Best Cycling Headphones

| |

Best Cycling Headphones

We all know that whilst cycling is a great form of exercise and way of exploring your local surrounding area, it can get a bit lonesome and dull if you’re always doing the same routes on your own.

If you’ve ever considered buying yourself some cycling headphones to listen to music or podcasts out on your bike, but never knew how or where to start then you have come to the right place.

If you didn’t already know, not all headphones are suitable for wearing whilst cycling so you need to be more specific in your search, but I’ve already done the research and brought to you the best cycling headphones. 

Best Cycling Headphones

I've created a guide with reviews of my top five best cycling headphones, a buyer’s guide to help narrow down what you need in your new headphones, and also a frequently asked questions section that answers common queries from people buying new headphones.

In a hurry?

If you’re short on time and can’t read all the reviews of my options then I'm just going to cut to the chase and tell you my top recommendation here.

My top choice for best cycling headphones is the Apple AirPod Pros and here’s a short list of some of the reasons why I think it’s top-notch!

  • Transparency mode
  • Option of noise-canceling
  • Sweat and water-resistant
  • Comfortable fit
  • Wireless charging
  • 24-hour battery life
  • Stays in your ears
  • Wireless
  • Easy to connect
  • Option of Siri

Top 5 Best Cycling Headphones

MY TOP PICK

Apple AirPods Pro

If you haven’t been living under a rock for the last few years then you would’ve heard about or definitely seen someone wearing Apple’s wireless headphones.

Despite there being an abundance of wireless headphones prior to Apple launching the Airpods, people seemed to go crazy for them and I must admit I understand why. 

However, whilst the first generation of AirPods are great for general use, it is the Apple AirPod Pro that is the best pair and the one that top’s my list.

The AirPod Pro’s design is more well suited to cyclists and sports enthusiasts than that of its more basic model the AirPod.

These headphones are built with a more structured shape to fit securely in your ear and come with a silicone tip around the earbud to help keep it in place whilst still managing to be comfortable. 

They don’t interfere with the build of your cycling helmet, so they won’t get knocked out of your ears. 

The headphones are ideal for cycling as they come with a transparency mode which allows you to hear and stay connected to the world around you whilst out on your routes, this is great so you’ll still be able to switch off to your music but also be aware of vehicles or possible hazards around you.

If you want to use your headphones to switch off from the outside world when you’re not cycling then the AirPod Pros possess noise-canceling capabilities for incredible immersive sound. However, I don’t recommend using this mode when out on your bike. 

They hold an IPX rating of 4 and are great for sweat and splash resistance, so whether you’re riding in the pouring rain or sweating it out in the blazing heat, you can still wear your headphones knowing they won’t get damaged.

However, these headphones are splash resistant and not completely water-resistant, so don’t wear these little guys in the pool or in the shower.

We do recommend wiping them down with a cloth if they do get a bit wet once you’ve returned home, just to ensure the durability of them.

Apple’s products are known for being pretty simple to set up and use and the AirPod Pros are no different.

To connect, you simply have to place the charging case with the headphones inside next to your phone and an icon will come up to connect, you can even use Siri to help you out.

The Siri connection to the AirPods is so useful and without having to use your hands you can change your volume, make a call, or even choose a specific artist to listen to.

The call and microphone settings are of great quality and you’ll be able to have clear conversations out on your bike even in noisy environments.

The battery life is insane and can last up to 24 hours from a full charge in the wireless case, so you won’t have to keep constantly charging them before every ride.

Whilst I don’t like to associate quality with price, the only downside of the AirPod Pros is the price tag and although I do think they’re worth it, it’s sometimes not attainable for every customer. 

PROS:

  • Transparency mode
  • Option of noise-canceling
  • Sweat and water-resistant
  • Comfortable fit
  • Wireless charging
  • 24-hour battery life
  • Stays in your ears
  • Wireless
  • Easy to connect
  • Option of Siri

CONS:

  • Pricier than other headphones

EDITORS CHOICE

Powerbeats Pro Wireless Earbuds - Apple H1 Headphone Chip, Class 1 Bluetooth Headphones, 9 Hours of Listening Time, Sweat Resistant, Built-in Microphone - Black

Beats is another top contender in the headphones industry.

Most renowned for their Studio or Solo Wireless cushioned headphones, they really know what they’re doing when making a good pair of headphones for various needs.

The Powerbeats Pro Wireless headphones are their best choice for cyclists with the design built with secure-fit ear hooks for ultimate security and comfort whilst out cycling.

They’ve even got a silicone earbud so you don’t get that dull ache inside your ear from wearing headphones too long. You’ve even got a choice of 4-size interchangeable tips to help you get the perfect fit.

One of the headphone tips is cone-shaped and is best suited for cycling out on busy roads as it lets ambient noise in even with music playing. 

The totally wireless headphones come in black and an array of other fetching colors, so you can opt for something plain and simple or try something fancy.

They offer up to 9 hours of listening time and more than 24 hours with the charging case it comes with.

