Google+ Two-Wheeled Tourist: Sound solutions for long-distance motorcycle trips.

10.28.2011

Sound solutions for long-distance motorcycle trips.

There comes a point in a motorcyclist's riding when he/she needs to drone out the noise of the road and add music to the journey. Regardless of where the music source is coming from (MP3 player, iPod, GPS with audio, etc.), there are many solutions for blasting the tunes while you're rolling down the highway on your bike.

1. In-helmet speakers. These come in a thin wafer shape and sit inside of a helmet's ear ports. Since they do not directly go into the ear, they are acceptable under most traffic laws. Here's an example from Aerostitch. Online stores such as HelmetAudio.com also provide options for listening inside your helmet. Related products include in-helmet communication devices with integrated FM radios, Bluetooth, and auxiliary audio inputs such as the Scala Rider G4 by Cardo.

2. Ear buds. These provide excellent sound isolation and in some cases double as earplugs. However, your ability to hear ambient sounds can be reduced. Check your local/state laws permitting the use of in-ear audio devices while riding. If using these, I recommend the soft earbud-style that include interchangeable silicone cups of various sizes, such as SkullCandy or JVC Riptydz. An even advanced option is custom-made earplugs with integrated earphones such as those from EarFuze or Hearing Dynamics. I don't recommend the stock earphones that come with iPods; they just fall out!

3. Bike mounted speakers. Some examples start with the simple, handlebar mounted Kuryakyn Sounds of Chrome speakers to the very involved Quadzilla fairings by Hoppe Industries made for both American and metric cruisers. This is one of the more pricey options for playing audio on a motorcycle, especially for us riders that don't own a two-wheeled car.

Regardless of which listening method you choose, please use common sense when using audio devices on the road and stay aware of your surroundings. Happy riding!