ILM Bluetooth Modular Helmet 953 – Not The Best

Looking for an ILM helmet? The company makes a few different versions and here we’re focusing on the ILM Bluetooth helmet in a modular configuration, called the ILM 953. The company has been making motorcycle gear like helmets, gloves and boots since 2013 is a fully-online brand, so they’re not new to the industry. 

As motorcycle helmets go – and especially ones with Bluetooth integrated – it’s reasonably priced. Many Bluetooth units alone sell for more than this helmet!

ILM Helmet in Modular Style with Bluetooth in Black
One of 4 colorways – Matte black, gloss black, gloss white or gloss red. Image Source: ILM

We’re going to give you the full rundown of everything you need to know about the ILM 953, as well as other helmets we think you should buy instead. We’ll go through: 

  • The helmet specs
  • The tech in this ILM helmet
  • Our honest opinion

Then we’ll answer some of the questions we hear a lot when we’re talking about the ILM modular helmet with Bluetooth. 

Let’s get right down to it. 

The ILM Bluetooth Modular Helmet

The ILM 953 is a dual visor modular helmet that you can buy in three colors: 

  • Matte black
  • Gloss black
  • White
  • Red
ILM 953 opened, in red
The ILM Modular with chin bar up. Image Source: ILM

It comes in M, L, and XL but whether that’s three different shell sizes or one shell with different liner, we can’t confirm. For the price of it, we’d assume it’s a single shell size. 

Sizing chart for the ILM motorcycle helmets
ILM provides a sizing chart for optimal fit. Image Source: ILM

For a normal helmet, 1995 g, or 5.5 lbs, might seem a bit weighty. Considering this is a Bluetooth helmet, it’s not all that heavy with the battery and electronics tucked inside.

In terms of certifications, it’s DOT-approved. There’s some confusion about if this ILM helmet is ECE-certified. The company doesn’t claim it to be but says that it “Meets or Exceeds both ECE and DOT Safety Standards” (2), which is a subtle but important difference. Seems they think it passes, but ECE might disagree.

The ILM Helmet – Shell

The ILM 953 is a modular helmet, meaning it covers your full face but you can raise the chin bar and make it into a three-quarter helmet. It’s handy to be heard properly when making a drive-thru order, but you’d probably not ride with it up. 

The shell is made from ABS, or acrylonitrile butadiene styrene – plastic. This is one of the most common plastics for motorcycle helmets (1), mainly because it’s reasonably strong and cheap. Make no mistake, ABS passes safety tests but it’s definitely not the best material for a super-safe lid. 

The ILM 953 in white, showing the Bluetooth controls.
Easy to reach and sleek bluetooth controls are integrated on the lower left side of this lid. Image Source: ILM

In terms of ventilation, you get a chin vent, some forehead vents, and a rear exhaust. The vents at the front of the ILM helmet can be opened and closed easily, even when you’ve got your gloves on. 

The ILM Bluetooth Modular Helmet – Lining and Padding

Under the shell, you get EPS foam. We don’t get told if it’s dual- or multi-density, which are the best types of EPS foam to dissipate impact, but EPS is the minimum you’d expect in a decent motorcycle helmet. 

For the lining, you can fully remove it to keep it clean, which is helpful. It’s possible to buy a new lining from the company, but there isn’t a price quoted on the website (3). 

The underside of the ILM 953, showing the interior.
A simple ratchet strap and quick release pads, plus a chin curtain. Image Source: ILM

The lining feels a bit thin around the forehead. It might not be a huge issue, but it could get irritating if it puts pressure on an annoying point or conversely allows your head to shake around inside the helmet. The lining in general is pretty soft, too, which means you’ll probably need to replace it sooner. 

More than a few people have found it annoying enough to leave comments about the lining quality, or lack of, citing that the foam is “stiff and hard” and that the padding at the top is “very thin” (4).

ILM Dual Visor Modular Helmet – Visor

One of the nifty things you get with this particular ILM Bluetooth helmet is two visors. More accurately, you get:

  1. A normal, clear visor that you’ll need to treat with anti-fog yourself
  2. An internal sun visor, tinted so you don’t need your sunglasses
ILM modular bluetooth helmet from the left side with sun visor
The sun visor is controlled by a slide on the left-rear of this helmet. Image Source: ILM

Your sun visor can be dropped and retracted with a slider on the left side of the helmet, while the normal visor lifts and drops by simply pushing it up and down. 

Replacement visors are available through Amazon, with a tinted or clear one costing less than $20. 

Extras on the ILM Bluetooth Helmet 953

It’s worth noting that the buckle on the 953 is a quick-release catch rather than a double-D ring. This isn’t the worst thing in the world, but in testing a double-D ring comes out on top in terms of being the safest way to secure your head in your helmet. 

You get a chin curtain included, which is handy to block out loads of wind that would rush up and cause lots of noise

The rest of the tech info is coming right up. 

