7 Best Headphones for Cycling 2021 Review

Riding your bike to commute, exercise or just spend quality time outdoors can be an hour-long activity. So, it’s only natural for cyclists to prefer listening to music and other forms of audio entertainment while pedaling all the way to their destination. But, since safety is crucial and the noise from the environment can ruin your experience, we highly recommend the best headphones for cycling to help you find the perfect product for your preferences.

What makes headphones suitable for cycling? First of all, they should fit perfectly without the possibility of cords tangling together. What’s more important, however, is they should have the ability to let you enjoy audio without compromising safety. Having a feature that can allow both audio material and ambient noise to reach your ears at the same time is a must.

Read on to learn more about the other benefits you can get from headphones specifically designed for cyclists.

Best Headphones for Cycling Review

Apple AirPods Pro

Apple AirPods Pro

Buying two different headphones for indoor and outdoor use is completely unnecessary because there are actually options that can allow ambient noise and, at the same time, give the user a chance to block it when he’s not riding a bike.

One perfect example is Apple AirPods Pro. Based on the setting you choose, it can be a noise-canceling device or an ideal cycling gadget if you activate the Transparency Mode. Whether you allow background noise or not, the sound quality will be superb because it can instantly adapt to the shape of your ears through the Adaptive EQ that works automatically.

These headphones are really made for people with an active lifestyle. They have resistance to excessive moisture you can get from the rain while you’re exercising outdoors, a spilled water container, or even your own sweat.

Of course, let’s not forget about the quality of fit these headphones can guarantee. Since our ears are of different shapes and sizes, this product includes soft tips made of silicone. Aside from the fact that silicone is a material known for its conforming ability, the tips come in three sizes to really ensure the perfect fit for your ears.

Despite the advantages of silicone tips, some users still find these headphones painful to wear for some reason. Another possible cause of discomfort is when only one side is emitting sounds. Meanwhile, there are instances that the touch feature malfunctions out of the blue.

Pros:

  • Versatile for indoor and outdoor use
  • Personalized sound quality
  • Resistance to moisture
  • Soft to touch
  • Customized fit

Cons:

  • Still uncomfortable for some people despite the variety of tips included
  • One side not working
  • Malfunctioning touch feature

Bose SoundSport Free, True Wireless Earbuds

Bose SoundSport Free, True Wireless Earbuds

The main reason why the Bose SoundSport Free True Wireless Earbuds are the ideal sports headphones is they allow all kinds of movements through their wireless feature. Their IPX4 rating also helps since they can resist sweat and different weather conditions. IPX4 is a code indicating that a product can resist splashes of water from all possible directions.

When it comes to their sound quality, the technology of these headphones is designed to keep the audio super-clear and loud without hurting your ears. Another reason why this product won’t hurt your ears is it will provide you with three pairs of tips in different sizes: small, medium, and large.

You don’t have to wait long just to fully charge these headphones. They just need two hours and then they’re good to go. Expect them to last for five hours even with nonstop use before you have to charge them again. Even better, if you’re going to use the charging case, it can last for up to 10 hours.

These headphones can be inconsistent, though. When you use them for calls or watching movies on your computer, one side tends to stop working.

Speaking of computer use, it’s also possible that it will take some time for this product to pair with an electronic device despite their compatibility. And, once they connect with each other, you can’t pair these headphones with another device if you’ll do it at the same time.

Pros:

  • Wireless feature
  • Resistant to different weather conditions
  • Clear audio quality
  • Three size options for the tips
  • Only needs a couple of hours to charge

Cons:

  • One side doesn’t work in some situations
  • Time-consuming connection process
  • Can’t connect with multiple devices

Anker Soundcore Spirit Dot 2 True Wireless Earbuds

Anker Soundcore Spirit Dot 2 True Wireless Earbuds

Are you a bass lover? Then you should consider choosing the Anker Soundcore Spirit Dot 2 True Wireless Earbuds because of the elastic material surrounding their composite driver to double the bass output. Not only that, but they also contain a technology called the BassUp which automatically analyzes the bass quality to boost it.

As expected, these headphones are resistant to sweat and splashes of water. However, they take it up a notch with their IPX7 rating and SweatGuard technology. Compared to IPX6, IPX7 is actually waterproof because it can survive being submerged for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, the SweatGuard technology protects the casing from moisture through special sealing and coating methods.

Additionally, these headphones are much more compact than other options for a lighter feel and a more subtle look, which is also helpful even when you’re sleeping.

Even though it’s good that these headphones allow some ambient noise, they can’t always minimize loud sounds, especially the ones coming from speeding vehicles like motorcycles. As for their case, it’s quite unique but bigger than necessary. And, just a little observation, this product is a little pricier than some of the newest models of the brand.

