After years of investigation, I believe I've found a practical solution to not sacrifice audio quality, safety or comfort while biking. I am an avid, constant biker who has ridden with Grado SR-60s for 10 years but finally have matured enough to start wearing a helmet. I tried different earbuds which either didn't stay in and/or HURT the inside of my ears, and I called Grado to ask them about their iGrados and how much a drop in sound quality it would be if I rode with them (as they are "behind-the-neck" phones). The guy told me honestly that the drop in sound quality is significant but reminded me that my Grado SR-60s are comprised of parts that come apart and you can remove the earphones from the band and just TAPE them to the side of your helmet and that way you have excellent sound of $75 studio headphones, the comfort of the cotton over your ear and of course the safety of riding with a helmet. Enjoy !
Best Headphones (NOT EARBUDS) For Biking With a Helmet
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- 18,861 Posts. Joined 12/2011
- Location: Grand Rapids, MI
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Is it? I have always wondered about that. I think having the music up as a distraction can be a problem--but the same in a car. Deaf people drive just fine without being able to hear the road, so I've never really understood where that comes from, although I know it's against the law to have earbuds or headphones on in some states.
Hi, Claritas - I didn't mention that the Grado SR-60s are "open air" headphones so you can easily hear traffic all around you, and the earphones that fit comfortably over your ear is what I'm taping to my helmet, so I emphasize that what I'm doing is not sacrificing safety (because of the helmet and the "open air" technology of the 'phones), comfort (the pads feel nice and don't hurt like buds) and audio quality (Grados are GREAT.) Forgive me if I was unclear but I don't know what's dangerous about my advice at all.
Thanks for the response. I'm new here and all I saw was your comment that my advice was dangerous; if there is something else you said previously as to why it's dangerous to tape headphones to your helmet I'd love to consider it. Truth be told, I got so used to NOT wearing a helmet that having a helmet on now makes me feel hindered. If the headphones are open air, I don't understand why it would be dangerous, and I really am concerned. Any thoughts would be appreciated.
Music can be distracting and any isolation, even a really open model, can impair one's sense of the surroundings (as you're finding with a helmet).
Out in the open country where there are fewer cars, it's less of a concern. But here in Chicago and in New York where I used to live, I've seen some really bad bike accidents and most of them involved distracted cycling. So people need to be extra careful with that. If you're driving a car and get into an accident, a steel door and an airbag will afford some protection, but on a bicycle you're completely exposed so it's more dangerous.
- 601 Posts. Joined 8/2013
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You'll want earbuds. Get the type that clip on over the ears. There would be FAR too much wind noise with on-ear headphones to make it worth the hassle. And the other thing is, if you do crash, you dont want a large piece of metal and plastic around your ears, where it could cause some damage.
As for risk - no, not really. There is an entire continuum between "completely unable to hear anything with earphones on" and "perfect awareness with no headphones". I ride and race, and wear headphones at all times. Have ridden in 10+ countries with my bike, on public roads. Never has the headphone had any significant ability on my safety - i can hear cars just fine, and for the record, a car that is going to pass you from 3' away sounds EXACTLY the same as a car that is going to hit you. So unless you are looking back every time a car comes close (in which case, get mirrors), I dont know what you are expecting to get out of this anyway.
If someone feels headphones are unsafe, by all means avoid them. But people need to stop parroting truisms without any supporting data to back it up. Just b/c it sounds true doesnt make it so, unless we live on a flat earth with the sun revolving around us.