The best open-ear headphones for bike riding

Like many people, I have had most of the epidemic that rekindled my love of cycling. When I go out, I usually want to not be too bored because I can listen to something while riding. The problem, of course, is that it is a very bad idea to block out noise from the outside world when riding a bike. It’s very dangerous when riding in cities, especially cities that have little or no bike infrastructure to protect from cars.

So I did a short quest to solve this problem with open ear headphones. Open-ear headphones work exactly as you would expect. While you can listen to music or podcasts, keep your ears open to traffic jams or anything else around you.

When testing open-ear headphones for bike riding, I noticed that feature priorities were almost inverted. The sound quality is good, but it’s less important than suddenly holding it firmly to your ear. Noise canceling is possible right away. It’s literally the opposite of what we’re trying to do here. Volume is also important.

Of the 5-6 different options I’ve tried, these different priorities have driven my decision. My top pick doesn’t sound great, but it’s the least hassle to use when pedaling.

Aftershokz Aeropex

AfterShokz Aeropex

The best open-ear headphones for bikes: AfterShokz Aeropex

The best headphones to use when riding a bike are the $159.95 AfterShokz Aeropex Bone Conduction Headphones. It works by pressing two completely sealed “speakers” against your head just in front of your ears. The audio then literally travels (passes) through the skull to the eardrum, completely opening the real ear to the world.

There are many reasons why you don’t like bone conduction headphones. It’s generally comfortable, but when the vibrating pods are pressed against your head, you end up feeling tired. If it makes sense, it’s a kind of feeling that you don’t really know until you become. There’s also a large band that curves behind your neck, which can get caught in the collar.

I also don’t like using proprietary chargers that they are guaranteed to lose.

Aftershokz Aeropex

AfterShokz Aeropex

Then there’s sound quality to place right above the original pack, Apple wired earbuds, and under every decent pair of Bluetooth headphones. The Aeropex headphones sound great, but are primarily related to other open headphone options.

But again: these priorities are reversed. Aeropex looks a bit silly, but doesn’t interfere with helmet straps or glasses (sometimes you can get stuck in a mask strap). The most intricate part of open-ear headphones is the method they use to physically place the sound next to the ear, and Aeropex does that great.

You can get loud stereo sound, so you can understand podcasts in moderate traffic situations. But bone conduction is not magic. When the environment becomes truly noisy, you will drown like any other.

If you want to save a little money, AfterShokz makes a few less expensive models (which I haven’t tested). It also comes in multiple sizes, so you may need to return one to get the proper size.

Samsung's Galaxy Buds Plus, the best wireless earbuds for most people, are in women's ears.

Galaxy Buds Plus
Photo: Chris Welch / The Verge

Use only the buds you already have in one ear: Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus

If you don’t ride a lot of bikes or feel you don’t have to spend extra money, the wireless earbuds you already own may be a good choice.

EDIT: Earbuds. It’s not really safe to wear both earbuds while biking in the city. Especially if it covers your ears or has some kind of noise canceling function. I personally wouldn’t even recommend using two headphones with pass-through mode. These features took me too much time.

Your state may have laws against using two headphones (or headphones) while riding a bike.

Anyway, the move is to put one earbud on the ear facing away from where there is traffic. In America it will be the right ear. Open your left ear to hear and react to the world around you.

There are many advantages to this method. No need to spend more money. You can continue to use the buds you already have. If it’s an ear-clogging style bud, it means you don’t have to turn the volume up too loud to hear the sound.

The downside should be clear. When it comes to sound quality, you get half the stereo (or if your smartphone is smart enough to recognize that it’s only connected to one bud, only the appropriate mono). Enough for podcasts, but can be frustrating for music. There is also the fact that you are using one earbud much more than the other. This could mean that the overall lifespan is shorter.

If you are curious which Earbuds work best for this method, and my advice is to use a Galaxy Buds Plus. It is fixed to the ear with a sturdy seal and has a long battery life. But most importantly: No stem. I can’t say how many times my AirPods have gone across the pavement because I haven’t been careful enough with the helmet strap. The Buds Plus offers the best balance of price, sound quality, battery life, and a secure fit, and most importantly, it doesn’t pop out of your ears and is ready to stun.

You can use many other earbuds, but the most important thing here is safety It can also be heard in your ears when there are other objects taking up space behind it. Mask strap, helmet strap or glasses.

