Best Headphones For Cycling: Buyer’s Guide For 2024

best headphones for cycling.

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I love listening to music while I’m cycling. I feel so happy when I’m on the bike, whether at the gym or on my road bike, and good music and good sound just add to the fun, as well as motivating me to ride longer.

Ultimately you can use almost any in-ear or bone conduction headphones for cycling with a bike helmet, and if you’re indoors you can use almost any headphones at all, but I’ve found a few specific brands and models that seem to work especially well on the bike.

So in this all new 2023 Speakergy buyer’s guide I will lay out my top recommendations for top cycling headphones of various types and at different price points.

This will be a fairly lengthy article, so if you’d like to cut to the chase here are my top picks:

What Makes a Pair of Headphones Good for Cycling?

I just said that if you’re indoors on a stationary bike almost any headphones will work, but there are a couple of important considerations for both indoor and outdoor cycling:

  • Sweat – Getting headphones that are sweat resistant is crucial – they will sound better and last longer, and you can just fall into the cycling without worrying about your headphones.
  • Fit – Speaking of just falling into your cycling, there’s nothing more annoying than headphones that slip or fall out while you’re pedaling – best case the sound always changes and they suddenly sound bad, and worst case your beautiful ‘phones end up lost in a gutter or crushed by traffic.

Also, if you are outdoors riding, you need a pair of headphones which will fit well with a helmet on, and ones which will let you not only enjoy the music (or audio books, phone calls or anything else) but also hear what’s going on around you.

But since this is Speakergy, and here we’re all about the sound, we also have to place sound quality on the short list of considerations for selecting the best headphones for bicycling.

Because really good sound makes all the difference, motivating us, pushing us harder, or even just making the whole trip so much more fun and enjoyable.

What Are the Best Headphones for Cycling?

So that’s it – not the longest or most complicated list of requirements, but pretty important considerations, and ones that have guided me in selecting what I think are the 8 best headphones for cycling on the market today.

I’ll include the following types of wireless headphones, and in each case I will include a budget and a more premium – or at least “premium affordable” – choice.. 

In-Ear Headphones – probably the most popular choice overall, and maybe the smartest too, but only if they don’t slip or fall out!

Over-Ear Headphones – really just for indoor use, as they don’t work with helmets, but make sure they are sweatproof (most aren’t).

Bone Conduction Headphones – slightly compromised sound, but they are light and fit securely, usually as tough as nails, and work great with helmets.

And although I think Bluetooth wireless is the best option all around, and wired sports headphones are in fact getting to be as rare as hens’ teeth, I will also include a couple of wired headphone choices in the in-ear and over-ear categories with a very brief comment on each

I should probably mention that while I love the idea of bike helmets with built in speakers, and really wanted to recommend a couple, I have searched and searched and haven’t found a single one with even decent sound – and anyway, selecting a helmet for cycling is pretty important, and often pretty personal, and it really seems best to keep the two choices separate, so I decided to let it go and not include them here.

So here we go, with my 2023 buyer’s guide for the 8 best headphones for bicycles and cycling!

The 10 Best Cycling Headphones for 2024

The Best In-Ear Headphones for Cycling – Budget

Dascert Bluetooth 5.1 Wirelesss Sports Headphones with Earhooks

At a Glance:

  • Type: TWS (True Wireless Stereo) In-Ear Sports Headphones with Hooks
  • Connection: Bluetooth 5.1 Wireless
  • Battery Life: 6 Hours (buds) :: 48 Hours (with case)
  • Waterproof Rating: IP7 Waterproof
  • Transparency Mode: No

I wasn’t familiar with Dascert headphones until recently, when I had a chance to try these wireless sports earbuds out and spend some real time with them, and I have to say I was blown away on many levels.

I can easily see why the Dascert wireless sports earbuds have suddenly become so very popular, and have such amazingly high ratings, even just based on the sound. There is a ton of bass, which is powerful, fast, well defined and goes quite deep, but it never swamps the rest of the sound.

