Whether its a small monkey bike or a large touring, adventure or street motorcycle they all have one thing in common, you have to wear a crash helmet. Now whilst wearing a crash helmet is great for protecting your head, what they’re not great for is communicating with other people either in person or indeed by phone. If you don’t believe me then try holding a phone to your ear whilst you’ve got a helmet on and see how you get on.
The solution is a Motorcycle Bluetooth headset. With almost everybody owning a smartphone, lots of riders have also started pairing a headset to their device for music, navigation and hands-free calls.
Sena is a leading name in bluetooth motorcycle communications and the 10S is one of the devices in their lineup. The 10S is the upgraded version of Sena’s flagship Bluetooth headset for motorcycle helmets, the SMH10 and has some nifty little features that are hard not to like.
What does it do?
The Sena 10S is a multi function Motorcycle Bluetooth Communication System. It allows you to call handsfree on your Bluetooth mobile phone, listen to stereo music or voice instructions of GPS navigations wirelessly, and have intercom conversations in full duplex with a passenger or other motor cycle riders in your group.
Bluetooth 4.1 • Multi-way intercom up to 4 connections • Bluetooth intercom up to 1.6 kilometers (1.0 miles)* • Smartphone App for iPhone and Android • Universal Intercom™ • Music Sharing • Intuitive voice prompts • Advanced Noise Control™ • Easy operation by versatile Jog Dial • Can be used while charging on road trips • Water resistant for use in inclement weather • Built-in FM radio tuner with a station scan and save function • Optional Handlebar Remote support (not included) • Firmware upgradeable
What you get in the box
Along with the main 10S communication unit itself the box contains the necessary clamps to secure it to your helmet, two wired, detachable speakers that fit inside your helmet, a wired mic, a wired boom mic and a selection of 3M adhesive pads to fix things in position.
The design is relatively small, black in colour and lightweight at around 58g, resulting in an unobtrusive look to your helmet. The 10S is detachable from its clamp which is on the left side of your hemet so you can take it off to charge it. It’s main operation is through a jog wheel controlled design with a centre button. The fitment to the helmet comes in two designs, a clamp that fastens onto the side or a stick on that is surprisingly strong.
Turning the jog wheel skips music forward and backward and the button serves to pause and play your tunes aswell as answering calls meaning its relatively easy to operate even with gloves.
The whole system is controlled and the voice driven menus accessed by three key physical parts. The Jog wheel rotating; The jog wheel centre press; The phone button at the rear. Having only these physical controls means it is intuitively easy to access whilst riding.
Using these controls or using in a combination allows you to power on, answer make and end phone calls, adjust the volume, pair devices, check the battery level, listen to music on your phone, combine with your sat nav or your phones google maps, use the intercom, use the radio including find stations and select presets . Oh and I haven’t even mentioned the ability to answer calls by voice should you choose to.
The 10S includes Audio Multitasking™, which allows you to listen to two audio sources at once. You can have conversations through the intercom while streaming music, listening to the FM radio or listening to GPS instructions at the same time.
The device settings can be set on your smart phone using the Sena App. The app is is well laid out with all the functions and basic settings being in a clear, easy to use format. The user guides are also on the app should you need to refer to them whilst out on the Road.
There’s also an app for your PC or Mac to upgrade the hardware. I had difficulty connecting whilst using the Mac version as it would just not recognise the Sena device. I opened the Windows version on my laptop and it worked like a breeze without any hassle at all.
If you use a bike sat nav on your bike then the Sena has you covered for that too with the ability to connect to it through Bluetooth whilst still being able to use the intercom, music or phone features too. Alternatively you could use google maps on your phone, leave the phone in your pocket and you’ll still hear the audio directions from your phone
The audio quality is really good and the noise cancelling does its job, which is important while trying to be heard on a motorbike. I’ve used the device both in intercom and phone modes and both worked well.
The intercom feature lets you connect to uptown four other riders in your group. A friend and I travelled across the country and it worked well. It also connects to “Non Sena” branded headsets too. With direct intercom connection for upto one mile away you are fine in most situations. Obviously there will be a loss of signal dependant on certain factors but that goes without saying.
The music features are great, for example if you have spotify on your phone you can play pause and skip backwards and forwards using the Sena 10s or listen to the built in radio. You can even share your music with other riders in your group although I haven’t actually tried this.
The 10S is a sleek, lightweight multi function unit that does all the things you could ask of a headset. It will give you twelve hours of talk-time on a three hour charge with a standby time of around 10 days. It’s weather resistant meaning you needn’t be worried if you’re caught out in the rain. With all the features packed into this little device it really does do what it says on the tin! Would I buy another one? Of course I would!