Let’s face it: riding is best done with friends and there’s nothing worse than when you can’t talk to each other while on an adventure. Sena is a company that solves that problem with the SMH10 Motorcycle Bluetooth Headset and Intercom.
When I was first learning to ride my BMW Adventure bike off road this headset was a necessity. My friend could give me real-time instruction and feedback every step of the way without spending valuable time regrouping, shutting the bikes down and taking off helmets to have a conversation. Even while wearing ear plugs we could carry on a normal conversation and I could get instant feedback on my riding.
Now I’m coaching Christine the same way as we tackle our mountain pass project together and it’s made all the difference in the world.
Installation isn’t exactly a breeze but it will depend on your specific helmet. It takes a bit of time to get all the wires, speakers and microphone routed behind the padding and placed correctly but once you do you’ll rarely need to adjust them again.
Pairing is simple and straight forward. I’ve paired my headset with Christine’s and we rarely need to do anything after turning them on; they’ll usually find each other automatically within a few seconds. After initial pairing with my iPhone 5 I haven’t experienced any issues there either. The SMH10 has always connected with my phone after powering on, as long as my phone’s Bluetooth is on.
I often ride with friends who have 20S models mounted on their helmets. After our initial pairing a few months ago, reconnecting is always easy, involving only the push of a button. The units have always remembered their connections and sync back up without a problem.
Christine and I spend hours on our bikes every week riding Colorado’s mountain passes. The purpose of the project was to spend quality time together but if we couldn’t talk to each other our time together would barely count as quality.
When I’m riding by myself I usually like to listen to a podcast or Pandora. Once the apps are opened manually on my phone and begin playing, holding the jog dial button for two seconds starts and stops playback.
I have had some issues reliably activating SIRI from the SMH10. During the times when I was able to pull her up she sometimes had a difficult time understanding what I was saying. If this was improved I could reliably send and receive texts safely without looking at my phone. That’s a game-changer when you don’t want to stop riding, either because you’re in a hurry or it’d be unsafe to do so; caught in a traffic jam, for instance.
After riding with the SMH10 for at least 40 hours and having put multiple trips in with more expensive units like the 20S, the SMH10 is definitely a great value. You’ll find the 2-pack SMH10 for about $300 which is only slightly more than the cost of the 20S. If you’re just starting out with intercom units and don’t want to listen to music and talk to someone at the same time (these are the main upgrades to the 20S), I’d opt for the SMH10.
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