Stuff Fatty Loves: Sennheiser Wireless Headphones

02.3.2011 | 8:52 am

A Note from Fatty: Today’s post is another in the ongoing series of “Short posts during an intense workweek.”

I’m probably the first person to alert you to this fact — and believe me, I take my responsibility of being the first to share important news items very, very seriously — but it’s a darned cold winter. Right now, for example, it’s 6 degrees (fahrenheit), but tells me it feels like -7. And who am I to argue with

What does this mean? It means that, in order to avoid completely losing my mind due to inactivity, I’m riding the rollers. A lot.

And so is The Runner (except she rides a trainer, not rollers). A lot.

And we watch a lot of movies and television to distract us from the fact that we are riding our bikes in our bedroom and not going anywhere.

Here’s the problem, though: when you’ve got a set of rollers going, the noise is so loud you can’t hear what’s going on on the TV. Add a trainer to the mix and you may as well be watching a silent movie for all the dialogue you can hear.

201102030726.jpgWhy I Love My Sennheiser RS 140 Wireless Headphones

For years, I got around the “I can’t hear anything” by wearing corded headphones. This was a terrifying solution, mostly because I have an excellent imagination and could easily imagine myself getting the cord wrapped caught in the wheel, wrapping it — in the space of 0.001 second — around the front axle about forty times, which would then suck me into aforementioned wheel and grind off my nose.

All while making a fearful racket.

So I tried a few different kinds of wireless headphones. Never with great results. Until, in autumn 2009, I bought the Sennheiser RS 140 headphones (which have subsequently been replaced with this newer model).

(Full Disclosure: I bought these headphones on I got no special deal on these headphones.)

They were kind of expensive, but they’ve turned out to be worth it for the following reasons:

  • No-brainer charging. The “rack” you sit the headphones on when you’re not using them charges the headphones, so I’ve never gone to use them and found the battery dead.
  • They sound great. There’s no lag at all, and very little buzziness. Note that there is some buzziness, and these would not be great headphones for listening to hi-fi music. But considering the background noise I’m generating, the slight buzz from the headphones is no problem at all.
  • They’re adjustable. There are controls on the headset to adjust the volume and the L/R balance.
  • You can have multiple headsets going at once. For Christmas, I bought The Runner a second headphone set — but not another transmitter. So now we can both put on headsets when we ride nowhere at the same time.
  • They keep working. I’ve had a lot of sets of headphones over the years, and it seems that they never last long. These ones have been going strong since Autumn 2009. And they don’t even smell bad! OK, I lied, they smell pretty bad, actually.

What I Don’t Love

Really, there’s only one thing I don’t like about my wireless headphones. And that’s the fact that from time to time I remember that I look like this:


Which, you know, kind of makes me think I look like this guy:


But I guess I can live with looking like Lobot’s nerdier, less-high-tech brother when I’m on the rollers. It’s a small price to pay for being able to make biking nowhere for yet another cold, miserable day just a little less unbearable.


  1. Comment by Mike | 02.3.2011 | 10:13 am

    How do you manage to not drown them in sweat? Even an easy-ish trainer ride with fans blasting has me dripping sweat, I couldn’t imagine having big closed headphones on too.

  2. Comment by Buffalo Bill | 02.3.2011 | 10:20 am

    I’m a big fan of Sennheiser and bought those same headphones, but that buzz was a problem for me. I exchanged them for an equivalent set of Sony’s that have the same features, better sound, and were about $25 cheaper.

  3. Comment by Badbeard | 02.3.2011 | 10:37 am

    Stanley Tucci + Star Wars = Awesome

  4. Comment by Ken Campbell | 02.3.2011 | 11:13 am

    I don’t mind wires, so I go with a set of Etymotic Research in-ear headphones. I use a tiny FM radio and a FM transmitter to connect to my TV or CD player if I’m not using my iPod. The ER headphones block out external sound (even the noise on NYC subways), they stay in place even with lots of jostling, and they sound as good as any audiophile could wish. Models are available at price points to fit any budget.

  5. Comment by Mark | 02.3.2011 | 11:14 am

    Oh yeah! I haven’t gone wireless, but have gone with noise cancelling headphones. I also set up the english subtitles on DVD movies to compensate for my poor hearing, background noise, and mumbled dialog. Who cares how nerdy, as long as it keeps you rollin’ along!

  6. Comment by Brian V. | 02.3.2011 | 11:52 am

    Hey Fatty,

    Check these out. iSkin’s Cerulean bluetooth headphones. I got a pair for Christmas. Very impressed with them, and you won’t look so much like a sci-fi character from the past.

    They work well for workouts. No slipping. Sound is good. Works with an iPhone or an iPad or a laptop (with bluetooth). Sweat has not been an issue yet. And if you’ve got them paired to the iPhone, you can take calls while on the trainer, although the heavy breathing usually means whoever called me will immediately hang up, call back, and then figure out I’m on the bike.

  7. Comment by GenghisKhan | 02.3.2011 | 11:54 am

    Domo arigato, Mr. Loboto, for that fine review…

  8. Comment by katie | 02.3.2011 | 11:54 am

    teehee! i think you look great. i’m still doing the turn-the-volume-up-all-the-way-and-sit-2-inches-from-the-computer while on the trainer because i’m also scared of getting sucked into my wheel.

