Until recently there was no way to talk to your buddies riding beside or in front of you, let alone to talk to someone in an entirely different location.
If you wanted to listen to music you could install a handlebar radio. If you were lucky you could actually hear said radio over your bike’s engine, road noise and the wind.
Finding places used to be a challenge, as well. Until a relatively few years ago your only option was paper maps. When GPS arrived it was hard to hear on a motorcycle and generally not well-suited for bikers.
Now you have the option of a Bluetooth helmet to solve all of those problems.
Bluetooth helmets let you connect to your cell phone so you can have a phone conversation with anyone while you’re on the road. You can hear and be heard clearly even on the highway. With some helmets, you can also talk directly, without a cell phone, to other bikers using the same Bluetooth system and riding within a short distance of you.
You can also connect to your phone or MP3 player to listen to music inside your helmet, without interference from the wind, the road or the engine.
Bluetooth helmets also work with GPS units to make finding where you’re going much easier and less stressful.
We’ve reviewed four of the top Bluetooth helmets to give you more information on what’s available.
The Racing Commander, which meets DOT/ECE safety standards, makes seeing where you’re going easy with an anti-scratch and anti-fog shield to keep your vision clear and a drop-down sun visor to shield your eyes from the harsh sun.
The Racing Commander boasts removable and washable liner and cheek pads made of soft microfiber suede for comfortable wear. With fully adjustable flow-through ventilation and an aerodynamic spoiler integrated into the helmet design, you’ll love how great this helmet feels to wear.
Two high quality speakers provide stereo sound inside the helmet for music, phone calls, GPS or rider to rider intercom with other riders within 100 feet.
If you’re listening to music, using the intercom or using the GPS when you get a call, the Racing Commander’s Bluetooth device will automatically override your current activity for the incoming call. Add a one-touch control for answering, rejecting and redialing calls, and the Racing Commander offers practically everything you need for communicating, navigating and listening to music on your bike.
Making this helmet even better is the volume of the Bluetooth device, which is louder than many comparable helmet devices.
The FCC-approved Bluetooth 2.0 device in the Racing Commander provides 10 hours of talk time and 130 hours of standby time on the included lithium polymer battery, which comes complete with charger.
As with anything, there are a couple of drawbacks to the Racing Commander. Even with the vents, you may still hear a bit of wind noise under the chin, though you’ll be able to hear the sound in your speakers just fine.
You may also find that the instructions that come with the helmet are not very detailed, but you will be able to figure out the workings on your own or consult Google for a tutorial.
These two minor disadvantages don’t override the quality of this affordable helmet.
Like its predecessor, the Fastrack II lets you sync your media device, phone and GPS with the helmet’s Bluetooth device so you can listen to music, talk on the phone, communicate with your passenger or other riders using the BLINC Bluetooth module and use your GPS in voice command mode and hear everything clearly inside your helmet. You don’t have to wear a mic against your mouth, and there’s no cord hanging out of the helmet; it’s all wireless.
The Fastrack II’s shell is made from fiberglass to be ultra-lightweight. The aerodynamic shape and slippery coating of the helmet give you excellent stability at speed. Adjustable multiport flow-through ventilation keeps you cool inside the helmet.
The face shield is scratch-resistant and doesn’t fog, so you can always see where you’re going. A removable and washable comfort liner made from technical fabric cushions your head and keeps you comfortable.
The BLINK built-in Bluetooth system features high-quality stereo sound from two multi-directional speakers.
A noise-canceling microphone lets the person on the other end of the line hear you, not wind or road noise.
A glove-friendly control button lets you operate the system while riding, without removing your glove. It couldn’t be easier to use.
The FCC-approved BLINC system, which lets you listen to music through a Bluetooth-compatible MP3 player or phone, talk on the phone or use your GPS in voice command mode, features a rechargeable battery for up to 4 hours of talk time and up to 100 hours of stand-by time.
Syncing your phone or device to the BLINC Bluetooth system is simple, and you only have to sync once, so you won’t waste time re-syncing or get out on the road and realize you haven’t synced your device.
You may find that the sound is a little hard to make out at highway speeds, depending on how loud your bike is, and you may find the initial charging process difficult due to poor instructions.
Other than these two slight issues, the Fastrack II is an excellent Bluetooth street helmet.
The C3 Pro is extremely light in weight, with the small shell weighing in at 1700g. The light weight comes from a reinforced sandwich construction of fiberglass and Dyneema. This construction makes the shell not only lightweight but also extremely rigid and impact-resistant. This helmet also provides optimum absorption of impact energy in the case of a crash, so you can feel safe with the C3 Pro.
A new and improved spoiler creates less drag and more down force, for a more aerodynamic ride.
Because seeing the road clearly is an imperative, the C3 Pro features an anti-scratch polycarbonate injection-molded face shield. This optically correct face shield includes Pinlock to prevent fogging, and turbulators to decrease wind noise. You can expect wind noise with the C3 Pro to be about 82 db at 60 mph.
The helmet’s integrated ventilation channels increase airflow around your head for greater comfort, and Coolmax ThermoCool antibacterial and antiallergenic liners keep you comfortable and come out for washing.
The C3 Pro is DOT/ECE approved, and features integrated antennas for radio and Bluetooth, so when you plug in a Bluetooth system you’re ready to go.
One downside to the C3 Pro is that it doesn’t come with the Bluetooth system preinstalled. It’s a modular helmet, so you’ll buy that separately. For some people that’s a deal breaker, and for others it’s a nice feature.
The C3 Pro is a pretty expensive helmet, which may also be a deal killer, but the quality and comfortable fit make it well worth the price.
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In addition to its technological features, the Techno offers great ventilation along with a removable lining and a drop-down sun shield for the ultimate comfort while enjoying your Bluetooth helmet.
The high-tech injection-molded polycarbonate shell comes in either a metallic finish with double lacquer or a flat matte finish so your helmet fits your style.
Inside the helmet an integrated DWO-3 Bluetooth system puts you in control of music, phone, GPS and rider to rider or rider to passenger intercom.
The Techno lets in a bit more wind noise and weighs a little more than some more expensive helmets, but the noise and weight are minor and well worth the savings for this helmet.
The helmets reviewed here are four of the most popular Bluetooth helmets on the market, and offer the most in-demand features including not only Bluetooth connectivity but also comfort and visibility.
If you’re in the market for a good Bluetooth helmet, any of these options will provide you with a comfortable ride and excellent wireless communication, whether you’re listening to music, being told where to go by your GPS, talking on the phone or chatting with your passenger or other riders over the intercom. A helmet, particularly a more expensive Bluetooth helmet, is an investment you’ll have for years to come. It’s important to find the right one for you. Hopefully these reviews have helped.