Headset connects to its partner up to a kilometer away. Clear reception of voice and music. Jog dial makes it easy to change modes quickly and safely while riding.
Microphone can pick up wind noise if not positioned exactly right.
Installs easily into full helmets and pairs quickly. Control buttons are robust and responsive. Phone conversations are clear, with no road noise cluttering voice.
Charging may fail after a few months of use.
Mounts on full and half helmets. Capable of connecting up to 8 riders on its intercom system, and clear to 500 meters of separation. Pairs with other Fodsports models and some generic headsets.
Connecting more than 2 users can be complicated.
Pairs quickly with up to 4 other intercom systems. Designed specifically for half helmets. Built-in voice prompt for hands-free volume control, phone calls, GPS. Excellent microphone noise dampening lets users speak normally.
Music quality through this headset is not good.
Fits full helmets well. Users hear intercom chatter clearly and music sounds great (as long as unit is positioned correctly in the helmet). Extendable antenna boosts reception greatly. Connects up to 15 riders. With the most recent update, voice controls are much easier to use.
Charging port’s position makes it vulnerable to damage.
We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.
We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.
Motorcycle Bluetooth headsets have a huge advantage over older bike intercom systems. You no longer need extra equipment wired into your battery, and you don’t need to run a cable up through your jacket. Everything is wireless.
But that’s just the start. They do way more than just let you talk with your passenger or other riding buddies. Many headsets have FM radio built-in, so you can listen to your favorite tunes while you ride. They can pair with your GPS, so you get clear directions, unaffected by wind or traffic noise. You can use one with your MP3 player or a suitable phone. Some are even voice-activated — the only button you press is to turn it on and off.
Given the various features, the different types of helmets, and the numerous manufacturers, picking the right Bluetooth headset can be a bit of a challenge. So, we at BestReviews have been assessing all the latest devices. Our recommendations cover a wide range of performance and price alternatives, and our concise buying guide explains the details.
Obviously, your helmet is important, but we’re not talking about the safety aspect here. You need to look at how the headset fits your helmet and whether it’s suitable, because not all microphones work with all helmet styles.
Control unit: First, there’s the question of fixing the control unit, which goes on the outside of the helmet. Most attach via a sticky pad, spring clips, or clamp. Both clips and clamps give you the option of moving the headset from one helmet to another, something you might want to do if you ride on the road during the week but off-road wearing a different helmet on the weekends.
However, if you wear a half helmet, the kind popular with custom motorcycle and bobber riders, clips and clamps won’t work. You need to check that the supplied fitting is suitable. One or two manufacturers offer specific models for those helmets.
Wind noise: The other element that has to be considered is wind noise. It can be a problem on half helmets and open-face models, and the usual solution is to cover the microphone with a fat foam “sock.” It’s effective, but it doesn’t fit easily inside full-face or convertible helmets, so a smaller sock is used. Many, but not all, headsets provide both, so care is needed when choosing.
Early Bluetooth had a limited range, maybe 30 to 60 feet, which is more than adequate if you just want to talk to your passenger. Some of the cheapest motorcycle Bluetooth headsets still use that older technology. Current versions of Bluetooth have a much greater range, so you can share communications bike to bike.
You can also add other riders to the conversation, anywhere from 3 to 15 additional people, depending on the system. Some devices also “remember” group members, so if for any reason you drop out of range for a few minutes, it will reconnect you automatically once you’re back with your friends.
Sena is the stand-out brand in this market for good reason: it doesn’t just make it easy for you to talk to your riding buddies, it provides fast, easy connection to all your other devices, too. The feature list is unrivaled. Bike-to-bike communications out to almost 1,000 yards. Connect up to four riders, and pair with cellphone, MP3 player, or GPS. The Sena delivers class-leading conversation clarity and unbeatable versatility.
If you’re joining a mixed group, there’s a good chance there will be a number of different motorcycle headsets. Many manufacturers say their units can interact with other models, but most are honest enough to admit that there can be problems. If you want to ensure compatibility, you need a universal model.
Major control buttons should be nice and chunky, because you’re mostly going to be operating them while wearing gloves. Basic systems may only need a couple of buttons, but models with more complex functionality need more complicated controls. The two alternatives are buttons that have multiple positions or those that are pressed for different lengths of time. Some riders find the latter can be a bit frustrating, though better models offer voice prompts. The ultimate in ease of use is via voice recognition, though these models are expensive.