The mids are clear and open, and vocals in particular have a warm, human quality which reminds me of much more expensive headphones, and the Dascert’s high frequencies are sharp and highly detailed, and sound crystal clear even when I’m working out, and without even a hint of harshness or strain.

Beyond the fantastic sound, though, there was even a lot more that impressed me – latest generation Bluetooth that works perfectly and never drops connection, great battery life, full IP7 waterproof rating and a really strong and substantial build. Plus, the Dascert fit beautifully and stayed put, no matter what I did.

You should know that the Dascert sport earbuds do not have ANC (active noise cancellation) and they also don’t have any kind of transparency mode to let background sounds through. This second bit is a concern when biking on the road, but in my experience they let through plenty of sound from surrounding environs, like traffic and pedestrians – better, in fact, than many transparency modes I’ve tried – and still sound great, 

The Dascert sports earphones are inexpensive and yet feel like a premium product. They fit beautifully and stay in place, work well all the time, sound fantastic and look and feel like they will really last – all in all, the perfect budget choice for cycling.

The Best In-Ear Headphones for Cycling – Premium

Beats Fit Pro True Wireless Noise Cancelling Sports Earbuds

At a Glance:

  • Type: TWS (True Wireless Stereo) In-Ear Sports Headphones with Hooks
  • Connection: Bluetooth 5.1 Wireless & NFC
  • Battery Life: 6 Hours (buds) :: 24 Hours (with case) – ANC on
  • Waterproof Rating: IPX4 Sweatproof
  • Transparency Mode: Yes

We audiophiles love to dis Beats headphones, but truth be told, especially since the company was taken over by Apple, the Beats sound has improved dramatically, and I have to say that the newest Beats products are some of my favorites.

The Beats Fit Pro, for example, have that signature Beats bass, with really powerful, pounding low end that has incredible slam, and so they are amazing workout headphones. But Beats has refined the midrange frequencies and high end, and the overall balance, so that vocals and all the rest of the music are amazingly clear and musical, and never overbalanced by the low end.

But these are still Beats, so as wonderful as the mids and highs sound, and as low in distortion and high in accuracy and transparency the overall sound is, the bass is still the star, and the Fit Pro are some of the most exciting and motivating sports headphones I’ve ever used.

In addition to surprisingly superb sound, the Beats Fit Pro have really effective active noise cancelling, and a wonderful transparency mode that lets you enjoy the music but still hear what’s going on around you.

Built like little tanks, with perfectly secure and comfortable fit and great water and sweat resistance, excellent battery life, the most advanced tech and so much more, I could go on and on about how fantastic these newest generation Beats Fit Pro true wireless sports in-ears are, but suffice it to say that they are the best earbuds I’ve ever found for cycling, and (I’m still amazed to say) have the very best sound.

The Best In-Ear Headphones for Cycling – Wired

JBL Endurance RUN Wired In-Ear Sports Headphones

At a Glance:

  • Type: In-Ear Wired Stereo Sports Headphones
  • Connection: Wired, 1.2 meter tangle-free cable
  • Waterproof Rating: IPX5 Sweatproof

Being a bit of an audiophile snob, I really wanted to find a pair of premium wired in-ear headphones that have top-tier sound and work great while cycling, but now that the excellent Bose SoundSport seem to be discontinued it’s pretty slim pickings.

Luckily the super-affordable and super-tough JBL Endurance RUN will do nicely, with that big, exciting JBL sound – driving bass, clear mids and highs and very low distortion, and overall levels of accuracy and resolution that will satisfy even us audiophile snobs.

The Best Over-Ear Headphones for Cycling – Budget

Treblab Z2 Over Ear Wireless Workout Headphones

At a Glance:

  • Type: Over-Ear Wireless Sports Headphones
  • Connection: Bluetooth 5.0 Wireless
  • Battery Life: 35 Hours – ANC on
  • Waterproof Rating: IPX4 Sweatproof

I should say right from the start that the brilliant Treblab sports headphones are not what some people would consider ‘budget,’ although at just over a hundred dollars they represent one of the best values I know in personal audio, and they are often available at pretty decent discounts.

