Bicycle Speakers: Active Tunes i-RIDE Pro Review

Carven's Bike with Pimped-Out Audio System
Carven’s Bike with Pimped-Out Audio System


As far as I can tell, the i-Ride Pro is no longer available. Based on the number of complaints I’ve received and from my own experience, I have to withdraw my endorsement of the product. The Active Tunes website is down, so they may be out of business.

Good news: I have a NEW favorite MP3 speaker

You can read my review of the BoomBotix BB1 here.

I’ll leave all the other info in place for historical purposes. I still LIKE the i-Ride Pro, I just can’t recommend that you try to buy one. Too bad.

After researching much about loudest portable speakers, I finally found an MP3 speaker that works well on my bike.

No, it’s not the one Son Matt saw on the way to work a few years back. Even I’M not prepared to carry a boom box so big it has to have its own trailer.

The Active Tunes i-RIDE Pro is a winner

I’m going to award the It Really Works Trophy to the i-RIDE Pro from Active Tunes.

I’ll detail the als0-rans tomorrow and the next day.

I’m going to have to set expectations here. I’m not an audiophile. Most of my life has been spent with multiple police scanners blaring stuff like, “One Adam 12, see the woman…” into my ears.

That means the speaker has to be just good enough for me to recognize the song over wind and traffic sounds.

Why Do I like the i-RIDE Pro?

Active Tune i-RIDE Pro MP3 speaker

  • It’s small, 4″ x 1.75″.
  • It’s lightweight.
  • It produces acceptable quality sound with 4 watts output.
  • The built-in rechargeable Lithium Ion battery has long life and recharges from a USB port. If you don’t have a computer with you, you could use a USB adapter (not included) to charge it from AC. Active Tunes says it’ll play for eight hours on a charge. I went for a four-hour ride on a Sunday and forgot to turn it off. On the next Wednesday, I noticed the LED was lit and turned the MP3 player on. Much to my surprise, the speakers still worked.
  • Mick from Active Tunes says the battery should last for about 3,500 hours. If it fails within the first two years, Active Tunes will replace it free. If you play it while riding four hours a day, 365 days a year, then it should last 2.57 years. I think something better will come along before I need to replace the battery.
  • It comes with a carrying case that uses Velcro straps for multiple mounting possibilities. The case has a built-in MP3 player holder with a transparent front so you can manipulate the controls.

What nits can I pick about the i-RIDE Pro?

  • It’s a little expensive at $59.99. (Although it’s cheaper than the junk box full of others I’ve bought one at a time.)
  • It uses a Lithium Ion battery that’s not removable. If it dies while you’re out on the road, then you’re out of luck until you can charge it again.
  • It’s not waterproof. (Mick says they’ve had reports from riders who were caught in the rain and didn’t encounter any failures. The neoprene pouch is water resistant, but neither it nor the speaker should be considered waterproof, he warns.)
  • The case’s MP3 player holder is designed for the newer, smaller players. My Classic is too big to fit it, so I cut it off.

active-tune-pro-on-camelbakHow do I mount my i-RIDE Pro?

My Surly Long Haul Trucker’s cockpit is a bit busy, so I attach the speaker to my Camelbak MULE strap and put the iPod in a special pocket made for it. I use the iPod’s remote control to skip tracks, pause and adjust the volume.

Since the speaker is right under my ear, I don’t have to turn the volume up very high, which probably gives me longer battery life on both the player and the speaker.

The flap-looking thing at the left of the holder is for the smaller version of MP3 players. I cut it off after the first ride.

MP3 player video shoot-out

You can listen to all of the speakers here, including on the road.

The Active Tunes folks respond quickly

They’re nice folks who have always been responsive to my email. You can find them here.

[Disclaimer: Mick at Active Tunes sent me a free speaker to review. I’ve been a satisfied customer and a past winner of an i-Ride Classic in the company’s monthly giveaway contest.]

Tomorrow I’ll review my second and third-place speakers choices, the Byco WRX1 and the Active Tunes i-RIDE Classic.

45 Replies to “Bicycle Speakers: Active Tunes i-RIDE Pro Review”

  1. I’m especially interested in hearing how it compares with the standard i-Ride. I bought one of those last year and used it once. I’m not saying I won’t use it again, but I’m not guaranteeing I will, either.

  2. For waterproofing you might want to see if the speaker or the neoprene pouch would be damaged by silicone spray. I’ve sprayed that stuff on boots, backpacks and such with good results. Rain beads up on them like a car that’s just been waxed and the insides stay dry.