Many headsets attach to your helmet with a sticky pad. Some offer a clamp or clip-on option, so you can easily transfer the headset from one helmet to another.
FM radio reception, MP3 player compatibility, hands-free control when making and receiving phone calls, and interactivity with GPS systems are all common. How the devices handle these can differ. Some switch from one to the other depending on priority. For example, incoming phone calls usually take precedence. Others can overlay GPS instructions over other channels, so you get important information even if you’re listening to music or talking to another rider.
Battery life also varies from model to model. You might have several days on standby, but actual talk time will be much less. It’s one area where cheap, rider-to-passenger headsets are actually better. Bike-to-bike headsets might run anywhere from 6 to 12 hours. Rider-to-passenger models can last up to 50 hours. You might want to check recharging time, though 2 to 3 hours covers most.
General background and road noise can sometimes be a problem, and manufacturers use noise-canceling or noise-control technology to provide the clearest sound possible. Most are effective, but it’s pretty much impossible to tell just by their say-so. Nobody gives out any kind of figures to back their claims. This is one of those times when there’s no substitute for owner feedback, unbiased opinions from motorcyclists who have used the gear in the real world.
If you’ve got really deep pockets, at least one manufacturer will sell you a helmet with a voice-activated Bluetooth headset as an integral part of the structure. The helmet features a built-in camera, too.
On better Bluetooth headsets, you don’t need to choose between talking and listening to GPS instructions. The GPS can play at the same time, overlaying voice communications.
A few Bluetooth helmet intercoms can be connected to wireless handlebar controllers, so you don’t need to take your hands off the bars at highway speeds or in city traffic.
Inexpensive: If all you need is rider-to-passenger communication or convenient smartphone connectivity, cheap motorcycle Bluetooth headsets start as low as $20 per person.
Mid-range: If you want rider-to-rider communication, you can get single units for around $50 and two-packs from $90 and up. If you want full feature sets, universal compatibility, and the option to add extra riders to the group, prices range from $140 to $250.
Expensive: At the top end of the market are the completely hands-free, voice-activated models, and those that incorporate a camera. It’s remarkable technology, but you’ll pay anywhere from $250 to $350 per unit.
Long range and low cost
If you’re looking for an entry-level motorcycle Bluetooth headset but want something more than just rider-to-passenger use, the advanced Allros T10 gives you 500 yards of range while still maintaining clear communication. It offers fitting options for full and open-face helmets and a choice of two microphones, and it’s waterproof to IPX6. It may not have the comprehensive music, phone, and GPS connectivity of some, but as a person-to-person and bike-to-bike system, it offers terrific value.
Perhaps you’d like to know what else is out there. We’ve found a few more models for you. The FreedConn Motorcycle Helmet Communication System packs a lot of features into a budget model. It includes auto-switching between devices and has good range. The cheapest option is a single unit, but it’s not universally compatible. A twin-pack is still very affordable, though they’re not suitable for open-face or half helmets.
The LEXIN LX-B4FM Bluetooth Headset is an excellent mid-range choice. It fits all helmet styles and offers a full feature set. Battery life is good, though talk time is shorter than some.
Given Sena’s expertise, it will be no surprise that we’ve featured a couple of different intercoms from the company, but our final choice is perhaps the most remarkable: the Sena 10C-Pro-01 Motorcycle Communication System isn’t just a high-end Bluetooth headset, it also integrates a 3.7 MP action camera, and it can record your voice commentary over the video as you ride!
Q. What’s the maximum Bluetooth range for motorcycle headsets?
A. It depends on the device specifications. Early models were limited to around 60 feet, but modern versions can be as much as a mile in ideal conditions. However, physical obstructions and interference from other electronic devices (when riding in the city, for example) can reduce that distance.
Q. Will bad weather cause problems with my Bluetooth intercom?
A. Technically speaking, the Bluetooth signal itself is unaffected by cold or wet weather. Physical construction usually gives excellent weather protection. An IP or IPX rating shows it meets independent testing standards, though not all manufacturers use it. Cheap headsets can have problems with water ingress and freezing conditions. Our advice is to check the specifications carefully, and always buy from reputable brands.
Q. I use earplugs when I ride. Can I still use a Bluetooth headset?
A. There’s no reason why you can’t. Most headsets can be turned up loud enough so you can hear. You might want to read through owner feedback, though. It’s a feature that other riders frequently comment on.
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