There’s a widespread myth about the dangers of listening to music while riding a motorcycle. It’s been reported that listening to music while riding affects your awareness, or you risk hearing loss. This is just plain false.
Can you listen to music when riding a motorcycle? Yes, you can listen to music while riding. You can also listen to GPS navigation instructions and even receive calls if you need to.
For many, motorcycle riding is an opportunity to disconnect from the world. Personally, riding a motorcycle isn’t just about getting from point A to point B. I also use motorcycle riding as a way to find inner peace. If you’re a motorcycle rider, you know what I am talking about. Nothing beats the feeling of freedom when I am on my bike, and the only thing that matters is the road ahead.
If It’s Dangerous, Why Do Riders Do It?
Many riders like to listen to music while riding. There are two main reasons why. First, you can listen to music when riding a motorcycle because it helps you relax. Second, you can listen to music while riding because it helps you stay focused. It’s as simple as that.
But it’s very different to listen to music while fiddling with your phone or Bluetooth communicator to find what you want to listen to (while you are on the road). That’s called distracted driving, and it’s stupid and dangerous.
Everything can be pretty scary when learning how to ride a motorcycle. Motorcycle riding combines balance, getting used to the ride’s weight, and familiarizing yourself with the controls. At this point, you, the first-time rider, cannot afford to be distracted. In fact, listening to music is not recommended.
However, when you’re an experienced rider, listening to music while riding is highly advisable on a long lonely road, but not for urban settings. No matter how experienced you are, situational awareness is key to safety in a traffic situation. Vehicles or people suddenly crossing your path could surprise you. Listening to loud music in this situation reduces your awareness, thus affecting your ability to react appropriately and promptly.
Listening to Music While Riding
If you are on a long ride, observe the following tips to avoid being distracted:
1. Set the Music You Want to Listen To
This means you need to choose the different songs you want to listen to, put them in one playlist, and play them before taking off.
2. Set Your GPS Navigator
Suppose you are using your Bluetooth communicator to listen to riding directions. In that case, it’s common sense to set it up before you take off. It also makes sense to double-check the route to ensure that you are on the path you want to take, not in a dangerous neighborhood.
3. Limit the Volume
There is a difference between hearing music and listening to music. If you are on a long ride, you may want to limit your music’s sound to a level you can appreciate while being situationally aware. You need to be able to hear other vehicles, motorcycles, and pedestrians to react appropriately. No matter how experienced you are as a rider, situation awareness is essential. Therefore, limiting the volume of your in-helmet speakers is key to staying safe.
What’s the Best Way to Listen to Music While Riding?
There were two ways to listen to music while riding in the old days:
- Install loudspeakers in various locations on your bike; and
- Insert earphones before putting on your helmet.
The first option is loud. However, when running at 80 to 90 mph, all that loud music becomes unnecessary noise. Plus, when you are at a traffic stop, your loud music is a source of annoyance for the other riders who just want peace of mind and quiet while en route to work or coming home from a stressful day.
The second option, earphones, is quite annoying since you must carefully wear your helmet. Otherwise, the helmet foam will knock it out of your ear, leaving you to remove the helmet and re-insert your earphones.
Bluetooth Technology in Motorcycles
Nowadays, Bluetooth technology has made portable speaker system installation cheap and hassle-free. Here are 3 portable Bluetooth speakers you can install on your bike:
1. Kuryakyn Road Thunder Bluetooth Soundbar Plus by MTX ($422.99)
The Kuryakyn Road Thunder Bluetooth Soundbar Plus is a handlebar-mounting speaker system. It’s weatherproof and has an internal 4-channel amp power, two 2″x3″ full-range speakers with dual voice coils, and four high frequency 1″ silk dome tweeters with N42 grade magnets for a distortion-free sound at any level. Plus, it comes with a USB charging port.
2. Boss Audio MC440B Rebel high Performance 600 Watt 2 Speaker Bluetooth Sound System ($129.74)
The MC440B has an excellent frequency response that offers higher highs and lower lows. It’s equipped with a high-performance two-piece speaker system in the standalone Boss Audio Rebel 600 Watt Kit. It features a plug-and-play wire harness for sending power to the weatherproof speaker pods. You can use a 3.5mm jack for audio input or pair your smartphone using the wireless Bluetooth connection.
