Friday, August 28, 2009

Colony Down Underground finals: Mike B vid!

Mike Brandt outta Perth made the epic trip across the continent for the finals of the 2009 Colony Down Underground Series in Brisbane. He put together this little edit from the contest featuring the Advanced Class...

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Paul Chamberlain update - Part 1!

Paul sent in this great update of where he's been at around the world in the past year...

Shit. I never told Paul Knox that we were going away… Better ring him up!

Anyway, that aside. I’d like to start at the beginning even though it’s so long ago and see if I can make it to the present before the future happens. Luckily Jen kept a travel diary so I’ll just nip off and locate that. . . . . . . . . . . .Hidden!!! Like everything else that I need. . .

I’d like to warn you all that this will probably be relatively uninformative as it’s currently all wrong over here in Blighty. I’m in England. In reverse order it’s been Iceland – New York – Mexico City – Other parts of Mexico – Cuba – More Mexico – east coast USA – west coast USA.

So now we’re at the start. We’re in LA. I’m carrying a lot of shit. Well I’m not actually. I’m just carrying what Jen’s carrying plus a bike and all the trimmings. Let’s hope that I ride it!!!

My first impression of LA was completely aromatic – the pollution is pretty bad compared to anything you could experience in Australia. We’re pretty lucky really in this respect. We stayed in Hollywood right off of the main strip and did some stuff for a few days – AND THEN – I randomly bumped into Bobby Carter at Venice Beach and had a ride. Venice Beach – so many facial tattoos. Everybody here is advertising something. That’s LA. Walking advertisements. It’s all external here. Met the twins – Identical twin flatlanders. Lovely people. Wished that I had my bike. Was very happy to meet Bobby. I tend to like people who don’t change their bike parts very often. They’re always interesting – just like people who change their bike parts often.

Bobby Carter's ride...

Shortly after dark we got the hell out of LA. I was stoked to be driving a hire car on the wrong side of the rode through the night on Highway 1 all the way to San Fran 2 weeks after having passed my driving test in Ballarat in Ben Moran’s dad’s car. Saw a mountain lion!!! Rad! There’s hardly any left in California. Shit! I’m driving through mountains. A sty begins to develop on my eyelid. We spend the night in some highway town in a motel.

Wake up in the morning and resume driving apr├Ęs donuts – that’s all that’s available in Onehorseville, CA. Coffee. Coffee2. The coast here is beautiful. As we get further north everything becomes lush and green. It’s very wet here. Reminds me of Tassy. Wet and beautiful. It’s getting colder. A huge seal colony halfway to San Fran suggests that San Fran will be chuffing freezing compared to LA. That’s ok though – I’m really looking forward to getting to San Fran. LA has absolutely no soul it’s a completely vacuous place. Get over it! Sorry… The beach had needles on it! Shut up! Stop LA bashing!

Where was I.

Seal Colony. Yes. Very beautiful. We saw lots condors in the sky. They’re one of America’s big eco-success stories. They were hunted to the brink of extinction with only one bird remaining in the wild in 1987. That bird was taken into captivity where it joined 26 others. A captive breeding program later and now I’m bored of seeing them – I can’t enough of being bored of seeing condors!

After passing the seal colony the rode began to wind through mountains. It was raining heavily which caused a huge landslide. We were stranded in a log Cabin restaurant where the brews were flowing in a ‘hamlet’ called Big Sur. There are worse places to be stranded on Earth I’m sure. Expensive food but I don’t care at this point. We eat and get invited to a dinner party. A Harvard lecturer needs novelty backpackers to show his country club buds that he’s a man of many shades – he was good company though – In his own novel way – and It was an incredibly beautiful spot – with a petrol station! 12hrs later and we’re going again. Or was it 4. Who cares. Let’s get to San Fran. We’re in San…No were looking at America’s largest coastal waterfall. As I look more closely at the water and draw closer through my minds eye I can see the individual water droplets. I slow the image down to a standstill and now I’m surrounded by mist.