Pros:

  • Aims for a better musical experience by enhancing the bass quality
  • Guaranteed to be waterproof
  • Lighter feel
  • Fits easily because of its compact form
  • Subtle appearance

Cons:

  • Too much ambient noise
  • Bulkier case
  • Higher price than newer options

Jabra Elite Active 75t True Wireless Bluetooth Earbuds

Jabra Elite Active 75t True Wireless Bluetooth Earbuds

To ensure that this product can fit most ear types, the designers behind the Jabra Elite Active 75t True Wireless Bluetooth Earbuds have examined a massive number of ears for a more thorough research and engineering process.

While other options focus on the perfect fit for more secure placement, this one includes a special kind of coating to enhance grip even when you pedal too fast. The coating won’t wear out because of the product’s IP57 rating, meaning the surfaces are resistant to dust aside from moisture.

Another safety feature is the HearThrough setting of these headphones. You’ll be able to hear ambient noise without affecting the audio quality. If you’re indoors, you can quickly switch to the Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) mode by simply pressing a button on the unit itself.

Unfortunately, the button’s placement doesn’t exactly scream efficiency. It’s placed on a forgettable spot. The buttons for adjusting the volume and switching tracks are also strange because you need to press each one multiple times instead of the usual up-and-down motion.

Meanwhile, in some cases, one side only makes weird sounds like crackling noises. The user would find it hard to understand lyrics or calls.

Pros:

  • Developed and constructed based on careful research
  • Special grip for the ears
  • Can resist dust and moisture
  • Can be adjusted to allow ambient noise
  • Includes a noise-canceling mode

Cons:

  • Ineffective placement of the mode switch
  • Inefficient design of the track and volume buttons
  • Nonstop crackling

Bluetooth Headphones, Soundcore Spirit Sports Earbuds by Anker

Bluetooth Headphones, Soundcore Spirit Sports Earbuds by Anker

Aside from protecting the internal system of the Anker Soundcore Spirit Sports Earbuds, the IPX7 rating also increases durability by preventing corrosion caused by sweat. In terms of fit, aside from the secure design of the ear tips, the earwigs also help.

Now, not all cyclists prefer headphones that are totally wireless. A common reason is the higher risk of losing one of the earbuds.

However, those people still need features that can keep things safe and convenient for them. That’s why the band of this product comes with a cable clip to avoid discomfort around the neck.

What can you expect from this set of items? Aside from the headphones, you’ll get four different sizes of ear tips (small, medium, large, and extra-large), three sizes of earwigs (small, medium, large), two cable clips, a clip for your shirt, a USB cable, and a travel pouch.

While most complaints about headphones are all about the painfully tight fit, this one is too loose for some people. It has an uneven design because it keeps on leaning to one side. There’s also a chance of constant echoing when you listen to the audio.

Pros:

  • Less likely to corrode
  • Lower risk of misplacing the earbuds
  • Comfortable despite the neckband
  • Complete set
  • Travel-friendly

Cons:

  • Too loose
  • Uneven design
  • Echoing audio

AfterShokz Air Open Ear Wireless Bone Conduction Headphones AS650MB

AfterShokz Air Open Ear Wireless Bone Conduction Headphones AS650MB

Ever heard of listening to music through the cheekbones? If you want to try it for the first time, we highly recommend the AfterShokz Wireless Bone Conduction Headphones. Using that kind of technology is the best way to completely hear ambient sounds while listening to music. It blends the background noise perfectly with the audio coming from the headphones, which is definitely ideal for cyclists.

How is it possible that an open type of headphones can still provide you with high-quality audio? When it comes to this product, it uses the Premium Pitch Plus feature to keep the range dynamic and the bass quality superior.

Regarding the downsides, the battery life of these headphones is quite short. If you’re going to increase their volume all the time, it’s possible that they’ll only last for two hours each charge. And, worse, you might not be able to recharge this device anymore in just a few months of frequent use.

We should also let you know that the band of these headphones might be too big for you. The size of the band is important for comfort and convenience.

Pros:

  • Uses advanced technology to ensure the safety of cyclists everywhere
  • Fully allows ambient noise
  • Open design doesn’t affect audio quality
  • Dynamic range
  • Excellent bass quality

Cons:

  • Short battery life
  • Can’t be recharged eventually
  • Inappropriate band size

Bose SoundSport Wireless, Sweat Resistant, In-Ear Headphones

Bose SoundSport Wireless, Sweat Resistant, In-Ear Headphones

Listening to music with the Bose SoundSport Wireless In-Ear Headphones can be a satisfying experience. No matter how low or high the volume is, every aspect of any song is balanced because of the automatic equalizer.

Meanwhile, being sport-type headphones, this device won’t fall off regardless of the intensity of your moves because of its comfortable and secure tips. You can use it nonstop for six hours before recharging it.

However, despite that claim about battery life, some units can only work for two hours at most. Others even stop working altogether around the end of the warranty period.

Lastly, the rubber component around the controls tends to detach easily. Installing it again by yourself is so tricky that it can possibly void the warranty.

Pros:

  • Balanced audio
  • No need for frequent adjustments on the equalizer
  • Foolproof fit
  • Long battery life
  • Comfortable to wear

Cons:

  • Inconsistent battery life
  • Short lifespan
  • Flimsy rubber component

How to Choose Good Headphones for Cycling

Type

Wired

The best thing about wired headphones is you can easily spot them when you misplace them. And, when you’re riding your bike, the cord will prevent an earbud from falling to the ground.