  3. Spokesrider,

    I review the Classic tomorrow, but having used both, the i-RIDE Pro is far superior.

    The sound is twice as loud, it’s cleaner and crisper and it doesn’t look like you’ve got a pair of Mickey Mouse ears mounted on your bike.

    I had two Classics (I won one in the Active Tunes monthly contest). I think I may have given one to my brother, who thought he might stick it in his jersey pocket.

    Son Matt uses his all the time to listen to podcasts and as a shower speaker.

  4. George,

    I think the spray would work on the case, but the speakers are exposed. I’d be afraid to spray them.

    I always carry Ziploc bags where they’re easy to grab, so I’m not concerned much about rain.

    If it was going to be a long rainy ride, then I’d probably throw the iPod and speaker inside my handlebar bag. It wouldn’t get wet in there and the speaker is plenty loud enough to be heard.

  5. David,

    I was just working on a video yesterday that compares the speakers.

    I have to say that the i-RIDE Pro is the best of the batch. It’s not going to rattle the windows as you go down the street, but it’s going to be plenty loud for you to hear it.

    Let me know what you think after you get it.

  6. Yeah i got it 2 days ago,im very satisfied with it’s sound quality…but when they make another speaker they should put a volume wheel on it.

  7. David,

    The way I use mine, a volume control on the speaker wouldn’t do me any good. I use the inline control that came with my iPod classic to start and stop play, fast forward and to change the volume.

    I guess it all depends on your application.

    How do you like it otherwise?

  8. I love everything about it… it’s LOUD enough like people turn there heads so im satisfied.But i just want it louder ya know?I have a samsung t9 so I can adjust the volume from the player fast foward pause ect..Can you review the Cyfi bike speaker?it’s made for ipod’s so I think it would be a nice setup for you.But it’s $159.99!

  9. I got the active tunes I-ride pro with shipping it came to 70.00 bucks ….. is small looks cute but it does not deliver any thing to boast about. any 10.00 radio from anystore any where. can beat the sound quality and volume. but it is cute.

  10. Mike,

    I’m curious. Which $10 radio do you recommend?

    And, do you mean radio or MP3 player speaker?

    Radio, I might see, but MP3 speaker, I’m not so sure. I’ve tried a bunch of them, as the reviews indicate, and the i-Ride Pro is the best one I’ve found.

    Of course, I haven’t tried the $159.99 model yet.

  11. DONT ORDER THIS- They take your money but don’t send the product!! I ordered this product from the maker (active tunes) and they charged my paypal account, but never sent the product or any emails and its been about 10 days. I am trying to follow up but they either a) hang up on me or b) tell me the “order line is busy and I need to call back later”. When asked if i can hold, they say no, because they can’t tie up the line. BEWARE OF DOING BUSINESS WITH THIS COMPANY!! I will update my comment if they return my call. Otherwise, I have to have my credit card fight it out and find another solution for the big 180 mile ride this weekend.

  12. UPDATE: Still no response from the company via phone or email But they are keeping my money. BEWARE OF THIS COMPANY. I will be making a complaint with the BBB and everywhere else I can. If they won’t give me the product they sold me, at least they should give me my money back no? But they wont return my phone calls or emails… sigh. the search for good speakers continues…

  13. Jessica,

    I’m surprised and disappointed that you haven’t received a reply. I emailed Mick at Active Tunes April 13 after reading your reply, expecting a quick reponse. He has always been quick to reply in the past.

    Like you, I haven’t heard from him. I sent him a second message this morning.

    I’ll let you know if and when I get a reply.

    I’m sorry you couldn’t get the speaker before your ride (sounds like you must be doing an MS150 from the distance). I’ve been very pleased with mine. That, of course, isn’t what you want to hear.

  14. Jessica, et al:

    Here’s the response I received from Active Tunes this morning:

    Ken, Thanks for the note. Our supplier sent us 25,000 speakers last month with the wrong battery. It only lasts about 1-2 hours. Having paid in advance, I’m negotiating an equitable resolution with them.

    I’ve been in China with an attorney working it out for the past 3 weeks. I have shipped an additional 10,000 speakers to the US with the correct battery and they are supposed to arrive in NJ today. We’ll be packaging and shipping through the weekend and hope to have all shipments sent out by Monday.

