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Reasonable Bicycling Headphones

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
Situation: I do a lot of bicycling on isolated country roads in the West and am looking for advice on sports headphones that work well. I tend to just run during the winter when the wind blast freezes extremities. I have relied on various earbuds for music during these activities.

Consider my pros and cons:

In cold weather, the ears are covered, keeping them in place, but the pressure on them can hurt the ears.

In warm weather, earbuds fall out, the wind noise hurts the sound, and wind noise requires potentially unhealthy sound levels.

Over-the-ear phones don't fit well under winter hats and helmet straps interfere.

In-the-ear typeswould reduce wind noise but decrease my ability to hear traffic noise, thus decreasing safety. I know that most cycling purists say that riding and listening to headphones is a safety no-no, but a lot of us cycling outside busy urban areas do this routinely.

About 90% of the time I listen to FM, so extreme quality is not a major factor, but crap phones make the problem worse.

Thanks for the input.
post #2 of 21
do you want to buy them?
post #3 of 21
Thread Starter 
If I'm convinced someone has a superior solution.
post #4 of 21
Koss KSC-35. I use them bicycling all the time.

When it's cold, I wear a hat, and they fit fine. They don't fall off. Wind noise doesn't bother them too much. They don't interfere with my helmet or helmet straps. They're open so you can still hear what's going on around you.

What's more, they're one of the best sounding headphones under $100
post #5 of 21
I also use KSC35s for bicycling and they are perfect. I wouldn't use anything else. You can get them (new) from a reliable seller on Headwize for $20+shipping. Do it, you don't even need to think about it.
post #6 of 21
HI: The aiwa earphones hp-vx100 at 25.00 will let you hear all sounds around you plus the music and whont fall out of your ears. Plus they sound very good and are very conftable. You allready have been toald about the koss 35s and this is just an other option. Good luck with your search.
post #7 of 21
There has to be at least one post from a cyclist here to shake a finger at riding with headphones. First, don't do it. Riding on a country rode is prime territory for some yahoo to see how close they can come to you doing 60mph+. At the very least, if you insist, use something like the K35s and USE A MIRROR.
post #8 of 21
A cyclist for 30 years, I would NOT use headphones -- way too dangerous.
post #9 of 21
My impression as a former heavy duty cyclist was that in the state of CA at least, phones are illegal on bikes.

Not only would you become a hazard to yourself and create potential hazards for motorists, you won't be able to wear a helmet and headphones at the same time.

Methinks bikes and phones are a bad combo.

post #10 of 21


I think you should get a small "Ghetto blaster" or a small AM/FM radio with a small speaker. Rig it to your handle bars, or put it in a pannier. That way, (on the handlebars) you can adjust volume, it won't cut off outside noise, and as long as you keep on moving, nobody would get annoyed with your music. I don't think it would need to be loud, just audible. Just try not to picture the 80's with the rap and the Ghetto Blaster wars. Hey, the style could come back- Checkout the new Blue Note rare groove cds, its all coming back.......
post #11 of 21
A friend of mine (and a Physician) was recently killed on a country road when he was hit by a car. Both parties were probably to blame partially - my friend probably didn't hear the car coming and got too far out into the traffic lane and the driver didn't get over far enough.

Wearing headphones while riding bike is foolish no matter how quiet the roads are. Listen to music when you are done riding. It is hard enough to hear approaching traffic even without headphones on.
post #12 of 21
Thread Starter 

For those open to new thoughts on mixing bikes and headphones

Check this article if you are interested in a reasoned discussion.


A Bicyclist's Sense of Hearing: How Important?

by John S. Allen

Thanks to all of you for your thoughtful recommendations.

post #13 of 21
It's an interesting read. However, regardless of the law, I believe NOT wearing headphones while cycling is safer than wearing headphones. While not totally accurate, our sense of hearing while riding gives cyclists an "extra" defense against the hazards of the road.

Needless to say, when I was hit by a car last summer while cycling, my sense of hearing played no part in the equation.

But doesn't listening to music give the mind one more distraction . . . like cell phones? Do cyclists really need this distraction? Don't we have targets on our backs as it is?

post #14 of 21
Wacomme really has hit all the important points on this matter. BTW, it is illegal to ride with headphones in CA. The article was...amusing. Easy how people can use numbers and theories to justify almost anything.

The bottom line is that cycling is, inherently, a very dangerous sport/recreation. I live in LA and have been racing for 15 years. I have had four friends killed on their bikes and scores of friends and teammates hit by cars. You need all the senses you posess to get through any ride safely. Music can be that one major distraction that you cannot afford.

Ride smart and ride safe.

post #15 of 21
Originally posted by redbike2001
BTW, it is illegal to ride with headphones in CA.
While I totally agree that it's dangerous to wear headphones while biking, for the sake of 100% accuracy it should be pointed out that the above isn't quite true.

California Codes, Vehicle Code, Section 24700, states:

No person operating any motor vehicle or bicycle shall wear
any headset covering, or any earplugs in, both ears.
The statute is so vague that it's almost impossible for a judge to uphold a citation on appeal. What does "cover" mean? What is a "headset?" Unless you are wearing earplugs or large circumaural headphones that totally block sound, it's difficult for the citation to stick. Cops hardly even give tickets to bicyclists wearing headphones anymore because it's a waste of their time
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