Home
Verdict: 
Good audio quality and a great fit
Weight: 
39g
Aftershokz Trekz Titanium Bluetooth Headphones
8 10

The AfterShokz Trekz Titanium Bluetooth Headphones are a nifty and well-thought-out set of bone-conducting headphones. They fit nicely, sound good and the voice recognition with your phone is also very useful. The only downside is that the on/off button can sometimes be hard to use, especially with full-finger gloves.

Wearing a set of regular headphones while riding isn't such a good idea, because they stop you hearing things – that lorry that hasn't seen you, or the guy on the TT bike coming up on your right. This is one of the reasons behind the rise of bone-conducting headphones, ideal for commuting when you're taking the same route every day and want to liven it up with music, radio, an audio book or suchlike.

> Find your nearest dealer here

> Buy these online here

I do most of my commuting rides in London, going through some of the loudest areas of the city where you need to have all your senses about you. This means my headphones not only need to have a decent volume, they also need to let me hear everything that's happening around me.

Aftershokz Trekz Titanium Bone Conduction Headphones - worn.jpg

Aftershokz Trekz Titanium Bone Conduction Headphones - worn.jpg

In terms of volume, the Trekz Titaniums are great. The only times when I couldn't hear them clearly was when riding around loud construction sites, where noise is so loud I doubt I would be able to hear even with regular headphones.

The sound quality is also fairly good, giving a decent amount of bass without losing the treble. It's never going to be the same as a set of noise-cancelling headphones, but they're more than fit for purpose.

Despite the volume, I found I could still hear almost everything around me, which is a strange sensation, almost like being able to hear two conversations at the same time. It certainly takes some getting used to, but once you've got the hang of it, it is simple to recognise when something is behind you. I could even hear my freewheel at the back of my singlespeed.

Hands-free

In addition to simply being headphones, the Trekz Titaniums also work as a hands-free kit, allowing you to make and receive calls (depending on the quality of your phone). With my iPhone 6 I could make and answer calls, change tracks, and do almost anything you can with the regular Siri service, although it's a bit strange doing that while trying to ride in a large group of commuters.

The sound quality of the calls is good from both ends, caller and receiver. I could clearly hear them in all but the most noisy conditions, with a similar performance from the microphone.

The Trekz Titaniums fit on the head through bands that loop over your ears and behind the head. There is also some grip that comes from the flex in the titanium used in the band, which shows when you take them off and they naturally curve back so both speakers are touching. This, plus the rubberised coating, creates a good grip on the head, meaning little movement or chance of them falling off. I used these on a particularly wet and bumpy mountain bike ride without them ever feeling like they would come off, and on the road they easily stay in place.

Aftershokz Trekz Titanium Bone Conduction Headphones.jpg

Aftershokz Trekz Titanium Bone Conduction Headphones.jpg

One of the best elements of the fit is that you can wear glasses at the same time, with the area that loops over the ear being slim enough to allow glasses to sit on the top.

Battery life is a claimed six hours, which seems about right. While commuting, I needed to charge them once or twice a week. You can find out how much power is remaining through the 'Audrey Says' function, which tells you system notifications through the speakers, such as battery levels and when the unit is connected to a phone.

Multi functions

Operation of the headphones comes from three buttons, two on the right arm of the device – volume down and volume up/power buttons – and a multi-function button that sits on the outside of the left speaker. The first two are fairly self-explanatory, but the one downside I found was that the vol up/power button could sometimes be a bit awkward to use, and turning the volume up or down isn't really possible with full-finger gloves, given the pressure you need to exact. The multi-function button is simple to use, and functions to answer calls, voice dial or give commands to your phone (such as using Siri).

Aftershokz Trekz Titanium Bone Conduction Headphones - underside.jpg

Aftershokz Trekz Titanium Bone Conduction Headphones - underside.jpg

The headphones have what Aftershokz calls 'Nanotechnology coating and watertight rubber gaskets' which provide protection against rain and sweat. Having used these on both extremely wet days and on particularly intense rides, I found that they still functioned when my head and the unit were soaking wet. The only downside when wet is that they move a little more, but this is to be expected and doesn't count against them.

With their titanium construction, the headphones are naturally light, coming in at 39g. This means they can be worn for a long time without creating much pressure on the tops of your ears, and you sometimes forget they're there; a couple of times it took me a few seconds to work out why I couldn't get the straps off my helmet after a ride, before remembering I was wearing them.

