Best Headphones for Cycling

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Nothing beats the feeling of exhilaration when there’s nothing but you, your cycle, and some serious tunes.

Listening to your beats on two-wheels is a powerful motivator — but it’s not without some safety concerns.

The best headphones for cycling allow you to pedal with Prince or Cycle with Cypress Hill — without endangering your wellbeing.

The Top 10 Headphones for Cycling

 

 

Why Buy the Best Headphones for Cycling?

There’s perhaps no more relaxing and rejuvenating experience than riding through nature on your cruiser — the inspiring sights and sounds take you away from the normal stresses of everyday life.

But, not everyone has access to such fantastic cycling routes.

Unless we travel long distances — many of us have to ride around bland and uninspiring town suburbs — with nothing to please our auditory senses except barking dogs, screaming children, roadworks, and the hum of factories and industry.

It’s hardly inspiring.

However, slip on some headphones and fill your ears with your favorite tunes and you’re immediately transported — enabling you to kick back and relax on your rides.

What’s more, for the fitness fanatics — there’s an added bonus.

If you struggle for stamina and endurance when on two wheels — music provides a phenomenal boost. Studies show that listening to tunes when training increases mood, lifts exercise intensity, elevates motivation, and raises the heart rate.

But, wearing headphones for cycling can be a controversial issue.

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Can You Cycle With Headphones?

The main argument against wearing headphones when cycling is that they create a distraction — making you concentrate more on P Diddy’s latest track than the fact there’s a car madly sounding its horn at you — just as you’re about to be run over.

However, there’s only limited evidence to back up this assumption.

In fact, research shows that you’re as likely to become distracted by Kanye West in your ears than you are a general advertising billboard on the street. Although, Kanye West rapping at the side of the road while holding a ‘Golf Sale’ sign would probably cause you to lose your road attention completely.

That said, there is a suggested benefit to being on two-wheels with your ultimate playlist. A UK study demonstrated that riders using audio devices were more relaxed and exhibited heightened awareness of their surroundings than those cyclists with no such stimulation.

However, that’s not to say it’s a free-for-all.

Putting yourself into a totally enclosed music ‘bubble’ isn’t sensible. If you can’t hear other traffic, pedestrians, warning shouts and car horns — then you’re going to be placing yourself in danger. You need some awareness of the aural environment.

Hence, completely over the ear, noise-canceling headphones are a no-no. If you’re in the gym, then there’s no issue — but on the road, they may cause you to miss crucial signs and signals of impending hazards.

But, what’s the law on headphones for cycling?

That depends where in the US (or indeed the world) that you live. In the USA, there is no Federal Law regarding the use of headphones on two wheels — it varies from state to state — with the majority having no legislation at all. Others, such as California, have specific rules — in this state, headphones can only cover one ear.

So always check the cycling regulations specific to your area.

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What to Look for In the Best Headphones for Cycling

Best Headphones for Cycling

Below, I’ve put together what I consider to be the most important considerations when choosing the best headphones for cycling.

Some are crucial characteristics that impinge on safety — others are down to personal taste and your particular usage requirements.

Type of Headphones for Cycling

The word headphones has evolved to cover the whole abundance of ear-music equipment. However, if you want to be completely accurate — headphones envelop the entire ear — and are identifiable by a band that crosses the top of your head.

Hence, it’s valuable to make a distinction between the forms:

Over-the-Ear Headphones

The ‘originals’ — worn by superstar DJs at their turntables.

As these cover the complete ear — they’re not suited to road cycling — as they will cut out virtually all the ambient noise. However, if you’re planning on pushing yourself to the limit on a stationary bike — in the gym or home — they’re ideal.

Earbuds (or In-Ears, or Earphones)

These slip inside your ear — and generally allow you to hear some external noise. Some models include features that enable you to either raise or lower ambient sound.

While you can still purchase wired types — go for wireless. We are living in the 21-st century, after all. This will prevent any unwanted snagging on your clothes or bike — which could be dangerous.

That said, check out the design of these earbuds to see how they stay located in your ear. If you’re cycling down the road at speed, and one drops out, you’ll be lucky to find it again.

Bone Conduction Headphones (Bonephones)

Instead of music traveling down the ear canal and vibrating your eardrum — these headphones for cycling directly stimulate your cochlea.

They do this through bone conduction.

Typically secured by a band which traverses the back of your head — the miniature ‘speakers’ sit on your upper cheekbones and transmit sound through to the cochlea — leaving your ears open.

This means that bone conduction headphones are excellent tools for the cyclist — as you can still hear all the ambient sounds of the road.

