Stuff Fatty Loves: Jaybird Bluebuds X

10.22.2013 | 6:05 am

UPDATE FOR PEOPLE WHO WANT A GOOD DEAL: The cool folks at Jaybird sent me a code Friends of Fatty can use to get a great deal on their Jaybird Bluebuds X. Get 25% off MSRP by buying your Bluebuds at the Jaybird store and entering JBFCBBX25 in the “Coupon Code” box after you’ve entered your payment and shipping info (shipping, by the way, is free for purchases inside the US).

Is this a good deal? You bet it is. With this coupon, you’ll actually be getting the Bluebuds for around $127, which is $10 cheaper than you can get them at the Amazon link I provided earlier. 

This code expires November 5, so make sure you use it before then!

A Note from Fatty: I normally don’t do a lot of reviews in my blog, mostly because reviewing things requires that I think and take pictures and explain my reasoning. 

But every so often, I use something for a while and realize, “Hey, I really love this thing. It has actually made my life better. I should write a blog entry about it.”

But then I don’t, for the aforementioned reasons (work, thinking, explaining). As a result, the list of things I really love and use but have not yet talked about much at all has grown pretty long. 

Well, it’s time to remedy that. For the next few days, I’m going to talk about some bike-related stuff that I just love. Stuff I use all the time and think you might like too. So, these aren’t going to be reviews, per se, because reviews are generally about brand new things. Also, with reviews you generally expect some balance: a mix of what’s good and bad. Since, however, I’m not going to bother talking about anything I haven’t already said — up front — that I personally really love, you should expect the “what’s bad” section to be short, or non-existent. Sure, if there’s something I’d like to see different, I’ll say what it is and why, but mostly just because I’m a malcontent who must find fault in order to make myself feel superior.


Jaybird Bluebuds X

Whether I’m on a road bike or mountain bike, I sometimes ride with headphones on. Go ahead and judge me for that if you like. I can handle it, because no matter what you say, you won’t be able to take away from the fact that attacking the Jacob’s Ladder climb and then bombing the descent with Danger Days as your soundtrack is — quite frankly — pretty freaking fantastic.

And since I always carry my phone — which contains my entire library of music, divided conveniently into playlists for pretty much every riding mood — with me when I ride, Bluetooth headphones make good sense, because I don’t have to thread cables down through my jersey and into a pocket.

I’ve tried other bluetooth headsets, and some of them are pretty good. 

But I love Jaybird Bluebuds X headphones.

And today I’m going to tell you why.

It Starts With the Packaging

This is going to come off as a little bit fanboi-ish, but I don’t care. The packaging for these headphones is awesome. How awesome? Well, I’ve had these headphones for about eight months now and I still have the box.

Oh sure, it starts out as a normal box. But instead of tape and everything-resistant shrink-wrap that could quite possibly send you to the hospital when you try to wrestle it open, the box is held closed with…magnets. 

IMG 7633

So you just take the green nylon tab at the right side, give it a gentle pull, and…

IMG 7635

The only thing missing is a little “angel chorus” audio clip as you open it up.

So what do you get inside this package? Pretty much everything you need:

  • The Headphones themselves
  • USB-powered charging cable 
  • Lots of little parts to fit the headphones perfectly to you
  • Carrying Case 

It’s worth noting that the carrying case snaps shut and stays closed thanks to…magnets.

Magnets are so cool.


You shouldn’t think you’re going to love your Jaybirds right out of the box. Because you aren’t. In fact, you’re not even going to be able to use them right when they come out of the box.

First, you’re going to have to get the fit right. And that’s going to require some time and maybe even a little bit of patience on your part. But think about it: your bike — the one you’ve taken the time to get fitted right is so much better than if you’d just ridden it stock, straight out of the shop, without bothering to make it yours.

So yeah: you’re going to need to spend between ten and twenty minutes experimenting before you get the fit nailed on these.

After which, they’re going to fit fantastic, and when you put them on, they’re going to stay on ’til you take them off.

The Jaybirds come with all the parts you need to fit your ears, pretty much regardless of the size and shape of your ears: 

IMG 7642

That first row is three sets of earbuds: small, medium and large. They’re easy to match because their centers are different colors (a nice touch for people like me who are terrible at eyeballing sizes).

The second row are…well, I don’t know what to call them, but they hook up into your ears and hold the Jaybirds in place, nice and secure.

And then the third row are little cable guides, to remove any slack you might have left over, once your headphones are set up.

