You can ride a bike without headphones, but why would you? The wireless age has made it possible for us to listen to our favorite music while in the middle of a marathon ride, so choosing to go without headphones seems silly. Instead, what’s important is to find the right headphones for your ride. With the correct information, you can find the best headphones for cycling.
I need to start with the crucial information that it’s illegal to ride a bike with headphones in the following states – California, Delaware, Florida, Maryland, New York, Rhode Island, and Virginia. Distracted cyclists could be really dangerous for themselves, and for the other participants in the traffic.
If you don’t have time to read the entire article just check here which are the best heapdhones for cycling:
- Powerbeats Pro – The newest king of sports headphones by Beats!
- Jabra Elite Active 65t Wireless Sports Earbuds – Second Best Earbuds for cycling!
- Plantronics BackBeat FIT 500 On-Ear Sport Headphones – The best on-ear headphones for cycling!
- Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless Bluetooth Earbuds – The Best Expensive Bluetooth Earbuds!
- AfterShokz Trekz Titanium Open-Ear Wireless Bone Conduction – The Best Bone Conduction Headphones for cycling!
- BeatsX Earphones – Best Cheap Earphones for cycling!
- Apple AirPods 2 – Best Overall Wireless Earbuds!
Headphone Types Explained
Before you buy your headphones, you’ll need to know what’s out there. Headphones come in many varieties, so you’ll always have choices. Knowing what makes each stand out, though, will allow you to find the best headphones for cycling your way.
When most people think of headphones, they mean over-ear headphones. These are the headphones that have been around forever and were the first to make a move over to wireless compatibility. Worn over your ears, they’re bulky but traditional.
The excellent news about over-ear headphones is that they provide great sound quality and tend to have better battery life if they are wireless. The bad news, however, is that they can rarely be worn under a helmet and have a tendency to add too much weight to long rides. They can, however, be the best wireless headphones for cycling at the gym.
At the other end of the spectrum are earbuds. Worn in your ears, these are the direct descendants of the popular in-ear headphones that made their debut in the late 2000s. They’re small, but they are light enough to be worn anywhere.
Earbuds are great because they can be worn with a helmet and tend to be unobtrusive. This makes earbuds some of the best headphones for road cycling, but they’re not without their drawbacks. Earbuds tend to have relatively poor battery life and suffer from some sound issues.
There are also bone-conducting headphones. These headphones rest near your ears, but they conduct sound through your bones. They’re high-tech and useful, but still relatively uncommon.
These headphones can provide good battery life and are relatively light, but the sound quality isn’t always as great. You can’t get much sound isolation from these headphones either, but they are good for those who want to stay aware of what’s going on around them.
And that’s the most significant benefit of using bone-conduction headphones – you will be like a Navy SEAL listening to your favorite sounds while hearing everything around you.
Each of these designs has its own variants. Some over-ear headphones have a slimline design for fitting under helmets and some earbuds that are designed to have extra-long battery lives. As such, it’s often the individual specifications on the headphones that matter.
What to consider when buying headphones for cycling
So, what to consider when looking for a good headphone for cycling? Generally speaking, they need to be able to do a few basic things. These headphones need to be able to last for an entire ride, to feel comfortable, and to work well enough that we don’t have to stop and mess with them when we’re out.
Fit and Weight
For most, this means starting with things like fit and weight. The best headphones for road cycling aren’t always the lightest, but they will never make it more challenging to ride than necessary.
Battery life is also always meaningful. The longer you ride, the longer you want your battery life to be. Short means more charging, which can often mean less riding.
At the same time, we want to look for headphones that can stand up to bike riding. That means staying connected no matter what, not rubbing our skin as we ride, and never shorting out just because we get sweaty. There are also specific reasons why one set might be better than others — riding a bike at the gym? If so, you might not mind more weight so long as you can get better battery life.
Are you planning on riding long distance? Better noise canceling might make a particular headset the best headphones for cycling when there’s wind noise.
Though you should be careful with the noise-canceling headphones because they are not recommended for cycling on the road. I personally prefer headphones which provide nice noise canceling but not in-full so I can still hear a little bit of the noise outside. It’s very useful to hear some horns, people yelling at you, etc..
There are dozens of little features that matter. Some might want noise-canceling, while others might want a good companion app. Some might even care about looks, while others want something that has a comfortable carrying case.
In the end, the best headphones are those that work best for your ride. Lower weight, more battery life, better sound quality, and excellent features all work together to make the kind of headphones that you’ll use every time you ride.
Best Headphones for Cycling Reviews
Apple’s Powerbeats Pro is Apple’s latest iteration on the Beats line, this time in a compact, in-ear wireless form. Shipped with a case that’s bigger and bulkier than almost anything else Apple has made in years, these headphones are nonetheless a compact (.78 ounces) candidate for being called the best Bluetooth headphones for cycling.
