oladance OWS2 Headphone Review



Words by Robert Johnston  |  Photos by Sam Howard

Listening to music while you mountain bike or taking part in other outdoor pursuits typically comes with some challenges. Blaring music from a speaker is inconsiderate to others; while headphones can impede your balance and awareness. Open-Ear audio may be a solution to this challenge, as is featured in the oladance OWS2 headphones we tested here. Similar in aim to the bone conduction audio in the Aftershokz Openmove headphones we tested a couple of years ago, the Open-Ear technology is designed to play sounds like a normal headphone – and at a high quality – but without blocking out external noises. These headphones have been an absolute delight to welcome into my day-to-day life as a music lover testing mountain bikes. Read on to learn all about them.


• 19 Hour Battery Life
• Open-Ear Audio
• Bluetooth 5.3
• Over-Ear Hooked Design
• Carry Case Included
• 12.7g Per Ear


  • Great Audio Quality

  • Long Battery Life

  • Comfortable And Secure

  • Able To Wear Mountain Biking


  • Can Be Difficult To Fit

  • Bass Isn’t The Strongest

  • Still Impede Hearing A Small Amount

oladance OWS2 Headphone Review


OPEN-EAR AUDIO | The oladance OWS2 Headphones make use of an Open-Ear system (Open Wear Stereo), with earbuds that sit on the outside of your ear and transmit audio directly into your ear canal. This leaves your hearing open to the outside, maintaining awareness and improving safety and balance. Unlike Bone Conduction technology though, it is real sound being produced and so quality is said to be unhampered.

CONSTRUCTION | The OWS2 headphones are made from a medical grade liquid silicone rubber around a lightweight titanium frame. They are secured by looping over the top of the ear, with optional rubber tips to tune the fit and add extra stability if desired. They offer IPX4 water resistance, meaning they’re safe for sweaty and rainy mountain bike rides, but may be damaged if submerged.

SOUND AND BATTERY | Producing the sound are dual 16.5mm dynamic drivers, which are around three times the size of classic earbuds. This allows the oladance OWS2 headphones to produce a more powerful and accurate sound signature, which is reflected in the quality of their audio. Each earbud has a 160mAh battery which can support up to 19 hours of playback and recharges in up to two hours in the included USB-C carry case. The oladance OWS2 headphones can connect to two different Bluetooth devices simultaneously with Bluetooth 5.3 connectivity.

FUNCTIONALITY AND ACCESSORIES | Touch sensitivity in the outer plastic portion of the earbuds allows for volume and track changes, with customizable controls using the oladance app. This app also allows for customizable audio levels with an eight-track equalizer to easily tailor different frequencies to the user’s preference, and to accurately see battery levels. Microphones in the earbuds allow for voice calls to be made easily, with Environmental Noise Cancellation (ENC) to improve voice clarity in busy environments.

COLORS AND PRICING | The oladance OWS2 headphones are available in a choice of four colors from mild to wild, at a retail price of $149.99 / £169.99. oladance offers a 30 day risk-free trial where you can get your money back if you dislike the OWS2 headphones, and backs them with a 12 month warranty.

oladance OWS2 Headphone Review


SETUP | Getting the oladance OWS2 headphones connected was very straightforward, pairing with my iPhone and MacBook air without a fight. Opening up the simple but effective oladance app, I was able to see the battery levels of each earbud independently; adjust the audio EQ and change my preferences of the touch controls.

Fitting the headphones took a couple of tries to begin with, but once I figured out how they should feel in order to transmit the audio correctly and feel comfortable, the process became easier and I rarely struggled for too long. With riding glasses, helmet straps and long hair, I’ve likely got one of the more challenging setups that typical oladance OWS2 users are going to encounter, so the fact that I was able to find a comfortable setup suggests that just about everyone will. My preference was to run the optional rubber tips to add another point of contact to my head and aid stability, and once fitted correctly I was able to ride mountain bikes as aggressively as I liked without any issues with moving as I ride. It perhaps doesn’t need to be said, but helmets with a ¾ design make fitment very tricky, and it’s nigh-on impossible to wear these headphones with a full face helmet.

