Gadget Game-Changers: Music on the Ride

Having your favourite playlist on the bike used to be a troublesome task, but no longer! Say goodbye to the days of wired headphones getting in the way…

Shokz have both headphones and sunglasses which are completely wireless and extremely lightweight. Having used two models of their headphones for a good few months now, I decided to share my experience with them.

How do they work?

The first pair I tried out was the OpenRun Pro Bone Conduction Open-Ear Sport Headphones. Shokz designed the headphones for both running and cycling and they are just as well suited to any other sport you choose (even swimming or kayaking if you opt for their waterproof OpenSwim model).

Their Bluetooth connectivity and simple button controls allow you to throw your phone in your jersey or pack so you can adjust audio levels, skip or pause tracks and answer calls wherever you are without having to stop mid ride. The headphones are built with durability in mind to withstand sweat, dirt and bad weather getting in the way.

Charging is made easy with their magnetic cable which easily clicks into place. The LED indicator will turn from red to blue when charging is complete.

Comfort and Practicality

Rob has also been using Shokz for some time now. “They quickly became my go-to pair of headphones, they fit so well and I have not reached for any other brands since using them. Once you have them on you barely notice them at all. Plus there’s no chance of sweat building up in or around your ears.”

As well as their superior comfort, I found there to be much less risk of loosing them as you don’t need to take them off to hear your surroundings in busy areas. I simply paused them if I wanted a break from my music or podcast or hit high traffic areas where I wanted full attention on the the vehicles around me.

ArcX Smart Ring offers improved control!

If you like to ride with gloves, especially in the colder months, or simply want your hands in full control of the bars, the Arc X Smart Ring allows even safer cycling with music. Connect to your smartphone in seconds via Bluetooth, store your phone securely in a pocket or backpack and off you go. 

With ArcX you can keep your hands on the bars and your eyes on the road as you control playlists, play and pause music, adjust volume, skip tracks, accept incoming calls and make an outgoing SOS call, all with a fingertip touch. This can be worn over your gloves or mounted on the bars for ease of use and added simplicity of your audio without stopping or taking your hands off the bike. From my experience with the smart ring, I was pleasantly surprised with the battery life and did much prefer having the controls for my music on the bars.

Waterproof and no need for a smartphone?

The other pair model of Shokz I have put to the test are the OpenSwim Bone Condition MP3 Headphones.

I have been using this for over a month now and have to say I have not reached for my OpenRun model as often. It’s the simplicity of these headphones which I like the most. Upon taking them out of the box you simply plug them in to your laptop or PC and drag and drop your audio files, whether it be a podcast or playlist you’ve downloaded then you’re good to go. After this initial set up of your favourite audio you are able to listen as you would with any mp3 player without the use of your mobile device.

I find it extremely convenient to be able to just press play and head out for a ride or run without having to scroll through my phone and for those times when a phone may weigh you down like a track session or if you simply just want to leave the phone at home the OpenSwim are ideal.

These headphones are mainly designed for swimmers in mind, thus made fully waterproof and do provide exceptional audio quality despite the fact you are in the water. But would work just as well for triathlons, everyday life and those without smart phones. If I hop in the pool for a few lengths I can confidently use these headphones and still enjoy my favourite playlist. I can imagine they would be ideal for kayaking or canoeing too.

Singing Sunglasses?

Believe it or not there is another way to listen without distractions using Open-Ear Technology…

Sport Audio Sunglasses! A combination of sunglasses and sports headphones.

Shokz RoadWave combines the benefits of sport sunglasses and headphones into one powerful product, providing an innovative audio experience when playing sports or exercising. These sunglasses not only look stylish and sleek but are also equipped with Shokz DirectPitchâ„¢ technology, featuring a low-frequency algorithm and 216mm 2 large-amplitude speakers. They allow you to immerse yourself in bolder and louder sound quality, with deeper bass.

I am yet to try a pair of these myself but Danny at Merlin has had the pleasure of using a pair and highly recommends them for their high quality audio. The RoadWave may be the perfect option for you if you’re in need of both a new pair of headphones and sunglasses, they do tick both boxes!

As you can see from this blog post, there is plenty of choice when it comes to Open Ear Listening on the bike, but one thing is for sure, Shokz and ArcX is the way to go!


  • Alex Cowie

    Outdoor Leadership and Coaching BA (Hons) Keen cyclist, runner, and outdoor enthusiast. I have been cycling since I was very young and always had a love for the outdoors. I have completed many long distance events including ultra marathons such as the Chester 100, Berkeley Marathons UK and Gravel Century rides.

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