Battery Life

Being wireless, all the headphones in my top list run off battery power. Hence, always ensure that your chosen model has sufficient ‘juice’ to accompany you through the full duration of your rides.

If you’re on the road for 8 hours — but your wireless headphones only last for six — you’re going to be disappointed.

Sound Quality

Many of the best headphones for cycling include an equalizer — allowing you to adjust the sound setting via an app to suit your particular tastes or music genre.

Furthermore, consider the type— while buds and bone conduction headphones are excellent in the treble range — they’re not as impressive as over-ear headphones for bass notes.

Waterproof

Ok, you’re not going to be taking your cycle underwater (hopefully) — but inclement weather can mean your headphones for cycling can become wet.

Furthermore, if you love to push yourself to the max on the open road or the gym — your perspiration can play havoc with unprotected earphones (and give you a tiny electric shock). Hence, I’d recommend seeking out ‘cans’ that are waterproof.

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What Are the Best Headphones for Cycling? The Top 10

By utilizing industry-expert opinion, customer feedback and my own insights and knowledge — I believe I’ve found the ultimate headphones for cycling.

Whether you’re looking for over-ear, in-ear, or bone-conducting — there’s something here for every music-loving rider.

 

Our Overview

Weight: 1.06 ounces.

Type: Bone conduction.

Battery life: Six hours continuous.

In my view, the ultimate headphones for cycling currently on the market.

Being bone conductors, they ensure that your ears remain completely open to all the ambient sounds of the road — thus providing supreme situational awareness during your rides.

They remain in-situ through the manufacturer’s wrap-around design. Highly flexible, the band should mold to all head types. And, being 20 percent lighter than many of its competitors, it will provide comfort while giving you the peace-of-mind that it will not become dislodged — which may appeal to those riders who like to go off-road.

Whatever your music source — you’re covered. Featuring Bluetooth 4.2 tech — it connects to laptops, tablets and cells — whether you’re on iOS or Android.

AfterShokz’s bespoke Premium Pitch Plus system delivers impressive sound quality — particularly focusing on providing a wide dynamic-range combined with a deep and rich bass.

Once full, the CR2 battery gives you around six hours of continuous music pleasure — sufficient for most riding excursions. And in standby mode, these cycling headphones will provide up to 20 days of charge.

Pros:
  • Award-winning headphones for cycling.
  • Waterproof to IP55 standard.
  • Battery life of 20 hours on standby.
  • Official headphones of English Athletics.
  • Impressive sound quality through the bespoke Premium Pitch Plus tech.
  • Ambient sound-friendly.
  • Wrap-around design to ensure they stay in place.
  • Sound-canceling microphone for interference-free calls.
  • Available in a choice of four colors.
  • Equally suited for running, parkour, and mountain climbing.
Cons:
  • It’s a shame that the battery cannot provide 8 hours of continuous music.
Our Overview

Weight: 10.97 ounces.

Type: Over-ear.

Battery life: 20 hours continuous.

If you’re after the ultimate in sound quality reproduction in headphones for cycling — but don’t want to hammer your credit card — I propose this could be the solution.

Wallet-friendly, these over-ears deliver high-fidelity sound from its 40 mm neodymium drivers and CSR chip. Furthermore, I suggest that the heavily-cushioned around-ear design will immerse you in your music — keeping out unwanted sound distractions. However, that naturally makes them indoor cycling headphones — not for the road.

When you’re pedaling hard — you want any pain to be in your thighs — not your head. Ingeniously, these headphones’ memory-protein ear cushions replicate the texture of human skin — meaning they feel natural on your ears and elevate comfort. Additionally, an adjustable-slider on the padded headband should ensure the perfect fit.

One of the most remarkable aspects of these wireless headphones is their battery life. A single charge will provide up to 20 hours of music/call use. And, if you forget to charge them before your workout — don’t worry! A swift 10-minute charging session, and you have enough power for two hours of tunes!

What’s more — these headphones are foldable and come complete with a carry-case — making them ideal for slipping into your gym bag or backpack.

Pros:

 

  • Built-in microphone.
  • Complete with cable for flat-battery use.
  • Wireless headphones with a space-saving foldable design.
  • Complete ear surround for total music immersion.
  • Manual volume and track controls.
  • Available in a choice of eight colors.
  • 33-feet of wireless distance.
  • Bluetooth 4.1 technology.
  • Built-in microphone for calls.
Cons:
  • Not waterproof wireless headphones.

Our Overview

Weight: Nine ounces.