Bose Sport open earbuds

Bose Sport open earbuds

Custom Open Ear Headphones: Bose Sport Open Earbuds

In fact, the headphones that inspired us to find something we could use while riding were the recently announced $199.95 Bose Sport Open Earbuds. In theory, it would have been perfect. In fact, they were a big disappointment.

First thing good: The Bose Open Earbuds sound great. It turns out that Bose knows a thing or two about acoustics. It works differently than a bone conduction headset or conventional earbuds. There is a large ear hook that floats the speaker module just above the ear hole and points directly to the sound waves.

The combination of speaker proximity and relative size means that Bose can get great sound even with open ears to the world. They also do a very good job of overcoming the surrounding traffic noise.

Unfortunately they did an absolutely terrible job of staying in my ears. I admit that everyone’s ears are different, so they can work for you. But for me they were difficult to wear and they always flew away.

Bose Sport open earbuds

Bose Sport open earbuds

They also suffer from the problems I mentioned earlier. We have more things hitting our ears than ever before. Glasses or sunglasses temples and these earbuds do not mix. The same goes for mask straps or bike helmet straps.

Nevertheless, I hung on the Bose Open Earbuds with the idea that I could use it at home or in the office. I really love wearing open earbuds around the house. It is much less tiring to plug the earbuds into the ear canal or to wear a heavy set of cans. It’s also easier to pause and chat with people.

Alas, Bose Open Earbuds are terrible for office or telecommuting because they don’t fully support multiple devices. If you are connected to a computer and want to switch to the phone, first do something that requires you to manually disconnect from the computer.

There may be people who don’t care about these issues and have a suitable ear shape for these headphones. I will admit that they are envious. These sound better than their rights, but when I ride a bike, the sound quality simply isn’t at the top of the priority list.

Headphones in Glasses: Bose Frames Tempo

When I reviewed Amazon’s Echo Frames, I realized that there are few Bluetooth headphones that are always available and unobtrusive. It sounds stupid, but even if you don’t have headphones in or out, your relationship to the audio changes. Always available and always available. there When you want it.

Unfortunately, I haven’t yet found glasses with bluetooth speakers. Using Echo Frames shortened battery life.

A much simpler problem arises with the use of Bose frames. I want to use my headphones in situations where the sunglasses don’t make sense.

I’m not against the “single task” technical solution to the problem, but the $249.95 Bose Frames takes too far. You can get them different lenses, but it’s really not the kind you want to use outside of certain situations. Bose has different styles, but not all subtle, but technical speaker glasses.

Sena R1 Evo bike helmet

Sena R1 Evo bike helmet

Bike helmet speaker: Sena R1 Evo

The $159 Sena R1 Evo smart helmet is one of the most gadgets you can fit on your bike. A bike helmet that includes:

  • Local 9 channel mesh intercom system
  • Bluetooth “headphones”
  • FM radio
  • Flashing tail lights
  • Voice-based interface (for some reason)
  • Companion smartphone app

I own and use the Sena R1 Evo as a bike helmet. I’m here to tell you that the first feature I mentioned, the mesh intercom, is great. Remainder? not really.

The mesh intercom uses local radio to keep channels open with other compatible Sena systems. When riding, you can talk and listen to other people riding with you as long as you are relatively close (less than a third of a mile if there is a gaze, less if there is no gaze). ). It’s much more convenient than talking or yelling to have a conversation.

The rest of the features are less impressive. The problem with the Sena system is that the speakers are too far from your ears and quiet enough to be inaudible when there is ambient noise. Quiet Trail: Awesome. In the city: no.

The smartphone app is not very modern, but it does the job of configuring the helmet with the FM station and the preferred mesh intercom channel. The built-in smart assistant (“Hey Sena”) is sadly a mess. I triggered it more often by accident than intentionally, and I had a hard time recognizing my voice commands when I wanted it to work.

I can’t tell you about the safety specs, but if it matters, it’s not MIPS. The helmet taillights are also quite dark. I don’t think it’s an appropriate replacement for a bicycle or taillight on a back. You cannot turn on the music and mesh intercom at the same time, you need to switch the mode manually.

Nevertheless, I love this helmet and will continue to use it. Especially because my partner and I often ride together.

Open ear headphones option

Open headphone option

Using a Bluetooth speaker tied to a bike

If you want to annoy everyone around you, it’s a choice.


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