It can be tempting to pop an ear bud in and listen to your favorite playlist or podcast while riding your bike. It’s a great time to be contemplative, learn a bit and make the time you spend pedaling your bike beneficial for your brain as well as your body. But what many new cyclists don’t realize is that filling your ears with listening devices can actually be quite dangerous. It impairs your ability to hear what’s happening around you. That could be a honk, a shout, or the “on your left” warning from another cyclist. But, that doesn’t mean you can’t listen to music.
Rather, if you want to listen to music while you ride, you should use an external speaker. That way, you can hear your music or podcast, but it doesn’t drown out the sounds of the world around you. The Tribit StormBox Micro is easy to use, sounds great and attaches to your bike, any bike, in just a moment.
The greatest challenge for an on-bike speaker is attachment. It needs to be quick and easy, so that it stays convenient, while also holding up to the rigors of a commute or even rougher ride. The StormBox attaches with a simple rubber strap that lives underneath the speaker. Just wrap it around your bars and then attach the built in plastic hook on the far side of the speaker. It takes only a moment to put on or take off. It is so easy, in fact, that early on I worried about the strength of this connection. But, over the course of a 15 mile gravel ride with plenty of bumps, potholes and speeds over 30 mph, the StormBox showed no signs of popping off and tumbling down the road. It gave me great confidence that I could ride as hard I wanted without losing my tunes.
I did have a small issue in that since the strap only loops around the bars, the speaker does have a tendency to spin underneath the bars, blasting sound to the asphalt during rougher stretches of riding. But readjusting it back to where it belongs is easy, and in the vast majority of riding it didn’t budge at all.
The speaker’s size, only a touch larger than a stack of American cheese slices, makes it unobtrusive. And yet, the speaker packs a lot of aural power, and features into the small package. The speaker charges with USB-C and has enough power to last up to eight hours, plenty for your to and from work rides. Large, easy to operate buttons make increasing the volume or skipping the song a breeze, even when your hands are gloved.
The speaker is also impressively smart, allowing you to connect multiple devices, even at the same time, so you can share DJ duties. It can also link with other StormBox Micros to work in conjunction to play across multiple speakers, or in stereo. Though you’ll probably use it primarily for your ride, it’s plenty useful when you arrive at whatever get together you’re riding towards.
Most impressively though, the Tribit is IP67 waterproof. That means it can handle being submerged in up to a meter of water for up to half an hour. It will be plenty fine if that cloudy sky turns into a torrential downpour on the ride home.
For those concerned with audio quietly, even at commuter speeds, the StormBox micro has an impressive sound range with bass and range that far outpaces the small size of the speaker.
The StormBox Mini has features we love, and the ease of use that makes finding your favorite jam easy, even at 22 mph. Though small, its positive effect on your ride is anything but.
$50; 2 colors; tribitaudio.com