shokz openmove review

Picking Up Good Vibrations

Shokz Openmove – Review

Music and mountain biking go together like cheese and wine, peanut butter and jam, or a cold beer and something fried and crispy. If that’s so, then why is riding with music a contentious topic?

Nobody wants to be that person who doesn’t move over on a single-track trail because they are blissfully unaware of the traffic jam of riders trying to get past. Or the one receiving death stares because of the (usually crap) music blaring from a portable speaker. One of the main reasons we ride is to be immersed in the forest and the mountains and enjoy the sounds of our bike and nature all around us, not having to deal with other people’s crap music or poor trail etiquette.

So what to do if you enjoy listening to music whilst riding but don’t want to be on the receiving end of disapproving looks, overly forceful frowning, or a barrage of tutting. I mean you can only put up with so many tuts in a day, right?

So what to do you may ask? Don’t ride with music? Or choose a listening device that allows a balance of volume and ambient sounds. BINGO! Enter the Shokz OpenMove bone-conducting headphones. No, it’s no snake oil voodoo trickery, this technology works incredibly well and has been around for quite some time.

Photo credit: ©Sam Clarke

How Does It Work?

Normal sound waves are tiny vibrations that travel through the air into our eardrums which in turn vibrate, decoding these sound waves into different types of vibrations that are received by the Cochlea, also known as the inner ear. The Cochlea is connected to our auditory nerve, which transmits the sounds to our brain.

In bone conduction listening, the bone conduction devices (such as the Shokz OpenMove device) perform the role of your eardrums and decode sound waves and convert them into vibrations that can be received directly by the Cochlea. The eardrum is completely bypassed and is never involved. The “sound” reach the ears as vibrations through the bones (or skull) and skin. Pretty clever, eh?

Photo credit: ©Sam Clarke

The Shoks OpenMove bone conducting headphone.

Photo credit: ©Sam Clarke

This is Shoks 7th generation Bone Conduction technology.

Photo credit: ©Sam Clarke

Features

The Shokz OpenMove design doesn’t cover your ears completely, it leaves them open for total awareness of your surroundings. The headphones fit securely to your head via a titanium band, unlike other devices that can move or fall out during use, and at only 29g they are very comfortable to wear for longer periods of time.

Photo credit: ©Sam Clarke

The Openmove are water resistant rated to IP55 which means you can use them in rain, snow, and dusty weather conditions.

Photo credit: ©Sam Clarke

Connecting to the Openmove is straightforward with a reliable Bluetooth 5.1 connectivity up to 33 ft (10m), and battery life is ample with a single charge providing 6 hours of music and calls.

Photo credit: ©Sam Clarke

The Shoks Openmove is powered by patented 7th generation bone conduction and PremiumPitch 2.0™ Stereo Sound with dual noise-canceling mics to enhance your music and provide clearer audio calls. There are two EG settings, Human Voice and Standard mode.

Feature List

  • Battery life: 6 Hours on a single charge.
  • Audio quality: PremiumPitch™ 2.0 Stereo SoundA premium audio experience every time.
  • 2 EQ Settings. Human voice mode and standard mode for customizable listening.
  • IP55 Water-resistant rated
  • Open-Ear Design
  • Titanium headband
  • Controls: Volume, skip, take call/hang up
  • Weight: 29g

What’s in The Box:

  • OpenMove Headphones 
  • Carrying Bag 
  • USB-C Charging Cable

On The Trails

It’s fair to say that these are a unique product, with the main advantage being able to hear your surroundings as well as the music. This really takes some getting used to. It Is, initially, unbelievable that people next to you can’t hear your music blaring.

We ended up using the Shokz Openmove a lot over the test period. They were used while doing boring domestic jobs, tinkering in the shed, out on the road & mountain bikes. 

The most obvious advantage of this is having some situational awareness- whether it’s from your partner yelling from the other room while you are listening to a podcast whilst washing up or tempting fate out on the road bike. The ability to hear both your music and your surroundings certainly has its advantages- and maybe some disadvantages.

We found being able to hear what was going around you without any real compromise to music to be great. Out on the road bike, it felt a lot more sensible than my usual in-ear choice. The volume struggled with wind noise a tad when the speeds got up but were still adequate. Once below about 25kph the sound quality and volume were great. This was rarely an issue on the MTB. 

Photo credit: ©Sam Clarke

On the MTB it prevented being totally oblivious to the frustrated rider yelling ‘RIDER’ in the single track- something we have struggled with in the past. 

In terms of headphone placement, we found that there was definitely a sweet spot. The instructions seem to suggest that trial and error is the best method, and we would agree. Once you know where they sound best, you know.

It must be noted that the headphones can move around during exercise, which is something that you can hear. We found ourselves occasionally adjusting them while out on the bike. A bit less set and forget than a conventional in-ear bud style.

The helmet strap placement also influenced the sound. If the straps were tight over the headphones it felt like it was reducing the contact of the ‘bone conductor’ leading to poor sound. After working this out we mounted them over the helmet straps and didn’t have any issues. By the way, these won’t work with a full face helmet.

The sound quality was very good, with great tones throughout the range. On very bass-heavy tracks played at high volume, we did experience a bit of a tickling sensation. We listened to a variety of music styles, from metal to drum and bass, and also some podcasts. They all worked well.

It must be said that these won’t compete with the latest pair of high-end in-ear buds for sound quality, but they aren’t supposed to. These have great sound quality while letting you hear what’s going on around you. 

Conclusions

If you enjoy riding and listening to music but don’t want to be that douchebag that holds everyone up or offends all living creatures within a 100-metre radius, then take a look at the Shokz OpenMove bone-conducting Bluetooth headphones.

A lightweight headphone that loves the outdoors, rain, hail, or shine and offers a good level of personal and ambient audio levels, allowing you to ride whilst still being able to hear what’s going on around you, reducing those death stares and overly loud tutting.

Price / Where To Buy

  • Shokz Openmove Headphones: Range from $103 – $140 depending on the store.
  • Find your nearest Shokz retailer using the Store Locator button on the Shokz distributor, FE Sports’ website here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.