The same mist that envelops San Francisco every morning.

The same mist from which everything emerges each morning and descends into and dusk.

China town’s abustle with people 24/7. You can take the the the out of the but you can’t take the the… That. We’re staying next to the red light district a couple of doors down from that bookstore – City Lights. It’s a beautiful city with lots to do. I go a ride flatland at the clocktower early every morning as it’s a small busy spot frequented daily by fixed, wooden and pegged warriors aplenty. I get up at 7 and do a lot of riding in the days that I’m in San Fran. I met a rider called Sean Parker. We have similar thoughts on riding and seem to want to do similar things. It’s a shame I can’t ride with him more I have good session on that day. I don’t see Pete Brandt.

Enjoying a gourmet meal in San Fran...

Street in San Fran is crazy. The level in Tony Hawk’s or Hoffman’s or whatever is pretty accurate. I hit the hubba hideout spot, China banks, the ledges under the bridge that Justin Burns shredded in Stu’s DVD – best section in the past year. A bunch of other spots too. Went round a curved wallride a couple of times on my elbow just to check that I still couldn’t do them – I think I’m too intelligent for them – I secretly know that they are impossible which holds me back. I thank Gerald for guiding me around San Fran. He was the nicest dude I met in all of my travels and I hope that he’s doing well in Charlotte now.

I’m sure I missed stuff…San Fran…Lots of bikes. I rode down one of those crazy fucking hills without a brake and it was a mistake – I got really lucky with the traffic lights and was going too fast to stop with feet. I could have died. It wasn’t the biggest one either. Nuts. The street riders in San Fran hit those hills daily. Jen was too scared even to drive down them…

We go out and drink micro brews and some other stuff.

A rider and comedy genius called D-Block tells me that I’m not allowed to leave San Fran unless I hit his blunt – of which I’m assured he has means to construct many more of. He says of lot of stuff that doesn’t make much sense but is really funny. His friend Berto tells me that there is a video on the comeup site which is basically just him talking. I’m yet to check it out. San Fran is a blast!

We leave San Fran. The plan is to head towards Yosemite National Park. I killed a couple of extra days in San Fran and from Jen’s look of anxiety the world may end as we frantically pursue the present as it runs away into the future.

We spend the night in Fresno. It’s not a nice place. I make sure everything is out of the car and the hotel door is locked to the highest common denominator.

The END…of the beginning. . .

This is probably a bit of a mess. Next instalment coming tomorrow!!

West Oz checks in...

Andrew "Buff" McDermott has been on a mission lately. Not content with the infamous down town marble spots in Perth, he & Mike Brandt have been exploring the city looking for more... & here's an example of what they've found already:

Shaun Jarvis also sent through some pics from a jam that went down the past weekend at the Scarbrough undercover spot. So good to see there is always stuff happening in W.A!

Aaron Bandy

Andrew McDermott

Eric Effinger fixing his bike & Russ chillin..

Joel Kennedy

Russ - hang nothing

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Sydney exposed...

Sydney has been made infamous over the years as being the second home for Michael Steingraeber. Beyond that though is a tight scene that regularly session together. There are a bunch of cool places to ride around Sydney & local rider Kilmer was kind enough to give us a small tour of these along with a couple of short bios. Stay tuned for more to follow....

NAME: Val or "Kilmer"

AGE: what does a number really say about someone?

YEARS RIDING: started out 97, got serious in 99, lost brakes and on/off for years. as of last 3 years ride weekly

RIDE: 99 GT Show - most components changed for weight and handling

STYLE: brakeless, mostly front wheel, working on bar-flips

OTHER: saw a dude doing a time machine on TV in a sports store and been riding since.

