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What Should I Know About Bluetooth Headsets Before I Buy One?

Bluetooth Headset
Bluetooth headset for motorcycle

Sena SMH10D-10 BT Headset Intercom 2 Count

A lot of riders choose to gear up their helmet with their choice of Bluetooth communications systems rather than buy a helmet with Bluetooth ready fitted. This enables the rider to select from a range of options and customize to their current and future needs. If you are in the market for a new Bluetooth Headset or kit and not sure where to start, the following features are the bare minimum requirements you should consider before spending any money.

Bluetooth headset for motorcycle

Sena SPH10H-01 BT Stereo Headset Intercom Half Helmets

RIDING WITH FRIENDS WITH A BLUETOOTH HEADSET
Are you likely to go out for a group ride?  If you are, the number of riders you want to pair (connect) your communications with whilst out riding is something you need to consider with your Bluetooth headset. If there are 8 riders in your group or more, you will need to know which Bluetooth systems can stretch to 8+ riders. Some Bluetooth systems, like the Sena range’s intercoms can suit 4 – 10 riders depending on the model.
Have a good idea of how many people you may be riding with at any given time – and then ask for the appropriate intercom that will suit your needs.Bluetooth headset
INSTANT ACCESS to AUDIO and SPEECH With MULTIPLE RIDERS
Not all systems will allow for your friends to talk and listen at the same time, some requiring toggling between riders only allowing for 1 rider to speak at a time. Check that the Bluetooth units you are looking at enables all riders to speak and listen simultaneously .i.e. Bluetooth systems allow for the flow of backwards and forwards communications with all riders linked into the Bluetooth system.

Bluetooth headset for motorcycle

Sena BT Headset FM Tuner Intercom Kit Full Face Helmet

HANDS-FREE BLUETOOTH HEADSETS
This type of Bluetooth system is exactly as the name suggests, a hands free system that is activated by a voice prompt. Also known as Dynamic Communication, this Bluetooth system allows for a safer hands-free experience through speaking into the mic while riding.
When you speak into the mic, this will activate the dynamic communication – so that you can answer your phone, conference call others, listen to music and access your GPS navigation directions. The idea is that there are no fussing with dials or switches – meaning no need to take your hands off your bike which enhances safety.Bluetooth headset
RANGE
Note that there can be significant variations between Bluetooth headsets and their range. If you simply want a headset that can communicate with your passenger or one other rider, then you will find that this is generally well catered for. The greater range that you want, with some Bluetooth systems ranging from 30 yards to 1 mile, generally the more pricey the system is going to be. Other obstacles that are going to affect the range of a Bluetooth headset will depend on the landscape you are riding in. If you are in an urban built up area with buildings, your range will be impacted more than if you are riding out in the country.

TALK TIME
This is the amount of time you will be able to speak on your headset, usually provided in hours. This can range from 6 hours to 10 hours.

STAND-BY TIME
This is the amount of time your battery headset will last before it will need to be replaced. This measure is usually provided in days.

Bluetooth Headset for motorcycle

Shark SHKC6800 Black 1000 Watt 4 Ch Audio System

SOUND
Sound – funnily enough, with the many features and cool things that a Bluetooth system can do, sometimes the sound quality can be forgotten. So be sure to check this, perhaps ask for a test-drive of one of the Bluetooth headset devices in your local store. If this is not possible, check out bike forums or read reviews online of the headset you are considering. Usually you will find someone somewhere has something to say about the headset you are considering.Bluetooth headset
AUDIO BOOSTER
This is a like an amp-up booster that enhances the sounds you are hearing out of your speaker or ear phones whether that is music or someone’s voice.

GPS SYSTEM
As with a dynamic communication system, you may find Bluetooth headsets that can provide navigational directions to you through a voice prompt. Naturally this is a safer option as the less a riders hands leave the bike, the safer they will be.

BRAND and DEVICE COMPATABILITY
Universal Intercom allows for the pairing from one brand device to other brands of Bluetooth headsets. This is particularly important if you have a different brand of Bluetooth to others in your riding group. Brand compatibility is becoming much more common now with many Bluetooth Headset companies getting on board with the need for riders to be able to connect to other riders who have a difference taste in headsets.
You will also want to check compatibility with your phone, to ensure that your phone can function with your Bluetooth headset with ease and clarity. Along with this, check that you can stream your music with the device you are buying. Most devices will enable you to stream your music to the group or the passenger you are riding with.

BATTERY TIME and TYPE
It is always important to note how long the battery will last (talk time) and the charging time. Also, ask what type of battery the headset will require. Some headsets use lithium polymer and average charging time is about 2.5 hours.

Bluetooth headset for motorcycle

Vnetphone V5 1200m BT Headset

WATER RESISTANT
Weather as we know is unpredictable, there for a water resistant system in essential so that you are covered in more ways than one.

INSTALLATIONBluetooth headset
After investing in the Bluetooth headset kit, the first thing you’ll need to do is attach the headset clamp and position it in your helmet so that the mic is placed comfortably.

The motorcycle helmet speakers will need to be installed with care so that they don’t damage the internal head or cheek padding. To check the placement of the set, put on your helmet multiple times to ensure its convenient position.
Note that most Bluetooth speaker kits purchased can be installed easily into most helmets, sometimes within 1 hour. If you are purchasing a kit at a local store, ask the attendant if they will do the install for you, or if you want to do it yourself, ask them to instruct you how to do it.

OTHER FEATURES TO CONSIDER
•    Noise cancellation and wind noise reduction
•    Warranty period
Above are some of the basic features of a Bluetooth headset. Good luck with your selection and if you want to compare against helmets already kitted out, check out our Top 10 Bluetooth Helmets.

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