How To Best Listen To Music On A Motorcycle?

Now there’s a question you don’t get to see every day.

“Listening to music while riding?”

Yes.

“Seriously?

Yes.

“There are so many things wrong with that I don’t even know where to begin.”

Cool, let me begin for you.

Why you think listening to music on a motorcycle is dangerous:

The problem

“I’ve read up on all those crashes on the highways. A lot of them were idiots with headphones. I don’t need to read mass-produced pamphlets by safety experts to know how dangerous riding with headphones is”.

This is a valid fear to have – and an important one.

The major difference between a car and a motorcycle is that you can afford to be kind of an idiot with the car, so long as you don’t really screw up. 

Motorcycles being much more nimble, mean that the person riding it should be much more aware of their surroundings and present in the moment. 

Our inference

“If I ride with earphones, I wouldn’t hear something important happening in my vicinity that isn’t in my line of sight.“

Yep.

Noise-canceling earphones, in particular, are horrible for this. 

Listening to music at the expense of drowning out everything else is a stupid and dangerous thing to do.

The solution

There are other ways of listening to earphones that are not as dangerous. Some methods emulate the car experience by putting you in an environment where the only music that plays mixes with the background. Some come with a stereo system.

In fact, some motorcycles have a mechanism that increases the sound while you ride fast, and decrease the sound while you ride slow.

3 ways to listen to music while riding a motorcycle

Intercom with Bluetooth

Sena 20s
Sena 20s

We’ve written A LOT on motorcycle intercoms before, and for a reason.

Intercoms are godsends of products. You can talk to people, coordinate via close range intercom, and play everything from Joe Rogan to Joe Pesci depending on what you have on your Spotify.

All you have to do is sync your phone with the Bluetooth system and play songs, podcasts, or a radio station to your liking.

In fact, some systems like the Cardo Freecom 4+ come with speakers provided by JBl. You read that right. Some systems also allow you to sync with more than one Bluetooth device, so you have the option of listening to whatever your friend is playing on his phone.

Stereo Speakers

Speakers? On a motorcycle?

Yep.

Motorcycle stereo systems come in multiple forms.

Boss MC420B
Boss MC420B

For sound systems like the Audio MC400, you can mount them on the crash bar. A decent size, they work very well at highway speeds.

They also blend into the chrome finish of the bike.

Paired with a bass booster app, you can even punch in the bass sound.

That being said, a caveat to consider before purchasing a stereo system- due to the unpredictable nature of external elements, you have to include safety measures like waterproofness that can withstand rain and humid conditions. 

They are more expensive to buy, install, and maintain but the end results are totally worth the price. If you have the money and you don’t mind other people hearing your favorite music then installing a motorcycle stereo system is the way to go.

A wireless headset

The most ‘duh’ of products on this list, wireless headsets are revered for both their functionality and ease-of-use. Especially so when involved in dynamic environments like athleticism.

Many wireless headsets are specifically suited for motorcycle riding (such as the ones provided by Sena). 

The traditional framework for this form of listening means you don’t have to bother with cable cords and wires: just your phone synchronizing with the Bluetooth system.

Another positive is the long battery life. This means you can walk out the door blasting Pink Floyd, ride to your destination by listening to Pink Floyd, and reach your destination still listening to Pink Floyd! 

Note: they have to be earbuds with soundcaps

By earbuds, we’re not referring to noise-canceling headphones that are downright suicidal when riding with.

We mean products that restrict how high you can go.

Some gems like the Shure SE215-CL come with a single dynamic driver. The design comes with a blueprint that blocks up to 37 decibels of external noise.

Other products like the Focuspower F10 come with Bluetooth 4.1 tech and allows you coverage of up to 33 feet and can connect two devices at the same time.

Don’t listen to music on the highway

Riding on a highway

We’re stressing on this: listening to music on busy roads and highways is dangerous. Period.

The reason being you’re risking the lives of both you and the people around you.

We understand it can get boring when you traverse alone for hours.

But your jams are reserved for those long winding roads that have no other vehicles and where your field of vision is huge.

Noise-canceling headphones are for the gym

Regardless of the population count of wherever you ride, you have to always be mindful of your surroundings.

Even you ride lonely trails, you always have to be able to be in tune with your surroundings. You never know when a sudden situation strikes, like a deer running into your path out of nowhere.

Be more mindful of the road around you

I ride because I’m addicted to the adrenalin. I ride because I like the almost meditative aspects of being with myself for hours on end.

But one of the trade-offs you make with the thrill and introspection of riding is the drop in safety with the nimble chassis. When you’re listening to music, even with restrictions such as setting a cap of a noise-level for 100 decibels, there are still minor cues you can miss out on.

Eyes on the road and your rear-views. All the time.

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