Not everyone will approve (including a few state’s laws), but for me, music and riding go together oh so perfectly. When you find your groove on a great stretch of road, a good soundtrack tops off the experience. I’m also a fan of properly protecting my hearing though, so I insist on ear plug/headphone combos.
Over the years, I have gone through a number of sets before finding what I believe is the best combination of comfort and cost. I use custom molded ear plugs formed around in-ear style earbuds. The basic idea is to choose any earbud that fits you and you’re happy with the sound, then mold earplugs around them. Simple. The result is being able to block out most of the road noise so that you can listen to your music without having to blast it and risk hearing damage. There are a few off-the-shelf options out there for similar products, but I’ve found my DIY version is as good or better at a fraction of the cost.
Here is our videographer (and bike builder) friend Chris, with a short how-to:
It's worth noting that in my method, I have always placed the ear bud in the ear canal then formed the putty around it. In the video above, Chris has his own slightly different approach which he captured in this video. He places part of the putty in the ear first, then places the earbud in. He describes his preference this way:
"The putty doesn't foul the speaker at all. When it hardens, you trim around the earbud port to expose the little speaker. However, you can also leave it untrimmed and the sound is still good. It's important to do it this way because the comfort of the whole thing is having the ear plug against the ear and not the earbud. If you do the earbud first, then the putty, it will work, but the comfort won't be as good.Try it both ways and let us know what works for you."
Try it both ways and let us know what works for you.
• Basic Earbuds such as these from Sony
Total cost: Around $20
For track and dirt riding (when I don’t listen to music), I still use custom molded plugs that are quick and easy to place each time. To help identify the left and right of these similar looking globs of putty press an “L” and “R” into each before they set.
Any earbud suggestions or hacks? Add yours in the comments below!
Suggested vendor: Moto Skiveez
"Comfort Through Innovation." Base Layers for motorcyclists'
In creating Moto-Skiveez, I’ve enlisted the design expertise of the TMF research facility in Verona, Italy. TMF is renowned for the quality and innovation they’ve applied to creating bicycling pads. They have a research center inside the company for the purpose of developing original and innovative solutions to improve riding comfort and performance. TMF has been at the forefront of design for more than thirty years. Their proprietary process utilizes thermal imaging camera systems placed between the rider and the saddle to measure body temperature in the prostatic/perineal area. They also use computerized sensors that reveal pressure applied at the points of contact. This helps determine the correct type of material to be incorporated into the pad. Moto-Skiveez has employed this technology to create three unique pads, each targeted to a specific style of motorcycle riding. Each unique pad is sewn into a high quality undergarment designed to be worn next to the skin like regular briefs. This base garment is comprised of two different fabrics. The first is a fabric was chosen to provide moisture wicking. The second is a mesh fabric selected to facilitate breathability. The use of the different combination of fabrics creates a base garment that is optimized for moisture management and breathability. The best product is one that achieves the correct balance between comfort and functionality for your style of riding. Comfort requires protection and resistance against irritation. Functionality requires breathability, moisture management and body temperature management. Achieving balance between comfort and functionality requires developing the optimal form and then using the best materials. Regardless of what or how you ride, I hope you enjoy your Moto-Skiveez.