They’ve got a reinforced and durable sign to improve sweat and water resistance even during the toughest weather conditions, however, I do warn you that the charging case is not water-resistant so don’t go dropping it in the bathtub.

You have the option of adjusting your volume by pressing the buttons on the headphone in your ear and also changing track by the buttons on the hook.

If you don’t feel comfortable balancing your bike with one hand you can also use voice recognition built in to change the song and volume (only for iPhone users). 

You can also audio share with another pair of headphone users if you want, so if you’re out cycling with a friend you can listen to the same thing at the same time - cool huh? The headphones are compatible with both iOS and Android.

The connection is great on them and if you’ve got your phone safely away in a rucksack whilst cycling then the signal won’t dip so you can enjoy uninterrupted listening. They offer good sound quality but are not noise-canceling.

The bass is a lot heavier in sound on these headphones compared to others but what do you expect when they’re made by music producers.

PROS:

  • Good battery life
  • IPX 4 rating
  • Good Bluetooth connectivity
  • Fast charging
  • Comfortable 
  • Secure in ears

CONS:

  • Bass-heavy sound which may not be to everyone taste

BEST VALUE

AfterShokz Titanium Bone Conduction Wireless Bluetooth Headphones, Black

If you’re an avid cycler then you might have come across bone conduction headphones in your research.

Bone conduction works by the transducers sitting on either side of your ears instead of your ears canals, the vibrations go through your cheekbones and you can hear your music. 

We love these headphones as they allow your ears to be completely open to sounds around you so you can keep safe whilst you still enjoy some escapism.

The headphones are primarily designed for outdoor activities, so if you were looking for something solely for that purpose then these would be the most suitable option, although they wouldn’t be a good match for blocking out noise on a plane journey. 

Whilst looking a bit abnormal compared to other headphones, the AfterShokz Titanium headphones are easy to use and connect.

They connect via Bluetooth on all iOS and Android Bluetooth ready devices and you can even use voice activation to switch songs or receive or make calls, so you won’t even have to take your hands off your handlebars.

They offer a pause button on the side of the headphone if you’re tired of whatever you’re listening to, this avoids you having to take them off whilst cycling. 

They’re very comfortable to wear for extended periods as they’re lightweight and flexible and won’t leave sore spots around your ears.

The battery life is slightly shorter than regular headphones, but a total of six hours of continuous listening should be adequate for even the biggest of cycling routes. 

The quality is sound is good for what they’re made for but won’t give you noise-canceling and immersive experiences, but regardless, they weren’t built for that so it cannot be deemed a negative.

They are IP55 certified sport headphones so are great for resistance against sweat, moisture, and dust during all of your outdoor activities, so it won’t affect the quality or durability of your headphones.

These are not completely waterproof though so don’t wear them for watersports activities. 

PROS:

  • Bluetooth connectivity
  • Bone conduction so you can still hear surroundings
  • Durable
  • Good quality sound
  • Lightweight
  • Choice of different colors

CONS

  • Short battery life

RUNNER UP

Bose SoundSport, Wireless Earbuds, (Sweatproof Bluetooth Headphones for Running and Sports), Black

Fourth on my list is the Bose SoundSport Wireless headphones. Now despite the name, these headphones actually do have wiring attached to them but not like traditional headphones.

The wire goes in a continuous line from one earpiece to the other and can be placed on the back of the neck so it doesn’t get in your way when you’re cycling.

If you were looking for headphones that are completely wireless then these won’t be for you. 

The design allows the headphones to snug in your ear without falling out during vigorous exercise, the cord could get annoying as you can feel it on the back of the neck, however, it does make them easier to find if you lose them.

If you did misplace them, then the bose connect app allows you to find them.

Bose is pretty well known for their high-quality speakers, so it’s no surprise that the sound quality experience on these is such high-quality.  

The headphones have a built-in technology that automatically adjusts the volume EQ based on the various genres you listen to, so you’ll have balanced volume no matter what you choose that day.

You can activate Siri with your Bose SoundSport headphones and have total control of music, volume and even make a phone call. 

These are not noise-canceling headphones so great for wearing out on the bike in busier surroundings, however, the great sound quality may require you to only wear one in at a time to ensure maximum safety.

You can still hear ambient noise with both in but it all depends on how much you prefer to hear when you’re out. 

The headphones are connected via Bluetooth and NFC, so you simply have to put your headphones near your phone before you climb onto your bike.

They offer 6 hours of battery life with every charge, so if you only wear them on short rides then you may only need to charge them once a week.

Charging these little guys for only 10 minutes will give you nearly two hours of listening, so if you remember last minute to charge them for a ride you’ll still be able to listen.

They hold an IPX 4 rating so you’ll be able to wear these reassures that they won’t get broken due to sweat or rainfall. 

You can charge these headphones by using a micro USB via the right ear-pod into your computer or plugs. 

PROS:

  • Comfortable
  • Secure
  • Great battery life
  • Quick recharging
  • Great sound quality
  • You can still hear noise when eating them
  • Waterproof and sweat-resistant

CONS:

  • Heavier than other headphones

RUNNER UP

AfterShokz Aeropex Open-Ear Wireless Bone Conduction Headphones with Sport Belt, Cosmic Black, 2.3

Our final recommendation is another AfterShokz Bone Conduction headphone set. These are a more premium pair compared to the Titanium model I reviewed in third place.