NAME: Alwin

AGE: oldschool

YEARS RIDING: on/off since 89

RIDE: Ares Garuda

STYLE: bit of old, bit of new, learning to "pump" rolling tricks

OTHER: inspired to start riding watching RAD videos

Riding spots in Sydney...
Is under an office building. It's lit and sheltered and can hold 6 riders-good when it rains-2 mins from train station

Where it all started - Sydney's most known BMX spot-half hour ride from any station-has a skatebowl and plenty of room

Huge number of netball courts newly surfaced-not accessible without car (near Maroubra)

Middle of the city - easy access - many like the spot if you can put up with skaters, people, gaps between the tiles.

the new GO TO spot. easy access, heaps of space and good surface

Monday, August 24, 2009

Ben Moran in The Courier!

Top Australian Flatlander, Ben Moran recently got an interview in major newspaper, The Courier. It's a great read to learn a little more about one of Australia's most original riders - check it out by clicking here.

Photo: Daniel Hartley-Allen courtesy of The Courier

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Random Oz News bits...

Eric Effinger is enjoying things over in W.A & has been regularly hitting up the infamous Scarborough undercover car park that was also the venue to the West Oz leg of the past Colony Down Underground stop.

Shaun Jarvis has been busy painting his house & through Freestyle Now!, organising a bunch of BMX stuff for upcoming months - more info to come! More problems with his elbow are meaning he's having to take it easy for the moment, but no doubt he'll be back to full force before long...

In Jason Parker news courtesy of Freestyle Now!, a belated Happy Birthday goes out to him & he's also working at Tom Price & the mine there. He's able to take his bike, so sessions are still going down.

Kit McKenna is also keeping busy in the UK. He recently visited London & Southbank & rode with the TGM crew as well as hitting up a bunch of street along the way including sessions in Birmingham. He'll be finishing his job in the UK at the end of September before doing a bit of travelling & back to Oz on October 13. I'm sure the guys at Imax will be stoked..

Colony rider Shane Badman is riding hard/travelling hard - currently in Hungary. Colony have an update on what he's been doing recently by clicking here.

June Dungca over from New Zealand!

June Dungca has been in Melbourne, Australia the past week riding & hanging out. He's a constantly busy man, also responsible for the New Zealand's flatland website, NZFlatland. While here a couple of the Melbourne guys caught up with him & James (Jimmy) Couwenberg put this little piece together from their day....

We (Rob and I) met up with June on Wednesday, 19th August 2009 at Imax at 10am. We knew the day was going to be great: the weather was on our side, a sparkling 19 degrees - just perfect except for a little wind. We rode at the famous Imax spot in Melbourne for about 2 hrs then headed off to the Bali memorial. This spot has a marble like surface that is so smooth you wish you had the memorial in your own backyard... :). The atmosphere is excellent and great for photos as you can see in the pics of June - I recomend some jams here especially if you're an interstate/international rider looking to get some great photos for back home or a BMX magazine (2020?). Maybe Matty Holmes will decide to do an Australian flatland scene cover and have all of Australia's riders in it?

June - Backwards Half-Hiker

Back to June, when asked about his reason for being in Melbourne and how long will he be here? he replied: "i'm in Melbourne for 1 week visiting my parents and to get some riding in with the Melbourne crew". When asked what he thought about Australia and its flatland scene, he responded with a huge smile and said he loves it and was thinking about moving to Melbourne :). He also said he wanted to meet up with long-time friend, Karl Hughes (aka Paradoxium) but was a little sad to say he has going back to NZ too soon, and will catch up with Karl next time he's in town.

Jimmy - Hang 5

We spoke about the the riders and he talked a lot about Ben Moran and the level of skill he is showing. He said Ben is on a level all his own, and also replied on my riding saying that he has to watch out for little old me! (Jimmy) hmmm as i'm competition to him...hahaha I laughed! He also spoke about Paris (the NZ rider, not the city!), saying that he is riding a lot & progressing - maybe we'll see him at the 2010 BMX games??