Apple claims that these headphones are built for elite athletes and the technical specifications certainly back that up. These are long-lasting, well-engineered headphones that provide excellent sound quality without sacrificing utility.
These earbuds have several very user-friendly features. You can get an hour and a half worth of play time off of a five-minute charge. The earbuds automatically detect when they are not in use to conserve battery life. You can even control whether one or both earbuds are working at a time.
The only downside is the connectivity. Despite working well with most iPhones, there are some real issues with the connection holding. You won’t always experience this, but the earbuds can and will drop out at the worst possible times.
The good news is that when they work, they work well. There’s a level of sound quality here that’s surprising even from Beats. Whether you’re listening to music or making a call, the sound is crystal clear.
Despite some issues with connectivity, these are comfortable and useful earbuds. They are great for long rides, but you can charge them up quickly if you’re looking to listen to music while going down the road. There’s something here for everyone. You should definitely consider the Porwerbeats Pro for your next headphones for cycling.
• High-performance wireless in-ear earphones
• Excellent battery life
• Fast Fuel is excellent for quick charges
• Sweat and water resistance is great for longer rides
• Connection issues can be problematic
• The case is big, bulky, and heavy
Jabra is a company which makes some very good wireless headphones. They are part of GN Audio which is part of GN Group. You can read more about the history of this company on their Wikipedia page.
These small but surprisingly heavy (2.4 ounces) earbuds are a testament to how much power you can put in a small package. A solid choice for anyone who is looking to get good sound quality with a low profile, the Jabra Elite Active 65t Wireless Sports Earbuds are great for anyone who owns a bike.
Though the earbuds are small, they fit surprisingly well in most ears. They can be uncomfortable if you aren’t used to earbuds, but the snug fit ensures that they won’t fall out. It’s the kind of fit you want from one of the best wireless headphones for cycling, especially if you are the type of rider who tends to lose things on the road.
What’s surprising, though, is how good the sound quality is. Though it doesn’t quite compete with the very top of the market, it’s more than one would expect from wireless earbuds of any type. These earbuds provide a fantastic sound experience in a tiny package.
The companion app for the earbuds is also great. Though companion apps are becoming more popular across the board, few works as well as this one. It’s an app that you’ll use to make sure you get the precise experience you want.
There are a few downsides to the earbuds, of course. The battery life isn’t great, clocking in at only five hours, but the earbuds only take two hours to charge. The fit takes some getting used to as well, but that’s often worth the trade-off for stability.
If you’re looking for small earbuds that can still bring big sound, these might be the perfect pair of earbuds for your needs.
• Good companion app
• Snug fit for earbuds
• Solid connectivity
• Warranty against dust and sweat
• Battery life is mediocre
• Uncomfortable design
• Doesn’t turn off automatically after repeated use
On-ear headphones occupy an odd niche in the biking world. They aren’t easy to wear under a helmet, and they add weight to your ride. If you want great sound quality, though, they are hard to beat.
The Plantronics BackBeat FIT 500 On-Ear Sport Headphones are a good example of why you might want on-ear headphones. They’re a bit heavy at 5 ounces, but they provide a level of sound quality and clarity that’s hard to get from earbuds.
The added size also makes for added battery life. You get up to eighteen hours of listening time with these headphones, a length that far outstrips most of its peers. The additional battery life comes at the cost of weight, of course, and also with charging time.
If you’re willing to make the weight trade-off, you also get extra comfort. Not only are the earphones less irritating to the ear, but they’re also designed to reduce sweat and moisture. This makes them ideal for wearing at the gym, or really in any area that’s going to require you to work up a sweat.
No product is perfect, though, and this one has drawbacks. They’re awkward to wear at times, and the larger size isn’t always worth it when riding. These headphones also do have some sound quality issues, outperforming most earbuds but not quite living up to the standards of the higher quality over-ear market.
f you’re looking to get solid over-ear headphones for your workouts, these will work great. Check them out if longer battery life and a better fit outweigh the need to save every extra ounce when you’re riding.
• Great battery life
• Good design for exercise
• Excellent Bluetooth sound quality
• Heavier than earbuds
• Tend to slip off when working out
• Unable to wear under a helmet
If you’re familiar with the world of high-end acoustics, you already know Sennheiser. The creator of some of the world’s best (and most expensive) headphones, their entry into the wireless Bluetooth market is one that should have any aficionado excited.
The Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless Bluetooth Earbuds are a good marriage of form and function. At less than half a gram, they’re tiny. The technology in that small package, though, is nothing short of amazing.
