Just looking at the design of these communication systems, it is a nice piece to add to your helmet. They look great. The functionality of them is well thought out too. So where does one begin?
The most popular model is the Sena Bluetooth Connection System. They are several models into their development and you’ll have lots to choose from. Our recommendation is the Sena SMH10 (and possibly its replacement the 10S). It will cost you around $200.
Installation of a Sena Headset is very straightforward. At 1st Gear Motorcycle Training we use them for one on one lessons. I can install a Sena headset in 2 minutes and pull it off in seconds. For a more permanent installation it will take you 5 to 10 minutes. Most of your time will spent tucking the wires behind the padding. Once it is done it looks like it belong there. Microphone placement can be challenging as you do not want to sound ‘windy’ to your riding buddies. Try to position it so the wind does not affect it.
You’ll find most riders have Sena headsets so it makes connecting to other riders easy. Or so you would think. One of the drawbacks to all communication systems is pairing to other riders. All your group motorcycle rides will now be delayed by 5 to 20 minutes since you will all be trying to connect to each other. When it is all said and done, finding that common channel can be challenging. This is the biggest drawback I find with all communcation systems. We’re making riding more complicated and their is the risk of the social cirlces and cliches. You can pair and chat to a four to five people. On larger rides some get left out.
When you are riding on your own you can listen to music or podcasts. With all the wind noise on highways, you might as well listen to something. Sena headsets are also able to connect to your phone and take phone calls. This is a nice feature but even though it is hands free. It is distracting. If your phone has a GPS app (such as Navigon) your GPS instructions will be sent right to your headset. Handy!
In the years I’ve used my Sena headset, I’ve loved it. While it has some logistics issues it is well worth being able to communicate with your riding buddies. Deciding on gas and lunch stops is easy. You’ll also have great conversations with your riding buddies. Laughter will be guaranteed!