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Best kind of headphones while driving

I'm about to start commuting on my bike looking for suggestions or advice on what type of headphones to use to listen to music while riding?

I am aware of the dangers of listening to music while driving and plan to only have one earbud at a time (so think in ear / over-ear headphones).

I would imagine headphones that only "fit" into the ear (example) fall out straight away. Those that go deeper into the ear (example) would not fall out but also reduce the external sound (bad?).

With this in mind, I believe that the best choices for cycling are those who go over the ear (example)

Am I right about that? Is there anything else I should consider when choosing a pair?

Many thanks.

NB All links are from Play.Com (UK) and are just the first examples of everyone I have found.

mattnz

-1: Rant who didn't answer the question.

Chris H.

I would agree with @CareyGregory on this. I just don't think you can find a sweet spot between hearing the music over the traffic and hearing the traffic over the music even with 1 earpiece in there. And I want both ears to work anyway - you could keep that sidelong ear open, but if you're not driving next to the curb because the lanes don't work that way, you need your ear to be close to hear people on yours Show up and possibly overtake you. However, audible loudspeakers are not an IMO solution either.

BPugh

Have you checked that your state and local traffic laws allow it? Some places restrict use on public roads.

GordonM

The best guy is not a guy. Instead, pay attention to your surroundings, the life you are saving could be your own.

joelmdev

I'm not sure there is a best guy for cycling, but the latter two examples have their pros and cons, and I think you got them pretty close.

The last type you posted gives you a good fit but without the noise isolation of the in-ear type (2nd example) which is not suitable for listening to music due to the wind noise but is preferable for safety reasons. So if you are driving on public roads and safety is your main concern, choose the earphone style with the ear clip (last example). If you're more interested in blocking out wind noise and listening to your music, the in-ear (second example) is the way to go.

Sayse

Thanks ... think I'll go with the last one, I'm trying to find the best compromise here while aiming for safety. The over-ear models can also be attached to my shirt if necessary.

Criggie

Technology has advanced since this question was asked.

Here is a bone conduction earbud that injects the vibration around the ears rather than around the ears.

The price is going down, but they're still a lot more expensive than most headphones. However, no moving speaker makes them more water-resistant and therefore harder.

Criggie

I personally use an older wired version of this headset and it works well enough. Some variants work as hands-free headsets for cell phones, which is sometimes useful. I rarely hear / feel my phone ring when I'm on my bike. aftershokz.com/collections/wired/products/sportz-titanium is the current entry-level wired model.

Anonymous

I've always used a radio while driving and never considered it a safety issue because I don't turn the volume up high enough for anyone next to me to hear it. I value my hearing very much! I use the Phillips or Sony over-the-ear speakers. I've been wearing these for years and have never had a conflict with traffic because I keep the volume down. I can hear the radio and every vehicle from behind. I keep checking my mirrors anyway. They don't distract me and I consider them just like a radio in any vehicle. I can hear vehicles approaching from behind from several hundred meters away, even if I didn't see them in my mirrors at the time because of a hill or curve. I consider the volume of the radio / speakers to be less distracting than that of the radio in my vehicle. This is mainly because in a vehicle the radio can be switched on and a passenger is still trying to speak as well. You are usually one with yourself on a bike. These earphone speakers are way better than when we had to attach a transistor radio to our bike handlebars with the speaker in the radio!

Saxman

Another thing to consider is mounting a portable speaker on the bike or in a backpack. Maybe a bit bulky, but it does mean your ears can compensate for this like they would with a normal setting. A good friend of mine uses a case speaker with a phone / iPod inside and has attached it to the handlebars and stem with bungy cables. Not a particularly elegant solution aesthetically, but it works well and is great if you are on a budget!

Drew

That's what all the old men in China do!

jilles de wit

I think you understood pretty well the main issues related to fit and listening to the surroundings. Real in-ears are dangerous if you keep the volume too high.

One topic that I missed you in your discussion is sweat resistance. I don't know how long you commute, but depending on the length and the amount of work, I do find my headphones get wet at some point, and I've found headphones not to work as well, even most of those advertised as "sports" headphones become.

My experiences so far:

  • Sennheiser sports headphones (I've tried these) fail after about 6 months and they refuse to replace them because "abuse" internals were completely corroded. The remote control on the cable gave even faster.
  • Philips (I've tried different versions of this version) fails after around 9 months to a year, the remote control fails a little earlier and after around 6 months there is a drop in volume. Philips has been very generous in sending me replacements (I'm on the third one now) but of course this is not ideal.
  • I'm trying this for a change at Polk Audio's time (over the ear instead of over the ear). I find that this leads to both more wind noise and better contact with my surroundings. Really a mixed bag. It's too early to tell how it's holding up my sweat.

Paul Weber

I think the Polk Audio would be great if they had some foam on top to reduce wind noise.

jilles de wit

I have foam pads with me, they don't appear to be listed on the website.

Paul Weber

I wonder why they still have wind noise. Because I use the Phillips type you see in my answer and they even reduce wind noise compared to no headphones.

jilles de wit

Well, wind noise compared to the Philips in-ear headphones. Not so much that my audiobook becomes inaudible, but enough that it becomes a bit annoying when I drive fast enough or have a strong headwind.