Author Topic: Bicycle Stereo  (Read 4598 times)

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Offline Jambi

Bicycle Stereo
« on: February 14, 2011, 10:51:16 am »
Ive been looking through assorted threads and it seems to be agreed that cycling with headphones is a bit of a no no, however I'm pretty music driven when it comes to getting out and about. Has anyone had any experience with bicycle stereos? I have found links to a few online but it would be nice to hear if anyone has had any problems/ outstanding audio quality.

Cheers

Offline waynemyer

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Re: Bicycle Stereo
« Reply #1 on: February 14, 2011, 11:03:04 am »
"Outstanding audio quality" and "riding a bicycle" are mutually exclusive, much like "car stereo."

That said, the one that has my attention for my 36 mile commutes has been the Tunebug Shake.  I've tried out a friend's and the sound quality is most certainly lacking.  But I want to be able to catch up on job-related podcasts and listen to Pimsleur courses.  The Tunebug would be excellent for just such material.
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Offline DaveB

Re: Bicycle Stereo
« Reply #2 on: February 15, 2011, 08:38:19 am »
"Outstanding audio quality" and "riding a bicycle" are mutually exclusive, much like "car stereo."
I expect it's much worse than car stereo.  In a car you can have the windows closed. 

Offline staehpj1

Re: Bicycle Stereo
« Reply #3 on: February 15, 2011, 08:47:50 am »
Ive been looking through assorted threads and it seems to be agreed that cycling with headphones is a bit of a no no, however I'm pretty music driven when it comes to getting out and about. Has anyone had any experience with bicycle stereos? I have found links to a few online but it would be nice to hear if anyone has had any problems/ outstanding audio quality.

Cheers
I don't know that it is agreed.  My advice, either forgo the music or use loose fitting ear buds and keep the volume fairly low.  Some people use one ear bud.  Personally I just skip the music when I am riding, sing, or "play music in my head".  I might have listened to music if I had my iPod along when on some of the nearly deserted roads I crossed Kansas on.

Offline Jambi

Re: Bicycle Stereo
« Reply #4 on: February 15, 2011, 08:52:46 am »
Quote
The Tunebug would be excellent for just such material.

That looks insane! It has the potential to be a kind of head mountable 5.1 surround system which would be awesome on the road.

Quote
Personally I just skip the music when I am riding, sing, or "play music in my head".

I think for a solo trip music will be one of the things that stops me from going mad after being subjected to nothing but my own thoughts all day long.

Offline valygrl

Re: Bicycle Stereo
« Reply #5 on: February 15, 2011, 09:27:27 am »
I just use an Ipod.  No-no's are for toddlers - as an adult I make my own decisions, use my ipod responsibly (i.e., not in city traffic, not too loud), and accept the consequences if any.

Offline indyfabz

Re: Bicycle Stereo
« Reply #6 on: February 15, 2011, 09:43:08 am »
I think for a solo trip music will be one of the things that stops me from going mad after being subjected to nothing but my own thoughts all day long.

Nothing?  No bird calls?  No wind through the trees?  No rush of the river.  No sound of your own voice singing?

Offline litespeed

Re: Bicycle Stereo
« Reply #7 on: February 15, 2011, 12:58:30 pm »
Personally, I would never even consider listening to music while bicycling. I want to know what is going on around me - particularly what is overtaking me. Air horns (or any vehicle horns) or even a roaring diesel behind me on a shoulderless road and I'm off the road. My good hearing is a primary safety device. Also I'm always listening to my bicycle. Funny noises or even a change in pitch from my bike will have me stopping to see what is wrong. This has saved me numerous major repairs.

There are few things more aggravating than hollering "Passing on your left" at a bicyclist, rollerblader or jogger and going unheard because they have music things in their ears.

I have never been bored while bicycle touring even on long, endless desert roads out west. Uncomfortable, exhausted, even angry sometimes but never bored.

Offline mcparsons

Re: Bicycle Stereo
« Reply #8 on: February 22, 2011, 10:45:39 pm »
I also like to listen to music while I ride (more on that below) and am always looking for a good solution.  Here is what I have found:

1. The iHome iHM4.  I have an earlier version of this. The new one sells for $50 on Amazon but I got mine for $12 last year.  The new one runs on AA vs AAA for the older one - that is good.  There is a clear membrane so you can work the controls on an iPhone or touchscreen music player.  It is heavy but sound is good.  Battery life is very good - more than 8 hours - though you will notice a lot of distortion at high volumes as the battery voltage drops.  It is pretty weather proof - I would not worry about my iPod in a solid downpour though the device itself might not make it.  I just bungee mine to the top of my handle bar bag.  No external volume control so you have to use the mp3 player volume.  It does have an external power button which is handy for those times when you are stopped at a light in mixed company and your playlist delivers some inappropriate lyrics.

2. iHome IH85B.  Sells on Amazon for $60.  It is made for bikes and fits in the water bottle holder.  It has a remote that mounts on your handlebar.  A friend had one and it was a bit fiddly.  Only works with iPods and not all of those so check (no Touch or iPhone I think).  Only one speaker but that is all you need in these small devices as you won't get enough separation for stereo to matter.  Sound was good - both bass and treble.  I don't like losing the water bottle holder though (I like water as much as music).  Also it is bound to pick up a lot of road mung.  

