
  • 12 14
 $140 knee pads and $200 ear buds...

This is the kind of first rate mountain bike journalism we can look forward to more of with Outside taking over. lol
  • 4 1
 Where have you been? PBs been doing this for years.
  • 2 4
 outside doesnt determine product prices moron
  • 1 2
 @jakketayylor: that's some first rate reading comprehension you're working with, moron.
  • 2 2
 @badbadleroybrown: think i do bud. pinkbike and the biking industry as a whole has always focused on pricey products. outside didnt change that
  • 3 8
flag badbadleroybrown (Jul 16, 2021 at 22:25) (Below Threshold)
 @jakketayylor: OK, bud... tell me more about what Pinkbike has "always" done with your five year-old account. lol

... and then go ahead and quote where I said that Outside either determined product prices or changed anything.

Better yet, stay in high school and learn to read so you don't look like a f*cking idiot getting your panties knotted up over your poor reading comprehension.
  • 2 2
 @badbadleroybrown: lmao this idiot again

Did you just flex about your Pb account age? Hahaha
  • 2 1
 @nvranka: no, I didn't... but I see you're still illiterate.
  • 2 2
 @badbadleroybrown: literacy seems to be your focus here. Did your dad make fun of your growing up or something? Poor guy
  • 2 3
 @nvranka: well, it sort of has to be when you illiterate clowns miss the point and start crying about shit that was never said... but hey, good luck on learning to read like a big boy and I hope you work through those daddy issues someday.
  • 1 0
  • 1 3
 Uranium Black - more like sell outdoor Pinkbike. Super disappointed by this magazine choice to sell? Who can come up with an alternate gear mag fast??
Below threshold threads are hidden

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