For a great choice that’s even more affordable, I do like the BackBeat FIT 6100, which are really tough, fit great and stay on your head while working out, and have clear and really powerful sound. I’ve actually never found a pair of properly cheap wireless on-ear headphones for biking or working out that I can confidently recommend, and I will say that for a bit more money I do think the Treblab are quite a bit better than even the BackBeats.

The Treblab sports headphones have such an exciting sound signature, with real power and plenty of volume – a lot of volume for a Bluetooth headphone, actually – and deep, driving bass that has speed, definition and a ton of impact. And despite the awesome bass, the mids and highs are still strong and detailed , and never overwhelmed by the low end, and have a wonderful balance between bracingly bright and sweetly musical.

Really, the sound of these Treblabs is so good that this alone would make them well worth the money, and a great pair of headphones not just for stationary cycling but for general daily use and all music listening.

But there’s also the strong, durable build of the Treblab over-ear sports headphones, which can definitely take a bit of abuse, the snug and secure fit that is always super-comfortable, and the excellent water resistance.

Factor in the superior technology of these Treblab sports headphones, including latest generation Bluetooth, great battery life and surprisingly effective noise cancellation for the price, and they are easily the best budget headphones for cycling – or perhaps I should say the best affordable headphones for cycling – and an amazing value.

The Best Over-Ear Headphones for Cycling – Premium

Jabra Elite 85h Wireless Water Resistant Noise-Canceling Headphones

At a Glance:

  • Type: Over-Ear Wireless Sports Headphones
  • Connection: Bluetooth 5.0 Wireless
  • Battery Life: 36 Hours – ANC on
  • Waterproof Rating: Not specified – internal waterproof nano-coating

The Jabra Elite 85h are pretty much my favorite gym headphones, with deep, full bass response that really drives me when I’m cycling or doing anything else, a big, solid frame, large ear cups and a just-right tightness so they stay in place, and the brilliant SmartSound adaptive equalization.

Plus, they are nano-coated to prevent damage from sweat, and have a full two year warranty against, among other things, damage from water or dust. Ok, my gym isn’t particularly dusty, but the first part is a godsend!

I mentioned the bass, but I should say that while the low end of the Jabra 85h is super impressive, with speed, slam definition and actual sub-bass extension, the entire frequency spectrum is amazing – the Elite’s warm, musical midrange, palpable and realistic vocals, sweet but hyper-detailed high frequencies and the tonal balance are all superb, and these are some of the best sounding headphones overall I’ve ever heard at this affordable premium price range.

But yeah, that bass will really keep you going.

Speaking of sound, while the Jabra Elite 85h don’t have the very best active noise cancellation I’ve heard – honestly, Sony and Bose, have better ANC, even if their over-ear ‘phones aren’t really the best for stationary cycling – the Elite are maybe the best for noise cancelling in a gym, or a happy home, because of their amazing SmartSound technology.

With SmartSound active, the Elite 85h will monitor the surrounding sounds and ambient noises, and smartly adapt the noise reduction and the equalization so that you get the best sound possible in all situations.

With overwhelmingly beautiful and powerful sound, real sweat resistance, a trouble-free fit for biking and working out, amazing tech and phenomenal build quality, the Jabra Elite 85h are truly premium headphones in every way, and easily the best over-ear headphones for cycling I’ve ever used.

The Best Over-Ear Headphones for Cycling – Wired

Sony MDR-ZX110 Wired On-Ear Headphones

At a Glance:

  • Type: On-Ear Wired Stereo Headphones
  • Connection: Wired, 1.2 meter tangle-free cable
  • Waterproof Rating: Not water resistant, but they are cheap!

Earlier in this buyer’s guide for best headphones for bicycling, in the in-ear section, I talked about how it’s getting pretty hard to find good wired sports earbuds. Well, finding even halfway decent truly sweatproof wired over-ear headphones for biking is, if anything, even harder – nigh on impossible, in fact.

