If you enjoy riding in groups but also like listening to music or podcasts out on the bike, and want a way to do both without being antisocial, the Haylou PurFree BC01 bone conduction headphones are a decent choice. They have a premium feel and are very light, though they're priced towards the upper echelons of the category.
> Buy now: Haylou PurFree BC01 bone conduction headphones for £99.99 from Amazon
If you're not familiar with them, bone conduction headphones deliver music and sound to you through vibrations against the side of your head, as the name suggests. They don't cover your ears, and therefore leave you able to hear your environment (almost) perfectly. This gives a clear safety edge on the bike when compared with conventional headphone options.
The first thing I noticed when trying the Haylous was the decent highs and mids, but with a distinct lack of bass, as noted in other reviews of bone conduction headphones on road.cc, such as the AfterShokz Aeropex.
Once my brain adjusted to the sound profile, though, I began to understand the reason a lot of people enjoy using them in situations like riding a bike. They give a safe way to hear the traffic around you while still being able to enjoy your favourite album or podcast.
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Unfortunately, and in a similar manner to other bone conduction headphones, such as the Mojawa Mojo1s, wind noise can become a real issue.
I found that sometimes over 40km/h, and always over 45km/h, wind noise would overpower the volume of the music I was listening to, to the point where I couldn't hear what was being played. I also found that if it was raining heavily, or I was on a wet road with lots of traffic, I also struggled to hear what was being played.
I don't think this is a specific issue with the Haylous, more with bone conduction in general, but when reaching the top volumes, distortion can occur if a song peaks, and so if Haylou raised the volume limits then the sound would be unlistenable.
The controls on the Haylous are pretty straightforward to use: holding the volume up button, located behind the right ear, turns them on, and then on the left temple there’s a single button that does the media controlling. A single tap on the button is play/pause, a double-tap skips a track, and a triple-tap goes back a song, while pressing and holding activates your voice assistant.
I found the buttons easy to access and didn't run into much trouble finding them, even with thick winter gloves on.
Where the Haylous really shine for me was when riding in groups. I've always struggled to ride a bike without that extra brain stimulation provided by music, so to have an option where I can enjoy some tunes in the background while still catching up with what my mates have been up to on the weekend was very welcome. I was able to have easy conversations, being able to hear people very clearly while the volume was around 75%.
However, in my experience they don't live up to Haylou's claim of 'Full sound details, no sound leakage'. I found the sound leakage quite extreme with these headphones, to the point where others riding near me were able to hear what I was listening to very clearly, even able to identify what song it was I was listening to.
The Haylous are equipped with Bluetooth 5.2 and a Qualcomm QCC3044 chip, which pairs easily to your phone, with no random dropouts during testing and great range, easily reaching over 10m.
They're also better than other headphones I've used for phone calls while on the bike, having a decent microphone that picks up voices well. With some Bluetooth earphones I've had to pull my phone out of my pocket to answer calls in order for the other person to be able to hear me clearly, but with these that hasn't been the case, with the microphone being impressive considering its distance from the mouth.
Battery life & charging
While Haylou claims eight hours of playback, in reality I was getting six hours at the most, on around 75% volume, and only about four hours when on full volume. It's similar to the Naenka Bone Conduction headphones that George criticised for their poor battery life.
With other Bluetooth headphones I've used when riding, I haven't had to think about charging them that often, but here it's quite frustrating, and I regularly ran out battery if I had forgotten to charge them back up after my previous ride.
On the plus side, they charge quickly, giving a claimed two hours of playback after just ten minutes of charging.
One potential issue is that they come with just one charging cable, and it's a very thin and short, proprietary magnetic charger. Should you manage to break the cable, you will have to source a replacement from Haylou itself – and if you need a longer cable then you're out of luck.
The PurFrees weigh in at exactly the 28g stated by Haylou, and being so light means they are very comfortable to wear, even for rides of up to six hours. The band provides slight pressure inwards on your head without causing any discomfort, keeping them in the correct place no matter how much you move your head around, and remaining stable even when hitting potholes.
They arrived for test as the weather began to turn for the winter, meaning higher collars and more layers were being worn, and this did prove somewhat frustrating on occasion, with the Haylous catching on the top of my jacket if it was zipped high but not all the way up.
This is because of the length of the band which wraps around the back of your head. I've got quite a large head and the band sticks quite far out the back of my head, so if you have a small head you might encounter some real frustration in this area.
