Top 5 Bluetooth Motorcycle Helmets
It’s lonely on the road. Maybe that’s the point. But when you want to use call-ahead ordering to secure your seat at the chicken wing establishment, you need a phone. Or, if you can’t find the wing place, the voice of a GPS on a long stretch of highway might be nice.
Yes, you can talk and ride. But you simply will not look cool holding your giant phone up to your face. Also, it’s not safe. Or, legal, depending on where you are.
You could use a headset, but fitting one into a helmet can be tricky. There are lots of chat forums devoted to what gear works best under a helmet.
These are all reasons why Bluetooth motorcycle helmets were invented. They are the latest in extremely cool tools for the avid or novice rider.
There are a surprising number of Bluetooth motorcycle helmets on the market today. Like a lot of motorcycle gear, it’s hard to know which one to pick. You have to find the right mix of good sound and connectivity with a hardcore brain bucket to protect your precious noggin.
Fortunately for you, Motorcycler is always here to help. We’ve compiled a lot of the market research, coupled with a little bit of our own opinion, to help you make the right choice – and maybe avoid a little buyer’s remorse in the process.
Pros and Cons of Bluetooth Motorcycle Helmets
There are a couple of key safety rules for riding a motorcycle. Of course, one of them is the helmet that you may or may not be compelled to wear. But we think having the ability to communicate also offers an element of safety, particularly when you’re riding in a pack of bikes. Being able to intercom that there is an obstacle in the road, for example, is not a bad thing.
Or, letting your rear guard know there’s a sheriff sitting at mile marker 62.
Still, the pros and cons of Bluetooth motorcycle helmets must be weighed against your desire to communicate. Bikers don’t have the luxury of communication without a little help; in a car you just turn your head and say, “Howdy.” Or push a button and start yakking. Motorcycles require a Bluetooth headset or Bluetooth helmet to get the conversation started.
Of course, the problem with a Bluetooth headset is that they lack the brainpan protection of a solid DOT-certified helmet.
On the con side, it is more expensive to buy the headset and then purchase the right helmet to attach it to. The typical Bluetooth headset ranges from $100 to $200. Add that to the cost of the helmet, say, another $300, and you’ve got a good investment going.
There’s also considerable debate about what helmet works best with what headset; forum chats are full of this kind of thing. Wouldn’t it be easier just to get a helmet with everything integrated inside? Well, maybe.
On the flip side of the debate, fixing a Bluetooth helmet can be a pain-in-the-ear bud. Might be easier just to buy a new Bluetooth headset. Or go for a ride in the car. Nah.
Ultimately, your decision whether to go with a Bluetooth motorcycle helmet or a Bluetooth headset must factor in four key considerations:
- Personal preference
- Applicable laws
If you’ve decided to go for a Bluetooth Motorcycle helmet, we’ve got another round of decisions for you to make. Here are our top five Bluetooth helmets for you to consider.
Top Five Bluetooth Motorcycle Helmets [Reviews]
Helmets used to be just about safety. The old adage was the more you paid, the safer your poor head would be in an accident. This isn’t true anymore. You can get a mid-range helmet that is DOT and ECE certified and feel safe on the road.
In case you don’t know these certifications, DOT is Department of Transportation. A DOT certified helmet has been through safety testing, including speed, impact and G-forces. The ECE certification is the standard for impact testing around the world.
Today, though, helmets are about more than safety. They come in a variety of styles and now, with built in communication systems like Bluetooth.
1) Torc T14B Bluetooth Integrated Mako Full Face Helmet with Flag Graphic
Let’s start our review with an inexpensive but effective Bluetooth Motorcycle Helmet, the Torc T14B Bluetooth Integrated Mako Full Face Helmet with Flag Graphic.
The manufacturers tell us it’s named after the Mako shark, so not only is it “toothy” with Bluetooth features (yuck, yuck), it leads the way with a pointed chin and bad attitude. The Mako is actually the fastest shark in the water, which may not have anything to do with how fast you drive when you’re wearing it.
This helmet weighs in around five pounds, so it’s a sturdy little oval piece of equipment that should do a nice job if you ever end up on the pavement. Speaking of, it’s DOT and ECE certified.
Riding a bike in the summer can be a sweaty experience. That can make your helmet a little fragrant. But the Torc has a comfortable, thick inner lining that can be pulled out and machine-washed. The venting works well at keeping you cooler. The inside padding is also laser-contoured for comfort. We’ve heard the helmet runs a little small in terms of average fit; the extra padding may have something to do with it.
Customer reviews say even the chin strap is pretty comfortable. If you’re a serious X-chromosome guy with a big Adam’s apple you won’t find the fit to be intrusive; you’ll be able to swallow bugs with the best road warriors.