June - Hang Nothing

On that note June did say he will be competing in the next BMX Games in 2010 and also the Melbourne Downunder Ground. June is a superb guy with such openness to any fellow rider. He was great to ride with and have a chat and more than I expected. Keep an eye out for June in future updates, this rider takes no prisoners and has a lot to show the Australian scene. I won't say anything about what tricks june is doing but rest assured he will be a getting a lot of YEAHS when he comes to the BMX Games in 2010.

Rob, Jimmy & June
Photos: James (Jimmy) Couwenberg

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Ausbike 2009 - Melbourne, Australia

Held at the Melbourne Showground’s over Sunday 16 and Monday 17 August, Ausbike Australia 09 was a bike expo covering all things cycling, including BMX and even a little flatland.

Mike D and Kickass were there, Kickass had probably the best range of flatland gear at the show with Taka’s seat tubeless Giga frame and slotted everything from St Martin as well as nice stuff from Mankind.

Ummmm, and that’s about it. In fact that is the total extent of flatland specific stuff on show at Austbike 09.

However had Mike’s van broken down on the Hume it is completely likely that an event essentially designed to bring everyone involved in the industry together would actually be an event the brought everyone in the industry together, except flatland.

Whist physical flatland product was lacking, talk abounded… well, talk only abounded when people were poked for it, as it turned out.

In media news, a prominent flatlander is getting a feature article in the next 2020.

Both 2020 and Rebel Yell had stands at the event and both were probably the best stands at the expo. 2020 had a Spartan setup with a sofa, free copies of the mag and a camera so you could take photos of yourself sitting on the sofa and presumably doing any number of wacky things.

Rebel Yell had a fair bit of furniture that looked like it came from the op-shop arranged in their space as well as free back copies of most editions of the magazine and even stupidly small free coffees. The coffees were stupidly small because of expo politics and when it was suggested that they setup a bar instead, Pollack said that he had planned to but were told they could have nothing so they bargained to the 30mil cups of espresso.

The rep at the DK stand said that they had about 50 complete flatland bikes for sale at $699rrp. The bikes are the model after the DK Signal and contain a number of upgrades including three piece cranks but they did not bother bringing them to the show because they were part of the 2009 products.

Paul Knox from Elite Cycle Imports informed us that that he was expecting another child, that S&M were doing more LTF’s and that he was unaware the Paul Chamberlin had left the country six months ago saying “that would explain why he hasn’t been round to pick up his wheels”.

And again, that’s about it. Attending these events really shows the third world country that Australia is when it comes to flatland.

Whist you often come across riders complaining about the lack of flatland products available locally, a trade show like Ausbike reveals the other side of the coin.

Almost every distributor had a well founded horror story about loosing a large amount of money on flatland products. Whether it is because of low consumer numbers, high minimum stock purchases or the way the Aussie dollar goes up and down like a hookers panties, each seemed reluctant to invest large amounts of time and money in flatland products.

But can you blame them? Scottish John from Triple Six said anecdotally “for every 1000 BMX frames we sell, only one would be flat”.

The non flatland news worth mentioning to come out of Ausbike is short and sweet. The SE PK Ripper and Quadangle re-releases are a mish mash of the old and the new with things like US bottom brackets, 48 spline three piece crank sets and external headsets. There were a lot of cool arty helmets available for the consumer including some sparkly Nazi style ones. There were some cool wooden bikes for toddlers with 12” wheels and inflated rubber tires. The most contrived head tube ever invented (even for a track bike) was on show. And lastly there were these cool camper trailers for bikes that include a huge bed and solar panels (the perfect Christmas gift for Ben Moran).

The highlight of the event was the Freestyle BMX Australia stand which was completely empty except for a large steel crowd control barrier and whilst it was not great in the traditional sense, it did set up a fantastic metaphor and made important self comment on the relationship between FBMX Australia and the rest of the community.

