Which headphones are better for cycling?
- 21 Nov, 2018
Heading out on your bike can be a lot of fun. When the weather is nice and warm or even cooler it's a way to enjoy yourself. You get to breathe in all that fresh air and enjoy the sun. But maybe you don't want to just ride in silence. If listening to an audiobook or music sounds better you need great headphones. That's why the best headphones for cycling are the way to go. Any of these headphone styles will help you. Plus these tips will make sure you can find the right options. Just take a look.
Why Do People Like to Wear Headphones When Cycling?
First, let's look at why you might want to even consider headphones while cycling. There are a number of reasons that people like to have headphones. Whether it's the fun, the education or something else entirely, however, is going to be an important factor.
The very first and possibly most important reason is just for the fun of it. Who doesn't love listening to their favorite music? Or maybe a new book on tape or a podcast. Any of these things can be fun. Listening to them while you're riding your bike gives you more opportunity in your busy life too. After all, how often do you get time for both listening to music and riding a bike separately?
For some people, their focus actually improves with something to listen to. Being able to tune out some of the other sounds that are going on around you can be a benefit. You get to just focus on the music and the benefits that come about from riding and listening. Research shows that listening to music can help you focus even better.
Need something to get you pumped and moving? Well, music or a podcast can do that. You can even get motivation from music. Even more, some people find podcasts and talks that give them motivation. If you need help getting on that bike every day (or however often you decide to ride) it might be a good way to go.
Are you good at multi-tasking? If you’ve wanted to listen to that new CD for ages and haven't had an opportunity this is a great time to do it. If you want to listen to a book or a podcast it helps. You can get more things done in the same amount of time. No more finding an hour to ride and then an hour to read your book. You just do both of them at the same time.
Would you think that listening to music can actually improve your cycling? It seems like a distraction would cut down on your skills but it doesn't. PBS News Hour says that your brain gets more active when listening to music. When you're riding and listening to music you get more brain activity. Your brain also releases some of those 'happy drugs' that are totally natural and healthy. You feel great and you get more improvements. Applying Music in Exercise and Sport even says that it improves your stamina and your speed.
How to Choose Safety Headphones for Cycling
Okay, let's think about this. If you're out cycling then that means you could be on the street. Maybe you're in a park. Wherever you are there are other people out there. That means you need to be careful. You don't want to get hurt or hurt anyone else. When you listen to headphones you tune out the things around you. So, how do you make sure you're being safe when you head out cycling, especially with headphones on?
- First is to always pay attention. Watch what's going on in your surroundings. Staying attentive can help keep you safe. You want to watch for vehicles, pedestrians and possible hazards. Even things like cracks in the sidewalk can be a danger. Also keep an eye on any lights, sticks, trees, dogs, people and more. Anything is a potential problem if you're not watching where you're going.
- Fast reaction time is important. You never know when a car will swerve in front of you or a light will change as you reach it. Make sure you can react quickly to everything that you notice. Whether it requires you to get out of the way or anything else, you need to move fast. Never assume that someone else is going to react in that split second. Make sure that you’re the one who reacts.
- Take the initiative. Even if the other person or vehicle should move, make sure you do. They may see you and not react. They may not even see you to react. By getting out of the way yourself you cut down on potential hazards. You want to stay safe and so does everyone around you.
- Always be respectful. That means doing all of the above but also taking care of other people. Staying to one side of a sidewalk to let others walk past is a good standard. Staying a good distance from vehicles is good as well. Respect the people around you and they will be more likely to respect you.
Choosing the Right Headphones for Cycling
If you don't know how to choose a pair of headphones at all then this is where you want to look. Pay attention to some of the most important factors, style (which we'll talk about next), fit, comfort, sound quality and features. We'll talk about some of these throughout this section to get you started.
The style that you choose depends mostly on the other features we'll talk about. You want a pair of headphones that you feel comfortable with. If you hate headphones in your ears you'll never like even the best pair of in-ear headphones. If you really love Bluetooth you're not going to like the best quality wired headphones. You need a style that fits your preference and your needs.
We tend to think that headphones are one size fits all. That's not the case. You should be able to adjust your headphones to fit you. Some have different size earbuds slightly. Some have different size ear cups. Some have adjustable bands or wires to connect the earbuds. You should find a pair that fit your ears and head. A poor fit will make for a poor experience.
This goes along with the fit. You want a pair of headphones you're comfortable with. Look at earbuds that fit well in your ear. Look at ear cups that are soft and that you could wear for an extended period of time. Look for larger cups or look for a soft band. If you can't wear your headphones indefinitely then there's something wrong.