    I know that we have a boat load of irate customers. Having bent over backwards to make clients happy over the past 4 years, this has been a customer service nightmare and goes against everything we tried to build in the past.

    It’s been mentally exhausting, extremely frustrating and an expensive experience. I am having Emily issue refunds for all of the PayPal disputes today.

    I apologize for any bad feedback or embarrassment that you personally have received after having been such an outstanding advocate for us.

    Regards, Mick

  15. Ken,
    Thank you so very much for helping me get to the bottom of this! I understand mistakes happen, but an responsive email or phone call from the company would have gone a very long way.

    Also, it was indeed an ms150. The ride went great and we raised a TON of money for an amazing cause.

    Keep up the great work Ken!

  16. Same thing happened to me. Pay and NO Product! I had to go through pay pal for a return it took about 5-6 weeks,

  17. Jim,

    I’m going to place an order for an i-Ride Pro and see if I have the same problem. I’ll report back.

    The last time shipping lagged was when the vendor was having problems with his Chinese distributor.

    I lost my MP3 player and i-Ride Pro on my last ride, so I hope it’s still available. I’m going to miss it if it’s not.

  18. please do let us know if they are back up and running– I haven’t found a good alternative since my mp3 player of choice is not compatable with the ihome water bottle shaped speaker.

    Also let us know if you have any other recommendations!

    in the meantime, just keep pedaling!

  19. Same issue here…Ordered but have received no confirmation (other thant Pay Pal cc being hit for the charge) that the unit was shipped. Their phone calls only go to an answering service and they don’t return your calls. They are NOT prompt to respond (actually they don’t respond at all). This is not how you run a company, especially in these economic times. Very disappointing…!!!

    1. Eric and Jessica,

      I’m going to have to, reluctantly, withdraw my endorsement of i-Ride products. I had shipping issues as well. When I followed up with two phone calls, I told the person who answered the phone about the complaints I had been receiving and that if I didn’t get a call back, I was going to have to advise folks NOT to place an order.

      The next day, Sept. 2, I got this email from Mick Kless, president of Active Tunes:

      “Got your message yesterday and wanted to reply. My wife has been undergoing cancer treatment over the past few months and had surgery as recently as yesterday morning. So business has slipped since I haven’t been in the office much. I’m putting someone in place to handle things in my absence and all shipments will be sent by end of day Friday. As for your threat to return your call or you’ll write in your blog not to do business with us, that’s the least of my worries and I don’t appreciate it. Write whatever the hell you want. You didn’t make my business, you won’t break it either.
      Mick Kless
      Active Tunes”

      I responded that I recognized that his wife had to be his top, if not only, priority right now and that my comment to post a negative review wasn’t a threat, it was a statement.

      I had been giving his products my unqualified endorsement, so my credibility was on the line.

      I told him that readers had been understanding when shipments were delayed because of issues with his suppliers, and that they would certainly sympathize with a family medical emergency.

      I asked for permission to post his message as an explanation. I didn’t receive the courtesy of a reply.

      Since Eric has had a recent bad experience, I’m going to go ahead and publish Mick’s message.

      I hope that things are going well for Mick’s wife and I hope that he gets his business back in order. I still haven’t found a portable speaker that works as well as the i-Ride Pro. I just can’t recommend ordering one right now.

  20. Having the same poor customer service problem. I can’t get a hold of anyone at this company to confirm my order yet they have taken my money. Without good customer service you eventually get “NO CUSTOMERS”. A ridiculous way to run a company especially in these poor economic times….! Is anyone else experiencing problems with Active Tunes…?

    1. Eric,

      I feel your pain. I kept calling the number on the web site until I got an real person, who sounded like he might have been an answering service.

      I recounted what happened after that.

  21. Thanks for the update Ken. At least I know why I might nit be getting anywhere with this company. I understand about dealing with cancer and a family member. My mom is a two time breast cancer survivor. If Mr. Kless can’t run his business due to a family emergency then he should close up shop and certainly not take peoples money without any recognition or promise of product delivery.
    Once again, thanks for your help

  22. Oh great. I read this after I just placed an order for an I-Ride Pro. Does anyone have an update if they are shipping or not? Or should I start the long process of trying to get my money back.

    1. Willie,

      You could let it ride (pardon the pun) to see if the shipping problems have cleared up. I don’t have any newer information than what’s been posted in the comments here.

      Let us know what happens so we can keep the thread fresh.

  23. Thanks for the reply Ken. I really hope to receive it. I’m just really disappointed after reading this post. I do hope for the best and will keep you updated if I do get it.

