Sennheiser/Adidas headphones for cycling

While cycling the streets of London there is plenty to keep you distracted: honking motorists, distracted pedestrians, traffic lights and slovenly cyclists. On a long bike ride, it could be nice to be able to listen to some music or the radio.

Ah, if only there was some safe way to allow the avid cyclist to listen to tunes while cycling.

Thanks to a partnership between Sennheiser and Adidas, cyclists and other enthusiastic sportsmen now have uniquely designed headphones. With several models, the biggest names in headphones and athletic gear have come together to provide several models of athlete-friendly headphones.

We’ll talk about how these headphones can be appropriate for cycling later on tin the article.


The good news about the Sennheiser/Adidas athletic headphones is that the specs are identical for the most part. The major difference is the shape of each, which allows each person to decide what model provides the best fit. Those who run, for example, may choose a different style of headphone than those of you who spend most of your time on a bicycle.

So here are the specs you really want to know about, so let’s get to it;

  • 2 year warranty
  • 120dB sound max
  • 3.5mm plug – angled
  • Remote controlled
  • Microphone
  • 18-20,000Hz frequency
  • i-device optimised for Apple users
  • Water resistant

Now we know what makes them similar, let’s get into specifics about their differences.

PX 685i

Cycling headphones

The PX 685i model of cycling headphones is just what a sportsman requires; they are lightweight, ergonomically designed, water-resistant and optimised for Apple devices. You don’t have to worry about the headphones slipping off or becoming uncomfortable after a long workout because they have soft cushioning around the head and earphones plus an anti-slip grip.

If you’re looking for traditionally made headphones complete with the headband then this model is preferred.

PMX 685i


The PMX model has a super-light headband that can comfortably rest on the neck when not in use, thanks to the unique design that wraps around the crown rather than the top of the head. You cyclists who opt to use helmets will find the PMX mode handy because it fits well under half-helmets.

OCX 685i


The OCX model of sport headphones is ideal for anyone into intense physical activity. With the adjustable wraparound ear bands you don’t have to worry about losing one ear bud as is customary with most headphones. The snug fit of the OCX 685i is a sportsman’s dream in design alone, but they are also extremely lightweight and cushioned so you get the most comfortable fit during your workout.

What about safety?

I know that many of you are thinking who would listen to headphones while barreling down a congested city street during rush hour. That’s a fair point and in fact is exactly why we’re talking specifically about the Sennheiser/Adidas athletic headphones. The unique design of the PX and PMX 685i with the ear buds resting over the ear canals allows cyclists to listen casually to music without drowning out background noises for a safer ride.

Of course headphones during cycling work best for long rides in the countryside, rather than the city as they are likely to distract from signs and signals that alert you to your surroundings. It’s probably not the best idea to use any headphones during heavy traffic or an intense race, but when you take a long leisurely ride away from city congestion these headphones are ideal.

An alternative option, if you enjoy music during your rides, then this little neat speaker that costs less than £10 delivers incredible sound. You’d need to fit it in a bag on your handlebars or panniers but at least you’ll be able to clearly hear your surroundings. The downside is, not everyone around you really wants to listen to your music so it’s only really appropriate if you are cycling somewhere with hardly anyone else nearby.

How much?

While price is always a factor when buying new products it is important to also recognize the cost of a product as well. The PX 685i and the PMX 685i, which are ideal for cyclists, range from £30 to £40, which is really a small price to pay for a bit of music while on a long ride. The non-cyclist friendly headphones range from £27 to £60, but they are perfect for other physical activities.

Final thoughts

When purchasing items such as this it is important to remember that nothing is 100% waterproof, but these headphones are designed to protect against sweat and rain. In fact it is recommended that users wash headphones under running water after each use and allow to air dry before storing.

There are some concerns with the actual durability of these headphones, but with a 2 year warranty backed by the Sennheiser name, it’s safe to say you’ll get more than your money’s worth.

The biggest problem is that these headphones are optimised for Apple products which means Android users will not be able to control their devices using the remote or voice control. With Apple products being so ubiquitous this makes a kind of sense, but is limiting for non-Apple users.

