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There is certainly no shortage of new ways to listen to music while riding, which must be a sign that it’s something a lot of people like to do. Jamming to your favorite tunes while riding is great, but it always brings up two major issues: not being able to hear what’s going on around you, and the potential to irritate everyone within earshot. O-tus has the answer to both, with their Safe Sounds near-ear speakers. Designed to simply velcro onto your helmet above your ears (or inside your helmet for full face DH lids), the tiny speakers promise big sound without drowning out the background.

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We’re guessing the bike path cyclist may be the biggest market, but Safe Sounds are particularly awesome inside of a down hill helmet. By tucking the tiny speaker into the padding of your full face, you can get incredible sound while still hearing what’s around you. I tried it on with some fairly loud rock music playing and was still able to hold a conversation with Joe from O-tus without issue. Even more impressive is that for such a small speaker it had surprisingly good sound quality and audible bass.

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Even though the Safe Sound is designed to be used outside of the ear, O-tus will have adapters that will allow them to be clipped to your ears when not wearing a helmet. The earpieces simply snap on to the speaker and hold it onto your ear presumably using a much lower volume.

Sound level is limited to the type of device you are using with the tiny Sandisk MP3 player attached to the back of the helmet in the first picture capable of 108db, while Apple products are limited to 90db.  Safe sounds are sold with a short standard stereo mini cord that is intended to be attached to an MP3 player of the Bluetooth module at the back of the helmet, though O-tus sells an extension to use if you want to attach them to your phone in your jersey pocket or bag. Safe Sounds start at $42 for the standard model and go up to $95 for the Bluetooth combo set. Extra mounting material can be purchased as well allowing you to set up multiple helmets so you can stick and go.


  1. I have these, They are awesome, but Volume on some devices can be limited, But I got a amplifier box, its about 2″x 2″ and it made a world of difference.

  2. I’ve desperately wanted a solution like this but i’ve heard a lot of negative reviews that they’re absolutely useless on a normal helmet due to wind noise.

    @digi, any links/info on the amp box you use?

  3. I use the last generation iPhone earbuds stitched onto the helmet straps so the speaker points toward my ear. It’s pretty effective under about 25-30mph and leaves my ears full open to hear traffic or other riders. I imagine these have a little higher output since they’re further from the ear, but it’s a concept that seems to work. I’m surprised there aren’t more products in this vein.

  4. @Ck – I use these on the road and dirt and have no problems hearing them at all. I’m using an iPod Nano (the smaller square touch one) that’s stuck to the back of my helmet, and the volume is not cranked to 11.

  5. You can’t really be serious with listening to music while riding. We have enough problems with drivers getting distracted by their phones and now add a cyclist distracted to that equation?

  6. I’ll stick to headphones. 23 years of riding with headphones (responsibly, not on busy trails or on the street with lots of cars) has worked for me rather well.

    I highly recommend Westone earbuds. Their UM1 earbuds are made in the USA in Colorado Springs, and they support cycling. Excellent sound. Stay in my ears.

  7. I have found you can actually hear traffic better because the headphones block some wind noise. However this only works with in-ear canal type headphones which this product is not. As long as volume is appropriate, you should be able to hear a car horn. Besides are you really going to turn your head and check every time you “hear” an approaching vehicle? Does a car that passes 4 feet to the side of you sound any different approaching than a car that is about to hit you?

    Obviously, the rider wearing headphones must always be responsible for their path on the road and not be distracted by the tunes, just like autos driving along with their music and other distractions.

  8. I just wear one earbud in my right ear. I can hear cars and talk to other riders just fine and hear people on he trails still. Only thing I loose is anything in stereo – small price to pay! These are interesting, but do other trail users want to hear my music? Probably not.

  9. I couldn’t hear a train when I bike, and I like it that way…but then I’m out in the forests with nobody around. My only concern would be a mountain lion pouncing on me, but then I would probably not want to hear that anyway.

What do you think?