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Music on the move: Aleck launches near-ear audio aimed specifically at cyclists

Aleck’s new Punks device is “the first true wireless, near-ear audio and communication system for cyclists”

Tech company Aleck has launched Punks, a wireless system that allows cyclists to listen to audio and communicate with other riders. Punks are near-ear devices, the idea being that they don’t block other sounds, such as traffic.

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“The Punks securely attach to helmet straps and deliver crystal clear sound and unlimited-range group communication so mountain bikers, gravel grinders, and road cyclists alike can pump music and talk to each other while keeping ears uncovered to maintain situational awareness,” says Aleck.

Punks also offer a Party Mode that allows communication between users over an unlimited range via Aleck’s smartphone app.

“Punks do not interfere with riding or vision and provide focused, high-quality sound without noise pollution,” says Aleck. “The Punks can be used in any outdoor condition thanks to expertly tuned, near-ear drivers and dual wind-blocking mics that ensure clear communication regardless of the weather.

“Aleck’s free app (available on iOS and Android) drives the Punks’ features, including easy [hands-free] group communication through open-channel Party Mode with unlimited participants, walkie-talkie style Push-To-Talk, and the Friend Finder real-time location of group members, for finding a buddy when they blow past the turn.”

This Friend Finder feature shows you the location of other users on a map. All of these features can be turned off if they’re not useful to you.

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We’ve reviewed various devices on over the years that are designed to provide audio without stopping other sounds from reaching your ears, such as the Haylou PurFree BC01 bone conduction earphones and the Oladance Open Ear Headphones

“We all know that situational awareness is key to a safe ride,” says Aleck. “Hear the urban traffic around you, or just hear your tyres on the trail, ensuring you’re always connected to your surroundings.”

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Aleck Punks essentially comprise two slim wireless speakers that double as a group communication system. Each measures 5.5 x 2.7 x 1cm and weighs a claimed 16g. Aleck says that it measured over 100 of the most popular bike helmets and that Punks will fit the straps of almost any open-face design out there. 

They have an IP65 rating which means they’re dust-tight and can withstand jets of water – so they should keep rain and sweat out. Recharging is via USB-C. Aleck says a 10-minute charge gives you an hour’s play. It takes an hour to recharge the Punks fully.

What about wind noise?

Aleck says, “Our engineers developed three layers of wind noise reduction: mechanical [the mic has three mechanical barriers], secondary mic environmental noise cancellation, and the crucial final layer, a cloud-based noise reduction algorithm.”

Aleck isn’t new to the audio market having introduced its 006 snow helmet speakers three years ago. 

The Aleck Punks have already smashed their £24,000 Kickstarter funding target. At the time of writing, they’ve received over £81,000 in pledges with 24 days to go.

To be in line to receive a set of Punks, you need to pledge at least US$99, which is about £79. Delivery is scheduled for July 2023.

As we always point out, pledging money through a crowdfunding site is not the same as buying a product from a retailer

We’re interested to know whether you listen to audio – music, podcasts, whatever – when you’re riding, and whether you think it’s safe and advisable, particularly on the road.

Check out the Aleck Punks Kickstarter project here or head over to Aleck’s website.

Mat has been in cycling media since 1996, on titles including BikeRadar, Total Bike, Total Mountain Bike, What Mountain Bike and Mountain Biking UK, and he has been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. Mat has been technical editor for over a decade, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer. Now over 50, he's riding road and gravel bikes most days for fun and fitness rather than training for competitions.

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