I have to admit something: I get pretty lonely when I’m riding off road.
Sometimes I want to yell to the person following me to watch out for low bamboo (broken a visor or two). Or cheer for my buddy Sam when he finally climbed over a log without face-planting.
For years I just yelled in to the hot, sticky inside of my helmet.
Until I stuck a Bluetooth unit on my lid so I could chat with my group on the trails.
Now we are laughing all the way up and down the mountain.
Sometimes too hard, and I go tumbling. All in a day’s work.
But my choice of Bluetooth unit and helmet might be different from yours. Why?
I tend to ride hard enduro trails on day trips with a small group. You might be on fire trails in the mountains, or taking two week adventure tours of the Outback. You can certainly use one unit in all those scenarios, but some shine more than others in each. I’ll walk you through the type of helmet and Bluetooth you’ll want for each.
In terms of safety when dirt biking, DOT isn’t really worth the self-certified paper it’s written on. You want helmets that are certified by Snell – who test for impact attenuation – or ECE – who test for energy absorption.
- The Best “Do Everything” Bluetooth Dirt Bike Helmet (w/ hand controls!)
- The Best Mid-Range Bluetooth Dirt Bike Helmet (it’s modular!)
- The Best Bluetooth Motocross Helmets (also the most affordable pick)
- The Popular Bluetooth Setup to AVOID! AT ALL COSTS!
Plus some recommendations for how to pop in dirt bike helmet speakers.
Let’s get in to it.
- Does Everything: Schuberth E1 + Sena 10UA
- Best Mid-Range Dirt Bike Helmet with Bluetooth: Scorpion EXO-AT950 Modular
- Best Bluetooth Motocross Helmet: Bell MX-9 MIPS Helmet
- Avoid! Sena 10U for Klim Helmets
- Best Bluetooth Unit for Dirt Bike Helmet
Does Everything: Schuberth E1 + Sena 10UA
Want to get it over with and buy a helmet already? The Schuberth E1 is your best bet for all things adventure riding, whether that’s day trips or multi-week tours.
The Schuberth E1 is based on the popular C3 road helmet, meaning it’s modular. Raise up that chin bar on a break for some fresh air. The peak is also adjustable to suit your style and the sun’s angle. Drop down the integrated sun visor when you’re riding right into the sunset.
Customized fit is just the beginning. From a safety standpoint, Schuberth went all out with a special fiberglass shell for better impact absorption (read: less rock hurting head) and better aerodynamics. The Anti-Roll-Off System (A.R.O.S.) keeps the helmet on tight even if you take a big tumble.
The COOLMAX pads suck sweat away and dry it using the multipath channels in the EPS foam for ventilation.
This helmet alone is a stellar piece of technology – then you put the custom Sena 10UA Bluetooth unit in and it’s unstoppable for off-road adventures. Let’s look at that next.
Sena 10UA Custom Fit Bluetooth Device
The 10UA upgrades your Schuberth E1 from capable helmet to powerful communication device.
With the 10UA you get a whopping 1 MILE of intercom range. However, that’s the low end, given that the E1 helmet comes with two integrated antennas that boost FM and Bluetooth signal when you use the Sena 10UA.
The intercom supports four-way communication, and you can control volume with two buttons around the chin area or with a remote control on your handlebars. Plus, voice prompts work too! Battery life talk time is 10 hours for a full day of riding.
The unit charges up in just 3 hours, so if you’re out on a long trip you can easily charge it overnight from a backup battery.
How’s sound quality? Schuberth put the E1 helmet through their lab to ensure great sound quality whjen paired with the Sena 10UA, even with your engine brapping away.
The Schuberth E1 and Sena 10UA are a match made in heaven for adventure and off-road riders. Pick up the two today at Revzilla, plus the handlebar remote.
TIP: Check the Sena 10UA page for pre-owned models – sometimes you can save $40-$50 with that.
Best Mid-Range Dirt Bike Helmet with Bluetooth: Scorpion EXO-AT950 Modular
If you plan to hit the road about as much as the trails, and want to pick up a dirt bike helmet cheap, the Scorpion EXO-AT950 is a great choice.
Not as fancy as the Schuberth E1, it’ll burn a smaller hole in your wallet.
What do you get on a budget?
- Modular – chin bar lifts up
- Drop down sun shield – for road riding
- Space for goggles when going off road (removable visor too)
- Adjustable and removable peak
- Average weight at 3.9 lbs (light for a modular)
That sun shield – there’s been some thought put into it. The mechanism is a cable slide, not spring-loaded. Springs get loaded with dirt and rust quickly in dusty and wet adventure conditions; it feels like Scorpion employees have used a helmet off road before.
The shell is polycarbonate, falling short of the Schuberth E1. You get what you pay for, and this lid is about half what the E1 costs.
The dual density EPS foam lining is as safe as you get on most helmets. Talking of safety, it’s only DOT-certified, but no production modular helmet is Snell rated (3). If you want the flip-up chin bar, you can’t have Snell. On the inside is an antimicrobial lining, making it smell not quite so bad after a sweaty ride. You can fully remove it to wash it, too.
What about Bluetooth capability?
This lid doesn’t come with Bluetooth built in or a readymade kit like the Schubert E1. But, Scorpion thought ahead and designed recesses for speakers in to the ear areas. Pick up the Bluetooth kit of choice or scroll to the end of this article for my top pick for off-road Bluetooth unit.
For an affordable and versatile off-road lid, pick up the Scorpion and never look back. It’s half the cost of the Schubert E1 with basically the same features.