Type: Over-ear.

Battery life: 35 hours continuous.

If you need your tunes to take away the monotony of riding indoors — I put forward that these are the ideal headphones for cycling on your stationary bike.

With Active Noise Cancellation, these over-ears will cut out the sound of gym-based chatter, dubious music choices by the fitness center owner and other fitness-freaks’ breathless panting. Furthermore, in your home, they can eliminate the sounds of kids, partners and the TV.

The sound quality should be crisp and clear with the neodymium 40 mm speakers — and with ultra-soft materials, the ear cushions should mold to your particular head shape.

While the manufacturer has designed these headphones to prevent ear sweats, should perspiration occur, their IPX4 water resistance will keep all the precious circuitry safe.

Furthermore, I suggest that these over-ears are ideal for cyclists who love to take their riding to the limit. With a 35-hour battery life — the chances are you will tire before your headphones. Hence, one charge will last multiple gym trips or home workout sessions.

I propose that tech lovers will welcome the built-in mic and сVc 6.0 technology — enabling you to interact with voice assistants such as Siri, Google Home and Alexa.

Pros:
  • 35 hours of play on just one charge.
  • Qualcomm APTX audio.
  • Complete with carry-case.
  • 100-degree ear-cup swivel to match your ear contours.
  • Includes a 3.5 mm jack cable for wired use.
  • Wireless headphones that incorporate Bluetooth 5.0 technology.
  • IPX4 water resistance.
Cons:
  • A premium price for a premium product.
  • As ambient sound is eliminated — they’re not ideal wireless headphones for road use.
Our Overview

Weight: 0.64 ounces.

Type: In-ear.

Battery life: Six hours continuous.

Should you be one of those cyclists who doesn’t let the weather stop you going on your rides — I believe these may be the optimum headphones for cycling.

Waterproof (up to IPX7 standard), drop-proof, crush-proof, and sweat-proof — these earbuds should be able to withstand all that you, or the elements, can throw at them. In fact, the only issue is they’re so light — as, at 0.64 ounces, you could forget you have these buds in your ears.

However, coming complete with three differently-sized ear gels — they will remain securely located — preventing unwanted road loss.

Furthermore, should you misplace them — don’t panic! The Jaybird ‘Find My Buds’ app makes the buds emit an audible signal — allowing you to find them in your drawer or pocket.

Despite being small and lightweight — the sound quality is excellent. You can control its six-millimeter drivers through an Android and iOS equalizer app — enabling you to crank up the bass when you require that extra push.

Want more than 8 hours of playback? The buds themselves store six hours of use, while the charging case functions as a power bank — holding a further 10 hours. Or, if you only use one bud on the road — there’s a massive 32 hours of continuous use available.

Pros:
  • Durable.
  • Lightweight.
  • Charging case with carrying cord.
  • Find My Buds app.
  • A five-minute charge provides one hour of playback.
  • Three sizes of ear gels.
  • IPX7 waterproof.
Cons
  • No ability to raise or lower ambient noise.
Our Overview

Weight: 1.3 ounces.

Type: Bone conduction.

Battery life: Six hours continuous.

21-st century tech doesn’t have to break the bank. For me, these are the best ‘bonephones’ for those on a budget.

Being bone conductors, these headphones enable you to be aware of any traffic dangers — while still being able to crank those pedals along to your favorite dance track.

Furthermore, I suggest you’re not going to be distracted by discomfort or pain. The manufacturer has constructed the ergonomic headband from ABS and titanium — delivering a durable yet remarkably light headphone.

Should the weather take a turn for the worst — your music investment is safe. These bonephones are rated as waterproof to IP55 standard — and will repel any perspiration during the most intense of your rides.

Power comes from a rechargeable 180 mAh lithium battery. Bringing the cell up to full charge takes two hours — and will provide six hours of continuous playback — or ten days battery life on standby.

Pros:
  • Bone-conduction headphones but at a price that will not hurt your pocket.
  • Weighs 1.3 ounces.
  • Titanium construction headband to reduce weight.
  • Built-in microphone.
  • Track selection feature.
  • Waterproof IP55 rating.
  • Features Bluetooth 5.0 tech.
  • 10 hours of standby battery life.
  • 12-month warranty.
Cons:
  • Sound quality isn’t strong in the bass range of these bone conduction headphones.
Our Overview

Weight: 0.28 ounces.

Type: In-ear.

Battery life: Five hours continuous.

Do you have an iPhone and are wondering — are Airpods good for cycling? Well, the answer is, yes.