This variation is also perfect for people who don’t want to deal with nonstop connection issues a lot of people face when using wireless headphones. Going wireless means total dependence on Bluetooth and other similar technologies.

On the other hand, with wired headphones, you just need to connect the plug into your mobile phone. That can also be a disadvantage, though. The cord will easily get tangled by the wind.

And, even if you clip the cord on your shirt, dynamic movements can still loosen it. You’ll have no choice but to limit your movements, which can affect your performance as a cyclist.

Wireless

This type of headphones is all the rage nowadays. It allows maximum freedom of movement for a wide range of activities including cycling, of course. It doesn’t need a long cord to reach the audio port of your phone because it relies on wireless connectivity.

However, as we’ve mentioned earlier, wireless headphones easily get misplaced. We suggest choosing a wireless pair of earbuds connected with each other through a short cord or band you can securely place on the back of your head or neck.

Also, we can’t deny the hassle of pairing two devices sometimes. Technologies like Bluetooth are supposed to make things easier for all of us, but they can be really time-consuming for a lot of people. Some devices just can’t pair together instantly.

Safety

In-Ear vs On-Ear

Earbuds are obviously the in-ear type because you literally put them in your ears. On the other hand, on-ear headphones are the more compact versions of the bulkier traditional design.

Audio quality is subjective, but most people prefer earbuds since the sounds go directly into their ear canals all the way to their eardrums. On-ear headphones are more like putting small loudspeakers over your ears, which may lead to distracting bursts of sound. They can also be painful to your earlobes after hours of use.

Earbuds are quite dangerous, though, unless they come with a special setting that allows background noise. If you can only hear music while riding your bike, you might not hear auditory traffic signals. That will increase the risk of accidents.

Come to think of it, you can definitely use only one earbud. This can affect your musical experience but that’s only a small price to pay for your safety.

Meanwhile, on-ear headphones are generally safer than earbuds even without extra features allowing ambient sounds. You can just crank up the volume and either wear them around the back of your neck or partially cover your ears by adjusting the device’s position.

Noise Cancellation vs Bone Conduction

It goes without saying that noise-canceling headphones are a big no-no for cyclists. That’s only ideal for indoor use. However, if those headphones have a setting for background noise, then you’re very lucky to own a versatile product.

Meanwhile, how is bone conduction even possible? It turns out that when certain parts of your skull vibrate, the waves from the sound you’re listening to easily reach your cochlea. The cochlea is crucial because of its auditory nerves that can transmit impulses to your brain.

Bone conduction is perfect for all cyclists because their ears are totally open and ready for any abrupt auditory signal. Headphones with that technology are also much more comfortable for the whole external part of your ears.

Obviously, bone conduction isn’t the best when it comes to audio quality. After all, the ambient sounds will have a greater impact, which isn’t the original purpose of headphones.

No wonder a lot of users resort to buying a different pair of headphones just for indoor use. And, worse, that’s actually impractical since bone conduction technology is more expensive.

Other Factors

Sound Quality

Nothing beats the satisfaction of hearing every element in a song. That’s why the sound quality is still important even if you’re looking for cycling headphones.

Aside from the usual equalizer, you can find headphones using technologies that can automatically adjust it based on the shape of your ears. Some of them can even enhance bass.

Moisture Resistance

Cycling is both a type of sport and exercise. It involves continuous movements that will never fail to challenge your endurance. That’s why it can make you sweat like crazy.

Since sweat has corrosive properties, you should prioritize moisture resistance among others. Not only should the headphones be waterproof to protect their internal system; their surfaces must also have a special coating that can boost durability.

Battery Life

Most cycling enthusiasts can spend almost half of their day just riding their bikes to reach locations with stunning views. That means several hours of constant pedaling, which can be tedious at times. This is why headphones are a big help for long journeys.

However, that also means longer battery life is needed. Some headphones can only last for two hours, which is only ideal for commutes, gym sessions, and casual bike riding around your area.

Meanwhile, other headphones can last up to six hours. That’s more than enough for a less tedious day on your bike. Even better, some options come with a charging case to increase the playtime for up to 10 hours.

Conclusion

If you’re finally convinced to buy bone conduction headphones, we recommend the AfterShokz AS650MB. It’s one of the few models that can still provide you with amazing sound quality. Its range is dynamic while the bass quality is impressive.

Just remember that the AS650MB can only last for a few hours since it’s primarily made for urban areas with consistently heavy traffic, hence better for daily commutes. You might also notice some discomfort on the fit because of the large size of its band.

As for the factors you need to consider before buying headphones for cycling, think about the product’s overall design and safety features before anything else. Do you prefer it wired or wireless? Are you more comfortable with earbuds or on-ear headphones? Is bone conduction technology the right choice for you?

You should also consider the headphones’ sound quality, level of durability, and battery life.