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As seen on The Guardian, BBC and The Independent.

17 Responses to Sennheiser/Adidas headphones for cycling

  1. Alan Moore 29/07/2013 at 9:50 am #

    A Minirig is an even better loudspeaker.

    But in London I find my phone in my breast pocket is sufficient.. just loud enough to hear, but easily drowned out by loud traffic etc. Wouldn’t wear headphones of any sort.

  2. Cold Rider 29/07/2013 at 9:54 am #

    “With Apple products being so ubiquitous this makes a kind of sense, but is limiting for non-Apple users.”

    And Android devices even more ubiquitous if you look at the market shares all over the world. Lame move from Sennheiser/Adidas.

    • martyn smith 30/07/2013 at 12:49 am #

      Yup. I can understand it’s a lot easier to program an interface for iOS devices due to the standardisation, but it still makes them less valuable to me than earphones without the software control, since there’s more to go wrong.

      Also worth bearing in mind some audio sources have a faint hiss, which is usually independent of output volume. The best way of dealing with this is to turn the volume up and use an attenuator – i.e. a hardware volume control. Which these do not have.

      So no sale.

  3. Johnny 29/07/2013 at 9:25 pm #

    Really? Headphones plus cycling. Really? How about a DVD player while we’re at it? Oh, that’ll be Google Glasses. Survival of the fittest indeed.

    • Ki 19/07/2015 at 12:01 pm #

      I listen to the direction on google maps so I can use both hands to cycle …. holding my phone in my hand is kind of hard while cycling.

  4. Watdabni 31/07/2013 at 10:38 am #

    There is no safe way to listen to music, or anything else, while cycling, driving or walking. It simply removes or, as a minimum, massively impairs an essential sense for conducting such activities safely. I cannot understand how anyone, apart from headphone manufacturers of course, could think this a good idea.

    • Mark 16/08/2013 at 11:29 am #

      WATDABNI, ever tried listening to music while driving or riding? it doesnt use up the brains ability to concentrate on surroundings. it is background music, im not a scientist, but to me it is sort of “using the subconscious mind”, not the part of my mind that i use to make quick judgement decisions.
      its not like im listening to a radio dj speaking, or an audio book, im also not signing along or “concentrating” on the music.
      as long as it is background music the filters behind the sounds of the traffic to me there is no increased risk listening to music in one ear when cycling.

      the things that cause me risks when cycling are black cabs and dodging bad road conditions while also checking over my shoulder………

    • Ki 19/07/2015 at 12:02 pm #

      Do you use sat nag? that’s what i listen to in my head phones while cycling to give me both hands ..

  5. ErniE 01/08/2013 at 4:35 pm #

    Sorry, I just dont get it

    Especially your “Of course headphones during cycling work best for long rides in the countryside”… Whats the point ?

  6. Andrew 06/08/2013 at 10:02 am #

    I took part in the RideLondon100 and was dismayed by the number of people wearing headphones. Their situational awareness was poor and I saw a number of near crashes because of behaviour by a selfish minority.

    I will be suggesting to the organisers that headphones are confiscated or wearers disqualified in next year’s event.

  7. Arthur 12/08/2013 at 2:58 pm #

    I am surprised this review doesn’t mention these ‘headphones’, which actually transmit sound to your ears through the cheekbone.

    They are quite simply amazing. You can hear everything going on around you (because your ears are completely uncovered) and also listen to music/podcasts whatever.

    People saying you should have no distractions – in an ideal world that would be fine. Personally, I would rather hear a few tunes or a radio show in addition to the chugging HGVs of central London.

    The benefit of these headphones is that in reality, anything loud enough to cause you harm or make you take notice (even conversation at lights) drowns out whatever else you can hear through your cheeks.

    Sound quality also excellent.

    • SockDog 18/08/2013 at 3:20 pm # <— correct address for the cheekbone headphones mentioned above. I've not used them but they sound interesting.

