No matter what kind of helmet you wear when you're riding, one piece of additional functionality that is of almost universal benefit to all riders is a good set of headphones or speakers. The ability to have GPS navigation, music and communications pumped right into your helmet is amazing, and though options were limited when I first started riding, there is now a ton of variety when it comes to hi-tech helmet speakers.
The options are so diverse that it's actually quite difficult to sift through them all. Now you've got wired speakers, Bluetooth capabilities, voice control functionality, integrated radio, and other features to consider. In an effort to find out which are the best motorcycle helmet speakers I figure a bit of investigating, along with an informative wired and Bluetooth motorcycle helmet speakers review is in order.
Weston UM Pro 10
4.2 x 2.2 x 7.2 inches
30-day Amazon Return
UCLEAR HBC 100D
9.9 x 6.2 x 2 inches
30-day Amazon Return
IDEAPRO Waterproof Headset
7.7 x 5.9 x 1.7 inches
30-day Amazon Return
VEETOP Water Resistant Bluetooth Intercom
6.7 x 4.3 x 2.1 inches
30-day Amazon Return
TORK X2 Wired Stero Speakers
4.6 x 2.8 x 0.8 inches
30-day Amazon Return
The benefits should be obvious, but let's consider just a few of the ways in which having speakers can enhance your ride.
If your helmet speakers also have a microphone built-in, then they can operate as a communication device for you to use while riding. This is perfect for having to take a call on the road, and especially useful if you've got a full face helmet and want to chat with your riding buddies without having to lift up your helmet constantly.
First, having speakers can help break up the monotony of listening to air whizzing past your head as you ride mile after mile. A small perk like a bit of music from your favorite artists can go a long way to making your journey on the open road that much more enjoyable.
Helmet speakers also let you listen to GPS directions or other audio instructions while you are in motion. You have to stay alert and have your eyes on the road, but the speakers function as a little navigator, guiding you along your path.
One of the biggest considerations that will go into your speaker purchasing decision will be whether you want to go wired or wireless.
Your wired headphones are, on average, going to be less expensive, will last longer since there is no need to charge batteries, and aren't subject to the kinds of interference and sudden losses in connectivity that you may experience with wireless. On the other hand, you will have to deal with those pesky wires, which might be a deal breaker if you are concerned about comfort or are the obsessive type who can't stand wires!
With wireless, you get the distinct comfort advantage (no wires) and the ability to use voice commands to control your device. The trade-off is that you'll be paying more money for wireless in most cases, have to charge the battery (which, even if you have the best Bluetooth motorcycle helmet speaker, only lasts 4-8 hours), and they usually wear down a bit faster than a wired set of speakers.
For a long while, the main advantage that wired speakers had over wireless ones was increased sound quality, however, as technology continually marches forward, the gap between the two has diminished to the point where the convenience gained by wireless is a reasonable trade-off for the differences in sound quality in some cases. Speaking of which...
You don't want to get speakers that sound like you're running the audio through a tin can. High quality can be somewhat expensive, however. You'll also want to think about your personal audio preferences. Do you prefer more bass? Treble? Some headphones allow you to adjust the values of both. The maximum loudness is a factor that varies from device to device, and the timbre of the sound can differ considerably as well. Judging what sounds good is partly subjective, but some studies delve into the matter in great detail if you are interested.
If the speakers don't fit inside your helmet, then you'll have wasted your hard earned money. You'll have to consider your helmet type, and how whatever speakers you get will integrate. For half helmets, you can get away with just about anything. Other helmets might be a bit too restrictive for larger interior-fitting speakers unless they are designed to fit external speakers in them (which many are). Still, you'll have to make sure whatever speakers you eventually go with will be accommodated by the space your particular helmet provides.
Personal preferences may also play into this determination. Maybe you simply prefer larger speakers (a perfectly acceptable choice). In some cases, the size of a speaker will also affect its loudness and ability to reproduce quality sound faithfully.
This is definitely a purchase that you will want to last. Getting a pair of speakers that are well constructed and won't fall apart by just looking at them is a top priority. Sometimes you have to pay a little extra for headphones that won't wear out after a bit of mild use, but it is certainly worth not having to pay to replace them time and time again.
All of the factors above should be balanced with the price of the device you're considering. Staying within your budget is important, but know that by spending a bit more, you will in some cases be getting speakers that have better stats.
Though at first glance just earbuds, these are probably the best earbuds for a motorcycle helmet that you can get right now. Originally designed for musicians who wanted superior on-stage monitoring capabilities, these earphones have a variety of features that make them ideal for the motorcycle crowd as well.