3. JBL Cruise ($249.87)
The JBL Cruise is a side-mirror mounted, weatherproof 2-piece Bluetooth speaker. It has a built-in amplifier, Bluetooth receiver, and controller. It comes with a two-wire-only installation, which is why it’s very easy to set up. If you install a phone holder near it, you can charge your phone via its USB charger.
1. Cardo Packtalk Bold Motorcycle Bluetooth Communication System Headset (Single: $273.21; Dual: $441.93)
The patented Dynamic Mesh Communication technology in the Cardo Packtalk Bold makes it possible for large and small groups to talk over long distances with ease and stability. Nothing can beat this feature! It also has the best-in-class wind-noise reduction. The sound comes from a pair of JBL speakers, which give an unbeatable sound at any speed or in any setting — whether streaming music, talking on the phone, talking over the intercom, or listening to the GPS tell you where to go.
2. SENA 30K-01 Motorcycle Bluetooth Headset/Mesh Communication System (Single: $304.68)
The Sena 30K has two modes of mesh. The first one is called Open Mesh Intercom, which lets the user talk to a nearly unlimited number of users. The second one, Group Mesh Intercom, lets a private group of up to 24 people talk to each other.
The Mesh 2.0 Intercom has a range of up to 8KM (5 miles) with a minimum of 6 people connected. On the other hand, the Bluetooth intercom has a working distance of up to 2.0 KM.
Smart Helmets (Bluetooth-Enabled helmets)
The helmet is a critical riding gear for a rider’s safety. If you are involved in an accident, it can save your life. In the past decade, several companies have been focusing on the helmet. They are giving it a lot of upgrades, making it smarter and better.
A smart helmet has built-in functions to help you in different situations, such as talking to your ride buddies via intercom and connecting with your smartphone via Bluetooth to listen to music, receive calls, and listen to turn-by-turn GPS navigation.
Here is a quick list of smart helmets that lets you listen to music and navigation instructions or talk to your riding buddies:
1. Sena Momentum INC Pro ($699.89)
Sena is a famous company known for its Bluetooth communication devices. Their line of intelligent helmets is their first foray into the helmet business. The Sene Momentum INC Pro is the brand’s most expensive and feature-rich model. It has a QHD camera that lets you take photos and record videos. Also, it has intelligent noise control, Bluetooth audio, group intercom, voice control, and the ability to share music. The helmet is DOT certified as well.
2. Sena Impulse ($699.00)
Sena Impulse is a high-quality smart helmet without a camera. It’s a modular helmet with a lot of features, including a premium sound courtesy of Harman Kardon. You can use it to connect with four other users via Bluetooth or Sena’s Group Mesh Intercom, which supports up to 24 participants. It also has a voice command via Siri or Google Assistant.
3. Sena Outrush ($269.00)
Sena’s Outrush is one of the company’s most affordable Bluetooth-enabled modular helmets. It has plenty of features and is very comfortable to use. You can use its integrated Bluetooth communication and 2-way intercom to connect with your buddies and control it via voice command.
4. Quin Design Spitfire Rosso ($429.00)
The Spitfire uses Bluetooth technology to keep you connected without being tied to your phone. It’s easy to use and simple to wear. When paired with the app, you can listen to music or take calls while riding. It also offers a built-in SOS beacon, which can help during rescues.
5. Crosshelmet X1 ($1,799)
This helmet is expensive, but its features and benefits make up for the cost. The helmet comes with a heads-up display and a rearview camera to see if there is an approaching vehicle from behind you before you swerve or overtake. It also has a safety light, voice controls, and a design right out of a sci-fi movie.
Listening to music while riding adds a sense of calm to the activity. While there are many ways to be able to listen to music, what’s important to remember is safety when riding.
Thank you for reading. I sincerely hope you found the information presented here to be helpful. Let us know what you think by posting your thoughts in the space provided.