Pairing the headphones with my phone was simple, done within a few seconds. They didn’t lose Bluetooth connection at all during the review, and as long as the phone was within around 5 metres of the headphones they worked perfectly. 

> Check out our guide to 19 of the best smartphone cycling apps for iPhone and Android

Their RRP of £109.95 could be seen as a bit steep, but these are at the top of the Aftershokz tree (others are available from around £40). Having used the £89.95 Bluez 2S headphones previously, as tested by Elliot, the difference is in the weight and fit, which are certainly improved in the Titaniums, and certainly justify the additional £20.

Overall, the Trekz Titanium headphones do everything that I would want bone-conducting headphones to do. They provide good sound quality, an excellent fit and have a good multi-functional element for control. Protection against the elements also works well, and they can be worn for hours without too much discomfort, which is ideal for fitness-focused headphones. Perhaps the on/off button could be less stiff, and the buttons could be easier to operate in full-fingered gloves, but this doesn't take away from what is a really good product.

Verdict

Good audio quality and a great fit

road.cc test report

Make and model: Aftershokz Trekz Titanium Bluetooth Headphones

Size tested: n/a

Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?

Aftershokz says: "Trekz Titanium is a game changer for those who like to listen to music on the move. Relying on our suite of proprietary audio technologies, these open ear headphones deliver premium sound quality through bone conduction. Experience maximum situational awareness and increased safety when you're running, walking or biking on trails and roads."

They achieve their goal; I could easily hear music or spoken word in all but the loudest conditions and could still hear traffic or other things around me.

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

Nanotechnology coating and watertight rubber gaskets repel sweat and moisture

Six hours of music + calls

EQ pre-sets conveniently boost bass and reduce vibration on the go

Dual noise cancelling microphones exclude surrounding noise, effectively enhancing speech

Audrey Says™ voice prompts guide users through power, pair, play and talk

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
8/10

Well made with a titanium frame making them both light and strong. Only lose marks for the on/off button sometimes being difficult to use.

Rate the product for performance:
 
8/10

Does exactly what it needs to in terms of playing audio while still letting you hear what's around you.

Rate the product for durability:
 
9/10

The rubber coating and nanotechnology not only mean they work in the wet, they should survive hundreds of accidental drops.

Rate the product for weight (if applicable)
 
9/10

The titanium construction lends itself to low weight, and these come in at only 39g, meaning no unnecessary pressure on the ears.

Rate the product for comfort (if applicable)
 
8/10

Initially an odd sensation having them sat in front of the ears, but overall very comfortable as they stay in place well.

Rate the product for value:
 
6/10

More expensive than others you can buy, but then they are at the top of the Aftershokz range.

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

Very well, pumps sounds into your head with good quality yet still allowing for things around you to be heard.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

I like the basic premise of the product, making cycling and listening to music much more enjoyable and safe.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

On button can be hard to use.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes

Would you consider buying the product? Yes

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes

Use this box to explain your score

Sound quality is very good, ability to hear both your device and the sounds around you makes perfect sense. A very good product.

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 27  Height: 6 ft  Weight:

I usually ride: Cannondale Supersix Evo 6  My best bike is:

I've been riding for: 5-10 years  I ride: Every day  I would class myself as: Experienced

I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mountain biking

George spends his days flitting between writing about data, running business magazines and writing about sports technology. The latter gave him the impetus (excuse) to get even further into the cycling world before taking the dive and starting his own cycling sites and writing for Road.cc. 

When he is not writing about cycling, he is either out on his bike cursing not living in the countryside or boring anybody who will listen about the latest pro peloton/cycling tech/cycling infrastructure projects.  

18 comments

Avatar
nowasps [519 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

Your right ear is better looking than your left ear.

Avatar
Artem [31 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

how often do you need to charge them?

Avatar
Artem [31 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

6hours, see it now, sorry

Avatar
FuzyFelt [5 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

I had 2 sets of the Bluz 2 version of these. They worked briliantly for 6 months but the vents in the side let in sweat and then they stopped working. 

Avatar
dizpark [5 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

Bluez 2 are not IP55 certified. These (and Bluez 2S) are, so they might be more robust with regards to sweat.

These look more ergonomically shaped, but I had Bluez 2 and they were very uncomfortable (for me) - I wear both a helmet and optical glasses and the experience was very painful. 

