- Bluetooth has added a whole new dimension to our media and communication experiences; the convenience, ease, and freedom from wires is unparalleled, and it doesn't stop with your home, office, or car. Bluetooth helmets have emerged as a handy tool for motorcyclists, allowing communication without being wired. You can talk to your riding partners, you can listen to tunes while traveling down the road; you can stop and access your phone, GPS, or other paired devices with ease. Oh yeah, and you're protecting your head. Having a great Bluetooth helmet gives you yet another incentive to stay upright on your bike. Because this is a relatively new product line, it can be difficult to choose the best Bluetooth helmet for your needs, your lifestyle, and your budget. This guide will talk about some of the best helmets on the market to help make that decision a bit easier.
What Can You Do with a Bluetooth Helmet?
- Bluetooth has caught up to bikers, and it offers not only convenience, but greater safety. The most popular and useful application for bikers' Bluetooth is as a helmet intercom system. This frees up your hands and frees you from any wires that might have to be used otherwise, increasing the level of safety with which you ride. A helmet has to be a safety device first. All the fun add-ons are just that, add-ons. The helmet you choose has to be safe, comfortable, and reliable. Bluetooth is a definite bonus though. Choosing Your Bluetooth Motorcycle Helmet
- To ensure that you get the best helmet for your money, there are a few things to look out for. One important feature is battery life. You're going to be on the road, and you don't want it to cut out halfway through your ride, especially if you need it to communicate with your group or if you need your GPS function. Wrong turns happen, but they seem to wait until your battery has run out. Look for long talk and standby times. The next thing to watch for is volume adjustment. No matter what type of bike you're riding, there will be a certain level of noise. Self-adjusting Bluetooth helmets will take road noise into account and adjust so you can better hear. Make sure you're getting what you want: if you want to listen to music, for instance, see what you'll need to make that happen. Do you need a Bluetooth-enabled phone or can you connect your iPod or other mp3 player? You will also want to make sure your helmet is compatible with any device you already have and wish to use with your helmet. More basic still, make sure that if you want to communicate with other riders in your group, that the headset or helmet is set up to accommodate that. Some are helmet intercoms and GPS-enabled only, while others have the added capability of bike-to-bike, mp3 player, and more. One more important thing to note here: you can't communicate bike-to-bike unless you have the same Bluetooth manufacturer. If you do, you can then pair the helmets. Bluetooth helmet reviews
- We found plenty to consider online at Webbikeworld.com and in Ducati forums. Since the products are relatively new, reviews are just starting to get posted online so we will update this article as we get more feedback on all the brands. Browse the best selling Bluetooth helmets here
Best Bluetooth Motorcycle Helmets:
One more factor you want to take into consideration before buying your Bluetooth helmet is price. Like any product line, there is a huge range of prices. At the top end, we have the N102 N-Com
, which Wired.com calls the "Winnebago of the helmet world." This is certainly a top-of-the-line helmet: the base helmet offers a stable, durable aerodynamic polycarbonate shell, pivoting chin bar with stainless steel latch, safety dual-action Centromatic release, Vision Protection System (VPS), removable and washable interior, Jet Stream Wing top vent, chin bar vents, quick-change Lexan face shield, UVA and UBV protection, multi-position anti-scratch shield, NFR anti-fog insert, antimicrobial hypoallergenic interior, velour chin strap padding, and DOT (Department of Transportation) certification. The base helmet itself lists for $379, but you can find it for a bit over $300 on Amazon. The N102 N-Com is "N-Com ready." N-Com is Nolan's communications system. To enable Bluetooth, you'll need to buy and install the N-Com System
. With that addition, you can connect your phone, mp3 player, GPS unit, intercom, and bike-to-bike communication. You'll also pay an additional $225. Wired.com calls it "incredibly comfortable and incredibly capable."
If you're not ready for the Winnebago quite yet, you can try the more budget-friendly Element Fastrack
. Budget-friendly is not code for cheap or lacking in features. This is a solid, well-equipped helmet. It features fully removable and washable liners, quick release visor system, full ventilation system, lithium battery, multifunctional LED, rechargeable battery with up to 100 hours of standby or 4 hours of talk time, self-leveling volume control, full-face street shell, and multiple vents and air ports. It is FCC-approved and exceeds DOT standards. It also has a fully integrated Bluetooth 1.2 system, easy-to-use buttons (even with gloves on), noise cancellation microphone, and voice or button answer function. Finally, it's radio interference free and ready for use with your GPS, mp3 player, and helmet-to-helmet use. You can see an excellent review here (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LNeBzD23k1w). One Amazon reviewer called it a "brilliant helmet." This packed - and safe - helmet can be found for $270.
Another choice in the same price range is the VCan Integrated Bluetooth Motorcycle Helmet BLINC 136. This is $229 (see all VCAN helmets here
), and offers easy set-up, good sound quality, and fully integrated Bluetooth. This is not as fully loaded as the Element Fastrack, but it is an affordable solution that, as one reviewer says, does what it's supposed to.
You can also get a Bluetooth headset for your existing helmet, which may be a more convenient solution. BlueAnt is a worldwide leader in Bluetooth technology, and their Blueant F4 Stereo Bluetooth Interphone Motorcycle Kit
was a crowd pleaser at the 2010 CES (Consumer Electronics Show). This headset allows you to talk hands-free on your cell phone, use an interphone feature with another user with 1640 feet, connect your GPS, and listen to Bluetooth A2DP compatible mp3 players. It has voice-answer, automatic voice dialing, redial (if your phone allows), automatic volume adjustment, up to 8 device pairing, up 10 hours of talk time or 700 hours of standby. It's important to note that this headset can only allow intercom and communication with other F4 headsets. You can find it for $250.
When buying your Bluetooth motorcycle helmet, consider safety first. Comfort and good fit are essential. Second, though, make sure the Bluetooth features will add convenience and ease; consider the connectivity you will have and the level of communication you can achieve with others. An F4, for instance, is not going to do you much good for bike-to-bike or intercom if no one else you ride with has one. You can look at a selection of Bluetooth motorcycle helmets and headsets here