The biggest trend for the event was plastic pedals, fucking plastic pedals, everywhere you looked it was plastic pedals in every imaginable colour. Matt Holmes said all the plastic was part of a twenty year cycle in BMX part design however it is possible that BMX riders are just cheap.

Last observation, it is unknown why a bicycle expo, held in Australia and called Ausbike would need to suffix its official title with “Australia”, but a guess would be so nobody confesses it the Austrian event of the same name.

Ausbike is set to be in Melbourne for the next five years as well as another expo type event in Adelaide in January 2010.


Photos appear courtesy of: David Apostol

Thursday, August 20, 2009

2009 OG Summer Camp & Contest

The OG guys sure know how to put on a good event. They've had a lot of experience in the past with running the Gypsy Games for many years & it long had the reputation as possibly the most laid back, fun event you could hit on the contest calendar anywhere in the world. Long may the Gypsy Games RIP.

But with the passing of the GG, the demand for a chilled out event was still there so the OG guys again stepped up & put together the OG Summer Camp & Contest. Where previously the GG was held in the small city of Ajka, the Summer Camp was given a new location in the beautiful city of Szombathely. As a much larger city meant more things to do & for the first time all the riders where able to ride together in the same place.

Running from the 12 - 16th of August it gave everyone a chance to ride hard, get used to the surface & catch up with friends from around the world you don't get to see too often.

I arrived with the OG guys, Andras & OG Marton on Tuesday to get some riding in & help setup. Denes Katona (who is pulling the craziest nose-wheelie, whiplash variation combos you can imagine) & Zoltan "Buri" Barta who runs the Hungarian BMX website where already there having arrived the Saturday earlier. Not a lot of people had arrived yet, but many were expected in the coming days.

The format for the camp was simple. Wednesday to Friday was riding & chilling with a lot of people visiting the water park & down town in Szombathely. The weekend were also practice days but Saturday also held the qualifiers for the Expert, Master & Pro class with the finals for each to be held on Sunday.

By Friday the 2,500 square metre mega-court was getting packed. The Czech Republic had the biggest turnout with some 30 riders showing up - awesome! As always, the turnout was global with riders coming from Slovakia, Brazil, Chile, Croatia, Russia, Germany, Austria, France & Australia & of course the Hungarian scene was well represented.

The contest placings can be found here so I won't go into any detail on those & i'm sure there'll be many vids coming online in the next few weeks too.

What I will talk about is highlights from the week.
  • Denes Katona currently owns rolling tricks. Any & all whiplash variations from the pedal, the rear peg - you name it he's combo'ing it some way. Oh, & he's also rolling cross-handed nose-wheelies as long as he wants....
  • The Czech guys have a really healthy scene. So many riders, everyone is really motivated & they were out there everyday pushing each other & smiling the whole time.
  • Speaking of Czech guys, Dominik Nekolny is dialled. I mean really dialled - he's got the hardest switches on lock & is also one of the nicest guys you could meet.
  • The Deep crew know how to have a good time. With Frank Lukas & Matti Rose at the helm they were always on a mission to get something done: photos/video/riding/partying - in any order at any time.
  • When it comes to putting on a top notch event the OG guys have it sorted. The fact that roughly 100 riders came from many countries & everyone had a good time is testament to this.
Here's a bunch of random photos from the week....

Waldemar Fatkin

Denes Katona

Dominik Nekolny

Alexis Desolneux

All photos courtesy of Andras Pentek at OG Bikes. For more photos click here.

A huge thanks goes out to Andras, OG Marton & all the OG crew for putting on another great event. As it was the first time run in Szombathely on the mega-court & with the hostel, things all went surprisingly well. Bigger & better things are planned for next year so hope to see everyone there again!


Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Hiratsuka Beach Park Jam 2009

Great edit of a recent jam in Japan. Shintaro has the last few combos & shuts it down!!!

Hiratsuka Beach Park Jam 2009 -BMXboze- from BMXboze on Vimeo.

