A few years back I was having issues finding a headphone set that worked for my bicycle commuting. I tried various brands, designs, and styles but was dissatisfied. Either the headphones would not stay in my ear (I have small ears and find it difficult to fit a pair), the sound quality was terrible, or they had unnecessary features that complicated their use. Also being concerned with safety on the Phoenix roadways I would typically ride with one ear open to traffic. In my quest to find a solution to the headphones I stumbled on a company from the Tucson area called Far End Gear. The owner had come up with a solution that was safer than wearing two ear buds and still gave the wearer the full audio experience (just through one bud). This idea is nothing new, but finding a specific product marketed towards the cycling community and located in the Tucson area was a deal sealer. The product I am referring to is the One Good Ear Bud.
There are multiple styles that Far End Gear offers. The first model I tried was the Flexible Ear Hook. This design has a ear piece that is supported on the ear via a flexible plastic piece that wraps around the ear and theoretically secures it. Like I mentioned earlier I have small ears and this design has not worked for me. The ear bud did not stay locked in my ear (even with minor movement like walking). I also found the plastic ear hook to be uncomfortable when wearing a helmet. The helmet straps would put pressure on the hook which would then dig into my ear. I was so dissatisfied with this I actually attempted to return to the traditional style of earbuds. Of course this was short lived and I decided to attempt Far End Gear's products again.
The second pair I tried was the Single Ear Bud. This is simply that. An in ear bud that again theoretically stays put in the ear. From that line you can assume this was not the case. The ear bud would work it's way out during sweaty workouts and did not stand a chance staying put when attempting to run (of course this was probably due to my terrible gait, but none the less). I was extremely frustrated with this as I felt I may not find a solution to using earbuds on long workouts. While browsing their website I came across another of their products called Bud Loks. These little rubber devices slipped over the ear buds and literally locked them into your ear. I put these through the ringer and tried everything I could to get these to pop loose. I head banged, jumped, and even gave a gentle tug on the audio cord to ensure their security. When I bought these a few years back the design was slightly different then what is currently offered. The old design replaced the standard rubber ear tips. The design reduced the audio exit hole dramatically and the sound quality was negatively effected. The new design does not replace the ear tips but actually slips over the top but serves the same purpose. The new design works well, but I actually prefer the old style more, basically just my personal preference. Either way the Bud Loks with the Single Ear Bud solved my solution to earphones when riding or running.
-Combines audio of both ears into one so the audio experience is not lost.
-New designs include reflective material for added visibility in low light situations.
-They offer two different length cords so if you use an armband you do not have feet of unnecessary cord to manage.
-Customer service is fast and very accommodating.
-The company is a local company that is helping support the Tucson cycling community.
-The single bud is not only useful for hearing traffic, but while hiking on trail you can hear riders and wildlife (it is snake season after all).
-Unless you are in the Tucson area they are hard to buy locally. The only solution is to buy direct from their website.
-The buds are expensive. I tried to save money and purchased what appeared to be the same thing from China on eBay. They lasted a week and the sound quality was shit. Don't cut corners--buy the real deal.
-If put through solid use the earbuds will need to be replaced yearly, depending on your rate of use.
If you are looking for a safe alternative to riding alongside traffic while still enjoying podcast and music, these are for you. The Far End Gear One God Ear Bud is a great gift for a cyclist or runner and could easily transfer over to other sports. This product is well designed and durable. The incorporation of reflective materials is a added safety bonus. Add all these factors to the high level of customer service and these buds are unbeatable. So support your local company and slap on a One Good Ear Bud for your next long run, ride or hike.
A Brief Note on Customer Service-
I recently contacted Far End Gear because I felt that the most recent pair of Single Ear Bud did not last as long as they should have. I typically get a year of solid use (multiple time a week and sometimes a day) before they need to be replaced. This pair lasted a few months and then the cord began separating and causing audio failure. I also mentioned how displeased I was with the ear hook design pair I had purchased and asked if there was a way to alter the ear hook to better fit my ear. Customer service promptly answered my request and informed me that I should send in the defective Single Ear Bud as well as the ear hook design bud. They planned on sending me two replacements of Single Ear Bud. I was pleasantly shocked by this and the company quickly sent me my replacements.
***This product was purchased with my own hard earned cash.