3.  iLuv iSP110.  Around $6.  Also have a friend who swears by this - he velcros it to the top bar.  Volume is okay although sound is tinny as you would expect but that doesn't matter much when you are riding.  Battery life is good since the amp is small.  Much lighter weight than this.

4.  Stuff I haven't tried:  
http://www.cyclesound.net/  RAGBRAI tested.  Seems like it would do the trick but it's $150.  I've seen a few of them on the road but none of them on.

http://www.biketrailershop.com/blog/2008/08/billy-the-boombox-custom-music-bike-trailer/  A RAGBRAI staple.

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/29/nyregion/29bikes.html    This is what I really want.

There are tons of other alternatives that pop up on google.  If you have other solutions I'd love to hear them and see a review.

« Last Edit: February 22, 2011, 11:09:08 pm by mcparsons »

Offline mcparsons

Re: Bicycle Stereo
« Reply #9 on: February 22, 2011, 11:06:44 pm »
Now some reasons to have music on your bike:

1.  I like it.  I can listen in my car when I drive to work, why not when I bike to work? 
2.  It is a great aid on fitness rides.  I can train longer and harder with a good beat.
3.  My kids like to listen while we go on family rides.  We have collected pop and traditional music from travels all over the world and we love to listen to it.
4.  Safety.  The kids can get stretched out on group rides and I ride clean up in the back.  I don't have to worry though because they know that if they can't hear the music they need to slow down or wait for me to catch up.  I can turn it off if I want them to stop.
5.  Meet new friends.  I pulled up next to some grandmother on RAGBRAI when the playlist delivered "If you've got the money, honey, I've got the time" and we had a good laugh and chat.

I find that on long, solo rides, the music is on less than half the time.  So plenty of time to listen to the sounds of the world around me or check my shifting. 

If you have tips on good biking music, especially off beat stuff, I'd love to hear it.  Always looking for something new.

Offline whittierider

Re: Bicycle Stereo
« Reply #10 on: February 23, 2011, 12:17:37 am »
Quote
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/29/nyregion/29bikes.html    This is what I really want.

Definitely illegal in CA.  You can be cited if your music can be heard 50 feet away from the vehicle, although enforcement usually comes in the form of an extra punishment if they find you with drugs or something like that.

I'm a musician (cellist), but the only music I want to hear on my bike is a happy drivetrain, good tires, nature sounds, etc..

Offline Jambi

Re: Bicycle Stereo
« Reply #11 on: February 23, 2011, 09:31:47 am »
Quote
If you have tips on good biking music, especially off beat stuff, I'd love to hear it.  Always looking for something new.

In terms of off-beat music to listen to there is quite a range i listen to and could talk about it all day (It all depends on your taste). But in an attempt to cover a few that you might enjoy I would suggest anything by "Them Crooked Vultures" or "Queens of the Stone Age" - Nice long songs for the uphill slogs, if you're into something heavier I would highly reccomend "SiKth" or "The Fall of Troy" both very arhythymical and a personal favourite, "Cold Train" by "John Coltraine" has some pretty crazy beats.

I think in terms of listening to music whilst travelling I find it really enhances the experience and gives you a rythym to cycle/ walk to. I tend not to use headphones in busy areas but when it comes to cycling lonely roads my mirror serves me well when it comes to checking traffic. I will be trying a few methods on my shakedown trip (coast to coast across the penines) which will give me 3/4 days to weigh the pros/ cons.

Offline waynemyer

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Re: Bicycle Stereo
« Reply #12 on: February 23, 2011, 01:26:51 pm »
If you have tips on good biking music, especially off beat stuff, I'd love to hear it.  Always looking for something new.
Obviously taste is subjective, but what I hear in my head when I ride are:

There is a lot of sonic detail in most of those tracks.  Headphones or other precision listening system is suggested for the first listen.  Laptop speakers are contraindicated.
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Offline waynemyer

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Re: Bicycle Stereo
« Reply #13 on: February 24, 2011, 06:38:13 pm »
Oh, come on, let's hear some of your musical faves!  I am similarly always seeking to expand my sonic horizons.
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Offline mcparsons

Re: Bicycle Stereo
« Reply #14 on: February 25, 2011, 12:04:20 am »
Whoa, I'm afraid I'd fall asleep with some of that.  I guess I'm more into upbeat bubblegum than skulls and ... um.. flaming jello molds?   ;)

My playlist is mostly latin with some other international pop:

Latin:
Raul Paz
Gabriel Rios
Gilberto Gil  Brazilian classics
Daddy Yankee
Alex Gaudino Very thematic

Thai pop:
Nink
Carabao  Thai Alabama - these guys are the real thing


African pop:
SK Blue My favorite song of all time
Professor Jay

Other
Ward 21 Gangsta
Johnny Cash Biking anthem
Red Hot Chili Pipers Because everything goes better with pipers