Video thanks to BMXboze

Saturday, August 15, 2009

KGB/Intrikat Online Contest

Maybe people have already seen this but everyone needs to get behind it in some way!!

Martti and Chad are working hard to bring flatland back to what its all about, hard tricks and creation. This online contest will hopefully bring some crazy progression and push the sport to new levels and bring out some new talent for the online commuinty to see, yours truly is helping judge this, which im pretty stoked on.Let me finsih by saying this is just the start, Martti has bigger stuff planned for next year already, that will be released soon!

Dear pro rider/friend/company owner/business men,
please find on the flyer what me and Chad Johnston has been up to lately. As you can see that we really care for the future of flatland and we want to see it going to a positive direction. And what would be the best way to make things happen in a worldwide scale? Internet competition. That makes it possible for poor and rich riders all over the world to be part of it and show their skills.

As we all know the size of flatland scene pretty much then you realize that we are not after big benefits out of this project. We want to help. We want to push people to go next level and talk to their friends to get involved in flatland.

So, why I write you all this?

It is because now I am offering you a fair change to be a partner in this project. You can be involved as a sponsor with your company. You can be involved as a supporter (you get your name mentioned on our website along with a photo) or you can be just a hang around guy. We do not require oblications from you. Just if we can use your name/company name on the sponsor/supporter/friend list on our website and if you feel like donating something you can do so and the rider at the end will remember who donated.

Ok. There is one more thing I need to ask if you would like to be part of this. It is 50 EUR entry from you. The riders don´t need to pay to enter but as we all have been to the scene long time and we all have some other things going on in life besides hardcore riding only I know that all the guys can afford 50 EUR. If not, then donate smaller amount. I am cool with any donation (if you are rich, donate more and you get a special award).

But the reason to get this 50 EUROS is that we want to pay the plane ticket to the winner of this competition to a big pro competition where he/she can proove his/her skills.
I could get this plane ticket money from a bigger corporate companies but to be honest, I do not want such image for this one. This is strictly from riders to riders competition. We share good things in life.

Please e mail me your answer by 25th of august and after that date we are ready to roll and launch our own website.

I really appreciate your help in this one and hope your participance!
Best regards,


OG Summer Camp - Hungary

Badman recently left Sweden after nearly a year spent there. Next stop is Hungary for a month riding, hanging out with the OG guys & checking out the OG Summer Camp held in Szombathely.

First week in Hungary was pretty chill. Local street riding legend Ben Shenker had his bucks party that got pretty loose including go-karting, BMX street racing & long board diving at some huge swimming complex. Good times by all.

I'm currently at Szombathely riding on the mega-court. It's crazy hot for the past few days that we've been here but a lot of riding is still going down. Along with the Hungarian riders, there are a heap of riders from the Czech Republic, Germany, Croatia, Austria, Ireland/Brazil & Australia!

Such a laid back event, it's cool to see everyone again, hang-out & ride. There is a chill contest this weekend that the OG guys are putting on... stay tuned for more updates soon!


Thursday, August 13, 2009

Has Shane Badman found the world's best summer spot??

Badman was living in Sweden for the past year or so. As is always the way, only a few weeks before he was due to leave, this AWESOME spot was found. Perfect surface (marble), right on the beach & when the when the sun is shining is maybe one of the best riding locations anywhere in the world??

Best riding spot in the world?? from Shane Badman on Vimeo.

Voodoo Pre Jam edit - courtesy of Eric @ Monolithic

Eric at Monolithic Entertainment put together this great pre-jam edit from Voodoo a couple weeks back featuring some the worlds finest including Pete Brandt, Eric Wright, Ucchie, Hiro, York, Terry Adams, Viki Gomez, Yuki Sasaki, Matthias Dandois & Colony rider, Shintaro Misawa.

Voodoo Pre Jam 2009 from Erik Otto on Vimeo.

Clint Millar ties the knot!!!