The volume was rather low, but I liked the bone conducting concept and sound  - ambient awareness etc.

Finally all the buttons (even the big one for answering incoming calls) were hard to locate and push (too small and too flush).  From the pictures of the new model, these look very similar. 

Avatar
ashfanman [130 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

Stupid question, but can other people hear what you're listening to when you're using these? If so, how loud is the "outward" (ie. not directed into your skull) sound that they create?

Avatar
maviczap [56 posts] 1 year ago
1 like

A lot less than conventional headphones, just a faint sound

These are great, being slightly deaf in my right ear, I can listen to music in stereo, as the sound is conducted through the bone.

I can't comment on the waterproofness, as I don't use them on the bike, or whilst on the turbo.

 

Avatar
ashfanman [130 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes
maviczap wrote:

A lot less than conventional headphones, just a faint sound

Interesting. But presumably they'd create too much ambient noise to be suitable for general use - on public transport, say?

Avatar
rix [172 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

These are great! I can watch TdF and have a conversation with my girlfriend at the same time... she won't get upset because commentary is "too boring"  1

Avatar
Mountainboy [98 posts] 1 year ago
1 like
nowasps wrote:

Your right ear is better looking than your left ear.

 

God, how wrong can you be?!

His left ear is way better looking than the right!

Avatar
bikebot [2119 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes
maviczap wrote:

A lot less than conventional headphones, just a faint sound

I find the opposite myself. I've got a cabled 2nd generation pair, which I use mostly for running. I sometimes wear them when I'm working as I find them very comfortable, but I wouldn't use them in a shared office, as the sound is quite annoying for anyone nearby.

Avatar
tmbr [1 post] 1 year ago
0 likes
ashfanman wrote:
maviczap wrote:

A lot less than conventional headphones, just a faint sound

Interesting. But presumably they'd create too much ambient noise to be suitable for general use - on public transport, say?

If you put a pair of standard ear plugs in (they supply some in the box) you can turn the volume right down (low enough that people sitting near you can't hear) and still hear whatever you're listening to really clearly. The bone conduction works much better when your ear canals are closed off. Still can't use them in the office because I have to be able to hear my colleagues unfortunately... I mostly use them on the bike but I keep a pair of earplugs handy for when I'm getting on the train.

Absolutely love these headphones and would recommend them unhesitatingly - expensive, but I use them ~2 hrs a day covering the same routes over and over and they've made cycling for work a much more pleasant experience.

Avatar
rix [172 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

I just ordered Titaniums, thanks to this article... as well as CAAD10 disc frame and some other stuff. I am quite sure that road.cc didn't make any money from these vendors although through their articles they attracted me as a client...

Dear road.cc , I think that majority of site users wouldn't mind if you integrate affiliate link system (and made some $), instead of providing direct links?

Cheers

Avatar
nmanfield [24 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

I've had these for a couple of month's now - don't know if it is the phone or the headphones, but the range is too far if I have my phone in my back pocket - it only works if it is in the top of my rucksack - anyone else had similar issues or can advice how to get round this?

Avatar
Redvee [333 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes
nmanfield wrote:

I've had these for a couple of month's now - don't know if it is the phone or the headphones, but the range is too far if I have my phone in my back pocket - it only works if it is in the top of my rucksack - anyone else had similar issues or can advice how to get round this?

 

That doesn't sound right at all. My mobile bluetooth can reach a far way, I had my phone on charge in work and had bluetooth earphones in and was 40 foot away with no reception issues, I get the signal dropping out slightly if I use a bluetooth speaker in my flat with the phone and speaker at different ends of the flat but that's cause of walls and doors.

Avatar
gsavill90 [34 posts] 7 months ago
0 likes

I had a very different experience with these headphones.

I've not ridden with headphones before buying these, and thought that the idea of  listening to music and still being able to hear everything around you was great! However, I think these headphones make too many compromises, to the point of being totally useless.

Regardless of the claims made, listening to music on these headphones still makes hearing traffic harder, and I found that I would be hearing cars a lot later than without them. It's not so bad around town or on main roads, but when on quiet roads I found I was no longer able to tell when a car was coming... whereas usually I know 100% that there's a car behind me from sound alone. This goes both ways - there's no longer the comforting silence letting you know that you are alone on the road, and I found that I would keep checking behind me when I didn't need to.

