Tired of screaming across the highway to get your gang to pull over?
Well the geeks have a solution for you: the bluetooth headset.
But picking the wrong one gets you right back to square one, yelling in to a microphone.
Me and my crew put together this list of headsets with you half helmet cruisers in mind. These picks all feature:
- Mics with great sound isolation (so your voice is heard, not the wind)
- Kits with long enough boom mics (most headsets just include a short boom mic suitable for modular helmets only)
- Powerful speakers without distortion (so your music and friend’s come through clear over wind and bike noise)
- Low profile battery units (so you don’t ruin your look with a helmet tumor)
- Included ear cups (to point sound from the speakers into your ears)
Skip to the bottom for our recommended one-and-done setup and one to avoid. I also dropped in alternatives like headphones down there.
Best Bluetooth Headsets for Half Helmets
So what ranks for half helmets? My crew and I think there are three top picks.
Small Groups: Sena SPH10HD-FM-01
If you ride in a group of four or less, this is your winner: The Sena SPH10HD-FM-01 (AKA Sena MouthfulTM ). It comes from the best in the biz and is designed specifically for half helmets.
What does that mean? For one, this kit includes speaker pockets that fit any half helmet and hold the speakers right over your ears. Just slide the finger of the pocket between your helmet’s EPS foam and outer shell, and you’re set.
So it fits any half helmet. But what makes it so great?
Not only are the speakers held close to your ears, but they’re louder than your average headset. The intercom is voice activated, and does pretty well even with wind noise up til highway speeds (1).
Some wind noise coming through is to be expected with a half helmet headset. Sena solved that problem with this unit. You can quickly smack the jog dial to switch the intercom on and off. Voice activated up to 150mph would be nice, but you’re in a half helmet – you can’t ask for much more.
You can connect four motorcycle riders together wearing any brand of headsets over 3,000 ft distance (900 m), which should be enough for most. However, it’s not the best if you ride in a big group (more on that later).
Use this headset to listen to music on any Bluetooth audio devices (i.e. your phone) or via the built-in FM radio tuner. You can also take calls. Advanced Noise Control lets you adjust each speaker’s volume independently in case you have a bad ear on one side. All this will keep going for 7 hours of talk time with the integrated battery.
HARLEY RIDERS TIP: You’ll need a Sena Freewire unit to control your headset with your Harley Davidson’s handlebar controls and BOOM Audio stereo music. I hate that as much as you, but hey, you signed up for the ‘Harley tax’ when you bought a hog!
If you ride in a small group and want a Bluetooth headset tailored to the half-helmet ride, this is your winner.
Big Groups: Sena 50S
The 50S is Sena’s top-notch Bluetooth unit, supporting up to 24 riders on a Group Mesh connection. In Open Mesh mode, you can chat with virtually limitless riders over a staggering 5 mile distance (if you’re all spread out). That’s incredible for big group rides.
This is one of the only units on the market that supports over 4 riders connected at once and ALSO includes a boom mic suitable for half helmets. Usually this unit is installed in full face helmets, but Sena was nice enough to include a boom mic for half helmet riders.
TIP: You may be tempted to pick up the Sena 50R, which has similar features. Avoid it! The Sena 50R doesn’t include that long boom mic you’ll need in a half helmet.
In Open Mesh mode you get NINE channels, like the old CB radio days. That means you don’t have to talk with every rider in your pack – you can switch to a less busy channel. The unit has universal intercom in Bluetooth mode as well, allowing it to connect to any other Bluetooth intercom device from another brand.
The sound quality on this unit is stellar, given Sena partnered with Harman Kardon for the mic and speakers on this unit. The 40mm speakers on this kit are bigger than most headsets, and the Advanced Audio Distribution Profile means solid sound at the low, mid, and high end.
Battery will last you 11-12 hours of talk time. Fast charging gets you 2 hours of battery life in just 20 minutes. Awesome.
This kit is perfect for riders in large groups who want to stay connected. The top notch speakers and mic from Harman Kardon put out the best sound quality. Voice controls are just a bonus.
Pick up a single or dual pack today and get back on the road.
TIP: For ideal fit in to a half helmet, pick up some Vega Ear Pads. These will lock the speakers from your 50S in place right over your ears. A must have with the Sena 50R.
All-In-One: Sena Cavalry
You might have heard of the Cavalry already. Sena built an incredible Bluetooth half helmet that achieved clear sound without a boom mic – by running mics in the brow of the helmet. Stereo headset in the ear slots too. It was a stellar product for cruiser riders.
Want an even better setup than the Cavalry? See what I have for you below.
The Perfect Motorcycle Half Helmet Bluetooth Setup
Need a half helmet and a Bluetooth headset just as good as the Sena Cavalry?
Pick up the LS2 Bagger Helmet for under $100 and pop in either the Sena SPH10H-FM-01 or the Sena 50S. This LS2 lid has built-in speaker pockets and a neck skirt to keep your speakers on your ears and your neck warm. No extra ear pads necessary.
The look is a classic half-helmet style with small lip, just like the Sena Cavalry. It’s DOT approved with a quick-release chinstrap and light fiberglass shell. That peak is removable as well.
Comes in gloss white or black, matte black, and MURICA (black with a bald eagle on the side – I am not making this up). Both Amazon and Revzilla carry this lid.
Alternatives to Bluetooth Headsets
Not happy with any of these options? If you don’t care about intercom and just want music, calls, and GPS directions right in your ears – headphones are a great option.
Say what you will about Apple, but AirPods are incredible. They work flawlessly with Apple devices, and the AirPods Pro have a noise control feature you’ll want to hear about… (more below)
You can wear AirPods on and off the bike, and the battery life is decent. You’ll get about 4-5 hours of battery in normal use, and popping them back in the case will charge them up in about an hour.
You do have the chance that one pod flies out on the road (been there, done that) but some ear pads should hold them in on the highway.
With the AirPods Pro, you get three levels of noise control. In normal mode, they’re just in-ear earbuds. In Active Noise Cancellation, they cut out a lot of wind and engine noise from around you. In Transparency mode, they bring in outside sounds to make it easier to hear people and cars around you.
Anecdotally I can say the sound quality of AirPods is unmatched. You just won’t get better sound quality with a set of speakers laying over your ears, like those that come with every Bluetooth headset. The microphones on the AirPods also work well for calls in a half helmet, at least in city speeds. On the highway, you start to lose a lot of clarity.
For top notch audio quality, the AirPods are your go-to. If you don’t care about intercom, you should look no further.
The Best Bluetooth Headset for Half Helmets
Bluetooth headset makers are unfortunately not very focused on the half-helmet market. It’s slim pickings out there for cruiser riders. That said, Sena has a few kits that nail the needs of a half helmet rider to a T, which we’ve covered above.
If you don’t care about intercom, AirPods or any in-ear Bluetooth earbuds are also a great option for music and calls.
Whatever you choose, remember to enjoy your ride.
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