  8. Mark 16/08/2013 at 11:04 am #

    i bought an expensive pair of headphones similar to this a couple of years ago. they sat outside the canal and i could still hear traffic/people etc…. they were good, but as with all headphone cables using for hours on end during sport after a while they broke….

    my advice to you is buy any normal cheap pair of sports headphones that wrap around each ear individually. then you can just wear it in your left early only, then you can still hear the traffic perfectly well

    im currently using these –

    the reason i say cheap headphones is that you dont want the extremely loud/high quality offered by expensive headphones because you will be cycling and it is important you can still hear the traffic!

    so save yourself the £30 price tag

  9. bycaboy SeB 18/08/2013 at 11:52 am #

    I am surprised that two large companies are teaming up and condoning the use of head phones for the use on roads.

    And cyclists wonder why other road users resent them, one may as well just close ones eyes for a full experience!

    Obviously another case of profit over safety.

    Want to kill the silence? LOUD SPEAKERS all the way.

  10. Pepper 11/06/2014 at 9:52 am #

    I’m just reading this thread because I need to get some new earbuds and cycling will be one of my main uses and you guys caught my interest. From my experience here in La Jolla, California, attending school at UC San Diego, I have to say that I was surprised at how biker unfriendly the area is. I’ve lived at several locations within a 4 mile radius from campus and quite frequently I find myself yelling at motorists for not using turn signals or crowding me in my narrow bike lane or even swerving into the bike lane to make a right turn (equivalent to a left turn across the pond) where I’ve had to slam on my brakes to avoid a collision. So yes, everyday I’m riding with a heightened sense of awareness because people here don’t believe in turn signals but do make quick turns right into my path like I wasn’t even there doing 20 mph (or 32kph).

    So yes, my point is that I like to have some music in my ears to get through this without pulling someone out of their car window at the stop light. I understand the OP’s dilemna and think a lot of you are too judgemental about people cycling with earbuds. Granted there are idiots who might be ok with cutting themselves off to their dangerous surroundings aurally. But most cyclists value their lives and have a heightened sense of awareness during a commute even if they are listening to music loud enough to drown out the wind at 20mph. Personally, my music volume gets drowned out by wind on downhills anyways, so music playing or not I’m seriously impaired when it comes to hearing traffic. This is a problem I make up for by heightening my visual perception. Yes going down the steep hills I turn my head and check traffic and move out and own the lane with a flourescent backpack when it’s clear. If you don’t see me your eyes are closed and I’m about to die because of my faith in driver’s ability to keep their eyes open. But I digress, my point is I listen to music at a reasonable volume, I can still hear everything going on around me, and I’m much more ready to react because my life depends on it. To me, it’s the masters of the metal chariots on the roadways that should have to fucking open their eyes and ears and pay attention to what they’re doing because I already am. Yes, with an Eagles song barely audible in my ear. ‘I’ve got a peaceful, easy feeling…’ Just keep breathing, I will not kill this motorist when I catch up to them at this traffic light.
    In conclusion, don’t use the noise cancelling earplugs, keep the volume reasonable, and keep pedaling like everyone around you is going to do something stupid, because they probably will. And all you haters, tell it to a deaf biker who obviously has more olfactory sense than you.

  11. Ki 19/07/2015 at 12:04 pm #

    I expect all the headphone no comments are from drivers … who have a dashboard and can keep their sat NAV or GPS available for them to see ?

    I wear headphones while cycling to hear the directions from google maps, so I can use both my hands to cycle and not worry about dropping my phone.

  12. Mr Smith 09/04/2016 at 11:30 pm #

    I use some massive Bluedio UFO Bluetooth headphones at full volume listening to Jungle, Drum and bass, hip hop and hard trance. I am still safer than 80% of cyclists I see running red lights, not checking over their shoulders when going around some idiot that has parked in the cycle Lane/road works, swerving into the middle of the road to over take a slower cyclist or just using a roundabout without knowing that cars won’t stop to let you exit even though you have been signaling in a high viz jacket for 30 meters! There are idiots everywhere just try not to be one yourself!

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