You’ve got a decision to make on how you’re going to wear these, too. If you’re just going to wear them while walking around and maybe use the built-in mic for making/taking calls, the buds and control go down and can hang loose around the back of your neck.

If, however, you’re going to use these as sport headphones — and I definitely recommend that this is what you should be using them for — you will want to set them up so they go over and behind your ears, with the controls just right over your left ear. 

Like this: 

IMG 7655
Photo courtesy of myself. Yep, a side-shot selfie. Not bad, eh?

Pretty nice and unobtrusive, right? And a helmet can go on just like it always does, without anything getting in the way of anything, either. 

Here’s what it looks like from the rear side, so you can see the way the little cable guides work: 

IMG 7662
Photo courtesy of one of the twins before she went to school. Because my selfie-taking abilities have their limits.

See? No matter how big or small your head and neck, you can make these things fit you exactly how you like them. It’ll take you a little while to figure out which sizes work best for you for the ear buds and those other things I don’t know the names of, but you’ll get them. And then you don’t have to mess with them ever again.

OK, so now let’s talk about why I like using these headphones.

The battery lasts for hours and hours

Back when I first got these headphones, I went on a weeklong trip to Chicago…and I forgot my charger. I was sure the headphones wouldn’t last for the hour I planned to run (yeah, I was training for the half Ironman back then) every day, but figured I’d use them ’til they ran out.

But — even though I used them for an hour a day for five days straight, and then used them to watch a movie on my computer for most of the flight home — the battery didn’t run out. Which meant it was good for at least seven hours of use between charges. Which is long enough for at least most of the bike rides you’re likely to head out on.

They stay

Once you’ve gotten them fitted, the Jaybirds are easy to pop in your ears. And — unlike pretty much any other sport headphone I’ve ever had, they stay in. Comfortably and securely.

Easy controls

These headphones have controls built right in, and they stay right over your left ear. Three easy-to-feel (even through long-fingered gloves) buttons give you the ability to control volume, start and pause the music, and skip tracks (forward and backward). Which is all you need.


I’ve had my Jaybirds for about eight months now, and in spite of the fact that I sweat my corrosive man-sweat on them constantly, they work just fine. Just as well as when I got them, in fact.

It’s almost as if the makers of these headphones anticipated that I would not be sitting quietly in a cool, dry room when I used these.

Biking and Running

I’ve run with these on for an hour (or very occasionally, more). I’ve biked with them for hours and hours. They’re comfortable. They stay on. They stream music from your phone via Bluetooth very, very easily. And they don’t short out just because you happen to sweat.

Seriously, I love these things.

Wish List

Are the Jaybird Bluebuds X perfect? Nope. There are a few things I wish they did better:

  • Signal: I put my phone in my jersey pocket when I use these, and it’s really obvious that the Bluetooth antenna on the headphones is on the left side of my head, because if I put my phone in my center or right pocket, the sound breaks up. So I’ve had to get used to putting my phone in my left jersey pocket for these headphones to work great. [Update: Jaybird says this is not typical behavior and has sent me some remedies to try; I'll update this post if  these remedies work]
  • Social Mode: I never wear these when I’m out riding with someone else, because you can’t really leave one earpiece just dangling so you can hear conversation, and if you put the earpiece in, you can’t really hear very well. What I’d love to have would be a mode where the headphones sent both channels to the right ear, and used the mic on the left ear as a pass-through, letting me hear people and stuff around me. Then I’d be able to have music in the background, but not feel isolated.
  • Oh, the Name. I hate the name “Bluebuds.” It’s just really an unfortunate name (if you don’t understand why, it’s not my job to explain). So I never use it. I just call them Jaybirds. And I fully intend to continue to do so. 

And I sorta kinda was thinking about putting the price of these in my wish list, too. $137 is a lot of money for headphones — more than I’ve ever paid before. But here’s the thing: they’re that good. They’re light, they fit, they work, they last a long time between charges, and they’re designed for what we do. To me, that’s worth a premium price.

And in short, I love my Jaybird Bluebuds X headphones.

PS: If you want product details, go to the Jaybird website. If you’re ready to buy, let me recommend you use this link, and then enter JBFCBBX25 in the Coupon Code box after you’ve entered your payment and shipping info. This will get you 25% off the price (and shipping’s free within the US), which makes it the screamingest deal around ($127 and change). Make sure you make this purchase before November 5, though, because the code expires then.


  1. Comment by J | 10.22.2013 | 6:57 am

    So this review us why we didn’t have a Monday post?

    The detail in this review indicates that it took up much of your time thought. Adequate details and viewpoints. I enjoy music when riding solo, but that price is a bit much for me. With posts like this, I have to remember that Fatty has a “real job” too.

