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.
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!!