  9. Comment by Ray | 02.3.2011 | 12:08 pm

    Believe it or not yours is the first website or blog I am responding to. Pretty bad for a 51 yr old but this is life. I am a biker (was been) who is trying to get back in and I saw your website listed and the Fat in the title pulled me in. I don’t have much to offer on headphones but my wife works out hard and she uses what Ken has and loves them.

    I have a question…. what makes you call your website “fat”? I have a lot to lose before I can walk into a bike shop. I tried walking into one the other day and was told with an up and down look that they did not carry “um, mans sizes”. Wow, I cringed and walked out but I got the point. Lose weight quick!

  10. Comment by Kathleen@ForgingAhead | 02.3.2011 | 1:09 pm

    Headphones are wonderful creations! I use a pair of Bose noise canceling ones to make plane travel more tolerable. Notice I say more tolerable, not enjoyable.

    Thanks for the tip on these!

  11. Comment by Sam | 02.3.2011 | 1:11 pm

    Haha love the picture. Not very euro. I’m rehabbing for 6-8 weeks after a car hit me Tuesday during a ride. Thanks so much for the entertainment, it’ll keep me busy while I mourn my busted bike (and knee).

  12. Comment by Skippy | 02.3.2011 | 1:20 pm

    With several hours of jumping around on skipping rope, rowing machine & taxc trainer have found that high volume on the TV does the trick.

    Larry King Live was always a fav as it repeats occasionally but something really serious is an excuse for slow tempo.

    Karen’s Ride on Sat 5th feb those near melbourne, Lung Cancer is indiscriminate ,15% chance of surviving 5years after suffering others smoking habit is not my kind of life !

  13. Comment by Kevin | 02.3.2011 | 2:30 pm

    Just curious, what rollers are you using? I use Kreitler Challengers with 2 flywheels hooked to the back drum & it’s whisper quiet.

  14. Comment by Richard | 02.3.2011 | 2:53 pm

    “These ones….” I think you are regressing… are now a teenager!

  15. Comment by Steve in NC | 02.3.2011 | 3:02 pm

    So, you’re spinning those rollers at what, 4000 RPMs? No wonder you can’t hear anything. Slow down and live!

  16. Comment by Paulscarlett | 02.3.2011 | 3:22 pm

    Hey Fatty – turn the base station so that it faces you head on, I found that kills the buzz. Enjoy

  17. Comment by Anonymous | 02.3.2011 | 5:07 pm

    I need some small wireless headphones I tend to fall asleep wearing headphones and they tend to get wrapped around my neck.

  18. Comment by | 02.3.2011 | 6:13 pm

    The headphone is just so cool. I am really gonna get one

  19. Comment by davidh-marin,ca | 02.3.2011 | 6:44 pm

    I sympathize with all of Fatty’s Friends wishing for Spring and the open road. Be careful what you wish for… Davis in July is coming… you will be fondly wishing for something closer to February, than what we will have in July. Roll on Fatty’s. As for today in Northern California.. morning frost that gave way to sunny high 50’s. Left the arm warmers behind for the ride.

  20. Comment by stuckinmypedals | 02.3.2011 | 8:50 pm

    I’m even further North and I’m loving this spring weather. Kinda feels a little unfair to the ones getting hammered with snow, doesn’t it?

  21. Comment by Lonster | 02.3.2011 | 9:24 pm

    I miss my old double fan wind trainer. In the old college days my downstairs neighbors thought that someone in our apartment was vacuuming for hours on end. My new Kinetics trainer is so much quieter I can ride it in the front room without annoying the family.

  22. Comment by BamaJim | 02.3.2011 | 9:38 pm

    I have some wired sennheisers I use sometimes with my old school fan b

  23. Comment by BamaJim | 02.3.2011 | 9:40 pm

    (oops , partial comment above)

    I have some wired sennheisers I use sometimes with my old school fan based trainer. They work better than anything else I’ve tried, though they do get hot.

  24. Comment by davidh-marin,ca | 02.3.2011 | 10:00 pm

    On further reflection this post seems a tribute to Fatty’s heros

  25. Comment by Paul Guyot | 02.4.2011 | 12:46 am

    When are we gonna see the helmet cam?

  26. Comment by Weean | 02.4.2011 | 2:23 am

    You don’t look like that guy, you look like this guy:

  27. Comment by Jenn | 02.4.2011 | 2:40 am

    You look more DJ Jazzy Elden than Dr. Spock to me. Though, hmmm…on second glance, I can see a little bit of Princess Leia there, I’m sorry to tell you. :o)

  28. Comment by Stephen | 02.4.2011 | 7:31 am

    For $200 you could have bought a pair of studded tires and snow goggles.

  29. Comment by Lin | 02.4.2011 | 9:30 am

    Huh. And here all I thought I needed was to turn on the closed captioning. For free.

  30. Comment by Demonic1 | 02.4.2011 | 10:18 am

    I went the cheap way and turned on the TV subtitles instead of sweating into headphones.

  31. Comment by Sam | 02.4.2011 | 12:04 pm

    Personally, I’d like to see you get your nose grinded off in your front wheel with the cord. If you could have that recorded on the bike helmet camera, that would make the top 10 list on youtube for sure. :-) Enjoyed your humor.

  32. Comment by Matt | 02.9.2011 | 11:00 pm

    Yeah….those comparison shots are pretty darned funny! Fatty Lobot!

  33. Comment by Wireless Headphones UK | 04.26.2011 | 3:26 am

    Fantastic post, I prefer wireless headphones myself.

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