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Ben Coxworth


Mini-speakers for bike helmets let riders hear more than just their music

By Ben Coxworth for GIZMAAG


An experienced freelance writer, videographer and television producer, Ben's interest in all forms of innovation is particularly fanatical when it comes to human-powered transportation, film-making gear, environmentally-friendly technologies and anything that's designed to go underwater. He lives in Edmonton, Alberta, where he spends a lot of time going over the handlebars of his mountain bike, hanging out in off-leash parks, and wishing the Pacific Ocean wasn't so far away.

April 16, 2012


Otus Mini-Speakers are tiny speakers that mount on a bicycle helmet, reportedly allowing the rider to hear both their music and the environment around them

While it can be nice to listen to motivating music while riding your bike, riding on the streets while wearing earbuds is ... well, crazy. In many places, it’s also illegal. One option is to wear non-sealing earHero earphones, which are claimed to allow both outside noise and music into the user’s ear canal. Another, however, is to attach some Otus Mini-Speakers to your helmet.

Although they do look like earbuds, the 15-watt output devices are not designed to go in the ears. Instead, they are applied to the “underhang” of the user’s cycling helmet via adhesive-backed Velcro pads, directly above the ears. Their wires are then tucked behind the helmet’s sizing pads and fed back through one of its rear ventilation holes, where they plug into the user’s Velcro-attached portable music player. Needless to say, a smaller player would work best.

If users want to play music from their smartphone, however, they can do so via an optional Bluetooth receiver. It attaches to the back of the helmet, while the phone itself can remain stowed in a hydration pack, saddle pack, or pocket.


Once the music starts playing, users are said to be able to hear both it, and whatever (or whoever) is making noise around them. Needless to say, the higher they turn up the volume, the less they will be able to hear anything but their music.

Otus Mini-Speakers are available via the company website, for US$35 a pair. While presumably any small Bluetooth receiver would work, Otus offers models by Jabra and Nokia, priced at $45 and $30, respectively.