Last updated: 8 November 2022
I’ve got a bit of a bee in my bonnet about protecting my ears when riding.
For quite a few years, I didn’t even contemplate earplugs. Then for a few years after that, I considered them – and intended to wear them – but never seemed to get around to it.
Recently though, I made a conscious effort to wear plugs every time I got on my bike.
So at the start of this year, I bought a set of earplugs by Pinlock. And these promised to block out unwanted noises (like wind and engine noise) whilst letting good noises (like sirens and voices) seep through.
Do You Need Earplugs On A Motorcycle?
In a word, yes.
As a rider, you’ll know how loud your engine can be when you open the throttle. And if you’ve slapped on a sexy after-market can, you can add a few more decibels into the mix.
Then there’s the wind noise.
And then there are environmental noises to take into consideration, too. These could include traffic noise, sirens, and whatever else comes your way.
The worst thing is that you don’t need to expose your ears to these high noise levels for too long for damage to occur.
And to rub salt into the wound, this damage is irreparable.
Science can fix a lot of things. But unfortunately, it can’t yet bring back your hearing. So as a rider, the protection of your hearing should be right up there with helmets, gloves, and boots.
So, Why Did I Go For Pinlock Earplugs?
One of the reasons I chose Pinlock earplugs was because they are filtered. I’ve previously tried squidgy earplugs and found they block out too much noise.
Secondly, I found that the squidgy ones wouldn’t always stay in. And even when they did, they would often wriggle free whilst I was riding, and I’d end up with one quiet ear and one loud one!
The Pinlock earplugs seem to mitigate both of these issues.
How Do Pinlock Earplugs Work?
First of all, they are filtered. And through some clever technology, they filter out particular frequencies whilst allowing others to pass through.
In other words, they quiet down the noises that will harm you whilst allowing voice frequencies to pass through. This means you can protect your ears while still hearing your intercom or sat nav.
According to Pinlock, these earplugs reduce wind noise by a CE-certified 24dB. And that’s a decent amount of protection.
If you’re a touring rider, this can make a hefty difference over a day, where you might cover upwards of 200 miles.
How Much Do Pinlock Earplugs Cost?
I purchased mine online for around £17. Considering the squidgy ones are often handed out for free, £17 sounds quite expensive.
But when you look on the other side of the spectrum and see that custom-made earplugs can cost anywhere between £150 and £300, then £17 seems quite reasonable!
With all considered, I think £17 is a fair price.
Are Pinlock Earplugs Comfortable?
I must admit, these earplugs are really comfortable to wear. As mentioned above, I regularly had issues with the squidgy earplugs falling out or wriggling free.
And over a day, I often found that I was looking forward to taking them out when I got to my destination.
With the Pinlock earplugs, though, I found them to have all-day riding comfort with no irritation or fitting issues.
Part of this is due to the medical-grade silicone these plugs are made from. And it also does a great job of minimising ‘hot ears’ and reducing that feeling of being blocked up.
Another nice touch was that the Pinlock earplugs arrived in two sizes. You get one pair of removable filters (the red bits), but you get two sizes of the silicon parts that go in your ear.
This means you can choose the size that fits you best.
What I Didn’t Like About Pinlock Earplugs
No Dedicated Storage
When I opened the package, I was pleased to see the plugs had arrived in a nice polystyrene box to protect them. But there was no dedicated box to store them on the road – like when stopping off for a coffee.
The polystyrene box is a little large to take out with you. So I would have liked a dedicated place to store them when off the bike.
Auritech earplugs supply you with a little aluminium tube, so you have somewhere to store your plugs when you get off the bike.
And NoNoise plugs come in a tube with a keyring, so you always have a place to put them. As do the earplugs from BikeIt.
So it was a little disappointing that Pinlock neglected this feature.
Removal Takes Practice
Being used to squidgy earplugs, I shoved the Pinlock earplugs in with some purpose when I first tested them. The problem is you can only remove them again by pulling on a tiny silicone tab.
On the one hand, this is good – because they don’t get caught in your helmet, and it’s difficult to pull them out by accident (like when removing your helmet.)
But it took me a good few minutes to fish them out after the first time using them as I’d inserted them with the tab at the bottom (in a 6 o’clock position.)
This meant the tab got stuck behind the natural cartilage of my ear. And consequently, it took me a while to get them out.
If you buy a set of these plugs, ensure you insert them with the tabs in an accessible position for removal.
Pinlock Earplugs: Overall Thoughts
Are They Any Good?
Well, kind of. They do, without doubt, allow lower frequencies to pass through the filter whilst blocking harmful frequencies.
And they do, without doubt, make it easier to hear your intercom and sat nav.
As mentioned, they’re also super comfortable to wear.
However, I feel they could let in less noise on faster roads. When I ride with these earplugs on motorways, I always want to stop and put the squidgy ones in.
And that’s what I do.
So for commuting or shorter touring days in the mountains, I wear these Pinlock earplugs. But for blasting from Manchester to the Eurotunnel on the motorway, I shove a pair of the squidgy plugs in to dampen out more noise.
Pinlock Earplugs: Conclusion
These earplugs by Pinlock do a reasonable job of blocking out unwanted noise. However, I sometimes feel they’re not blocking out enough unwanted noise.
The promise of blocking out particular frequencies whilst allowing others to pass through is certainly fulfilled. And I was impressed with how well they delivered on that promise.
In terms of fit, I have absolutely no qualms. My ears have never been overly hot, and the plugs provide all-day riding comfort.
At low speeds, they work great. But for riding at higher speeds, I feel better options are available.
Motorcycle Tourer Star Rating: Pinlock Earplugs
Find the Pinlock earplugs here:
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