Cat-Ears Wind Noise Reduction

Perhaps I'm particularly sensitive to noise, but I find that wind noise when traveling over 20Mph on a bike very distracting, and mildly stressful when sustained for the duration of my commute. I think these noise levels may even be detrimental to my hearing, since I'm on the bike over 6 hours a week. So, I've been using these things for several months now, and they really work! They make my ride much more enjoyable, and also increase my awareness of what's going on with my bike and nearby traffic. I can actually hear conversations as I pass folks on the trail. And now that temperatures are dipping, they keep my ears a bit warmer. They do look a little funky (the manufacturer refers to the black ones as 'Elvis Black') but I'm waaaay past caring what I look like on a bike. Safety and comfort are much higher priorities for me.

If you give these a try, here's a tip: Keep your helmet straps as tight as you comfortably can. Just a little bit of slack significantly reduces their effectiveness.
 

pocomo

Active Member
Awesome, thanks for the suggestion. I have to admit I go helmetless a lot of the time mainly due to the wind noise caused by the straps. I ordered an 'Elvis Black' pair of these just now and hope I get a chance to try them out before the New England winter sets in for good!

Thanks!
 

pocomo

Active Member
Heh. Or, you could just set a personal low-temp cutoff for bike commuting, which for me is a relatively wimpy 40 degrees F. There's always next year (until there sn't).
 

MLB

Well-Known Member
Something wrong with good old foam earplugs? I love the peaceful quiet they give while blocking the wind noise. Yet you can hear speaking just fine.
 
Something wrong with good old foam earplugs?
Yes. Not great for a daily commute routine, since you have to keep buying them (disposable) or cleaning (reusable), put them in, take them out, stow them if you plan to re-use. I personally don't like the feel of stuff stuck into my ear canals (e.g., not a big fan of ear bud headphones). Also, reduced hearing acuity, since plugs reduce all sound. I want to hear it all, minus the wind noise.
 

Nirmala

Active Member
The good thing about the Cat-Ears is that you can still hear everything else besides the wind, and in fact more easily since the wind is not drowning out other sounds. I would never want to ride with earplugs of any sort since one of the main ways I become aware of cars is through my ears.
 

pocomo

Active Member
I agree with @Pastabatman; I'm looking to be able to hear as well with my helmet as I can without it. It's important to me to hear traffic approaching from behind and just to be able to enjoy the riding environment on the more quiet areas without constant wind noise.

Unfortunately it's looking like I'll be putting my bike away for the winter before I get a chance to try these out. Gives me something else to look forward to in the spring.
 

MLB

Well-Known Member
Yes. Not great for a daily commute routine, since you have to keep buying them (disposable) or cleaning (reusable), put them in, take them out, stow them if you plan to re-use. I personally don't like the feel of stuff stuck into my ear canals (e.g., not a big fan of ear bud headphones). Also, reduced hearing acuity, since plugs reduce all sound. I want to hear it all, minus the wind noise.

No, they certainly dont reduce all sound. You must not have tried them. You can hear the stuff you need to hear, it just takes the loud stuff and annoying background noise out. And of course there are different db levels of reduction to suit individuals hearing.
I use the same 2 or 3 pair all summer. Buy a box of several hundred for a few bucks.
Once you get used to them, you use them for ALL kinds of even semi-noisy things. Liking mowing the lawn. ;)
 

MLB

Well-Known Member
The good thing about the Cat-Ears is that you can still hear everything else besides the wind, and in fact more easily since the wind is not drowning out other sounds. I would never want to ride with earplugs of any sort since one of the main ways I become aware of cars is through my ears.

Sorry, but that's just silly. TRY THEM!!!! ;)
Just put them in and have a conversation with someone.
Then go "oh, you really can hear just fine".
 

pocomo

Active Member
I know it's been a couple of weeks but because there have been bouts of warmer weather lately I tried out a pair of the black 'Elvis' style Cat-Ears on several rides. They really do work well, just about as well as riding without a helmet. My spouse (a helmet absolutist) will be very pleased that I found a reasonable compromise.

Recommended!
 

Nirmala

Active Member
Sorry, but that's just silly. TRY THEM!!!! ;)
Just put them in and have a conversation with someone.
Then go "oh, you really can hear just fine".
I have used a lot of earplugs, and good ones block a lot of sound, and the really good ones even block out voices. It is true that less effective earplugs might allow me to hear approaching cars, but still with less acuity. I would not want anything reducing the decibel level of the sound of other traffic, even a little bit.

The Cat-Ears do not affect the sound level of a car approaching from behind me at all.
 
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MLB

Well-Known Member
I have used a lot of earplugs, and good ones block a lot of sound. It is true that less effective earplugs might allow me to hear approaching cars, but still with less acuity. I would not want anything reducing the decibel level of the sound of other traffic, even a little bit.

The Cat-Ears do not affect the sound level of a car approaching from behind me at all.

Plain silly, but whatever.
 

pocomo

Active Member
Wind Blox do look essentially identical to the Cat Ears product, and so are likely just as effective. I was out for a ride on 12/26 (not usually in the cards in New England) and I really appreciated how effective these things are. I wasn't tempted to ride helmetless to enjoy the last ride of the year, whereas a couple of months ago I rarely wore my helmet if I could get away with it (without being spotted by spouse/kids).

Looking forward to spring!
 

Reddy Kilowatt

Well-Known Member
I hadn't heard of the Cat-Ears, but like FitzChivalry, I've been rocking a pair of Wind-Blox for a year or so, and they work really nicely. They don't attenuate the sound of cars and trucks approaching from behind but they tame the wind noise nicely, when you go above 16 mph or so.
Allen