For long rides, I like music. Or podcasts. But I hate having wires pull at my neck or ears anytime I turn my head. The upside to wires, though, is that should an earbud fall out, it won’t get lost on the side of the road or trail. Wireless options provide freer range of motion, but at the risk of getting easily lost…if not on the trail, then in a duffel, under a car seat, etc. And that’s one of the areas where the AxumGear Sprint wireless earbuds shine: They won’t fall out.
The kit comes with three different ear hooks and six different tips, letting you customize the fit to your ears. Once done, they held in place over hours and hours of rough terrain. My longest ride with them was the True Grit Epic, which covered highly technical, rocky singletrack and slickrock in the Utah desert.
These are extremely comfortable, too. Possibly due to the ultralight weight (they’re just a few grams each), they’re some of the only earbuds I’ve tried that don’t cause discomfort after 45 minutes or more. And because there are no cords connecting them and they sit almost flush inside the ear, they don’t get caught on helmet straps or displace sunglass arms.
Official battery life claims are 3 hours per charge, which is plenty for most rides and workouts. And the case itself is a battery pack that will recharg them up to 6 times before you need to recharge the case. This makes it easy to keep them topped off for a week’s worth of workouts and rides.
Inside are coated, sweat-proof electronics and a large 8mm driver that delivers surprisingly good bass for such a small set. They have an integrated mic, too, which was also surprisingly good at picking up my voice even when walking through an airport.
They’re setup so that the left earbud is the master and the right is a follower, so you pair them together first, then pair the left bud to your phone. Which is fine for most athletes, but for cyclists it’d be better if that were reversed. Here’s why: On the trail, I’ll ride with both in (don’t worry, it’s at low volume so I can hear other trail users).
On the road, though, I ride only with the right ear in so I can hear traffic coming. To do this, I have to put the left earbud in my right jersey pocket so it’s close enough to the right earbud to maintain a connection. They spec a 10m range, but that seems to be only from phone to left earbud. Even with the left bud in my right jersey pocket, if I looked left, the connection could get spotty. And I’d have to worry about the power/control button getting mashed on the left bud while it was in my pocket. Usually, it all worked just fine, but would still be better if the right were the master so I could just take that one bud with me on road rides.
What else would I improve about them?
As good as they are, there are a couple things that could make them better. First, when looking upward, the audio tends to get muffled because of the way the tips change position in the ear canal. Fortunately, in a normal riding position, the audio is clear, but I noticed that if I tilted to look way up or just stretch my neck, the sound would almost mute. Similarly, if something is covering them (like a beanie in the winter), sound drops dramatically. I get the sense that the drivers need room to breathe to produce good sound. See also my prior comment about making the right ear the master.
For charging, it sometimes takes a little finagling to get the left driver to seat properly in the case and charge. This could be because I have a very early (possibly pre-production) test unit, though. My only other complaint is the light. During use, they blink bright red every couple seconds. During the day, that’s fine. Even during night riding, it’s no big deal. But in a dark room or on an airplane? It’s extremely distracting for me (and I’m sure for everyone around me, too…it’s very bright). It’d be great if there were a way to turn that off.
All that said, I still recommend them highly…I use mine all the time.
Pricing and competition
I first started testing the AxumGear Sprint wireless earbuds right when they came out, around which time I noticed a lot of similar systems pop up online. As happens. Knockoffs are quick to copy an idea. I haven’t tested any of those, so I can’t speak to them, but I can say that I’ve also noticed that knockoff brands tend to sell for too-good-to-be-true prices, and often times are not much of a real brand with a real website. Having burned through plenty of cheap products trying to get a deal in the past, I’ve learned that often times, you get what you pay for. The Sprints aren’t cheap, but they’ve been mostly flawless for an entire year of use (and sweat). Retail is $189, but use this link (promo code “FIRST7GO”*) to get 7% off your order.