Colony main man Clint Millar tied the knot with his wonderful girlfriend Niki yesterday. Click here to check the full story & on behalf of all the Oz flatland crew & beyond: good luck for the future mate!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Eric Effinger... now in Perth!!

Canadian traveller/nomad/dope rider, Eric Effinger is now spending the next few months chillin' & riding with the crew in Perth, Western Australia.

Plenty of things happening including a photo shoot he's already had with Chris Polack & the Rebelyell BMX magazine crew - keep an eye out in upcoming issues. Check out the Freestyle Now! site for the full down low...

Image courtesy of Freestyle Now!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Ucchie vs. Shintaro - Voodoo Jam '09

Great battle between Ucchie & Shintaro at the recent Voodoo Jam 2009 in New Orleans, USA with Shintaro finishing in 6th place. Full placings can be found here.

Video thanks to TNM Group.

Voodoo Jam Pro Battle 4 from T/n/m/ Group on Vimeo.

The Hour Glass Blog

Infamous Australia flatland identity & Cutting Room Floor media spearhead, Stewart Munro has recently launched his new blog for all things BMX & beyond.

Some great videos already up, take a look at the site by clicking here.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Wireless Headphone reviews

Nearly every rider out there runs some type of personal music setup. Whether it's a stereo next to their practice spot or headphones running off an MP3 player, there's many ways to get the job done. Here we take a look at the Monster iFreeplay Shuffle wireless headphone & Sony's NWZ -W202 model.

Ben (Ginny) McGinnes & Shane Badman have put together reviews on both models....

NWZ-W202 Cordless Walkman review

Who's a fan of riding bikes here?

Cool.., I thought so!

And who else is a fan of listening to their favourite tunes while throwing down some wicked turbines?


So then, is it safe to assume that all of us here at some point have had our earphones ripped from our ears, and felt the blinding, white-hot rage that comes along with it?

Sony, having heard everyone's girlish tantrums have nailed it here with their new release 'wearable and cordless' Walkman.

Having worn these pretty much every day since getting them over 3months ago, I can honestly say it's been the best $120AUD I've spent... I've been whinging my arse off for ages now (to no-one inparticular) longing for a nice set uncomplicated all-in-one mp3 player/earbuds... I've rooted around with every conceivable set up... From shuffles clipped to short corded cans and even the phallusy of hi tech/ hi annoyance bluetooth headphones.

So to start off, these are an all in one (albeit screen-less) earbud/mp3 player that simply sits over your ears.. and well, plays your selected beats. The added convenience of not having to install any extra programs as well as boasting a fairly decent memory of 2GB is always a bonus.. It will automatically sync straight up with Windows Media Player, but if you're an itunes fan... Do the work around... Make some mad playlist in itunes (or select an existing one), select it all, copy it to a new folder on your desktop, then simply drag that folder over to the 'music' folder on the Walkman... Piece-a-piss. Yeah it even plays AAC apple files.

The usual over packaged headphone jive is continued here, including a huge plastic blow mould retail blister pack, three pairs of different sized rubber ear pieces.. (awesome!), a neat little charging/data transfer stand with attached lead... along with all the usual standard, pointless paperwork. So far available in 5 different colours: white, barbie pink, green, purple and 'best in black'.

Mac-o-philes.., I can't personally tell you if these will work with Apple operating systems. I've read some reviews that they will, but I don't want to be burned at the stake for misguidance. So don't quote me on this.

The best part is that you can actually bend the connecting wire to suit your ill-shaped melon - this is where the player really dictates it's authority. It might take a few minutes, or maybe hours of subtly tweaking it to sit perfectly in your ears while staying still and efficiently executing it's job of pounding the sides of your brain... But if done right, the difference is astounding in terms of comfort, sound reproduction... and well, staying where you put them. This will give you the most advantage of it's huge 13.5mm speakers, (trust me, that's a massive driver when it actually lives inside your ear).. It really has a wicked amount of bass when seated properly.