In fact, contrary to popular belief, you can use Airpods with any Bluetooth enabled storage device. However, it’s the iPhone owners who will receive the most benefit — since it allows them to take advantage of particular Apple features — such as not having to activate pairing mode and simple iCloud connectivity.

Lightweight, these pods provide up to five hours of continuous playback and offer rich sound quality with an emphatic bass. A universal ear-fitting means no messing around with additional gels — although that may mean they might not fit as tightly in the ear as you require. This could be an issue if you plan to listen to music off-road.

The slimline carry case doubles-up as the power unit — just connect to a lightning connector to charge up to use as a power bank.

In my opinion, their most significant downside for the music-loving cyclist is that they’re not waterproof. Hence, riding in wet weather or perspiring on your workouts may present a problem.

Pros:
  • Allow iPhone users to take advantage of particular Apple features.
  • Skip forward tracks by double-tapping the pods.
  • Fast wireless connection.
  • Simple access to Siri.
  • Lightweight.
  • Typical Apple clean design.
  • Impressive sound quality from small headphones.
Cons:
  • If you don’t have an iPhone — there are few benefits over other headphones.
  • Not waterproof.
  • A five-hour battery life is small compared to its competitors — many of which exceed 8 hours.
Our Overview

Weight: 0.32 ounces.

Type: In-ear.

Battery life: Ten hours continuous.

Should you love ripping up uneven and slippery terrain on your cyclocross or mountain bike — these may be the ideal headphones.

Unless you opt for over-ears with a securing headband — there’s always the risk that earbuds will fall out — especially if you’re pushing yourself hard on bumps and lumps. Hence, it’s great to see that these in-ear headphones come complete with three differently-sized silicone wings and five sizes of ear tips — allowing you to create the perfect fit for your ears — and prevent loss.

The sound quality should be impeccable — these headphones boast 10 mm beryllium drivers for expansive and rich tones. Furthermore, a beamforming microphone (located in the right earpiece) will enable clear and crisp calls.

Ten hours of battery life (plus an additional 12 hours in the charging case) mean that your tunes will accompany you for the full length of your ride — so make sure you have a sufficient number of tracks on your playlist.

The Bluetooth 5.0 technology in these cycling headphones provide an immense 100-foot range. So, you can indoor cycle in your living room while leaving your music-loaded cell or tablet in the bedroom!

Pros:
  • Available in a choice of four colors.
  • Expansive 100-feet of Bluetooth range.
  • Water-resistant with an IPX6 rating.
  • Highly customizable to fit in all ear shapes and sizes.
  • Battery life of 10 hours continuous play with an additional 12 hours from the case.
  • Sports grade TR90 composite build for durability.
  • Ideal for mountain bikers and gravel grinders.
Cons:
  • The bright and ‘boxy’ design of these earbuds may not appeal to all cycling tastes.
Our Overview

Weight:  Undisclosed.

Type: In-ear.

Battery life: Five hours continuous.

If you love long-distance rides — the battery in your headphones may not last the distance! If that sounds familiar — these could be the ideal earbuds.

As with many cycling headphones — the carry case doubles up as the charger. However, what makes these particular in-ears stand out — is that this holder holds a massive 3500 mAh capacity. That’s enough for 90 hours of playtime. Hence, this may appeal if you love touring on your two-wheeler — and are camping away from power sources.

Furthermore, the individual earbuds can operate independently. So, if you’re one of those cyclists who wears just a single earpiece — the other can be charging in the case. Meaning you’re never without your tunes!

These earbuds possess a larger dynamic driver than their close competitors. And, they include an Active Noise-reducing chipset — eliminating wind noise while still enabling you to hear important traffic warning signals. The deep well bass system and penetrating treble should provide crystal clear sound quality.

The manufacturer has designed these cycling headphones with a proprietary nano-coating — preventing sweat and rain from seeping into the buds and harming the sensitive components. Rated to IPX7 waterproof standard — these earbuds should, therefore, appeal to the all-weather rider.

Pros:
  • Large 3500 mAh capacity charging case.
  • Bluetooth 5.0 tech for an incredibly stable connection and swifter pairing.
  • Built-in microphone.
  • Carrying case can double-up as a powerbank for cells and tablets.
  • Automatic ‘switch-on’ when you remove the buds from their case.
  • Touch-enabled to switch tracks, adjust volume and answer calls.
  • Includes XS, S, M, L, and XL ear tips for the perfect fit.
Cons:
  • While the earbuds are waterproof — the charging case is not.
  • Short playback time per earbud (4-5 hours) — 8 hours would be an improvement.
Our Overview

Weight: 0.20 ounces (left) and 0.23 ounces (right).

