The Best 5 Bluetooth Motorcycle Helmets of 2018
Overnight, through the magic of wireless communications, it was possible to keep both hands where they belong, on the handlebars. Gone were the days of dangling wires or jamming a mobile phone inside your lid, praying it didn’t fall out when the traffic signal changed.
When it comes to Bluetooth, there are three routes to go down. The first is for those who already have a specific make or style of helmet that they want to keep. In this case, you have to find a communication system you like and make it fit.
Option two is to buy a helmet that is Bluetooth compatible. This option will have ear pockets for the speakers and allowances made to attach battery/wiring/controller etc. already built-in as part of its design.
The third is to buy a fully integrated helmet with a Bluetooth system already fitted. This option is the best alternative as everything is pre-installed and ready to go straight out of the box. It’s not always the less costly route, but it’s certainly the path of least resistance.
The third category is the one that we are going to look at, so let’s break down the features that make these Bluetooth ready helmets the best choice.
This injection molded ABS helmet is comparatively light for a modular (a fraction over 4lb). Its low weight doesn’t compromise any of its rigidity or high impact strength as can be seen from both DOT and ECE safety ratings.
The comfort liner is a soft cotton-like material with deodorant, is absorbent and removable for washing along with the cheek pads. Three closable vents on the front and four exhaust vents maximize airflow, and if the temperature goes crazy, you can flip the front.
The BM2-S is Bluetooth 3.0 compliant, and can be used as an intercom with two other riders (1640ft range, but only with other BM2-S systems) and has a built-in FM radio. Pair it with your phone or GPS for hands-free calls and navigation prompts. Talk time on this waterproof unit is up to 12 hrs with a 120hr standby.
Torc says they named their latest helmet after the Mako shark as they’re both lean, mean speed machines, and who are we mere mortals to argue? The shell is an advanced thermo-polymer alloy, which drops weight on its predecessor, but increases safety to DOT and ECE 20.05 standard.
A dual density EPS liner is backed up with a removable/washable laser contoured inner, designed specifically for comfort. An anti-fog coating on the optically correct flat panel face shield should keep things crystal clear and is backed-up by a drop-down sun-shield.
Torc uses a BLINC Bluetooth 2.0 module which has an intercom range of well over 1000ft and is pairable with multiple devices. The Lithium battery is good for 24hrs of talk time and 600hrs standby and unlike the FreedConn comes with its own charger. Other features include a noise canceling mike, call reject and MP3 override.
At three pounds 15 ounces, the polycarbonate shell on the Techno 2 goes a long way towards making it the lightest lid so far. The in-house brand of retail giants, Cycle Gear, Bilt sometimes comes in for criticism over build quality but this second generation Techno seems to have upped its game.
There’s a solid feel to the flip-front helmet, and the standard of paint and finish gives no cause for complaint. Airflow from the vent system is very good and cold weather, and potential breath fogging is kept at bay by a breath guard and chin curtain (removable).
The star of this show is the integrated Sena V3 Bluetooth system. The name speaks for itself and is universally compatible with other makes and models.
Intercom range is good at 1200ft; it will pair effortlessly with multiple devices, has voice command for phone calls and automatically raises the volume based on external noise. Talk time is around 8hrs with a 7day standby.
O’Neal has made a name for themselves playing in the dirt for over 40 years, but they’ve also made a big impression with this road-going helmet. The Commander is another solid feeling helmet with some nice detailing.
As this is a full-face helmet, vents are large and aerodynamically shaped, with the rear exhaust vent integrated into the spoiler. The suede microfiber liner feels particularly swish and along with the cheek pads comes out for washing.
A double D fastener keeps the lid in place, and the anti-scratch/fog main shield features a drop-down sun visor as back up. The Commander gets DOT and ECE safety ratings. Bluetooth connectivity comes courtesy of a BLINK 3.0 unit which has been specifically developed for intuitive use, while on the move.
The usual suspects are available such as voice command, sat nav audio and call answering. You should get around 10hrs of talk time and a 130hr standby. Intercom range is short at 120ft, but that translates to around 20 bike lengths.
Another modular helmet, this time by the I Love Motors group (yup that’s what ILM stands for). According to the manufacturers, the lid meets or exceeds both DOT and ECE standards, although the ECE rating is for the face shield only.
Flipping the front is a one-finger operation, and if you need additional venting with the front down, there are four adjustable intakes on the front and four exhaust. A sliding switch on the left side operates the integral smoke tinted sun-shield.
Hands-free connectivity is via a FreedConn Bluetooth 3.0 system and gives around 8hrs of talk time with 110 standby hours. The helmet’s lithium battery is chargeable from inside the helmet, which is an excellent functional touch.
The system has a built-in FM radio, and call answering/redial and volume commands, etc. are via a triangulated rocker switch on the left side of the helmet.
The integral speakers are clear up to around 55mph according to owner feedback. The Intercom function is available between two riders as long as they are using the same system.
If you’re considering buying a Bluetooth integrated helmet, there are two things to consider before you splash the cash. Firstly, don’t buy one on looks alone and don’t accept a communication system that doesn’t fully meet your needs.
Alternatively, don’t concentrate solely on the Bluetooth spec and put up with a poorly fitting helmet. It’s a tricky balancing act, but with the reward of hands-free calls and a soundtrack to your ride, well worth the bother.
Whichever one of these featured lids you choose to buy, you’ll be making a sound investment with the best 5 Bluetooth motorcycle helmets of 2018.