Complete Helmet Stereo (Headphones and MP3 Player)




I love music and I love my motorcycle.  When you combine the two you get pure awesomeness.  Being able to listen to music on my bike is essential for long or short rides.  Ease of use and accessibility is another requirement.  After using cables that come down my suit and plugged into my iPhone for a while, I came to a couple conclusions.  I wasn't able to change the volume or pause or skip tracks forward/back. 

I did try a rather useless device known as an "iJet".  It utilizes an IR remote and a piece that receives that signal that plugs into the bottom of your iPhone/iPod.  Problem with that device was cables running through my suit and the IR remote didn't work when near metal.  I had it velcro'd to my triple clamp, so if i wanted to skip the song I had to take it off the bike while riding and do so.  This obviously wasn't the best thing to do mid-ride.

As soon as I saw Apple's introduction of the new iPod Shuffle, I knew I could make a nice stereo for my bike, completely confined to the helmet alone.  This system does not need to be removed, except for charging the shuffle, of course.  The headphone are extremely comfortable and confined to the inside of the helmet.  All you see is a small wire exit the bottom of the helmet with little slack and attach to the shuffle, and the sound is amazing.

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Step 1: What You'll Need

Here's what you'll need to complete this project.  I'll list what and why I got these specific items.

1.  Helmet- I have a Shoei RF-1100 ($370).  This helmet is pretty quiet and comes with the vital M2010 Snell rating.  This makes it one of the safest helmets produced to date.  If you don't know your Snell rating take out the liner, it's a sticker on the inside.  I don't know if full-face motorcycle helmets don't come with removable liner, all the helmets I've owned have.  Make sure yours does too.  This is important to hide the wiring from the headphones you'll be installing.

2.  Headphones- I used "Tork XPRO Helmet Speakers" ($79.99).  In my opinion, these are the best and most comfortable headphones available.  They are very thin so they'll fit in the helmet and have perfect dimensions for the ear holes in the helmet.  The sound produced by these little guys is perfect, nothing jaw dropping if you're an audiophile, but more than adequate for the task at hand.  I did notice the sound lets lost around 90mph due to all the wind noise.  Any speed below that and hearing your music is rather easy and sounds great.  They come with an additional attachment to control the volume and extend the cord, I discarded that.

3.  MP3 Player- I used the iPod Shuffle ($49.99).  The Shuffle is 2GB and very small with easy access controls, this made it the obvious choice for this project.  The Voice Over feature is also nice while riding and checking the battery level. 

4.  Velco- ($4.00)  I picked it up at Lowes, I'm sure Home Depot also has this.  Just make sure it's the strong stuff.  It's going to be in a lot of wind.

5.  Scissors- For the velcro cutting.

6.  Double-Sided Tape- Used for positioning the headphones for install.

Step 2: Attach the MP3 Player

The first step in this install is attaching the MP3 to the outside shell of the helmet.

1.  Measure and cut the velcro you're going to use to attach your MP3 Player to your helmet.  I used the fuzzy part on the Shuffle so I can still clip it to my clothes and the device loses none of its usability. 

2.  I placed the Shuffle on the back half of the helmet so it's not directly in the wind.  I've been over 150mph with it on and have had no problem.

3.  I placed the Shuffle upside down because I didn't want the cord wrapping around the top of the device.  In my opinion, the less cord showing, the better.

Step 3: Attach the Headphones

The second step in this install is installing the helmet speakers.  If you're going with the Tork speakers I recommended this will help a lot.

1.  Take out the liner, or as much as you can.  This will make the headphones easy to position and hide the wiring under the liner when re-installed. 

2.  Install the headphones and hide the wires under the liner.  DO NOT PERMANENTLY ATTACH THE HEADPHONES YET.  Leave the headphones dangling and move to the next step.  Leave enough slack on the headphone cord to attach to the MP3 player and re-install the liner.

3.  Use double sided tape to momentarily attach the headphones on the helmet where your ears will reside.  You will do a lot of repositioning and testing until you find the sweet spot where the music sounds the loudest and isn't uneven from ear to ear.

