Two companies have recently released new bicycle helmet speaker solutions…must be that time of year! Cycling season is here, and as any cyclist knows, no ride is truly complete without a soundtrack. The Cardo BK-1 bicycle communications system and the O-tus bicycle helmet speakers are brand new releases that promise to provide exactly that.
Like motorcycle riders, the audio requirements of cyclists are unique and not adequately met by earbuds. Anybody on the road needs to remain aware of their surroundings, but earbuds tend to occlude the ear canal, blocking out important external audio cues. Helmet speakers are a good solution, but bike helmets, not having earpads, are not compatible with most helmet speakers on the market. The two systems below are interesting solutions that we look forward to trying out.
CARDO SYSTEMS BK-1
Cardo Systems is best known for their Bluetooth helmet communications systems for motorcycles and snowmobiles. Their first entry into the cycling market is the BK-1, a Bluetooth communications and entertainment system specifically designed for bicycle helmets. It can be paired with any Bluetooth-enabled phone, media player, or GPS device, and also allows simultaneous intercom communication between BK-1 headsets.
The most interesting feature of the BK-1 is the “hovering” speaker design. These helmet speakers do not actually touch the rider’s ear, leaving situational awareness intact.
O-tus Safe Sounds Helmet Speakers
O-Tus bicycle helmet speakers might look a bit like earbuds, but they’re actually tiny, velcro-mounted speakers that attach to the underhang of a bicycle helmet, right above the user’s ear. This design allows the cyclist to remain aware of their surroundings while enjoying audio. The O-Tus speakers can be plugged directly into a media player, or into an optional Bluetooth receiver to stream wirelessly.
We’d love to hear from anyone who has tried these out, particularly regarding audio quality. The “open-audio” design for bicycle helmet speakers is a good concept, but we’re curious to see how it actually plays out on the road, so to speak.