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Topic Summary

Posted by: lbj23-8023
« on: August 18, 2023, 10:56:05 AM »

The best cycling headphones will typically offer a combination of sound clarity, water- and sweat-proofing, comfort, access to controls, and durability. However, the perfect pair for your needs will undoubtedly differ from the next person’s. 

Some will want to listen to music at the highest volume possible during Zwift races and indoor sessions, while others will prefer a quiet audiobook or podcast during an easy spin along the bike path. Many will turn to headphones to shut out their surroundings, while road users will likely want nothing less.

Many would argue that the best cycling headphones for outdoor riding are no headphones at all. Being unable to hear your surroundings whilst riding on a road is not something we’d recommend, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still listen to your entertainment of choice.

If you’re looking for the best cycling headphones for riding indoors, then the primary requirement will likely be sweat proofing. But for riding outside, you might want something that uses bone conduction technology instead of plugging your ear canals, or you may simply put more value on sound clarity and ease of volume control.

Wherever you ride, a pair of headphones can make the difference between enjoying or enduring your ride, and completing or failing your workout. So here are a few suggestions for the best cycling headphones, as well as a few ideas to make music an easy uplift for every workout.

The best cycling headphones available today

Wissonly Hi Runner

Wissonly bone conduction headphones are recognized by the market with its leading bone conduction vibrator technology. Their team has accumulated more than 10 years in the field of bone conduction technology, which has been affirmed in terms of product quality and hearing protection effect.
Wissonly Hi Runner uses a large-size bone conduction vibrator, which increases the vibration area by 35%. When you wear it, the diffusion direction of sound quality will be more comprehensive, the coverage will be wider, and the sound will be more stereo. Its sound will be deeper in low frequency and more transparent in high frequency. They have also made a lot of efforts in the technology of sound leakage reduction, including the built-in reverse sound wave system and the all-closed-body design, thus reducing the sound leakage by 90%.
It is comfort: Wissonly Hi Runner's whole body is made of high-tech and low-sensitivity silicone, which contains no chemical components to avoid allergy. The overall touch is as silky as baby's skin, which can avoid uncomfortable situations when worn for a long time.
wissonly Hi Runner bone conduction headphones are also equipped with a new Bluetooth 5.0 chip, which has stronger anti-interference ability, and can easily cope with various outdoor complex scenes, so as to ensure that the good mood during exercise will not be disturbed by disconnection. The stable connection also brings ultra-low delay performance. Listening to songs, chasing dramas and playing games meet all the daily demands for headphones.
Jaybird Vista

More secure in your ear than any other true wireless earbud

Passive sound isolation is so good they can double as ear protection

Can make your ears sore after a while

True wireless earbuds are a great way to handle music while riding indoors. There are no wires to get in the way and being able to ride with only one at a time can extend the listening time. Not all true wireless earbuds feel secure in your ear though. There’s nothing quite as annoying as an earbud that feels like it’s going to fall out when you are sprinting for the win in a Zwift race.

Aftershokz Aeropex

Along the same lines of one pair of headphones that work in a lot of situations, you might need to stay aware of your surroundings. While it’s okay to be completely sealed off from distractions inside that’s not the case outside. If you also ride, or run, with music outside then you should be able to hear your surroundings. Aftershokz is a company known for bone conduction technology and the Aeropex is their latest option. Instead of a speaker that sits near your ear, Aftershokz directs vibrations up your cheekbone. The result is that you can hear the music but also the environment. As they don’t plug into your ears the Aeropex are extremely secure and comfortable, so no matter how hard or long you go they won’t get irritating.

Jabra Elite 85h

While some headphone uses need to allow outside noise, some don’t. Riding indoors you probably don’t need to hear what’s happening around you. The Jabra 85H noise cancelling is second to none. That amazing active noise cancelling also comes with plenty of battery life. If you want to be completely focused while you tackle a virtual Everest ride then the 36 hours of useability should do the trick. On the other hand, if you need to call a friend during that event the 6 of 8 onboard mics dedicated to voice calls will keep you clear to the other person.

Sony WI-SP510

Sony was the king of inexpensive, quality headphones, for years. In 2021 that hasn’t changed. While you can spend a lot of money on amazing headphones not everyone wants to do that. If you want something that is both good and inexpensive the WI-SP510 is a perfect choice. They aren’t true wireless, the two earbuds have a wired connection, but there’s no wire to your device. Along with that extra wire, you get longer battery life and the ease of hanging them at your neck while also reducing cost. These are the kind of headphones that just work.

Anker Soundcore Life P2

The Anker Soundcore Life P2 are a budget-friendly pair of cycling headphones that punch well above their weight in performance terms.

They promise up to seven hours of continuous playback, although at with volumes required for our indoor cycling setting, we found this time ran closer to around five hours. With the charge case, this time extends to offer 40 hours of battery, and a fast-charge means little downtime between listening.

You can choose to use either ear on its own – useful for outdoor riding – or both together. You can even pair each ear to separate devices, and whichever comes out of the case first will become the ‘main’ ear, and the second ear will mimic. So if you flit between a laptop and your smartphone, just pick up the corresponding ear first.

Samsung Galaxy Buds

The Samsung Galaxy Buds’ touch controls can be customised via the Samsung Galaxy Wearable app and include the option to use Samsung’s voice assistant Bixby too. The battery life is a good amount at six hours, while the charging case provides an extra seven, more than enough to keep you going. One useful feature is the ability to wirelessly charge using the case, so you can top up on the go.

Connectivity is, as you might expect, best with other Samsung devices, though they’ll work with a range of other devices easily enough too. Sound-wise, there are no real downsides, with the bass an improvement on the Jabras.

How to choose the best cycling headphones

What do IP ratings really mean?

You are working hard, getting a great workout, and sweating a lot. With that in mind, you want to make sure you aren’t going to kill your headphones by sweating on them so you check out the IP rating. What is an IP rating though and what do the numbers mean?

IP stands for ingress protection and it’s a simple rating that signifies how waterproof, and dustproof, something is. A low IP rating might work for you when you are riding with a fan pointed at your face but it won’t work for swimming. Whatever your need is the IP rating just lets you match your needs to what you are purchasing.

After the letters “I” and “P” there are two numbers. Sometimes instead of two numbers there is an X then a number. The first place is a measure of dust protection. The second place is a measure of water protection. If there’s an X in either location it means that the product has no testing for that rating.

No testing doesn’t mean no protection, it just means no testing. Headphones are often not tested for dust ingress.  Still, since waterproofing can mean sealing the internals, they might be fine in a lot of dusty situations. Alternatively, no IP rating doesn’t always mean no water resistance. Jabra has no IP rating but the internals have a nano protection that will protect them from some water.

Some people sweat more than others. Decide what you are comfortable with. Also consider the design. A true wireless headphone is more likely to accidentally fall into water while an over-ear headphone is more capable of collecting water.