Headphones and cycling are a combination that I was against for a long time. As much as I love music I would rather be able to hear my surroundings when on the bike. Especially if I am on the road.
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If you are a keen cyclist you have no doubt had a few close calls with stupid drivers. Either down to their lack of observation or the simple fact they think a 30cm passing gap is plenty… This isn’t all drivers though. The majority are pretty good. However, it only takes one to put you into the verge.
It is this reason that made headphones a no go on the bike for me. That was until my wife treated me to a pair of Shokz Headphones (formally known as Aftershockz Headphones).
As you can see from the above picture, these headphones sit over the ears but do not cover the ear or go inside of the ear. This allows you to still hear your surroundings as well as your music / podcast / audiobook etc. If you are struggling to picture how it fits let me put a Shokz stock photograph of someone a bit better looking than me below!
Do They Work?
I was a bit dubious at first as to how good they would be but after the first use my doubts were gone. Now don’t get me wrong – the sound isn’t the same as a normal set of in ear headphones. It can’t be if you want to hear your surroundings. However, you can clearly hear your music or podcast and you can hear cars approaching from behind. It really is an impressive balance.
Quick mention for how well they fit. Whether you are running, cycling, or walking the dog, these headphones fit nicely over the ears and due to the light weight of them you hardly feel them. If you are cycling they fit on under your helmet just as easily. Trust me! I have tried them under a few helmets now and even with a skull cap in the cold weather.
They are bluetooth compatible for your phone / device and also have the ability to answer and make phone calls whilst on the go. They are easy to operate once you have had a nosey at the manual and know what button does what.
Shokz sell 4 sports versions (click that link to take a look) with one of them being dedicated to swimming. They range in price from £80 to £170 depending on what you need or want. Battery life differs between the models from around 5 hours to 10 hours. The top end version can give you 90 minutes of play time from a 5 minute charge! Pretty impressive if you need them for a commute and have just realised they are dead.
If you are like me – loves music, podcasts, and cycling but is safety conscious when on the bike – then these headphones are well worth considering. The sound is clear, you can hear your surroundings, the fit nicely, they are easy to use, and the battery life is decent for the size of them.
The design may put some people off but they are available in a selection of colours to add a level of customisation to your purchase if that sort of thing is important to you. Personally, I think they look pretty smart. I use mine for cycling and once you have your helmet on the headphones don’t stand out that much at all.
A clever product aimed at a sport specific audience with safety in mind.
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