These Headphones Change How You Listen To Music

After several months of testing, I found that AfterShokz’s Trekz Titanium claim to being the “safest alternative to traditional sports headphones and ear buds” wasn’t just Vegas Interbike hype.

Let’s face it, cyclists here in Southern California – or elsewhere for that matter – rarely pay strict adherence to the state vehicle code. Sometimes it’s subtle, like not coming to a complete stop at a stop sign or using headphones, and other times it’s far more blatant, like a huge pack of riders blowing through lights on a weekend group ride. It’s usually the latter that’s going to attract the attention of the local police.

And if you get stopped by the police for any reason, you can end up with a very expensive ticket if also busted for wearing headphones. Just last year, California’s state legislature closed the loophole on wearing the ‘bud’ style category of headphones. But that hasn’t stopped a significant percentage of cyclists from still wearing headphones – myself included.

Over the past 20 years I’ve searched out legal options for getting my music fix while cycling, but all fell far short of a satisfactory listening experience – including the obnoxious handlebar-mounted players that force others to listen to your taste in music.

At last year’s Interbike show in Las Vegas, I stumbled across a sports headphone designed for active, outdoor enthusiasts that promised exceptional acoustics while being street legal with an open-air design.

Like a lot of new gear unveiled every year at Vegas, I was skeptical of the claims AfterShokz was promising with their new “bone conduction” headphone technology. According to AfterShokz, their headphones “incorporate an open-ear design (OpenFit) and a suite of proprietary audio technologies and design patents with athletes in mind”.

After several months of testing, I found that AfterShokz’s claim to being the “safest alternative to traditional sports headphones and ear buds” wasn’t just Vegas Interbike hype. The technology is a game changer on many levels for those that want to enjoy their music on two wheels; they’re legal, safer in traffic or group rides, and deliver a premium audio experience equal to any conventional sports headphones.

AfterShokz terms the dynamic sound range found in their sports line, including EQ presets offering powerful, rich bass, as “PremiumPitch+”. By creating mini vibrations, bone conduction technology delivers music through your cheekbones; ensuring ears remain completely open to hearing ambient sounds while also providing maximum situational awareness.

Surrounding Awareness

Runners, especially those training solo in isolated areas, will also appreciate being able to maintain an awareness of their surroundings – how many times have you been out riding on a bike path where joggers are so tuned-out they can’t hear you when you try to warn them of your approach?

Besides saving yourself the cost of an expensive ticket (that would have easily paid for their top-end model), you’re going to be on stronger legal grounds if ever involved in an accident – say, for example, with the prevalence of distracted drivers on the roads these days who could claim you were also distracted by using illegal and conventional headphones.

Verdict

For riders looking to cut the cord to their cell phone or MP3 player, the Trekz Titanium Bluetooth headphones ($129.95 – available at Amazon or R.E.I.) are a great solution. Incorporating Bluetooth 4.1 connectivity and convenient multi-point pairing, the headphones come in at a feathery 36 grams – which means they’re light enough for all-day riding comfort.

The rugged design can handle sweat, dust, and moisture from your Saturday “World Championship” group ride or any kind of nasty weather (rain cancels most club rides in Southern California so you probably won’t get much of a chance to test this feature).

The Bluetooth version is available in two sizes: standard and mini. You’ll get six hours of continuous music (plus calls) on a single charge. “Audrey Says”, the ever-present voice assistant common to all of our tech toys these days, guides users through power, pair, play and talk functions. The dual noise-canceling microphones are so effective at excluding surrounding noise and enhancing speech that these headphones have now become my go-to hands-free cell phone device.

If you’re looking for something a bit more affordable but still incorporating the same bone-conduction technology, AfterShokz just introduced a wired Sportz Titanium headphone with microphone ($59.95; without microphone $49.95). The wired in-line controls for play, skip, and pause aren’t quite as cool as the Bluetooth version but they do come with a price tag half the cost. A nice bonus is 12 hours of continuous music (plus calls) on a single charge. The noise canceling microphone reduces surrounding noise, effectively enhancing speech, but as I found, not as well as the Bluetooth model.

