It can be quite frustrating figuring out the best way to listen to music while riding. Not only do you have to find the best way to get good sound quality, but you also need to be mindful of safety.
While you can’t match the experience of a car, you can still enjoy music while riding.
The best way is to use a motorcycle audio system, a Bluetooth helmet, a helmet speaker, or a motorcycle Bluetooth headset. You can also use headphones or wired earbuds, which can be less convenient.
But do follow safety guidelines while riding with loud music. If not, you can get distracted, which might lead to dangerous situations for you and others.
In other words, act responsibly!
Using a motorcycle stereo system
This is the safest and most convenient way to listen to music while riding.
Today, many new cruisers and touring models often come with an inbuilt stereo system. Their controls are easy and safe for motorcycle riders to operate while moving.
But even if your bike doesn’t have an in-built system, you can get one fitted. There are many such speakers available in the market, some with Bluetooth technology.
Make sure that your external speakers are aligned. That way, you can listen to your favorite music even in heavy traffic.
Also, be polite to other people in your vicinity. They can hear what you are playing and so keep the music within acceptable limits.
You can also use a Bluetooth speaker in the same way. They are usually portable and don’t have to be fitted to your bike. You can connect it to your mobile phone or mp3 player (yes you read that correctly!) and listen as you travel.
Mp3 players are not as common today as they used to be. But they still have a small but strong following in the audiophile community. They can be a good option if you prefer to listen to music without being disturbed by calls.
A Bluetooth motorcycle helmet
Another great way to listen to music while riding is by using a Bluetooth helmet. In these motorcycle helmets, audio speakers are linked to your phone or mp3 player.
With Bluetooth helmets, you don’t have to worry about wires or things falling out of place. Another plus point is that they usually have long battery lives.
You can also use them as a helmet communication system since they have a microphone. So, if you want to make or receive a phone call while riding, you can do it. You will also be able to hear surrounding sounds to stay aware of your environment.
Using Helmet speakers
It’s the same as a Bluetooth helmet communication system, with two differences.
First of all, it’s wired and doesn’t use Bluetooth. The second difference is the fact that these speakers don’t come with a microphone. So, you can only listen to music but won’t be able to make phone calls. But they are cheaper than Bluetooth helmets.
Here’s a better idea. Save up more and buy a Bluetooth helmet with a communication system instead.
Using a regular headset or earbuds with and without Bluetooth technology
One of the best advantages of Bluetooth devices is that they are wireless. It makes everything so much more convenient and makes the devices portable.
Using wireless headsets or earbuds while riding can make your journey more exciting. Many of them also offer excellent sound quality; the best thing is that you can use them anywhere. It’s not for your rides alone.
Many riders also use regular wired headsets or earbuds. They can serve the same purpose as a Bluetooth system. But the wires can be cumbersome and distracting while riding.
But, if you have noise-canceling enabled, keep the music volume at a moderate level. Or even better, opt for those without the noise-canceling feature.
But wait! Is it legal?
Some states have specific laws on the use of headphones or earbuds while driving.
In many, it is illegal to ride a motorcycle or bicycle while using headphones or earbuds (wired or not). They include California, Alaska, Colorado, Georgia, Florida, and Ohio (among others).
Meanwhile, in some states, you can ride with earbuds in only one ear. They include New York, Minnesota, and Louisiana.
So, find out the laws for the state before you head out for a ride with your earbuds in. You don’t want to be caught unaware.
Bone conduction earbuds
While they aren’t as popular yet, bone conduction earbuds are also a great option. These types of earbuds don’t sit inside your ears but instead sit in front of your ears. They deliver sound through your bones instead of into your ears.
So, because of the way they are placed, you can hear outside sounds while music plays at the same time. This can be very useful while riding a bike.
But, some users say bone conduction earbuds sound worse than regular earbuds. Additionally, they are also more expensive than regular earbuds. So, it would be better to do your research well before investing in a pair.
Why should you or should you not listen to music while riding a motorcycle?
There are many advantages as well as disadvantages of listening to music for bike riders. Let’s look at some of them below.
Why you should
- Many riders find that listening to music makes them more aware of what’s happening around them.
Especially if you are on long rides, you tend to get zoned out listening to the wind noise, road noise, or the engine.
This can be dangerous, so music can help you stay focused and avoid boredom.
- Listening to music while riding can perk up your mood. And this can be great for improving your mental health.
Why you shouldn’t
- Listening to music can be very distracting. This can be dangerous as you always need to be calm but alert while driving. Moreover, with loud music, you may not hear what’s happening around you, and your reaction time is slower.
- If the music on your stereo system is very loud, it will annoy people around you. It may also be distracting for them.
- Some kinds of music might push you to ride more aggressively or take greater risks! Music tends to have that effect — it can make you believe in superpowers that you may not have.
The best kind of music while riding
Listening to the right kind of music is important while riding. It shouldn’t be too loud, too slow, or too fast. Loud songs with a fast beat could make you want to speed up. But, if the music is too slow, chilled, and soft, you might go too slow.
The best thing is to listen to music with a tempo of between 60 and 80 beats per minute. This is the ideal kind of music for riding. This tempo is about as fast as your average heartbeat.
Tips on how to safely listen to music while riding a motorcycle
- As long as your state laws allow it, listen to music with one earbud out. This way, you can still listen to music but also know what’s happening around you.
- Avoid noise-canceling headphones or earbuds. While they may be useful in some other instances, the road is not the right place to use them.
- Listen to good music at a moderate level of volume. This way, you get all the benefits but also stay safe. Moreover, listening to loud music for an extended period is bad for your hearing.
- Avoid listening to music if windspeed is high. The faster the wind blows, the harder it gets to hear music through earbuds. This might make you increase the volume a little too much.
- If you need to adjust your music or your music system, stop your bike somewhere safe and do it. Better not attempt it while you are driving.
- Follow the rules of the road and stay vigilant always.
Good music can make any activity more fun. So, of course, we need to find the best options for music even when we are riding. After all, why not combine two fantastic activities?
A speaker system does seem like the most sensible option to me. But everyone has their preference and needs. Always choose the safest way for you. Moreover, you can also keep your eye out for new technology that can be a game changer.
Until next time, ride safely. ✌️