These are among the best-sounding earbuds that you’ll find today, especially at this price point. They’re not only functional, but they carry a level of sound quality that you just don’t find in something this size.
There’s always a trade-off somewhere, and for this product, it’s the battery life. The earbuds only give you about four hours of battery life, which is shorter than even some of the value brands. It’s only long enough for a short ride, though the charging case does more than double the lifespan of the device.
If your main concern in earbuds is sound quality, it’s hard to recommend anything else. Battery issues aside, Sennheiser has made something special. These headphones are among the most acoustically-pleasing you’ll ever get to wear when riding a bike, so give them a look.
• Class-leading sound quality
• Incredibly light and comfortable to wear
• Great aesthetic
• Backed by a quality guarantee
• Disappointing battery life
• Not as user-friendly as some other headphones
At 1.27 ounces, the AfterShokz Trekz Titanium Open-Ear Wireless Bone Conduction Headphones are a great example of lightweight bone conduction headphones. Rather than having to deal with something over or in your ears, you can put on these light headphones and get on the road quickly.
There is a lot to like here for bone-conducting headphone fans. Though you won’t get the same kind of excellent sound quality that you might get from other models, you’ll still get a reasonably pleasant listening experience.
Sound is actually one of the best parts of these headphones. These headphones give users a unique ability to listen to the world around them. This allows for better spotting of traffic and keeping track of what’s going on when you’re on the trail.
In fact, a great deal of what makes these headphones work makes them ideal for biking. They fit well when you’re wearing a helmet, they allow you to stay aware of what’s going on, but still, stay on well even after a lot of riding.
The only real downside is that these headphones aren’t sweat-proof. This can be a problem on long rides, especially as the sound will go out intermittently if they get too wet. This isn’t something that happens with average sweating, though, so they’re still good for a normal ride.
If you prefer bone-conducting headphones, this might be the set for you. The six-hour lifespan will give you plenty to listen to while you’re out on your bike, so give them a try.
• Great for those with hearing loss
• Good for sensitive ears
• Fairly light
• Good for those who want to be aware of their surroundings
• Not sweat-proof
• Tend to rub while riding
• Some sound-quality issues
For specific riders, Beats really beat everything. It’s not just the brand name – it’s the expectation of a particular type of quality. Fortunately, Beats does deliver with these BeatsX Earphones.
At less than an ounce, these are some of the Beats’ lightest earbuds. Despite that, they’re remarkably hard to lose thanks to the connection cord. While this can be a nuisance to some, it helps others feel safe in the knowledge that they don’t have to worry about losing an earbud while riding.
The sound quality is great here, especially considering the size. It’s got excellent bass, which is a given for the brand, but even the mids and highs are nice. It’s the perfect set of headphones to use while you’re out on a ride.
What you’re not getting, though, is the same sound experience that you’d get with the over-ear phones. These are great for riding and exercising, but they might not be the best set of earphones for sitting around and listening to music.
There are a handful of other great features here, as well. We liked how easy they were to connect to Bluetooth, as well as the ease of storing the earbuds. From just a design standpoint, they are remarkably solid.
The only other area in which the headphones fall a little short is in battery life. Despite officially having eight hours of life, they only clock in at around six hours of continuous use – a little less than average. Recharging is incredibly quick, though, so you can get back to listening to music in no time.
If you are a fan of Beats or you just want good earbuds, these might be for you. Be prepared to charge every six hours, though, or you’ll be riding in silence.
• Awesome design
• Nice sound quality for earbuds
• Great connectivity
• Shorter-than-average battery life
• Not officially sweat resistant
The second generation of Apple’s AirPods is here, and it’s a nice upgrade from the last model. Priced at $199 they stay a little bit on the expensive side of the spectrum here, but you get the standard Apple high-quality product as ever.
It comes with a wireless charging case buds which are smarter than ever. Especially if you are into the Apple ecosystem, then you have to consider the AirPods ( also the Powerbeats Pro ). They are super lightweight and easy to use. The sound quality is good enough, but nothing special. I would say an average comparing it to the other headphones on this list.
I love the Airpods because they are super easy to use; integration with iPhones is outstanding. Unfortunately, though it has a few quite essential drawbacks. The first one which could be a deal breaker is that they can fall out from your ears during a ride.
The thing is that they are not meant to be sports headphones. Luckily, I know some cyclists who claim the Apple’s AirPods are perfect for cycling, and the reason is that on some ears they stay really sturdy, and on others, they fall easily. My piece of advice here is to test the AIrPods in an Apple Store and find out if they are fine for you.
- Awesome integration with iPhones
- High-quality product
- Look amazing
- A little bit expensive
- Could fall out from ear
- Sound is average
Check out this super-cool video by GCN which explains in debth if it’s safe to ride a bike with headphones.
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