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Newbie needs help selecting in ear style headphones for motorcycle riding

  1. frEEk007
    Hey folks!  
    I need help from you all.  I am looking for some decent (not top end, have over the ear for top end audio at home) in-ear phones for when I am on my bike.  I think I would need the around the ear configuration, as they need to stay on while I put my helmet on, or at least very "low profile" or the in-ear hook doodad that Senn does maybe.  I have not had any luck getting any set of in-ear phones to stay in securely after putting my helmet on.  Sound quality is not the primary concern, but high volume is a must as my bike is loud.  I need them to have in line volume control, but cord length is irrelevant.  Budget is $100, preferably cheaper and preferably on Amazon as I have a $20 credit there.  I am currently considering the Polk Audio UltraFit 3000 or the Sennheiser Adidas CX680i (not sure how well that hook will work).  
    Any input is truly appreciated!  
    Danny R 
  2. Seekky
    Do you consider about isolation? I think too much isolation is really deadly while riding motorcycle on the road :/
  3. Seekky
    If that's not the case, I suggest SE215
  4. GSARider Contributor
    Have tried various options over the past few years and have found that ear hook type earbuds hurt after a few miles because the helmet presses against your ears and in turn on the hooks and it causes major pain for hours afterwards...
    with regards to getting earbuds to stay in, it's really about putting the helmet on carefully and in my case sometimes I have to take it off, reposition the earbuds and try again, ensuring that I stretch the helmet by the straps slightly when inserting my head.
    Currently I use CX 300II on the bike, more than loud enough and because of the small size, they don't hurt my ears with the helmet pressing on them. The key is to ensure that you buy as small as possible. If you want with vol control, I'd look at the CX400's.
    The SE215's are similar to my e5C's which are extremely painful after a couple of miles, so personally there's no way I'd buy them.
    and IMO sound isolation is key to riding to avoiding noise fatigue as well as hearing damage whilst riding. Many non riders don't have any idea of the level of wind noise at speed on a bike. 
    frEEk007 likes this.
  5. inline79
    Been through this too when i did long-distance stuff.  The only solution for me at the time was to forgo the music and go to custom ear-plugs.  Any sort of IEM or universal fit would either fall out or become painful usually after at most an hour, and when you have 8hrs of riding a day, that is a lot of stopping to fix your helmet.
    For city riding, hearing traffic is somewhat important, so I have speakers from a communication system mounted in my helmet - it's also the only time I need to talk to a passenger so it works out.  The speakers are OK, but at least I can also pull over and take a phone call without puling my helmet off.  I suppose you can use over-the-ear IEMs like an SE215 with the olive tips, but the only way to know if it will work is to test it with your ears/head/helmet.
    In long-distance mode isolation doesn't matter so much because it's your eyes that are your safety; there's nothing to hear unless there's a convertible full of bikini babes honking at you!
    frEEk007 likes this.
  6. GSARider Contributor
    I also have a Bluetooth system in one of my helmet's and my wife too, which we use for com's and music on trips away. Quality isn't fantastic, but we also use foam earplugs on long motorway (highway for you) trips.
    I'd agree that custom earplugs or earbuds give the best fit, but the one pair that I bought here in the UK were not good as the cable snapped twice. 
  7. frEEk007
    thanks for the info so far guys!
    yea noise isolation is not a problem, actually the more isolated that better as the more I could hear the music.  It really does get loud from the wind, enough to cause tinnitus with prolonged repetitive riding.  
    GSARider - yea I could see your point about the over the ear hooks, that would be painful, but I really have tried stretching the helmet and it keeps knocking them out or getting them turned around in the helmet (I have a huge melon that barely fits an xxl helmet), I just need low profile.
    While I dont do long rides every day, I do ride everyday, so comfort is important. 
    Thanks all!  looking into all headphones mentioned...
  8. tmash
    Haha CX300-ii sport? :p

    That moment when they popout quick, hurts.
  9. sheldonkreger
    The HF-5 is going to provide the best isolation, unless you invest in a custom fit set. You can get a pair for ~$130 if I remember correctly.
  10. DogMeat
    Emergency Room physician here....and I agree with the DANGER remark.
    I get to see the sad results every day.
    It's not so much about blocking road sounds,(often the loud engine does that anyway), it's about how the brain responds to the input of your earphones.
    It's too much input to be able to respond quickly to sudden changes in the road environment.
    There are really interesting studies out there that address multi-tasking vs inebriation... and a person who is legally drunk is out-performing folks who are engaged with phones, IEMs, and, of course, texting. 
    I used to ride motorcycles, and I personally know how much more engaged/focused one needs to be on a bike than in a car.
    Reaction time has to be far better, you need to be more vigilant. Need to be able to hear if the bike is starting to make "funny" noises....
    I can only assume that shoving loud music into your brain while on a busy motorcycle trip must be even more risky than if you wear IEMs in an automobile trip, if only because of the reaction time required.
    I know, it's a sort of lecture....and maybe you won't change your mind about it... but I know what happens in the way of collateral damage when a motorcyclist loses focus,(say the IEM popped out of your ear and that catches your attention), for just an instant.
    Motorcycle season has started, indeed... and my trauma bay got way more busy! With bystanders that got stuck with some other guy's poor judgement are part of that. 
    Please be safe, maybe groove on the ride itself, maybe consider something less involving, like those in-helmet speakers, like inline and GSA up there are talking about.
    Just sayin'.......[​IMG]
  11. Ivabign
    I ride motorcycles as well - some years as many as 15,000 miles in a year. With that many miles under my belt, I cannot tell you how many times I was a split second from disaster. Anything that adds tenths of a second to reaction time is a killer. My riding was on city streets and freeways in the LA/OC area in California. Automobile drivers vary from inattentive to just plain aggressive when it comes to motorcycles. It isn't worth your life.
  12. sheldonkreger
    ++ for the last two posts. Perhaps there are situations where it's safe to ride with headphones - maybe back-road highways with low traffic, something like that. But, definitely not in the city.
    I see idiots on bikes here in Portland with headphones. Pretty terrifying considering how many near-misses I had before I decided to stop riding.
  13. wormly
  14. teds headfood
    i second the IDIOTS part of using any headphones on a motorcycle as you'd have to be kinda brain dead to actually want to not hear whats going on around you.
    if your bike is too loud then then untwist the throttle some duh.
    i ride a 1900 yamaha raider with decently loud aftermarket pipes so i understand the loud part.
    just my thoughts
  15. wormly
    Some riders use sound damping ear plugs when riding to help with wind noise, anything that stops you from hearing external sound is a bad idea, but the earphones I suggested are not sealing and allow external noise

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