You want to get a great sound from your headphones. If you can't hear the crisp sounds of your music or audiobook you won't want to listen. You should have headphones that give you the nuances of each sound. You want it to be just like the creator intended.
There are plenty of additional features out there. Wireless technology or Bluetooth technology are very big. This lets you listen to your headphones without the wires getting in the way. Water resistant or waterproof headphones make sure you can listen in the rain. You can also listen during workouts or hot temperatures. Some headphones even have voice controls that let you change the song or the volume without touching anything.
How Many Styles of Headphones for Cycling?
There are about as many styles of headphones as there are anything else you might want. You'll find in-ear headphones, over the ear headphones and earbuds. You'll also find wired headphones, Bluetooth headphones and even bone conduction headphones. Each of these gives you a slightly different experience. The key is finding out which style is going to give you the ideal balance of features you're looking for. So let's take a look at each of these styles.
In Ear Headphones or Earbuds
These styles of headphones fit right into the ear. They have a small piece of plastic, usually soft and somewhat malleable as the earpiece. It fits directly into the ear, near the ear canal, and lets you get more direct sound. These headphones aren't as bulky as a headset. They also give you more direct sound, which can be more precise.
Over the Ear Headphones
If you prefer headphones that sit outside the ear this is the way to go. These headphones have ear cups that go over the ear to provide sound. They create a sort of vacuum for the sound to penetrate the ear but not leak out. One benefit is you get less leakage of sound to others around you. You won't get quite as direct or clear of sound however. Still, these headphones can be quite comfortable and tend to have more overt style options.
Bluetooth headphones are available in a range of different styles. They offer you the sound you need without wires as well. This is great for those who are more active. It lets you sync your music player or phone with your headphones clearly. You get all of the sound and volume and none of the cords to get tangled or in the way. This can be more convenient for most users.
Bone Conduction Headphones
If you really want sound quality you can get bone conduction headphones. These headphones actually sit outside the ears but give you the great quality you want. They sit on the cheekbones in front of the ears. From there, they can transfer sound to the eardrums directly. But your ears aren't being blocked. These can be safer for those who ride bikes or are active. You can hear what's going on around you without losing the sound from your music too.
Which Headphones are Better for Cycling?
When it comes down to it, which headphones are the best? We think that there are two top contenders. These are the bone conduction headphones and wireless earbuds. Of course, there are always some great features of other styles. Still, these give you pure sound. They also give you great volume and balance. You'll have plenty of flexibility here and overall quality. Altogether that’s going to give you the best bang for your buck. If you're going cycling they're also going to be less in the way and less bulky.
Bone Conduction Headphones
If you want headphones that you can enjoy while being safe this is the way to go. These headphones have a range of great features to choose from and they don't block your ears. They can be harder to find however. So, let's take a look at a recap:
- Direct sound to the eardrums
- High quality and high clarity sound
- No plugging of the ears
- Freedom to hear surroundings
Wireless earbuds are our second choice. They are a great option and a more commonly found option. Because you don't have wires they can be safer than standard headphones. You have nothing to get tangled up. But you are blocking your ears when you use them.
- Direct sound to the eardrums
- High quality and high clarity sound
- Secure fit/don't slide
- Noise cancelling
FAQ(Frequently asked questions)
How is the sound quality of bone conduction headphones?
These headphones were actually used by the military before they made it mainstream. So that should tell you they have some good quality. It sends the vibrations of music directly into the bones and through them to the ear and the brain. You won't get the same sound quality you can expect from other headphones. Still, you're going to get some pretty good quality. You’ll be able to get average sound, without the ideal bass or volume (if you like it loud).
Do the headphones affect the rider's awareness of cars and others warning?
Yes. You will notice that you don’t have as much awareness of the things around you when you wear headphones. It's important to do what you can to watch the road or area around you at all times. Just because you can't hear it as well doesn't mean you should ignore it. Keep an eye on everything.
Which headphones are the safest for while I'm riding?
If you're looking for safety, bone conduction is the way to go. These headphones don't cover your ears so you can still hear your surroundings. This means you won't miss the honking horn or the other pedestrians walking near you.
What are the most important features to look for in headphones for cycling?
This is going to be up to your personal preference. Overall, you want headphones that are high quality and provide good sound. From there you have to decide what's most important. Do you want comfort or noise cancelling? Do you want Bluetooth or wired? Each of these features will impact your personal enjoyment.
If you're looking for some great headphones to wear anywhere you go then you'll want to take a look at each of these. You'll learn which headphones is better for cycling and you'll definitely be able to pick out a pair that is comfortable and easy for you to use. Cycling can be a great experience and when you’re using the best possible headphones along the way it's even better. Do you have a specific kind of headphones you like best?