Ahead of the 2019 season, we asked Chrissy Rouse what kind of hearing protection he would prefer to use when he's racing around tracks at high speed with that gorgeous exhaust sound? He very kindly tested 4 different sets for us and let us know his thoughts!
So without further ado, it's over to Chrissy Rouse!
Ladies and gentlemen, Chrissy Rouse!
The 2019 season is fast approaching, and I’m in need of some new ear protection for my Superstock campaign on the brand new ZX10-RR. I am looking for the best ear protection I can get, which is comfortable, reliable and relatively cheap.
The guys at MSG Bike Gear have kindly sent me four different types of earplugs from their range which they sell at their shop in Stockton-on-Tees for me to try and test. I have written down my feedback here for anyone who is having a similar conundrum when it comes to choosing what to go for. Is it really the case you get what you pay for? or is it a false economy and the cheap and cheerful option is the one to go for? Whilst pre-season testing for the 2019 season, I have tried and tested the four different types and here is what I think of them respectively:
Type 1: Oxford Soundmax SNR 39 Ear Plugs
Here we have a standard pair of yellow spongey earplugs. They are very cheap at just £9.99 for 25 pairs (around 39p a pair!), and they are about as basic as it comes. I found them relatively comfortable, however, the outer ring which you push in seems to be a harder material and was a small discomfort when the helmet is on. The noise protection was very average and I didn’t find them particularly secure when in the ear. They come in a throwaway plastic wrapping which you would dispose of once opened, and you are not provided anywhere to store them, hence easy to lose.
Type 2: Moldex Spark Earplugs
Stepping a bit more upmarket, here we have the Moldex foam earplugs. Quite a similar material to type 1, however, they are aesthetically better with some nice colours running through them. You can purchase 200 pairs for just £45.99 meaning each pair costs around 23p and every two pairs come in a neat little plastic box where they can be stored in between sessions. I was very happy with the noise protection of these plugs and once placed in the ears and allowing around 10 seconds for the foam to expand, they were very comfortable.
Type 3: Pinlock Premium Earplugs
Here we have the Pinlock earplugs which retail at £19.99. They come in a beautiful light weight case and are clearly a more expensive product than the first two I tried. There are a pair of Medium and a pair of Large earplugs in the case along with the instructions. The plugs are very small and I didn’t find them very effective in terms of reducing the noise on the bike. I did a few sessions with both the medium and the large and with both sizes I was very disappointed with the noise reduction.
Type 4: Alpine MotoSafe Pro Earplugs
Here we have Alpine MotoSafe Pro earplugs, the most expensive of the four types I have tried costing £22.45 for one pair. They come with a nice little zipped case for storing them in and a tool for pushing the plugs into the ears. Design and size wise they are very similar to the Pinlock plugs however the tool which helps locate the plugs does mean that they feel more secure when pushed in. The noise reduction of the plugs I felt was similar to the Pinlock plugs, arguably slightly better, but far less effective than the foam options.
And the verdict is...
To conclude, my favourite of the options was Type 2: the Moldex foam earplugs. I thought they were by far the most effective at cancelling background noise whilst riding my bike, they are cheap and come in a nice case which they can be safely stored whilst racing.