So if you really want to use wired on-ears or over-ears, my recommendation is to get a bargain-basement pair of beaters, which may over time degrade because of sweat but which you can cheaply replace. And for me the best choice for this by far are the ultra-cheap Sony MDR-ZX110, which sound ridiculously good for the price, will stay nicely in place and are quite tough as well.

For a meaningful upgrade in sound, with a price that will still let you sweat without sweating it, I also love the Sony MDR-ZX310, and for truly premium quality and sound, well, good luck! Actually, one good option is the superb Jabra Elite 85h I reviewed just above, which also includes a standard audio cable for wired connection, and is specially nano-coated for excellent water and dust resistance.

The Best Bone Conduction Headphones for Cycling – Budget

Shokz OpenMove Bone Conduction Bluetooth Sport Headphones

At a Glance:

  • Type: Bone Conduction Wireless Stereo Sports Headphones
  • Connection: Bluetooth 5.1 Wireless
  • Battery Life: 6 Hours
  • Waterproof Rating: IP55 Sweatproof

The Best Bone Conduction Headphones for Cycling – Premium

Shokz OpenRun Pro Premium Bone Conduction Bluetooth Sport Headphones

At a Glance:

  • Type: Bone Conduction Wireless Stereo Sports Headphones
  • Connection: Bluetooth 5.1 Wireless
  • Battery Life: 10 Hours
  • Waterproof Rating: IP55 Sweatproof

People are always talking about how bone conduction headphones, which don’t project sound into your ear canal, but rather transfer sound vibrations directly into your cheekbone, will never sound as good as normal headphones, and will have a muffled quality, a lack of detail and less bass.

And yeah, I have to say that this is actually true, at least to some extent, but with the newest generation of bone conduction headphones, and especially with superb products like the Shokz, the difference is pretty much negligible – in fact, I would be willing to say that these wonderful Shokz bone conductors sound better than some in-ears and over-ears I’ve heard for the same price.

And the advantages of bone conduction headphones are pretty compelling, and especially to people who cycle outdoors, but even for stationary bikes:

  • They allow you to be much more aware of the sounds and activities around you, since they don’t in any way obstruct your ear
  • They are very light and comfortable, and really stay put
  • They allow people with certain hearing loss conditions to hear stereo sound pretty much normally
  • They are very tough and durable
  • They are more hygienic than other types of headphones

Of all the bone conductor headphones I’ve tried, the Shokz (formerly AfterShokz) products are by far the best, with sound that is more wide open than many normal headphones at their respective price points, real energy and drive, and a warm, beautifully musical tone.

And the bass? Well, this is still a sticking point for people who like strong, driving bass when working out and/or cycling, and honestly bone conduction headphones are never going to lay down the big bass like other types of ‘phones.

That said, the Shokz bone conductors have incredibly good bass – deep, fast and well defined, with audiophile-level transient response, attack, decay and overall control and with amazing power. Thing is, it is at a markedly lower level than with in-ear or over-ear headphones, even if you equalize it up like crazy.

With extended listening, though, you begin to really hear the bass, and realize that the Shokz actually do have a solid and satisfying foundation and, in fact, a beautifully balanced overall sound. But Beats they ain’t!

I am recommending two specific pairs of Shokz bone conduction headphones for cycling, the budget-level Shokz OpenMove, which are incredibly popular and really superb for their price, and the premium Shokz OpenRun Pro, which are hands down the finest bone conduction headphones on the market, and one of the finest headphones of any type you can buy for cycling.

But really any of the Shokz products would be an ideal choice for bicycle riding, whether you’re on the road or in the gym, and I urge you to check out the whole line at the Shokz Product Page.

I will say that there are less expensive bone conduction headphones available, and I can personally attest to the fact that the super-affordable TrueFree Bone Conduction Sports Headphones are pretty darn good. But they – or any of the others I’ve heard – can really compare to Shokz, which are clearly the best bone conduction headphones for cycling and excellent products in every way.