The best headphones for cyclists

Pedal to the beat and boost your ride with the best headphones for cycling, indoors and out.

Best headphones for cyclists

by Myles Warwood |
Updated on

Cycling solo can sometimes be lonely, but adding music can improve your motivation to ride, taking your mind off the lull between efforts and giving you a beat to pedal. What's The Best has been through and reviewed many of the best headphones available in 2023 to bring you a long list of which we consider to be the best ones.

The Best Headphones For Cycling At A Glance:

Best open-ear headphones: Shokz OpenMove - View offer on Amazon UK
Best headphones for indoor cycling: Sony WH-1000XM5 - View offer on Amazon UK
Best earphones for indoor cycling: Sony LinkBuds S - View offer on Amazon UK

While cycling on the road, we suggest that you try and keep distractions to a minimum to maximise your safety and situational awareness. However, if you want to wear headphones while cycling on the road, we'd only just open-ear headphones. If you're training or riding on your turbo trainer in the safety of your own home, a decent set of wireless headphones can help get you in the zone. Or, wireless earbuds can really up the tempo.

Best open-ear headphones

Best bone-conduction headphones for cycling

SHOKZ OpenMove Wireless Headphones
Price: £79.95

Shokz, formerly known as AfterShoxz, has been a mainstay in the 'bone conducting' headphones for a long time, and they've been pioneers in this form of tech. They work well for cyclists on the road because they don't impede your spatial awareness.

Read our full Aftershokz OpenMove Bone Conduction Headphones review.

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Good battery life
  • Don't impede spatial awareness

Cons

  • The sound quality isn't as good as traditional headphones and earbuds

Best open-ear earphone design

JVC has entered the open-ear earphone arena with the Nearphones. As the name suggests, they sit near the ear rather than in it so that music or phone calls can be heard without affecting any form of ambient noise.

Pros

  • Recognised brand
  • 17 hours of battery life
  • Lightweight

Cons

  • Hard to hear when it's windy

Best bone-conduction headphones for rain

Shokz OpenRun Wireless Headphones
Price: $129.00
Alternative retailers
Walmart$129.00View offer
B&H Photo Video$129.95View offer
Best Buy$129.95View offer

What does the OpenRun give you over the OpenMove for an extra £50? I hear you ask. Well, a better water resistance (while still not waterproof but better for damp rides) and two hours more battery life with a magnetic charging cable offer quick charge, giving you 1.5 hours of playtime with only 10 minutes of charge. There are also some more tech upgrades offering up more expansive dynamic sound.

Pros

  • Big battery life
  • Good water resistance
  • Only 26 grams

Cons

  • Struggle to hear the sound over the wind

Best over-ear headphones

Best over-ear headphones

If you want some majestic sound as you pound on the pedals, then Sony has you covered with the WH-1000XM5. With noise cancelling, you won't be able to hear the whir from your turbo trainers as your music funnels into your ears and the watts increase. The colossal 30-hour battery also will not let you down as you ride.

Read our full Sony WH-1000XM5 review.

Pros

  • Glorious sound
  • Comfortable
  • Excellent noise cancellation

Cons

  • Over-ear design gets hot during a workout

Best Beats headphones for exercise

If you want something that will shut out the exterior noise and play quality audio while you train on the turbo, consider these by Beats. With multi-function on-ear controls which allow you to take calls, skip tracks and adjust the volume without touching your phone, they're super handy to have while you ride. The battery life is mega, with 40 hours of playback on a full battery. A 10-minute quick charge will give you three hours of playback. Way more than you could ever do on a turbo.

Pros

  • Huge battery life
  • Passive noise isolating
  • On-ear controls

Cons

  • Audio playback could be louder

Best headphones for Zwift

Logitech G PRO X Wireless LIGHTSPEED
Price: $323.67
Alternative retailers
Walmart$174.95View offer
B&H Photo Video$229.99View offer
Macy's$235.00View offer

It might seem odd as to why we've included headphones for gamers. Some people like to talk and chat as they ride on Zwift. These Logitech wireless headphones are to suit those. These gaming headphones will bring all the benefits from the gaming world to your Zwift group ride.

Read our full Logitech Pro X LIGHTSPEED Wireless Gaming Headset review.

Pros

  • Reliable sound
  • Excellent durability
  • Good design

Cons

  • Noise cancelling on the mic isn't the best

Best earbuds

Best lightweight earphones for exercise

Sony LinkBuds S
Price: $185.21

Super compact, lightweight and mighty powerful when it comes to audio quality, you may forget you had the Sony LinkBuds S in if you weren't listening to music, as they only weigh 4.4g. With a battery lasting up to 6 hours, there's plenty of time in the saddle to listen to whatever you like.

Read our full Sony LinkBuds S earbud review.

Pros

  • Comfortable
  • Affordable
  • Good sound

Cons

  • Rivals have beaten audio quality

Best gym earphones

If you struggle to get your earbuds to sit right, then the ShakeGrip technology (a silicon rubber coating) keeps these Jabra earbuds in your ears. So these can go from exercise bike to treadmill the same way a triathlete goes from bike to run. They could be your all-day headphones with excellent sound quality and a battery that lasts up to eight hours between charges.

Read our full Jabra Elite 7 Active earbuds review.

Pros

  • Great fit for all ear types
  • Sounds great
  • Good battery life

Cons

  • The Jabra app could be better

Runner-up best exercise earbuds

These are the ones if you want the ultimate sound quality for your earbuds. You get exceptional sound quality to help you through any workout, and the touch controls can be programmed via the app, making the Sony earbuds bespoke to you. Eight-hour battery life is also a huge bonus.

Read our full Sony WF-1000XM4 review.

Pros

  • Class-leading audio
  • Good noise cancelling
  • Good battery life

Cons

  • Sony is likely to release the WF-1000XM5s soon

What to look for in cycling headphones

When cycling with headphones, you'll want them to be steady on your head, have a decent grip to deal with sweat and be comfortable, so you can forget about them and get on with your ride. Weight is a tricky balance and can be a personal preference. A lighter set could be preferable if the headphones have a tighter fit. However, weight is sometimes your friend, as a solid weight can hold headphones in place.

Wireless earphones and wireless headphones are also a preference for cycling, both indoors and out. The freedom of movement provided is superior to wired headphones - which, while good, are best left in the living room for when you're relaxing.

With earbuds, people with smaller or bigger ears can often find these tricky. They can be a constant fiddle if they don't sit in your ear correctly and be more of an annoying distraction than a pleasant one to take your mind off the pain in your legs. The advantage of earbuds is that you can pop one in if you're training on the turbo, and you have to keep an ear out for the baby monitor, for example.

If you struggle with getting earbuds to sit in your ear just right, a set of headphones designed for runners could help. We'd recommend these for use on the turbo trainer or if you mix your training up with running. These are also great for those big effort, up-and-out-of-the-saddle sprints.

Let's take a look at the best headphones for cycling.

Myles is a Autos & Fitness Product Writer for What's The Best, Parkers and CAR. His areas of expertise include cycling, fitness tech and hot hatches.

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