The ILM Bluetooth Tech

We’ve got the helmet-y stuff down, but what you’re really here for is the internal tech. The 953 and 953 Pro are the flagship modular Bluetooth helmets from ILM, but is the tech worth the investment? 

The Bluetooth Onboard the ILM 953 Helmet

Between the foam and the lining of this helmet, you get a Bluetooth system. It’s made up of: 

  • Two speakers positioned over your ears
  • A microphone that sits on your left jawline
  • A Bluetooth control unit on the outside-left 
  • A battery that’s charged at the back
ILM bluetooth explained - phone calls are a priority.
Much smarts!

The connection is done through Bluetooth 3.0. The most up-to-date Bluetooth version is 5.0 but the big advances have been in battery life, so the 3.0 unit in this helmet will communicate fine up to 1,000 ft.

As well as being able to connect your phone to make phone calls, listen to tunes as you cruise, or get your turn-by-turn GPS direct to your helmet, you can chat to your riding buddies. Up to three riders can intercom with paired helmets. 

The Pro version of the ILM Bluetooth helmet ups that to 6-8 riders on the intercom. Sounds pretty cool, but everyone on your trip needs an ILM Bluetooth system – you can’t pair Bluetooth helmets from other brands. The Pro version also boasts higher intercom distances.

ILM Pro Bluetooth distance data
The ILM Pro offers more connections and further range.

The Comms Quality on the ILM Bluetooth Helmet

On the ILM website, we’re told you get “DSP Echo Cancellation and Noise Suppression Technology” which “offers high-quality voice [at] high speed” (2), It sounds great, but in practice, we’ve heard and read that people on the other end of the line might not catch what you’re saying clearly if you get up to highway speeds. 

The speakers are pretty loud for the size of them. They definitely lack bass, though – you’d not expect too much from a Bluetooth headset, to be fair. 

Does it work? Some of the time . We’ve seen a good number of reviews that say it works fine, but we’ve seen enough negative ones to question the quality of this system – with one reviewer commenting they “can barely hear the intercom feature over all the wind noise” and another saying “one of the bluetooth modules randomly turns on and off” after riding in the rain (4). 

Battery Life of the ILM Bluetooth Modular Helmet 

Looking at the manufacturer’s specs, you should be able to use this ILM helmet for up to 8 hours on the intercom system. Phone calls, music, and GPS should run up to 11 hours. Leaving the helmet on standby, it should stay juiced for up to 110 hours. 

That is, if you get a battery. There are several reviews saying something like the helmet was “missing the battery, the charger and the manual” and that customer service was not helpful – which is cause for concern (4). So you might be waiting longer than you expect to try out the Bluetooth. 

Our Assessment of the Modular ILM Bluetooth Helmet

As Bluetooth helmets go, this ILM helmet raises many doubts. We don’t think it’s the best Bluetooth helmet out there, or even the best modular Bluetooth helmet, and we wouldn’t recommend you buy it. 

A helmet isn’t the best place to cut corners. For the same price, you can get a much more reliable lid with equally solid technology. 

Pros

  • The Bluetooth system works well at city speeds
  • The three-point wheel for Bluetooth controls is easy to use
  • You get a good value helmet

Cons

  • There’s a fair bit of wind noise that you’ll need to cancel out
  • The sizing seems to run small, which is a bit annoying
  • When you want to hit the road and get decent speeds on the clock, your comms won’t be great
  • “Tinny” speakers with “poor sound quality while streaming music” according to reviewers (4)

For a similar lid at a comparable price point, check out the BILT Techno 3.0 or Sena Impulse (new in 2022). If you’d still rather purchase the ILM 953, see the link below. We’ve linked to the Pro version, since it’s only slightly more expensive than standard.

FAQs About the ILM Bluetooth Helmet

Are all bluetooth helmets compatible?

Not all Bluetooth helmets are compatible; it depends on the brand of Bluetooth helmet you buy. ILM Bluetooth helmets will only work with other helmets from the same company, or other FreedConn headsets. 

Is ILM a good helmet?

ILM is a reasonable helmet sold at a low price point. There are other helmets that we’d choose before one from ILM that are not much more expensive, like the BILT Techno 3.0 or Sena Impulse (new in 2022). 

Where are ILM helmets manufactured?

It’s not easy to track down the origins of ILM helmets. The user guide that comes in the box is for a model BM2-S, which leads back to a company called FreedConn – known as a mid-tier bluetooth headset maker based in Shenzhen, China. 

The page on Freedconn's website for the BM2-S, also know as the ILM 953.
The model number in the ILM 953 user guide led us to the FreedConn BM2-S. Either FreedConn or ILM produce both of these products. Image Source: FreedConn

Are ILM helmets safe? 

ILM helmets meet the DOT safety standards required in the USA, but that is not a very high bar. None of the company’s helmets are ECE-certified. The materials used are on the cheaper side – ABS is a low-quality shell material and as far as we can tell the EPS foam isn’t dual- or multi-density. While ILM touts their in-house safety testing setup, we wouldn’t trust this helmet considering the other options on the market.