If you're wearing them with just a jersey in warmer weather this shouldn't be a problem, as the collar wouldn't be anywhere near high enough to clash.
The pair on test have been used through some of the worst rain I've ever ridden in and have performed admirably, with no issues of water ingress, even after two hours in downpours, so I'm inclined to agree with Haylou about their IP67 waterproof nature and wouldn't worry unless I accidentally took up triathlon mid-ride.
At a price of £99.99, they're significantly more expensive than a lot of similar looking products on ebay and the like. But when compared with others at the higher end of the market, such as the Shokz OpenRuns (£129.95) that Anna tested earlier this year, and the OpenRun Pros (£159.95), tested by Steve, and the Mojawas (£119) mentioned earlier, the price of the Haylous seems more reasonable.
In the quality feeling box, Haylou provides a pair of ear plugs for 'planes or trains', to block out the external sound. However, while this might be handy if they're your only set of headphones and you don't have any designed to block out your surroundings, the sound leakage I mentioned earlier means they won't endear you to your fellow passengers.
The Haylou PurFree BC01s do a generally good job, with the battery life and sound leakage not quite living up to the claims. The £99.99 price tag does seem quite steep in comparison to some low-end headphones, though, especially when the real world stats don't seem to live up to the bigger brands' offerings to fully justify it.
If you like listening to music on the bike but want to be able to have conversations, or to hear when a car is behind you on a narrow lane, then bone conduction is a great way to go about that, and the PurFree BC01s are a decent option. They are very comfortable to wear, too, so you won't get any head pain to outdo the pain in your legs.
Comfortable to wear and do an okay job – a decent option when wanting to hear traffic while riding
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Make and model: Haylou PurFree BC01 bone conduction earphones
Tell us what the product is for and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
Open-Ear Comfort : Haylou BC01 bone conduction sound, comfortable sports wearing experience, healthier ear canal（Use bone conduction technology to receive speech, close to the bone, and the sound wave directly transmits to the auditory nerve through the bone）
Safety & Connection : Stay aware and motivated through any workout with our advanced bone conduction technology. Haylou delivers quality audio while leaving your eardrums open to surroundings for ultimate safety.
IP67 Waterproof Rated :Completely sweat and waterproof for workouts, fitness and running.(Not suitable for swimming.)
8 Hours of Music & Clear Calls : Enjoy eight continuous hours of music, calls and podcasts with our Bluetooth headphones. Haylou BC01 also features a 10-minute quick charge for up to 2 hours of battery life. (Magnetic Quick Charge)
High Sound Quality : Bone conduction technology uses vibrations to transmit sound through your cheekbone directly to your inner ear for a premium audio experience.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Claimed battery life: 8 hours (in reality, 4-6 hours)
Chipset: Qualcomm QCC3044
Rate the product for quality of construction:
Well made with a nice feel to them.
Rate the product for performance:
Not bad, but they struggle with wind noise and bass reproduction.
Rate the product for durability:
Early days but looking very good: excellent waterproofing, dealing with the worst of the British winter weather without a hiccup.
Rate the product for weight (if applicable)
Very light, to the point of almost forgetting you're wearing them.
Rate the product for comfort (if applicable)
Very comfy on the head; the only drawback is the possibility of catching the headband on collars.
Rate the product for value:
Not as expensive as Shokz, but performance isn't quite up with those either; cheap bone conduction headphones come in at around £30.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Performance was fine, and they did what they are designed to, although the battery life is on the shorter end of acceptable for longer rides. It was easy to hear the traffic alongside music, so the added safety benefit of that is great, but the lack of bass reproduction is disappointing.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
I enjoyed using these while on long group rides, still being able to easily hold conversations but with some tunes to bop along to at the same time.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
That wind noise can overpower the sound, especially with podcasts. The battery life is also shorter than I would deem as ideal.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
Compared with the big brands such as Shokz, the price is pretty good, but there are a lot of much cheaper options out there.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Potentially
Would you recommend the product to a friend? If they don't like in-ear headphones but want some way of listening to music, then yes.
Use this box to explain your overall score
These are decent headphones that work quite well, letting you hear your surroundings and helping with safety on the roads, but with a reasonably poor battery life and quite a high price, they've lost a few marks.
Age: 22 Height: 174 Weight: 72
I usually ride: Canyon Aeroad My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Semi pro
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, commuting, touring, club rides, fixed/singlespeed, mtb,
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