A Bluetooth motorcycle helmet offers you the ability to communicate with other riders, listen to music and navigate via GPS. This is a refreshing innovation, as riding a motorcycle is usually a solitary endeavor, especially if you are covering long distances. Being able to talk with a pillion passenger or riding companion opens up new possibilities, and receiving directions through an earpiece is safer and more convenient than glancing at a screen. The HJC i90 Modular is a great example of a helmet with Bluetooth compatibility and all-around flexibility.
Safety should be your first consideration whenever you buy a helmet. Should you opt for an open-face or full-face helmet? While the latter are undoubtedly safer to use, they may feel more restrictive. Can you hear traffic and ambient noises while your Bluetooth headset is operating? If not, your safety will be compromised. Always look for the DOT certification to ensure a helmet meets the minimum safety standards required by the U.S. government.
While most riders are happy with basic functions such as intercom, GPS and music playback, there often are advanced features that coordinate with your mobile phone via an app. These can read SMS messages, emails and push notifications, and also alert you to essential travel information and speed warnings.
Bluetooth motorcycle helmets will lose the connection between two transmitters if the range is too far. Other factors can affect connectivity, such as losing the line of sight between two Bluetooth helmets while on the road or riding at speed. Check your helmet’s range as stated by the manufacturer to get an approximate idea of how well a model will perform while in motion. This is especially important if you plan on communicating between two separate vehicles. As a general rule, the more expensive the helmet, the better the connectivity.
The most common materials used in helmet manufacture are fiberglass, thermoplastics such as polycarbonate, composites and carbon fiber. The latter often uses a mix of carbon and Kevlar to form a particularly strong, lightweight shell. Fiberglass and thermoplastic helmets usually are much more affordable than their composite and carbon counterparts but should be highly effective nonetheless. As always, make sure the helmet is DOT certified before making a purchase.
Always wear protective gloves when riding a motorcycle. A Bluetooth helmet should be easy to operate through the thick material used on gloves. Distractions on the road can lead to serious accidents, so the easier your helmet’s functions are to control, the better. To this end, some helmets feature a voice-command option for hands-free operation.
A well-fitted helmet is not only safer but more enjoyable to wear. It should not hinder movement or visibility nor feel heavy during a long ride. It should have sufficient padding to cushion your head and protect it from impact, and should be well-vented to keep air circulating and minimize fogging. A good helmet should have effective aerodynamic qualities to reduce the fatigue caused by wind resistance.
An integrated Bluetooth motorcycle helmet starts at around $150 for an entry-level model. Midrange options will set you back $250-$400, while a top-of-the-range item costs upward of $400, with some carbon helmets costing several thousand dollars.
A. Some transmitters do not play well with others so if you plan on communicating with a friend’s Bluetooth headset, it’s worth doing some prior research to ensure your compatibility. If you share a common brand of helmet or intercom, it’s usually OK, but a quick internet search should clear up any doubts.
A. Bluetooth compatibility does not affect the legality of a helmet. However, exercise caution when using a Bluetooth system. It is advisable to keep the volume at a low level in order to hear the surrounding traffic, and to take extra care when operating the controls while in motion.
What you need to know: The HJC i90 helmet is modular and stylish, with excellent ergonomics.
What you’ll love: This Bluetooth motorcycle helmet is lightweight and integrates the Sena Smart HJC 10B Bluetooth system. It is well-ventilated and has effective aerodynamics, which keeps wind resistance and noise to a minimum.
What you should consider: This helmet runs a little small, so you may want to consider buying a size larger than usual.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
What you need to know: This affordable model from ILM delivers impressive battery life with around eight hours of talk time.
What you’ll love: The ILM Full Face is highly intuitive, with one-touch controls to manipulate many of its functions. Its communication is impressive, boasting up to 1,000 feet of range between two vehicles, and delivers impressive audio in full stereo.
What you should consider: Bluetooth operation may go to sleep after prolonged periods of inactivity, requiring a full charge to restore its functionality.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
What you need to know: This well-constructed model is both eye-catching and rich in features.
What you’ll love: This full-face helmet has built in Blinc Bluetooth technology, which delivers impressive performance. It is designed with racing in mind, and its integrated spoiler improves its aerodynamics and assists stability when driving at high speeds.
What you should consider: The helmet’s intercom can be drowned out by wind resistance when driving at more than 50 mph.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
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Luke Mitchell writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.