    1. I hope it DOES come through for you. I use mine all the time and love it. The battery life is phenomenal. I thought I had lost mine back in July, but it surfaced when I cleaned my car out recently. When I turned it on, the battery still had a charge.

      That gives me a spare. (No, I’m not ready to sell it. If I lost it once, then I might lose it again.)

  24. We were just notified (after 2 weeks of phone calls and emails to Active Tunes that were ignored) by Pay Pal that Active Tunes is issuing us a refund. Active Tunes said that their shipment was tied up in Customs.
    Too bad that they couldn’t come through with their product. My wife ordered me nice I-home rechargeable pop up speakers and I simply slip them into a neoprene bottle coozy and use a Velcro strap to bind it to my handlebar yoke . T

    1. Sorry to hear that.

      Active Tunes has had problems with their Chinese suppliers in the past. It would sure be nice if they’d be a little more transparent about that to their customers. It’s being left in the dark that makes folks angry.

  25. I just got a new mp3 player (a Sony Walkman which, incidentally, I love that they still use that name!) that has speakers on the device, which are reasonably loud and clear. I am going to give this a try to see if it is loud enough on the road- i will report back!

  26. Active Tunes speakers work fine as long as the road isn’t rough. When shaken, the battery lid cuts the connection in and out which is so annoying, I finally turn it off. If you mount it upside down, it works better, but still breaks down on longer bumpy roads.

    1. Since I use my attached to my Camelbak straps, vibration has never been an issue for me. If I use rechargeable batteries in my GPS (they’re slightly smaller than alkalines), I’ll sometimes have issues with that on bumpy roads.

  27. I just found this info. I have waited 2 weeks for my i-ride speakers and yes, they took my money, but, no, they have given me no further information about delivery, etc. I have opened dispute with Pay Pal and I also will dispute with my credit card company. Why do they have office staff who can charge your card the very day you order but cannot follow up on delivery and other needed information? Common business practice would be to at least respond to the 3 emails I have sent.

    1. Shar,

      At this point, I’m going to have to suggest that folks NOT order from Active Tunes.

      That’s a shame, too. I really like it i-Ride Pro speakers, but there are too many complaints (including my own) for me to recommend buying from them until they get their act together again.

      If I wasn’t happy with the product, I’d go out to try to find a replacement that I could review. If mine stop working, that’ll give me the impetus to add that to my review list.

      Let me know if your speakers ever arrive or if you hear from Active Tunes.

  28. Hello, I’ve been searching the internet everywhere to find contact information for ActiveTunes! I ordered my I-Ride Pro and now ActiveTunes has $70 and change of mine and….oh wow, right after I put my order in the site goes down completely!!

    Please help. Does anyone have any contact information for their company? Or is the only route now to send complaints through paypal?

    Man this makes me angry. I ordered the original speakers from them in early Februrary. I suppose it is too much to hope that a company would act in good faith and at least contact people who they took money from. Unbelievable.

    Thanks for any help

  29. Hello, I’ve been searching the internet everywhere to find contact information for ActiveTunes! I ordered my I-Ride Pro and now ActiveTunes has $70 and change of mine and….oh wow, right after I put my order in the site goes down completely!!

    Please help. Does anyone have any contact information for their company? Or is the only route now to send complaints through paypal?

    Man this makes me angry. I ordered the original speakers from them in early Februrary. I suppose it is too much to hope that a company would act in good faith and at least contact people who they took money from. Unbelievable.

    1. The BoomBotix folks contacted me to see if I’d be interested in reviewing their product. If we can arrange something, I’ll give it a whirl, particularly since my previous favorite speaker has fallen off the face of the earth.

      The New Jersey Better Business Bureau has given Active-Tunes an F rating (A-F) for being non-responsive.

      Their website is also MIA. I apologize to anyone who ordered a speaker from them on my recommendation. They were a good company at one time.

    2. Lief, I’ve been to the web site but can not figure out how you would mount the speaker & mp3 player to a bike. How did you accomplish?

  30. Lief, FYI, I never heard from Active Tunes, nor did my product arrive. But, I did have my credit card company investigate and got a credit back. I suggest others do the same and not let the crooks get away with taking your money and not sending your order. Thanks!

  31. Hey this is David from 2009, what I do now is use motorcycle speakers, an amp, and a compact li ion battery. Installation will be different for every bike but this setup sounds the best!

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