Available on Amazon

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You May Also Like
(Christoph Bayer) SRAM AXS – 13 good reasons why electronic components on bikes are the future
Read More

(Christoph Bayer) SRAM AXS – 13 Good Reasons Why Electronic Components on Bikes Are the Future | The Slow Death of ‘Buy It For Life’

We see the bike media et. al. falling over themselves to encourage a public dependence on component electronics. And both ebikes and component electronics have an intrinsic designed obsolescence, by virtue of these systems having a limited number of battery cycles. There won’t be ‘vintage’ drivetrains in 20 years as none of the batteries will be usable. I have a birthday coming up, maybe I’m being overly nostalgic to consider this.
Read More
Zoic Carbon Bibs
Read More

Zoic Introduces Men’s Carbon Bib Liner | ‘The Most Technical Liners I’ve Yet Come Across’

New for 2019, the ZOIC Men’s Carbon Bib Liner provides ultimate support for long days in the saddle, ideal for enduro racers and bikepackers, The Carbon Bib Liner is engineered to maximize comfort and minimize irritation, from seamless straps up top to the Italian-made 3D stretch foam chamois inside
Read More
SDMBA Black Widow Trail Building
Read More

Share the Work on the Trail with Modular Packable Tools

Trail Boss has pushed forward the idea of ‘rolling maintenance’, or the collective efforts of individuals to maintain mountain trails for running and cycling before conditions get to the point where organized action is required. This push in priority allows organizations to focus their resources on the problems that are out of reach for the individual. Namely trail access and advocacy.
Read More
Read More

Carbon Wheelset under $800 and Backed By A 1 Year Warranty ? Go On…

Monoprice has traditionally been a manufacturer of electronics and accessories, but the Rancho Cucamonga-based company has created an outdoor department that will feature a select number of carbon bicycle components. They have developed some relationships with carbon fiber manufacturers overseas to bring quality components to consumers at a lower price point while still being able to offer a 1-year warranty for local customers.
Read More
schwalbe durano tires
Read More

Schwalbe Durano DD

Quiet, smooth, and fast, the DD proved to be a perfect option for long rides to improve comfort and provide all of the traction needed for fast descents and steep climbs. Power transfer to the pavement is smooth and consistent, particularly on steep hills, without any wasted effort on straightaways.
Read More
Lezyne Torque Wrench
Read More

Behind the Curtain, BICYCLIST Wandering The CABDA Exposition, In Search Of Value, Innovation and Quality

The inaugural west coast version of the industry bike show took place at the Del Mar Racetrack in San Diego, California on January 16 and 17th of 2019. Here are some of the goods that caught our eye. Subscribe to the BICYCLIST Experience podcast for additional information on this field trip
Read More
watercolor painting of man on bike with helmet
Read More

Helmets: A Style Guide

Buying a new helmet or upgrading from an old one can be hard if you don’t know where to start. Due to advancements in modern helmet technology, many options are now available. Depending on a rider’s budget, type of biking, style preferences, and comfort needs, a suitable helmet exists for everyone. But knowing what you want can make your search easier.
Read More
Read More

Two Wheel Gear Backpack/Pannier

Two Wheel Gear recently introduced a new style to their line of versatile commuter bags, the Pannier Backpack Convertible looks like a backpack, but has the capabilities to transform into a pannier. A discreet zipper pouch in the back of the bag opens to reveal a Universal Rixen & Kaul rack attachment system that mounts on your bike if you prefer to ride without any baggage on your person.
Read More
studio shot of lubricant
Read More

Rock “N” Roll GOLD Chain Lubricant

As most chain lubricants require a cleaning step prior to application, Rock “N” Roll chain lubes stand out. It combines the two steps leaving one less thing to carry on a multi-day tour and one less thing to forget while traveling – not to mention the time-savings of being able to clean and lube at the same time. And all of this comes at a price well below the average of available alternatives.
Read More
Proviz Sportive Gloves
Read More

The Shiny Bits Make You Safer

The next step of PROVIZ apparel evolution has been the development of their Sportive collection, a performance apparel line focused on road visibility. The design is understated, and appealing for those that appreciate black on black. The safety police will appreciate reflective material on front and back, as well as day-glow accents that provide side awareness of the rider.
Read More
hardcover book by guy andrews
Read More

Magnum Cycling: Guy Andrews Brings Together A Story In Photo, Offering Glimpses of Cycling Past

Magnum Photos opened their archives to Guy Andrews, founding editor of Rouleur magazine, so he could curate a book of unique photos chronicling the history of cycling. Andrews supplements the photographs gathered from the archives with insights into the lives of the people in the front of and behind the camera. Readers will discover many unfamiliar photos and gain a new appreciation for what it takes to be a professional race photographer.
Read More