For the record, the flag on the Mako is pretty subtle, but still pretty stylish.
The sound on the Bluetooth integration does cut the wind noise with no problem. There is a little distortion at the high end of the volume knob, but the helmet is well designed and the sound quality isn’t bad. There’s a button on the helmet that skips songs, which is vital when you’re on random.
Tip: The charger port is at the base of the back of the helmet under the padding. You’re welcome.
Overall, we like this helmet enough to put it in our top five; it’s definitely a good helmet for the money. It’s a classy black with a grey American flag and comfortable both on urban streets or the open road.
2) O’Neal Commander Bluetooth Helmet
Next up is the O’Neal Commander Bluetooth Helmet, which include the clean lines of the well-designed bucket in matte black, lemon, or white. We think the white looks a little like an Imperial stormtrooper’s helmet – but in the best possible way.
The helmet lining is made of suede that is soft and washable and the shield is both anti-fog and anti-scratch. There’s a sweet spoiler on the back of the O’Neal that looks and feels pretty aerodynamic and suitable for lift off. (As long as you hold on to the bike, though, you should be okay.) The double D-ring chinstrap should keep the thing on your head no matter how fast you go.
It weights a hair over five pounds, and comes in x-small, so it’s suitable for even the most pencil-necked bikers.
Kidding aside, it’s the stereo speakers that we have to rave about here. We’re talking about full-on directional surround sound of your favorite tunes; when a call comes in, the music is cut off. With a full 10 hours of talk time, you can fight with your boyfriend for hours. The Bluetooth 2.0 technology also comes with 130 hours of standby.
The O’Neal also has a drop down sun visor and multiple ventilation ports. The air never smelled so sweet!
3) Hawk H-66 Dual-Visor Modular Motorcycle Helmet with Blinc Bluetooth
Then there is the Hawk H-66 Dual-Visor Modular Motorcycle Helmet with Blinc Bluetooth. This helmet does a nice job drowning out the wind noise without making you completely deaf to what’s happening around you. The intercom system is a very cool standard feature.
A push of a button drops down the interior sun visor. This is handy for when you’re riding off into the sunset. There’s also a one-handed flip-up system to convert it from full-face to open-face. Safety-wise, this is a reliable, 5.3 pound brain bucket with a DOT certification.
There are currently five colors to choose from, but our only disappointment with this helmet is that it currently doesn’t come in pink.
4) TORC T27 Full Face Modular Helmet with Integrated Blinc Bluetooth
The TORC T27 Full Face Modular Helmet with Integrated Blinc Bluetooth is smaller and more lightweight than some of the other models on the market. While it’s 20% less bulky, it’s just as protective, with both ECE and DOT certification.
The TORC T27 has some of the features found on much more expensive helmets; more than ample intake venting, a one button release on the chin bar, and an optically correct shield that eliminates the slight distortion you get with most helmets.
This is a Bluetooth motorcycle helmet meant for precision communication; it has the longest batter life and the cleanest sound quality that we’ve heard in the past five years. The mic is in the left cheek pad, so if you combine multiple BLINC equipped helmets you can talk bike to bike for up to eight hours non-stop.
5) TORC T10B Prodigy Full Faced Helmet with Blinc 2.0 Stereo Bluetooth Technology
The TORC T10B Prodigy Full Faced Helmet with Blinc 2.0 Stereo Bluetooth Technology has a lot of features for the cash you’ll pay. Aerodynamic and sleek, it has ample venting and a machine-washable soft shell to keep you comfortable. For a lower-cost helmet it’s pretty slick; there’s even a spoiler off the back.
Looks-wise, its very sci-fi, which we know will make you want to go out and purchase a full black leather outfit to match. But we digress!
The TORC T10B Prodigy is made with a lightweight ABS thermoplastic shell with perfectly placed forehead and chin vents to keep you cooler. A one-push flip converts the TORC from full-face to open-face. There’s a fast-release scratch resistant faceplate, too, and an interior drop-down smoke visor for sunny riding.
On the Bluetooth side of the features list, there are two speakers for groovy surround sound. Most will agree that eight hours of talk time with 150 hours on standby is plenty. Unless you’re talking to your Mom, of course.
This is a slick little bucket with the ability to call, go bike to bike on intercom, or listen to your favorite jams. There’s a noise canceling microphone, DPS filter, and self-adjusting volume. Like the other Bluetooth motorcycle helmets we’ve reviewed, you can make and receive calls, listen to tunes from your MP3 or XM radio, or get directions from that cranky woman in your GPS.
The TORC T10B weighs a mild 5.3 pounds and is DOT certified.
The controls on this helmet are of course waterproof and glove friendly; what’s the point, otherwise, right? We like no-tools required shield replacement feature and universal intercom protocol that works helmet-to-helmet on any brand.