Whether you’re training for your next triathlon or simply trying to be more active, having something to listen to can be a great way to motivate yourself when you’re cycling.
Unless you’re planning on strapping a boombox to your handlebars, headphones are the best way to listen to music or your favorite podcast while you cycle by playing it directly into your ears.
However, regular headphones aren’t necessarily a great choice for when you’re zooming around on your bike, as issues such as wind noise can affect the quality of your music.
They may not even fit under your helmet, and if it comes down to a choice between wearing your headphones or wearing your helmet, you should always put safety over sound!
Our useful buyer’s guide will draw your attention to some other key factors you’ll want to consider when looking for a pair of headphones for your next cycle.
Alternatively, you can check out our list of reviews to see 5 of the best headphones we could find available on Amazon, any of which would make a great choice for a committed (or beginner - everybody has to start somewhere) cyclist.
If you’re in a rush, keep reading to find out why we chose the AfterShokz Aeropex headphones as our top pick.
OUR TOP PICK
Don’t be put off by the price! AfterShokz is known for producing high-quality headphones and is incredibly popular within the sports industry, so you’ll definitely get your money’s worth.
Just as a heads up - you might spot another pair from this brand further down our list.
These AfterShokz Aeropex headphones feature an open-ear design which is why we chose them as our top pick for cycling.
They’re the solution to the problem of safety whilst listening to your favorite music as you ride.
The patented bone conduction technology doesn’t cover your ears, leaving them free to listen out for hazards or other dangers on the road.
Instead, high-quality sound is delivered via your cheekbone, making these a great (and safe) choice for cyclists.
Experience ultimate comfort as you’re wearing these lightweight headphones, as the bud-free listening means your eardrums won’t be aching at the end of the ride, or after 8 hours of continuous music and phone calls which is how long they can last for.
They’re rain and sweat-resistant with an IP67 waterproof rating, so the elements of the outdoors won’t affect your ability to listen to high-quality music either.
There’s even moisture detection that will alert you for safer charging.
Lastly, (and then we’ll move on to some other great options, we swear), they’re easy to use thanks to a multifunction button, which allows you to skip songs, adjust the volume, play or pause music, and answer calls, all without looking up from the road.
Delivers clear, premium sound
Bone conduction technology for enhanced safety
8-hour battery life
They feature an easy to use multifunction button
Next up, we have these Soundcore Anker headphones, an excellent choice for the cyclist who doesn’t want to compromise on sound quality.
Simply connect to your smartphone and you’ll be able to listen to your favorite playlist while you work out, without the tinny sound that headphones are sometimes guilty of producing.
These curved earbuds are powered by 10mm composite drivers for impressive performance, and a flexible Bio-cellulose dome enhances high frequencies for even clearer sound
But you know what they say, you can’t enjoy the highs without the lows. Not that you have to worry about that with these headphones, as an elastic outer ring means they’re capable of producing deep bass, up to 43% more thanks to the BASSUP technology.
They offer a secure fit so that even on the roughest terrain you can trust that they’ll stay in place while you cycle.
The earbuds are ergonomically designed with ear tips and wings that are available in multiple sizes so you can customize the fit to your ear shape for added comfort.
Weather is also nothing to worry about, as these headphones are IPX7 waterproof, complete with a fully waterproof casing with a design inspired by the structure of a submarine, and they really know how to keep water out.
Even rinsing them with water or serious sweating isn’t enough to damage them.
If you’re listening at an 80% volume, these Anker headphones can last for a lengthy 18 hours and they’re quick to charge, needing only 10 minutes before you run out the door, which would provide approximately 3 hours of listening time.
Up to 43% more bass
Comfortable and secure fit
Ear hooks are not removable
The next pair of headphones we reviewed is this pair from VIDONN, another bone conduction option that’s great for cycling due to the enhanced safety it provides. With the open earbud design, you won’t have to worry about potential hazards sneaking up on you and you’ll be able to stay alert to your surroundings.
Wireless pairing allows you to play your favorite songs or podcasts and you can connect even faster thanks to Bluetooth v5.0 technology, which provides a stable connection and up to 33 feet of signal.
With a waterproof rating of IP55, you’ll have no issues if you get caught in a light rain shower whilst wearing these headphones. You can also push your limits without worrying about working up a sweat as they’re sweatproof, too.
The ergonomic design is yet another reason these headphones are great for cycling as they fit comfortably and securely, so they won’t come out of place while you ride your bicycle.
Charging takes 2 hours to reach its maximum battery life which will last for approximately 6 hours when in use or 10 days on standby. This is slightly shorter than some of the other headphones included in this list, so if you think you’ll be cycling for that long (very impressive, by the way) then these may not be the best option for you.
Bluetooth v5.0 technology
Comfortable and secure fit
Sweatproof with an IP55 waterproof rating
Shorter battery life
If you’re looking for a pair of headphones to provide better sound quality, your best bet is these Mpow Flame headphones. Not only that, but voice calls are clearer than ever no matter what volume you have your phone set at, thanks to a built-in cVc6.0 noise-canceling microphone.
The 11mm drivers and SBC/AAC audio chip ensure premium sound and deep, pounding bass. You’ll have to be mindful of how high your volume is, however, as they’re more likely to muffle the sound of your surroundings due to their powerful performance, which can be a safety hazard if you’re cycling on busy roads.
You can adjust the fit by tightening or loosening the wire clamp so that the length of the neckband is tailored to the shape of your head. The lightweight headphones are comfortable to wear and fit snugly in your ear, with an ear-hook to provide extra security.
Nano-coating technology provides excellent protection against sweat and rain and they have a waterproof rating of IPX7, so they’re a great choice for intense exercise where you’re likely to work up a sweat.