SOUND QUALITY | I was thoroughly impressed by the sound quality on offer with the oladance OWS2 headphones. I wouldn’t consider myself a full-on audiophile, but I do appreciate high quality audio equipment and the clarity and power of sound that it can provide, and the oladance headphones ranked pretty highly in most areas to my ears. The mid and high frequencies were beautifully rich and clear, and get pretty damn close in quality to my premium over-ear headphones. I found however that they were not able to transmit the deepest bass as well as more conventional offerings, even with their 2nd generation Virtual Bass algorithm trying its hardest. Don’t get me wrong, the sound quality is still considerably better and more consistent than the bone conduction headphones I had previously tested, but compared with a quality in-ear or over-ear unit, they fall a little short in their ability to produce powerful deep bass. They do have the ability to go very loud – almost uncomfortably so – which is great for dealing with different external situations.

oladance OWS2 Headphone Review

RIDE EXPERIENCE | Thanks to their Open-Ear design, I was able to ride at 95% with the oladance OWS2 headphones. This is considerably better than when I’ve tried to ride with in-ear headphones in the past, which simply cut out too much noise from my surroundings and acted to slightly reduce my balance. However, the oladance headphones still added a slight distraction and prevented a small amount of external noise from reaching my ears, even when their audio was paused. I’m quite sensitive to this, but found I was still able to descend with music playing at a mid to low volume. Wind noise can play a part in reducing your ability to hear, but it was manageable given their loud potential volume. If you’re riding solo on trails you know well…almost to the point of some boredom creeping in…they can really enhance the ride experience. And for the miles spent grinding away on the climbs, they can be a friend for you to keep you from your inner demons.

The design of the OWS2 headphones means that if you are using them in a busy or just noisy environment, then you can occasionally lose the ability to clearly hear your music unless it’s turned up loud. This is to be expected given their design, and it simply means you need a different set of headphones for scenarios in life where you want to block out the outside. When turned up loud, people around are able to hear the slight “tiss” of the highs, but I didn’t receive any complaints through a couple of group rides and many hours logged in the local café.

FINISH AND VALUE | The oladance OWS2 headphones immediately strike you as a quality product, from their looks and feel to the sound quality when you’re listening through them. This matches their pricing, which is on the higher side. They’ve been holding up great through wet, muddy and sweaty rides; and have maintained impressive battery life during testing in conditions around freezing. That 19 hours claimed playback feels a bit generous but they certainly last for a long time, and the app makes for easy checking to ensure you don’t run out unexpectedly. One small disappointment is the lack of charging capability in their carry case, which would be great to see at this relatively high price point.

One minor gripe for me, which may be a slightly bigger issue for others, was the touch functionality. They are extremely sensitive, and the position of the touch portion means you almost certainly press them by mistake when taking them on and off. I found it difficult to feel out where the earbud was going to be when I wanted to press it, and the movement of the earbud when I pressed it occasionally made me accidentally double tap it. I ended up changing the settings so they would only control volume, and opted to use my phone for any other functions, which I was happy enough with.

HOW DOES IT COMPARE? | Compared with the Aftershokz Openmove headphones I tested a couple of years ago and have continued to enjoy from time to time, the oladance OWS2 headphones represent a big step up in quality across the board. From a more comfortable and less fussy fitment, to much improved audio quality and consistency, and even improved looks; I’ve found myself enjoying the experience with the oladance headphones considerably more. Of course, at twice the price the oladance OWS2 headphones represent a much greater investment, but for my preferences I’d say it’s worth every penny.

The Wolf’s Last Word

Soundtrack your ride with some high-quality audio, without reducing your safety or riding ability. The oladance OWS2 headphones are a high-quality audio product with great sound and excellent functionality. Consider me impressed.

Price: $149.99 / £169.99
Website: oladanceshop.com


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