  2. Comment by J | 10.22.2013 | 7:10 am

    *though not “thought”. Silly autocorrect

  3. Comment by Russ | 10.22.2013 | 8:28 am

    So I have another brand of bluetooth headphones and really like no wires but having them over your ears makes wearing sunglasses a pain in the ass! How are these with glasses while running or riding?

  4. Comment by davidh-marin,ca | 10.22.2013 | 8:58 am

    Wait! A start, a middle, and a conclusion; all in one post?!?!?! Where’s my multi-part story. You’re messing with me Fatty!

    I know. It freaked me out a little bit too. – FC

  5. Comment by GregC | 10.22.2013 | 9:18 am

    I appreciate your sharing this, I’ve been using an old set of apple earbuds that are having issues (corrosive man-sweat I suspect, but my old school ipod mini is still going strong resulting from Hammers suggestion to clip it to the bottom of my jersey!. Getting feedback on a product from a friend is high value (but as you point out, the price of these is pretty steep as well). Perhaps this will go on my Christmas gift suggestion list. I know Davidh is struggling with what to get me this year!

    My understanding is that DavidH is going to be buying these for ANYONE WHO LEAVES A COMMENT ASKING FOR THEM. – FC

  6. Comment by Kevin | 10.22.2013 | 9:31 am

    REALLY like these and I’m pretty tempted… just not sure about the battery life. Longest rides/races will pop into the 12 hour range. Obviously music wouldn’t be on the whole time, but that’s what has had me sticking to wired headphones.

  7. Comment by Kevin | 10.22.2013 | 9:32 am

    …and +1 for Russ’s concern. Already a lot going on over the ears with helmet, cap, and sunglasses. How do the wires play along?

  8. Comment by MattC | 10.22.2013 | 9:34 am

    Sheesh Fatty…I’m still using the Arriva headphones w/ an Ipod Shuffle (Gen I, or maybe a II? Can’t remember) based on YOUR review…I’m SO 5 years ago! (also got a nice set of the Monster iSport earbuds up at LIVESTRONG Davis 2012 based on my Sist’a Angie G’s rave review…I use those now and then too).

    Kind’a like these new ones…however that would mean I’d need to upgrade to a phone that has bluetooth…I’m guessing I MIGHT be a few years behind everybody else…

    Deleted your busted image. The Arriva’s were great headphones, with a huge problem: they weren’t sweatproof, and I ruined a couple shuffles with them. That’s part of why I held off talking about these Jaybirds for a long time: I wanted to be sure they hold up over time, especially since they’re pricey. – FC

  9. Comment by MattC | 10.22.2013 | 9:35 am

    Rats…Davidh…can you give me some training as to HOW to get a pic to show? You are the Ninja Master, the Yoda of inserting pictures after all…

  10. Comment by Jacob | 10.22.2013 | 9:43 am

    I ride and run with earbuds whenever I’m solo, which is most of the time. I go with podcasts, though, because the sound isn’t constant so I actually don’t notice any difference in my ability to perceive sound. I’d have to take one out to carry on a conversation with you, but that’s more distraction that obstruction.

    If I have music, I actually don’t hear traffic, which isn’t ideal.

    Obviously, being safe is the most important thing. If you are riding/running where you don’t feel safe wearing headphones, for sure don’t use them. – FC

  11. Comment by Ray Wright | 10.22.2013 | 9:48 am

    100% agreement on these. I never listen to music when I ride, but I always wear my Blubuds when I am either on my Concept 2 rowing machine or just general streching/lifting in my basement. Best. Earbuds. Ever.

  12. Comment by Wife#.667 | 10.22.2013 | 9:49 am

    @GregC… if David gets you something better for Christmas than he gets for me, I hope you have a spare room for him to occupy, cause he’ll be all yours after that honey!

    Those do sound amazing Fatty. I don’t mind the spend for really good earbuds because I MUST have music when I do any exercise by myself (I kind of hate it otherwise frankly, music makes it fun), and when you break down the cost of clear, crisp music over many, many workouts, good headphones are well worth the investment.

    I think that’s about what my Bose waterproof sports set was, and I love it. My limitation is that I also use an old school iPod rather than phone (and I have 3 of them, all in great working order), so Bluetooth is not in the cards. I have to be plugged in. That can be annoying but these came with a good armband at least and clips on the cables, so it’s workable, and the sound and fit are great.

    But clearly for a little piece of heaven on earth, the Jaybirds would be way better. One day… one day.