The controls all sit on the right side.. volume, play/pause, even the always open (therefore slightly worrying) USB port... It is a standard 'mini' USB connector, so I suppose that's a muffled hurrah. Another handy point is that there is no on/off button.. Weird hey?

For automatic power-off just connect both earpieces together via the inbuilt magnet. Disconnect the two earpieces (to put it on and,) power it on. Wow, leave it to the Japanese.

A new and bizarrely useful feature I've yet to see on any other DAP (digital audio player), is the ZAPPIN function... Instead of constantly hitting the fast foward clicker to find a suitable 'flat-esque' rythm. You simply hold the play/pause button in for just over a second and let go, then a sultry English... Yes, a sexy, brunette, blue eyed, female voice, informs you that she is 'zappin in' with a 3 second sample of random tracks, when you hear the track you want to roll with, press the clicker again.. Even if just to hear her voice one more time... 'zappin out'...

She'll be back...

In a perfect world I wouldn't hesitate in giving this Walkman 5 skyward thumbs.. But I'm not perfect, I sweat.. Alot. I just find the open USB connector a worrying point. Electrical power ports and moisture weren't meant to co-exist peacefully, but the silent war rages on with my imitation sideburn acting as some sort passive buffer.

Just wipe it over after a good ride, It's lasted me this long, so that's a start. I'm happy, and I really hope this player battles on.. I love it.

Hit it up here.


Monster iFreeplay Cordless Headphones for iPod Shuffle

iPod Shuffles are a popular MP3 player. Their clip on design, decent memory (available in 1GB & 2GB) & ability to take hard crashes all give them strong appeal to any flatlander. And not to mention they also have the marketing juggernaut of Apple behind them & a legion of devotees that would make Osama proud & you have a product that is hot on anyones wish list regardless of whether they know how to work iTunes or not.

Yet even using a Shuffle, there has still been the age old problem of wires. They're annoying, distracting & often waaay to long. If you're a person you rides shirtless then they tend to get even more distracting always flinging about & getting caught on things.

Monster have taken care of this little dilemma by creating a headphone that allows the Shuffle to sit in the left earpiece. Ingenious concept with much potential, but does it actually work?

In short, yes. The Shuffle sits neatly in its little dock that is cleverly moulded to allow total access to all the switches & buttons. My initial concern was the Shuffle would jump out of the dock with all the constant movement, but the design has provided an incredibly snug fit that sees it sit firmly in place until you choose to remove it.

The pin that the Shuffle docks to is gold meaning the best possible conductor for sound. The headphone unit is sturdily built & folds down to a convenient travelling piece when necessary. Weather proof to some degree the speakers have are covered in a soft fabric liner common to all street-style headphones.

The Monster comes in a one-size-fits-all model but found to fit better if you have a larger head. It sits comfortably over your ears with the thin piece bridging the two speakers going unobtrusively behind your noggin & unfortunately like the Sony model reviewed, there is no adjustability. One concern I had before buying it was that the headphone would become heavy on the left earpiece (where the Shuffle sits). While noticeable, I personally didn't find it unbearable even after several hours of constant wearing.

Photos thanks to Andras @ OG Bikes

Though it has some great points, there are also a few negatives. I found the sound quality to be ok – it wasn't bad, just wasn't great was all. I guess when you're used to using ear buds then move to speakers you'll notice the difference. Also being a lad who tends to sweat a hell of a lot, I often had to squeeze the fabric covering the ear pieces dry. I've had these headphones roughly a month & no problems from sweat so far, but I'm sure that much moisture so close to electronics can't be good? Also the left ear piece with the Shuffle can jump about on your ear if your riding style is a little energetic. Not a problem per se, but annoying when you're mid-combo & your wondering if the headphone is going to jump off (which it hasn't so far).

You can find the headphones here.

I would give these a 3/5 rating.