Second, I found the sound quality to be awful. Maybe there is some variation with how well they fit the shape of your head, and how well they actually conduct sound. For me, there was no bass at all. The sound quality was comparable to listening to music on your phone's in-built speaker.

To further diminish the sound quality, wind noise in your ears totally drowns out the music as soon as you're going any decent pace. Likewise, on busy roads I found that the traffic noise easily overcame the sound made by the headphones. When going over 18mph on an A road the overall experience is like listening to music in your car whilst driving along a motoway at 70mph with all the windows open, and the treble turned to 10.

Finally, I found that they were awkward and painful to wear. The main photo of this review illustrates the issues you might have perfectly... How comfortable does that helmet strap arrangement look? I found it impossible to wear these headphones with a hat that covers your ears... so you have to make a choice between awful tinny noise or having warm ears during the winter! Also, after about half an hour the sides of my head started the ache from the pressure of wearing them.

I think I'll stick to singing to myself in future!

Avatar
sammutd88 [44 posts] 6 months ago
0 likes

Brilliant when used for the purpose which they are built for. I ride with these regularly and have never been found wishing that I wasn't listening to music becasue I didn't hear a car or pedestrian or another rider. The sound quality is as good as can be expected, these aren't Bose or other high end headphones that feed sound directly into the ear canal, so they will never be giving you the type of sound quality audiophiles would be proud of but are fine for the average person. In my opinion, absolutely brilliant and a much needed item for cyclists who wish to listen to music while they ride. Comfortable and secure whilst wearing a helmet and glasses. If anything, on top of being convenient and comfortable, this product improves the safety of cyclists.

Avatar
BikeJon [188 posts] 5 months ago
0 likes

I've been using the Bluez 2s 'phones for over two years. I user them virtually every day on my commute on the bike and I love them. I have no difficulty at all in hearing traffic around me. They are a bit on the quiet side so sometimes my podcasts get drowned out by heavy traffic or if it is particularly windy. But I just hit the mute button on the side if I'm approaching a fast downhill or I want a break from it. I have no trouble prodding this with thick winter gloves.

Speaking of winter, yes these will not work over a hat that covers your ears. I got around this problem by putting two small holes towards the back of my belgian style winter hat, which I wear under my helmet when it is cold. I then feed my headset through these holes, so the jaw pads sit against your skin as they should but the back bit protrudes out of the hat and helmet as normal. This actually cuts out the wind noise well so you can hear even better and the exit point means they are not uncomfortable IMO. I have also successfully answered calls and had a conversation with these things (which is handy for me as I cover callouts for work).

The battery life for my Bluez 2s is 6hrs and I've used them for well over 5hrs continously on a 100+ miles ride. So this confirms the quoted life and also my claims for comfort. Also, the re-charge for these is very quick from a basic USB cable (~25 mins?). My mate has a pair and he reckons his one year old ones don't hold much of a charge anymore but that hasn't been my experience.

I find the sound quality to be very good, even for music. They are perfectly sweat-proof but I'd avoid using them in a downpour.

Here are a few downsides I've found.

1) They do not fit around every helmet design. They fouled against my KASK helmet, due to how the rear closure mechanism on that helmet sat so low. My helmet was due a refresh so a more 'standard' (i.e. cheap) design worked with no issues (PX helmet).

2) Yes, the sound from these will annoy neighbours in the office. I use standard wired headphones in this environment. But I switch back to my B2s when I'm working on my bike in our company bike workshop at lunchtimes (yes we have such a thing!). It's great to listen to pods without cables getting in the way.

3) The volume buttons are hard to operate when on the bike. But since I basically set it to max and leave it, not such an issue for me. I also have no issue with the multi-function button, which I do use a lot for pause/resume (you can also voice dial with it).

4) The headband on my B2s is prone to cracking. This is why I want to 'upgrade' to this Ti model. I've held a pair and they are really flexible.

These are a 'must-have' gadget for me. I wouldn't be without a pair. I've even used them for voice navigation when I forgot to pack my Garmin for a stay away from home. There is a brilliant Android app that does the job properly (called Bike Tracker if anyone is interested). It's the only app that does VN properly for cyclist in my experience (and I've tested a lot). Its also free! You can also get voice notifications for starred Strava segments if you record using Strava app. You don't even need to be a Premium member for this.

Now to spend that Amazon voucher I got for Christmas on some of these Ti's!