World Superbike Racer
Join Date: Apr 2015
I Ride: 2015 30th anniversary ZX-6R
I find this to be a question one has already answered for themselves. If you need your tunes to 'get it on', this sort of person is a tough sell to do otherwise. I should note that when I get behind the steering wheel(s) of my car/truck the music has gotta be there. I'm a calmer driver. But not so on a bike.
Now don't get me wrong, I love music; I have a nice collection of guitars, amps, pedal boards, mics, rhythm instruments, etc. I have been a member of 'garage bands, jr./sr high school bands & choirs, as well as my college choir, and various church choirs throughout the years. Music is my 'other hobby', alongside motorbikes.
But I believe most would agree that skillfully riding a motorbike is vastly more challenging than piloting an automobile. Thus, I always ride with earplugs, but rarely if ever ride with earbuds. Again, the word is "skillfully", not merely parking one's butt on the saddle and stretching the throttle cables.
Over 4-decades of riding has proved to me, that more concentration is required to 'skillfully' pilot a sportbike, therefore earplugs. One will find that after a long day in the saddle sprint-touring, or doing a 100-miles at a trackday you will possess much greater ability to stay focused (no target fixation), and much more readily be able to absorb into "The Zone". This latter state-of-being simply is much more difficult to obtain. Of course, there are always exceptions.
Music robs pieces of your attention, and at 70mph, those are very large chunks of space-time continuum that is null & void from your brain, in my experience, too much time-space. Distractions pile up, one's vision narrows, and the sense that "... things are coming at you too fast... " start to multiply exponentially.
Anyone & everyone has the right to disagree. I have no problem with that. My opinions are formed from tens - maybe hundreds of thousands of miles; regular attendance at various trackday schools, and formerly having been an MSF instructor. "Your results may vary...."
Below: a small sampling of "... other addiction...."