Type: In-ear.

Battery life: Five hours continuous.

While it’s exhilarating and refreshing to escape into the great outdoors — sometimes you need to stay in touch with the real world. That being the case, I’d suggest these could be the perfect headphones for cycling.

Work and family commitments sometimes mean you need to connect through cell calls — even when on two wheels. These wireless headphones incorporate Jabra’s innovative four-microphone technology — that’s two in each bud.

Thus meaning that when speaking on the telephone — your voice will be crisp and clear. And, with the noise cancellation feature — your recipient will hear you — not the traffic or wind!

Android and iOS compatible — you can control the sound levels through an app — tailoring the bass, mid-range and treble to your preferences. Furthermore, with the manufacturer’s third-generation true-wireless stability — you should be guaranteed continuous music pleasure with no annoying drop-outs.

When you’re on the road, these wireless headphones will deliver up to five hours of continuous playback. Additionally, the included charging case holds enough juice to power-up those buds for an extra ten hours of tunes.

And, if you can’t wait for a full charge — simply leaving these earphones in the case for 15 minutes will provide 1.5 hours of use. Hence, just enough time for you to dismount, have a comfort break, and rehydrate!

Pros:
  • Four microphone technology for crisp and interference-free calls.
  • One-touch voice assistant access.
  • Charging case is small enough to fit in your pocket.
  • Two-year warranty against dust and sweat damage.
  • Waterproof IP56 rating.
  • Snug and secure fit to prevent loss.
  • Adjustable ambient noise — hear as much or as little traffic as you wish.
Cons:
  • Connection to Alexa can be challenging.
  • Button-operation is a little fiddly.
Our Overview

Weight: 0.60 ounces.

Type: In-ear/clips.

Battery life: Nine hours continuous

High sound-quality doesn’t necessarily mean a price that requires a second mortgage! These headphones for cycling are highly affordable — yet offer many features typically associated with high-end units.

Including APTX tech, these in-ear phones should provide remarkable sound reproduction — delivering a deep bass and crystal clear treble. Furthermore, they incorporate silicone hooks — ergonomically designed by the manufacturer to securely grip behind your ear — while the buds sit in the ear canal.

Additionally, these headphones come complete with three different sizes of bud tips. So, not only will the clips make the unit unshakeable — the drivers will be stable within your ear. Therefore, I’d suggest that they may appeal to those who like a more extreme off-road ride — with the peace of mind that these buds will stay in place.

One charge will allow you to listen to your playlists for up to nine hours. To recharge, simply attach to a standard USB connection. Although bear in mind, as a budget unit, these buds do not include a charging case.

The Bluetooth 5.0 tech gives a range of 33 feet from your Apple, Android or Windows devices. Hence, you can carry your cell safely in your backpack or pannier — and adjust volume and tracks on the earbuds push-buttons.

Pros:
  • Feature-packed yet affordable headphones.
  • Rated as waterproof to IPX7 standard.
  • Includes CVC 6.0 technology to reduce background noise.
  • One-year warranty.
  • Includes a carry-case — although it doesn’t function as a charger.
  • Built-in microphone.
  • Ear-hooks for additional stability and security.
  • Comes complete with both standard and memory foam bud tips.
  • Nine hours of playback time after one charge.
Cons:
  • Lack of a charging case means powering-up while ‘on the road’ is challenging.
  • Requires a third party equalizer app to adjust sound settings.

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Best Headphones for Cycling Conclusion

 

You, your cycle, and your favorite tunes — its the ultimate trifecta.

Whether acting as a soundtrack to your outdoor escapades or a powerful motivator on your intense workouts — cycling headphones are the ideal accessory.

While there are some incredible examples on the market, the ultimate for me has to be the AfterShokz Air Bone.

They’re the complete package. Most importantly, as bone conductors, they allow you to hear ambient traffic sounds. Lightweight, they will not be uncomfortable even on your longest rides — and the Premium Pitch Plus system provides clear sound quality with a wide dynamic range.

What’s more, they’re waterproof to IP55 standard and deliver six hours playback (20 on standby).

That said, allow me three quick shoutouts. I love the noise-canceling and gym-friendly TREBLAB Z2 over-ears — adore the wallet-friendly Vidonn F1 bone conductors, and welcome the off-road-ready Master & Dynamic.

But for the optimum in bass-busting bicycle beats — it has to be the AfterShokz Air Bone.

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