Headphones are a staple riding accessory for road cyclists and mountain bike riders alike. A good pair of headphones can help keep you focused and improve performance. However, some may argue that using headphones while cycling, especially near roads, is dangerous. For some riders, the benefits outweigh the drawbacks. Always make sure you are aware of your surroundings and don’t have your music turned up too loud when cycling.
The best cycling headphones are those that will help you remain comfortable while riding. Ideally you should be able to connect your headphones to your phone or mp3 player and forget about them for the remainder of your ride. Below you will find the list of the best cycling headphones of 2017.
For many cyclists, headphones are absolutely essential especially for long rides. There are many different headphones to choose from with a variety of price points and features. The following are the best headphones on the market today specifically for cyclists.
Aftershokz AS600SG Trekz Titanium Open Ear Wireless Bone Conduction Headphones
The Trekz Titanium are premium wireless Bluetooth headphones that have garnered an excellent reputation for use with athletes. These headphones will connect to any smart phone with Bluetooth capability.
The Trekz Titanium headphones are great specifically for cyclists due to their “bone conduction” technology. Using bone conduction means the sound vibrations are sent through your cheekbones and then processed by your inner ear. Traditional headphones are more or less two loudspeakers mounted directly on or inside of your ears. In short, bone conduction helps avoid shutting the listener off completely from the outside world.
Seeing as there are still not many bone conduction headphones on the market yet, it is this pair of headphone’s innate ability to provide enhanced situational awareness that make it a top choice for cyclists.
On the surface, the design of the Trekz Titanium is similar to many other wireless Bluetooth headphones currently on the market. The main difference between these and other headphones is the section that actually produces the sound. Rather than going inside of your ears, the buds sit in front of your ears and rest against your skull. This feature that gives the Trekz Titanium their bone conduction ability can also prove to be uncomfortable if worn for an extended period of time.
Aftershokz Trekz Titanium Summary
Pros: The Trekz Titanium headphones are easy to use and reasonably compact. They use bone conduction technology to allow the listener to get a great sound experience without compromising on safety.
Cons: Some users may experience some sound leakage at high volumes. They are also not ideal for longer rides as they may become uncomfortable. Bone conduction is still a relatively new technology, so these headphones lack on the actual sound quality.
Powerbeats3 Wireless In-Ear Headphones
As with many other wireless headphones, the Powerbeats 3 Wireless in-ear headphones have two separate buds that have a wire running between them which goes around your neck to help them in place. While this is not a truly “wireless” design; it is great for cyclists and other athletes alike because it ensures the headphones will stay in place during your workout.
Beats by Dre is owned by apple, which makes the Powerbeats3 a great choice for apple users. Not only can you connect to your phone via Bluetooth, but if you have a newer iPhone model, such as the iPhone 7, you can also connect via Apple’s W1 chip. Simply hold the power button on your Powerbeats 3 for 1 second while near your phone, and they connect. Additionally, they will automatically connect to any other devices that are on the same icloud network.
The area where the Powerbeats3 stand out from the competition is sound quality. The Beats by Dre line of headphones have always had a great reputation for sound quality, and the Powerbeats3 most definitely live up to that reputation. For the best sound quality possible, you will want to ensure you get the best possible fit. For most people, the default tips that come with the headphones will work fine, but if not there are different sizes available.
At nearly $130, the Powerbeats3 headphones are definitely at the upper price tier of headphones. As with may things, you get what you pay for and you are paying for superior sound quality. If this is the most important factor for your headphone selection, then the Powerbeats3 are a great choice.
Powerbeats 3 Summary
Pros: The Powerbeats3 have incredible sound quality. They are owned by Apple, making them easily able to be paired with most Apple phones.
Cons: They are definitely on the expensive side, but if sound quality is what you are looking for, they are worth the price. For cyclists specifically, you may want to tread lightly as the excellent sound quality may tempt you to turn of the volume, which will decrease your awareness of your surroundings.
Photive PH-BTE70 Wireless Bluetooth Earbuds
If comfort is your main concern when selecting a pair of headphones for cycling, then the Photive PH-BTE70 may be the best choice for you. The bud and ear clips are small, lightweight and soft – even after a 100 mile ride. The ear hooks have a more natural shape than other headphones available making it reasonably difficult to accidentally knock them out of place.
For their size, the Photive PH-BTE70 offer excellent sound quality. They are surpassed only by the Powerbeats3. The amount of bass these little headphones deliver is quite surprising. Sound is hard to describe in text, but just know to expect a kick from this pair of headphones.
The Photive PH-BTE70 are the smallest set of headphones in this lineup. They look sleek and should fit comfortably with most helmets.
Photive PH-BTE70 Summary
Pros: They are small and very comfortable. They provide superior sound quality that simply cannot be beat at their price point.
Cons: They tend to lose connection easier than other comparable headphones. They need to be close to your phone at all times to maintain their connection.
Choosing The Best Cycling Headphones For Your Needs
Cycling is a sport that requires concentration, and some riders simply cannot attain that without listening to music. This being said, it is crucial that volume of any headphones that you decide to purchase is low enough while riding that you are still aware of your surroundings.
Every rider is different and what you are looking for in a pair of headphones will ultimately determine which pair is the best for you. Your selection shouldn’t be random. Although many headphones look alike, some are stronger in certain aspects like comfort and sound quality than others. The headphones reviewed here all have their strengths and weaknesses but are ultimately all great choices for cycling headphones.