    Cue angels here:

  13. Comment by Wife#.667 | 10.22.2013 | 10:40 am

    “My understanding is that DavidH is going to be buying these for ANYONE WHO LEAVES A COMMENT ASKING FOR THEM. – FC”


    I don’t see the problem. You should be able to ask for a pair, right? – FC

  14. Comment by bob | 10.22.2013 | 10:45 am

    Fatty thanks for not showing us the big ole cyst up close!

    The big ol’ cyst is now gone. In its place is a sewn-up hole. And yes, I was careful to show the not-gross side of my head in these pics. – FC

  15. Comment by davidh-marin,ca | 10.22.2013 | 11:03 am

    Alas. Wife #.667 is obviously telling me my old ‘homemade’ gift isn’t going to fly this year :-(

    And for you Greg i just need an address:
    and in Stereo too!

    And Matt, you are not forgotten, though asking me technical advice…..? You’re the rocket man. In fact I think I saw one of you efforts just recently.

    maybe I can help you.

  16. Comment by GregC | 10.22.2013 | 11:24 am

    @Davidh, I think I have at least one of these still in my cabinet- I cant bring myself to throw away anything that still works. Call me packrat. Also wife #.667 just threw water on my go to gift idea.

  17. Comment by Clydesteve | 10.22.2013 | 12:31 pm

    GregC – not to worry – Fatty says these things can survive man-sweat, so throwing a little water on your bluebugs ought not harm them in any discernible fashion at all.

    davidh – my ol’ dumb phone does have Bluetooth, so I am totally in! This is just so cool of you! [gush, gush ad nauseum]

  18. Comment by davidh-marin,ca | 10.22.2013 | 12:52 pm

    at al Personally I don’t understand why everyone wants blueteeth? Personally I find it a little disturbing:

    I’m putting mine back in and going to the store.

  19. Comment by Gary C | 10.22.2013 | 1:51 pm

    They are not bluetooth, but I have been using Aftershokz bone conduction headphones. The advantage is you can carry on a conversation, hear surrounding traffic, etc. while you “hear” your music. They seem safer than earbuds, especially when cycling.

  20. Comment by davidh-marin,ca | 10.22.2013 | 2:59 pm

    Thank you Fatty for that coupon code. Wife#.667 was not happy as I continued to pull more and more wrapping paper out of the closets.

    Now I can tell her I got a REALLY GOOD price….and FREE Shipping. Win/Win!

  21. Comment by MattC | 10.22.2013 | 3:57 pm

    Davidh…I’d prefer my set to be in a snazzy if you could contact Jaybird and have them get on that right away…(I’ll need a bluetooth phone too btw…an iphone 4 or newer would be satisfactory…WITH a prepaid contract at no cost to me).

    Oh…and about that rocket launch pic… You think that was an ACCIDENT? Do you know how much work it takes to slip that beautiful expanding spiral launch software past the launch engineers? I based that one on how I used to fly kites as a kid…I call it the “Death Swirl”.

  22. Comment by Mark in Bremerton | 10.22.2013 | 4:07 pm

    I wear ear PLUGS when I ride (damn hearing loss). And on my Concept2 (@Ray Wright, glad to see I’m not the only one who’s seen the light) I wear active noise cancelling headphones – they blank out all the fan and rower noise, music is nice and clear and not too loud. Old school I know, but hey, so am I.

  23. Comment by AKChick | 10.22.2013 | 8:58 pm

    I ride with headphones. I can’t stand to ride without music. I use a $30 pair of Skullcandy earbuds with the moldable foam plugs (not sure what those things are called). I have small ears and all the other earbuds hurt. I found the moldable foam plug/bud covers and LOVE them since they conform to my ear and shut out noise. When I ride, I take the traffic side earbud out except on really steep uphill climbs.

    I had thought I posted it in the proper spot but noticed that it hadn’t worked. I don’t like gloves when I ride – short or full finger. I have short stubby hands and they are just really uncomfortable. When forced to wear them in the winter, I go with my Serius cross country ski gloves (awesome) and if it’s not windy, I usually get so hot I have to take them off. I also use pogies so with those on, I can usually ride gloveless all winter.

    Thanks DavidH! You have my address for the headphones.Thanks to my sister-in-law, I upgraded to the iPhone 5 (WAY better photos and video). Winking at Wife .667. And Rune’s journal should be at destination number two soon. It took a bit longer to write responses than I expected and last week was a busy one at work. When I come for Davis next year (I have a place to stay for that hopefully will be close to you) I will have to ask Rune if I can borrow it so I can read it. I predict it will be the best travel journal in his class. :)

  24. Comment by DonQuix | 10.22.2013 | 9:59 pm

    Damn you and your coupon. Do you know how much harm your stupid blog has done to my wallet, what with all the buying useful equipment and donating to good causes.