Depending on the volume settings, these headphones provide 7-9 hours of continuous playback and talk time, and they only require 2 hours of charging time. It’s easy to check how much charge they have left, as it’s displayed on the screen of your smartphone, which easily pairs with the headphones thanks to advanced Bluetooth v5.0 technology.
Impressive audio quality
Bluetooth v5.0 technology
IPX7 waterproof rating
Fully charged after 2 hours
Great value for money
Can block out sounds of potential dangers if the volume is too high
No, you’re not experiencing deja vu! We did indeed choose another pair of AfterShokz headphones for our last review, but these are different from our top pick and they’re a more affordable offering from this brand.
They offer the same bone conduction technology that’s so popular amongst cyclists because of their ability to deliver great-sounding music without blocking out other noises and ambient sounds going on around you, so you can remain alert at all times during your ride.
Connect to your smartphone or any other Bluetooth device, choosing up to two at a time to be paired with, so you can listen to your favorite carefully cultivated playlists while you cycle.
However, some customers do report issues with the connection if the range is too distant.
The titanium headphones wrap around your head, providing a flexible fit that is comfortable as well as secure, so you won’t have to worry about going over any bumps in the road as they’ll stay firmly in place.
You won’t be disappointed in the sound these headphones produce either, as they feature premium pitch technology to ensure you can listen to a range of frequencies in high quality, including rich, deep bass notes.
Although perhaps not the most durable option included in this list of reviews, the IP55 rating means these headphones are resistant to sweat, dust, and moisture which is great for use when you’re cycling or working out.
Bone conduction technology
Flexible fit for added comfort
Premium pitch technology
Less durable than other options
Best Headphones for Cycling Buying Guide
After reading our reviews, you may now have a better idea of what makes a good pair of cycling headphones. Still unsure what to look out for? That’s why we’ve put together this useful guide to cover anything else you need to know before you decide which headphones will best suit your cycling needs.
With any pair of headphones, whether you’re buying them to wear while you’re cycling or for other purposes, you’re going to want to choose ones that have decent audio quality so that your favorite music can play without distortion.
The best way to determine the quality of the sound produced is by checking out the reviews from other customers for an unbiased opinion. Some headphones will also mention the type of drivers they have in the product description, which will indicate the performance of the speakers in the headphones.
As we mentioned in the introduction to this article, safety should always come first when it comes to cycling, especially if you’ll be riding your bike along main roads or anywhere that’s likely to be busy with traffic.
While you’ll want to find a pair of headphones that are going to produce enough noise so you can hear them over the surrounding environment, you also need to make sure that you can still be alert to any dangers.
It’s a fine line, we know, which can make it all the more difficult to decide on a pair of cycling headphones, but it’s important to find the right balance as cyclists utilize all their senses in order to stay safe on the roads.
Bone conduction technology is used for many headphones that are designed to be worn while cycling, as it transmits the sound through vibrations via your cheekbones to your inner ear. This is generally considered to be a safer alternative than regular in-ear headphones for cycling, as they don’t block out as much noise from your surroundings meaning you can remain alert while you’re raving to your favorite songs.
Fit and Comfort
After safety, the next most important thing to consider is how well your headphones fit and how comfortable they are to wear. The two main styles are on-ear or in-ear headphones, and people have different preferences when it comes to which they find easier to wear.
At the same time as you want your headphones to be comfortable, you also want them to be secure enough on your head that they’re not likely to fly off as you go flying down your local cycle paths. They should fit snugly so you’re not at risk of losing them during a ride, but not so tight that they’re painful or uncomfortable to wear, especially after longer periods of use.
Some headphones will be adjustable to help improve the feel of the fit, or the headphones are sometimes available in different bud and wing sizes so you can choose the size that will fit most comfortably in your ear.
Wired Vs. Wireless
The world is turning wireless with more and more options that are free from restrictive cables and leads, and headphones are no different. There are actually huge advantages to wireless headphones, but it depends somewhat on what you’re intending to use them for.
When cycling, wireless headphones mean you don’t have to deal with wires dangling from your headphones or how you’ll carry whatever device you’re using to play music from. Bluetooth connection allows you to pair with your smartphone or any other Bluetooth device, sometimes more than one at a time.
However, some connections are limited in terms of range, and these types of headphones require charging which means they run the risk of running out of battery if you’re using them for extended periods of time.
Check the product specification information to see what type of battery life your headphones have to offer, and don’t forget to factor in charge time before you set off! The best headphones will only take a couple of hours to fully charge, and higher-end options can retain enough battery for 3 or 4 hours of use from just a short, 10-minute charge before you head out.
If you’re going to be cycling outdoors a lot while you’re using these headphones, it’s worth choosing a pair that offer some type of waterproof protection.
Even if you prefer to avoid cycling in wet weather, you never know when you could end up getting caught in a downpour, so it’s worth checking out the IP rating or if your headphones even offer this type of weather protection.
Some headphones that are designed to be worn during cycling or other sporting activities are also sweat-resistant, which is a useful feature if you’re going to be working up a sweat while you’re exercising.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is it dangerous to cycle with headphones on?
This has been debated amongst cyclists for a long time, with some firmly believing that you shouldn't use headphones to listen to music while you’re cycling because it can be distracting or block out noises of potential hazards, such as cars driving past.
However, the majority of cyclists believe that it’s relatively safe to cycle with headphones as long as you remain vigilant and, as suggested in our buyer’s guide, you make sure your headphones aren’t completely noise canceling so you can still keep an ear out for oncoming traffic and other dangers.
Do pro cyclists listen to music while cycling?
They certainly wouldn’t have any form of headphones on during a race, only sometimes an earpiece through which they can communicate with their team director, but some pro cyclists do listen to music while they’re training or when cycling for recreational purposes.