4.  Once you find the correct position for both headphones, attach them with velcro to the helmet.

Step 4: Finished!!

Now you're finished and can listen to music with ease.  ENJOY!!

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    21 Discussions


    1 year ago

    Apparently, it is illegal in most States, in Europe and around the world, to listen to music inside your helmet, but not illegal for those of the 4 wheels and over variety.
    Always the same, one rule for them and one rule for us Bikers!
    Good Luck Copper, hearing our tunes and a finger to the rest!


    3 years ago

    Used an old pair of sony headphones to build it works well only thing it needs is more foam padding to stop it chafing


    3 years ago

    cool stuff. Thanks for sharing this post now I have an idea for installing headphones in my motorcycle helmet


    5 years ago on Introduction

    why not get a sena? its bluetooth, you can skip pause volume controll songs calls etc on your helmet and its relatively cheap! well compared to the bike i mean (inner laugh) i have my sena and i love it. crisp clean and clearly audible. no but seriously.... they are cheap especially the sena SMH5 versions.... next stop? HUD helmets with GPS and all lol im already planning on getting a skully HUD helmet


    5 years ago

    Why if you bought some Bluetooth helmet speakers? Then just made a little spot (professional looking) on your body molding of your bike for a iPhone or iPod touch, then ran one of those cords with the pause and play buttons on it, up and to one of the handles? It's more complicated, and would take much more time, but it would be easy access..


    8 years ago on Introduction

    Just a heads up. In most states it is illegal to ride a bike/ motorcycle, or even drive a car with head phones on.... and even with a bluetooth headset talking on the phone takes away from your concentration.

    4 replies

    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    It is not illegal to drive a car with the stereo on, just with speakers that block AMBIENT NOISE.
    The speakers are in the helmet, not in the ear canal. I have been riding like this for years, you will still hear cars creeping up, emergency vehicles, and wind noise at higher velocity.
    Some riders wear earplugs to protect themselves from damage caused by the constant engine noise, haven't met any yet cited for it.


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    I'm with you ArticNemo. As long as you don't block the ear canal, you can listen to you're environment just fine. I've also been riding like this for years.

    Of course it's not illegal, otherwise systems like the scala cardo and chatterbox would be illegal as well.


    7 years ago on Introduction

    i just finished, used this for my helmet for riding my moped. i just used some old ipod earbuds and cut the plastic off and velcrod them in


    8 years ago on Introduction

    Great instructable. But first time i saw this picture i thought about the rain. It would be great to put shufle somhow into the helmet


    8 years ago on Introduction

    If you value your skin and bike, don't listen to anything but your surrounding environment. Not paying complete attention on a bike could get you DOA. There are too many kids in the hospitals now from not paying attention. People in big nasty monstrous SUV's are out there to get you! I know ! I have seen the stats and have been riding for 47 years. Heed my words . Age and wisdom go hand and hand.


    wouldn't of be better cut out a piece of the helmet (with a dremal) the size of the shuffle put a piece of velcro in the helmet spot you cut out and on the back of the shuffle , then have the headphone wire feed in to the jack though the in side of the helmet (then it may not start cutting out do to the wind at 90+ mph.
    Plus you could put glad press n' seal wrap over it when the conditions are moist or wet.

    message me if the wanted more detail

    2 replies

    NEVER cut the helmet in any way that would compromise it's structural integrity. Not a lot of people will be going 90+, and if they do it won't be for long do to speed laws.

    it could improve the Audio aspect slightly , But if you were to do thatyou would lose some of the 'structural intregrity ' of the helmet which would be quite dangerous i'd imagine .


    8 years ago on Introduction

    Scala and the likes to a bluetooth intercomm system that also apparently connects seamlessly to an iphone and other blue tooth compatible phones. Volume control is easy, i guess the only thing it lacks is song skip. Might pay to have a look at it as an option. Better that rain frying your ipod nano.