They work in the same way, by vibrating on your cheekbones to produce sound to your ears without them being directly in your ear canals.

They’re still one of the better options if complete awareness of surroundings when cycling is a priority for you in headphones.

They have good sound quality and 50% less sound leakage compared to older models. This model comes with a long-lasting battery life of 8 hours, so you’ll be able to have long use with these between charges.

They’re made from hard-wearing plastic so they’ll last you a lifetime but they still only weigh half a pound, so they’re so comfortable and barely noticeable when you wear them.

They are completely sweat-proof and water-resistant so are perfect to wear whilst battling it out on the bike against all weather conditions.

They do state they’re not suitable for swimming, however, some customers have claimed that they’ve tried them in the pool and they’ve worked fine.

However, it’s best not to risk it. It’s also got a moisture detection sensor that alerts you if the charging area gets too wet for it to be safe whilst charging, which I think is pretty neat.

Whilst also the extra upgraded features are great with these headphones, for added cost compared to the Titanium model, it doesn’t make them 100% worth it unless you’re going to take full advantage of those features. 

PROS:

  • 8-hour battery life
  • Waterproof and sweat-resistant
  • Great sound
  • Always you to hear surroundings
  • Good connectivity
  • Comfortable and light to wear

CONS:

  • Extra price for features you may not use
  • Make loud beeping sounds which cannot be adjusted

Best Cycling Headphones Buying Guide

Sound quality

If you’re going to invest in headphones specifically for cycling, then you’ll want to make sure that they have good sound quality so you can hear whatever you are listening to clearly.

Most brands nowadays offer impressive sound systems built into their headphones.

Safety

It is illegal in certain US states to listen to music whilst cycling. Whilst not being illegal in all of them, it is considered a hazard.

You should take precautions whilst cycling with music playing through headphones.

If you are someone who loses concentration easily, then maybe headphones are not a good idea for you. Do not buy noise-canceling headphones if you are going to cycle on busy main roads.

As an alternative, you could get bone conduction headphones that vibrate on your cheekbones to make sound, which keeps your ears uncovered so you can still hear traffic.

Design & Fit

Stay clear of over the head headphones, they will not fit under a helmet and they block out more sound than in-ear headphones, so you won’t be able to hear surrounding traffic.

You’ll want your headphones to fit snug in your ear, so they don’t fall out when you're cycling with power.

Sports headphones tend to be the best for cyclists as they come with ear hooks to keep them in place.

Wireless headphones

You have got the option of going for wireless Bluetooth headphones now. These will connect to your phone and are much easier to use whilst cycling as there won’t be any wires getting in your way.

Most wireless headphones will stay connected to your phone even if it’s a few meters away, however, more than likely you will have your phone in your bag or secured in an armband.

If you do decide to buy a pair of wireless headphones, you’ll want to check out the battery life on them.

Most wireless headphones have a battery life of up to 8 hours but if you plan on using them for more time or are someone who forgets to charge them, then you’ll want to find something with a bit more battery life. 

Durability

It’s important for cycling headphones to be sweat-resistant, otherwise, it can cause implications for the sound and wiring inside.

Look out for IPX ratings on headphones to see how water resistant they are.

Not can sweat affect the wiring inside but they will then be more prone to fall out your ears whilst cycling, which is an issue if they’re wireless or with wires.

If you don’t get a weather-resistant/sweat-resistant pair of durable headphones then you’ll end up replacing them before long.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I listen to music whilst cycling?

It is illegal in some US states to listen to music whilst cycling. However, it is not recommended due to safety reasons.

Listening to music can distract you from what is going on around you. You may not be able to hear any approaching cars due to your music being too loud. 

To ensure you’re still being safe you could always keep one earbud out whilst you cycle so you can still hear the sounds of your surroundings to keep you safe.

We don’t recommend using noise-canceling headphones so you can’t hear anything at all, you should still be able to hear a car beeping at you from a near distance.

If you need to change the song, do not go on your phone to do it as it will distract you from the road. Some headphones come with the feature to change songs with a button, so you can still stay focused on the road.

If you’re unsure about having headphones in then you could always buy a Bluetooth speaker, so you can listen to music out loud and still be able to hear everything around you, 

Do pro cyclists listen to music whilst cycling?

Pro cyclists listen to music wireless headphones whilst they train or riding for fun, however, they do not wear them for racing.

The earpiece they have in their ears during professional races is to have communication from their coach whilst they cycle. 

Is it illegal to be on your phone on a bike?

It is not illegal in the US however for your own safety it is considered negligent to do so.

Not only are your eyes distracted when you are on your phone, but then you also only have one hand on your handlebars, if you need to quickly dart your bike away from obstructions or cars, it may be too late.

If you need to use your phone, you should pull over to a safe place.

Previous

Best Dual Driver Earbuds

Best Soundbars Under $200

Next

Leave a Comment