A Bluetooth-equipped helmet can be an essential piece of motorcycle safety tech, whether you're staying in touch with your posse or getting turn-by-turn directions from a paired phone. But the term Bluetooth helmet technically can be a bit of a misnomer. Bluetooth handles the phone pairing in a Bluetooth motorcycle helmet; communicating with other riders happens via proprietary mesh networks with distinct radio bandwidths, sort of like walkie-talkies.
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What's This About Cardo Versus Sena?
Cardo and Sena build the two leading Bluetooth helmet communication systems. Cardo sells its PackTalk system; Sena manufacturers its own third-party units and builds the backbone of the proprietary system for manufacturers.
Both the Cardo and Sena systems work fluidly; they're quick and easy to set up with a smartphone app. Both also feature oversized and fairly straightforward onboard controls. Cardo offers its own voice command system, while Sena allows you to use Apple and Google systems.
Sena offers a couple of advantages. Units like the 50R and 50S include noise-canceling tech, and newer Sena models can accommodate up to 24 riders, while Cardo Packtalk tops out at 15. But the systems are so close in quality that the deciding factor for many buyers may be which system their friends are already using.
What to Look for in a Bluetooth Motorcycle Helmet
Fit: The helmet should fit snugly and comfortably on your head with the eye port starting above your eyebrows. If you can adjust the helmet side to side without your skin moving, you likely need a smaller size.
Head Shape: Not every helmet is optimal for every type of head shape. A manufacturer will typically note whether the helmet is better for long oval (longer front to back), intermediate oval (round) or round oval (longer side to side) heads. Most helmets will skew toward intermediate.
Lining: Wearing a motorcycle helmet can get a bit sweaty, particularly during summer rides. Liners that are easily removable, washable and made from antimicrobial materials.
Speaker Compatibility: Make sure the Bluetooth helmet is compatible with the headset you want to use. Not having a precise fit can affect the pressure on your ear, the fit of the helmet and, consequently, its ultimate function: safety.
Weight: A lighter helmet will generally be more comfortable and cause less neck strain. Many helmets incorporate carbon fiber and other lightweight materials into the construction of the shell, which can reduce weight but also jack up the price. Modular helmets tend to be heavier than full-face helmets because they need a way to flip up the visor.
Note: Helmets listed below may be out of stock temporarily due to ongoing supply chain issues. Please check back regularly.
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