    On another note I’d love some combination of these and my favorite workout headphone the “airdrives.” Although as great as those are they are not at all sweat proof and wouldn’t recommend them.

  25. Comment by Marcel Beaudoin | 10.23.2013 | 8:17 am

    I look forward to seeing if the experience Fatty had with the bluetooth is abnormal, for the distance. If I can have my phone in my belt pouch (as opposed to my arm), that would be awesome.

    I also like the comments about the sweat. I have killed 4 or 5 sets of “sports, sweat resistant” headphones.

  26. Comment by cyclingjimbo | 10.23.2013 | 8:29 am

    I am with Wife#.667 – I bought a pair of Bose sports ear buds to use with my iPod Classic when I am indoors and working in the yard, and I love them – great sounds, great fit, and impervious to the copious man sweat I produce when I am at hard labor.

    I don’t ride with ear buds. Pennsylvania roads have no shoulders and it just isn’t safe to be out there unless you have an open ear to the traffic side – and that’s my only good ear, so riding with one ear open and music in the other is not an option.

    And for all the Friends of Fatty out there who are interested, I picked up my World Bicycle Relief raffle bike Monday evening, and as soon as I have a free evening I will get some pictures and write up a short post about it for Fatty. The bike is everything Fatty billed it up to be! Even the guys at the shop who put it together were droolng.

    More later.

  27. Comment by toddeo | 10.23.2013 | 10:01 am

    Shame on you Fatty. Riders with earbuds are a hazard, on the trails or on the road.

    I ride with headphones all of the time. Try using old school over the head models and keep them in front of and off of the ear. they work like speakers and you can converse and hear ambient noise like other riders or cars. jst lie the ones in the walkman photo posted by davidh-marin,ca.

    You can find them for about $5 each.

  28. Comment by Erik S | 10.23.2013 | 10:35 am

    I’ve been running Aftershokz.

    Sound quality is definitely less than ideal, but I can hear people / cars a lot better – which IMO is a worthy tradeoff.

    Also, they appear to be more durable than anything else I’ve used – the controls still work after a full season of use. This is likely due to the controls clipping on my collar, and not being in the direct path of sweat coming down the cord.

  29. Comment by Laura | 10.23.2013 | 12:53 pm

    Can’t wait to try them! I’ve been eyeing these for a while. The helpful dude on the website said he often rides with one ear in and one ear out. I use one headphone when I ride and I’ve found on the Accessibility settings for my iPhone, I can set the audio to “mono,” which means you hear everything in both ears. So, you don’t miss anything if you’re listening to something that’s in stereo.

  30. Comment by Kel | 10.24.2013 | 7:30 am

    Please someone tell me – do wireless buds work with any sort of ipod? (I have an older touch and a shuffle). thanks!

  31. Comment by Marcel Beaudoin | 10.24.2013 | 7:57 am

    I am not sure that older ipods (or ipods of any kind, to be honest) have bluetooth capability, which is what wireless buds work off of. So, you would be outta luck.

  32. Comment by Kel | 10.24.2013 | 6:31 pm

    Thank you Marcel! You answered my question – I need to work from a blue tooth device. I did not want to ask my husband, as I wanted to get these as a gift for him. thanks!!!

  33. Comment by PolkCyclist | 11.4.2013 | 5:45 am

    Quick question regarding your math. You say that these are $137 retail, and that with a 25% coupon they are $127? 25% of 137 is 34.25. That would make them $102.75. Add on sales tax of 7%? That would make them roughly $110. Where are you coming up with the $127? Thanks in advance to anyone who can clear this up for me.

  34. Comment by Jeremy | 11.7.2013 | 12:13 am

    I just got a set today. The order went through on Monday so that’s some amazing turnaround. They are pretty spiffy. The sound is good and fitting them really wasn’t as hard as Fatty says, but I used his well-earned tips, so that probably helped. It freaked my kids out that they weren’t plugged into my phone. I really was thankful I had them when I crashed off my rollers today (a little out of practice) and didn’t get all tangled up in wires.

  35. Comment by onmarshcreek | 11.18.2013 | 7:37 am

    I would like to buy some of these for my wife for Christmas. Since the coupon is expired, could you put the Amazon link back on, so you can get some credit for the purchase?


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