Best Bluetooth Motocross Helmet: Bell MX-9 MIPS Helmet
Before you buy a motocross helmet, you have to see what Bell put in the MX-9. AND what they’re selling it for.
The outside of this helmet doesn’t look much different from other off-road lids. You get an ABS plastic polycarbonate shell with vents at the chin and forehead. A nice adjustable peak. Big cutout for any goggles of your choosing.
Read some of the stats and this helmet starts to stand out…
Let’s start with weight: at 3.38 pounds, it’s lighter than average. Not the lightest, but not a brick weighing you down as you thrash around in the dirt.
It also comes in three shell sizes, meaning a more custom fit for your size. Most helmets in this price range use one or two shell sizes, so smaller sizes have to deal with an oversized, heavy helmet while bigger heads get less padding.
But the rear kicker? That MIPS in the name stands for Multi-Directional Impact Protection System, and it means less twisting on your head in a crash. MIPS allows your head to move independent of the outer shell, greatly improving safety in a crash. That earned it ECE certification on top of DOT.
And let’s face it: off road, it’s not a matter of if, but WHEN.
The best feature of this Bell lid is the price. You could but FOUR of these for about the same price as a SINGLE Schuberth E1. Not bad for a helmet with top-notch safety features.
But what about Bluetooth? Is this a motocross helmet with speaker space, or just an echo chamber for my yelling? You’re not getting a pre-built system in this helmet given the price, but it is a perfect match for our recommended off-road Bluetooth down below.
Avoid! Sena 10U for Klim Helmets
You might have taken a look at the Klim Krios or Arai XD-4, which both pair with purpose built Sena 10U units. Let me give you a word of warning on the Sena 10U.
Normally Sena makes amazing products – so I’m not sure what went wrong here. The Sena 10U, which is designed to fit the Klim Krios or Arai XD-4 like a glove, just sucks.
It’s discontinued now, for good reason. The speakers just didn’t work and the unit was liable to crap outin a few months. It was basically useless for anything but intercom and even then, most people I’ve talked to had a hard time hearing anyone through it.
Such a shame, because the design looked good and the range was amazing at 1 mile.
That said, the Klim Krios is a fantastic helmet. And if you don’t mind a small Cardo or Sena device hanging off the side of it, it would make a great Bluetooth dirt bike helmet.
Klim is the cream of the crop in adventure motorcycling gear, from boots to jackets, helmets and gloves. They serve the middle and upper price ranges with well-constructed and meticulously designed gear.
The Klim Krios helmet is no exception. It is one of the lightest off-road helmets on the market due to its carbon resin shell. It weighs just three pounds, less than any other adventure helmet I could find.
Klim didn’t compromise on safety when they cut out weight. The Klim Krios Karbon is ECE certified in addition to DOT, which is rare for an adventure helmet.
You get a wide field of view with the Klim Krios – good for spotting hanging branches and gravel patches – with one reviewer noting “I have over 15 helmets, the amount of peripheral vision is unmatched” (1). You can slap a Pinlock visor in there for anti-fog as well
With such an open view, there’s plenty of space to fit goggles as well. The peak is also fully removable, in case you want to use this on the road. In fact, this helmet is incredibly versatile:
Toss a Cardo Packtalk Edge in there and you’re ready to hit the dirt.
Best Bluetooth Unit for Dirt Bike Helmet
Most Bluetooth units have a HUGE problem when it comes to off-road and dirt bike riding – they’re bulky! That little extra unit has a habit of snagging tree branches and tugging on your neck.
A bad swipe might even take your $300 unit and toss it in to the jungle, never to be seen again.
So when I went hunting for the best Bluetooth unit for dirt bike helmets, I looked for:
- Low Profile units that were unlikely to snag on anything
- Long lasting battery – for hours on the trails
- Long-range – through trees and down trails you need to have your comms
- Compatible with remote controls – so you can keep your eyes on the bars.
The best unit in all these categories is the Sena 10R. It’s super slim and light, you get 10 hours talk time, and nearly 3,000 feet of range on the intercom.
This unit is compatible with any helmet and will connect to any other Bluetooth unit for intercom. Listen to music with the voice-activated intercom while in a group of up to 4 people. You can even share music between all four riders in your intercom group.
Wired and boom mics come in the box, along with the speakers and all the mounting accessories you need.
You can also hook it up to just about any handlebar remote from Sena, like the Sena RC4.
Do dirt bike helmets have Bluetooth?
Some dirt bike helmets do have Bluetooth integrated, such as the Sedici Viaggio Parlare Sena Bluetooth ADV Helmet. It’s a reasonable helmet but didn’t make it onto our list because it’s only DOT certified and the Bluetooth range is only 1,500 feet. It’s just outclassed by the other options.
If you really want an integrated Bluetooth dirt bike helmet, it’ll do the job.
Can I use a dirt bike helmet on the street?
As long as the helmet is DOT certified, yes you can use your dirt bike helmet on the street. If you’re driving at speeds over about 40mph, you’ll probably want to remove the peak to prevent lift and put the visor back on to reduce wind noise, too.
Can I put speakers in a dirt bike helmet?
Yes, a dirt bike helmet with speakers is easy to make with any Bluetooth headset from Sena or Cardo. Pick up a Bluetooth headset like the Sena 10R and add it onto your helmet. You’ll be able to intercom with riding buddies, take calls, get GPS directions, and listen to music from your phone.
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