The earbuds are lightweight and fit comfortably on just about anyone (even those with tiny ears!). The ear tips are replaceable in case of damage or to customize the fit. In comparison to the older model UM headphones, the UM Pro10 has an upgraded removable cable (EPIC brand) that wraps around the top of the ear for superior security and stability.
These earphones provide noise isolation of the highest caliber, useful when on a ride with intense wind noise, and provide a good balance, of bass, mid-range, and treble. The UM Pro10 uses a balanced armature driver to improve sound quality, detail and expand the frequency range (more on armature drivers here, if you're interested).
These are a bit pricier than a pair of SkullCandy buds you just pick up at the BestBuy, but the added price comes along with a substantial increase in quality when compared to any other in-ear headphone solution. Best of all, they're 100% made in the USA, so if you're big on American-made merchandise, you can rest assured that you're supporting an American original designed and assembled right in Colorado Springs.
UCLEAR are dedicated players in the communication technology game, and the HBC100 is one of their models designed to be compact and easy to wear. Instead of tons of wires and clumsy boom mics, this speaker set has microphones built into the speakers to cut down on mounting difficulties and confusion. Granted, it's not completely wireless, but the elimination of a good amount of cables is great if you're looking for comfort and simplicity. I found it especially easy to setup and really liked the fact that it fit nicely into my full face helmet.
The HBC100 incorporates design enhancements to improve sound, including high-quality speakers, noise suppression, and ABF technology to do away with environmental noise that could be distracting. Thanks to Bluetooth functionality, you can take calls and stream music from a mobile device, but by far my favorite feature on this set is the intercom system. It allows four riders to link up and communicate with one another at a distance of up to 500 meters. It's a great way to keep your riding party on the same page.
The HBC100 is also highly durable, with resistance to water, heat, and cold. It can operate at temperatures as low as -20 degrees F and as high as 140 degrees F. The Velcro mounts are sturdy and stay in place even when you're moving your head. The speakers themselves are 44mm x 48mm and fit nicely in most helmets - even those without open cheek pads.
The Ideapro is a weather-protected speaker headset that provides long range communication ability and wireless functionality for helmets. The intercom function is good up to 1200 meters, and in can link up to 6 different riders simultaneously (perfect for larger riding groups). The unit clips to the outside of the helmet and has a wired mic that installs on the inside. It's a bit more cumbersome than some other units, but fits sturdily and stays secure while riding.
The Ideapro features wind noise cancellation abilities that help communications remain clear at high speeds and also has an integrated FM radio and Bluetooth ability to allow the headset to connect with GPS devices and mobile phones. The hands-free operation also includes auto-reception of calls for increased convenience.
The battery on Ideapro is a rechargeable lithium, which can be fully charged in 3 hours, and provides 7 hours of talk time with 240 hours of standby time, more than enough for any day-to-day riding. Sound quality is clear and comes in audibly even when riding at speeds over 70mph.
These speakers were designed with full face and modular helmet wearers in mind. They provide hands-free usability suitable for many applications and an array of features that provide connection to multiple kinds of devices. The 2.5mm audio jack allows for linking to cell phones, MP3 players, and GPS devices (but will require 2.5mm-3.5mm adapter cable). The Bluetooth features can also be used for streaming and hands-free operation of the similar device, along with helmet to helmet communication with other riders. This ability is limited however to 800 meters and can only be used between 2 riders at a time.
The system itself is small and light, though the attached microphone isn't the best around, it gets the job done, and the sound quality is serviceable, even if it isn't the top of the line audio you'd get from a solid pair of headphones.
Tork specializes in simple to use, high-quality wired speakers. The X2s have a high power driver that increases bass and allows for elevated volume levels. The speakers themselves are thin and fit well into any ¾, full face, or modular helmets comfortably. They are very durable. Both the speakers themselves and the audio cable feel well constructed and will last you for a while. Installation is simple, since one need only fix the speakers inside the helmet, and run the audio cable to the device of their choosing.
The 3-foot audio cable includes a volume control, and can plug directly into 3.5mm jacks on MP3 players, mobile phones, GPS devices, etc. The obvious downside is that there is no mic for communication, but if listening to tunes or directions is your only concern, these speakers are going to be more than enough for what you need. These can be coupled with a portable headphone amplifier further augment sound quality to your liking.
It's clear that wireless and Bluetooth style speaker systems offer a lot in the way of bells and whistles (like voice control and helmet-to-helmet communication with other riders) the fact remains that if you're looking for the best sounding motorcycle helmet speakers with no interference or interruption, a wired connection is still king.
The UM Pro10 takes the cake in that regard, with superior sound quality designed to meet the standards of professional musicians, and has the added benefits of being small, fitting directly in the ear, and having noise filtering abilities too. To top it off, these earbuds are built to last and have replaceable components if something gets damaged.
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