The 8 Best Bluetooth Motorcycle Helmets
8. Torc T14B
- sleek and recognizable body lines
- dual density eps system
- speakers have no bass
|Model||T14B1 FBK FG L|
|Rating||4.0 / 5.0|
7. VCAN Blinc 136
- 2-way bike to bike communication
- flow through air ventilation system
- very noisy inside at high speeds
|Model||V136 B1 DA / FB/ L|
|Rating||4.0 / 5.0|
6. Hawk H-6618
- abs thermoplastic shell
- quick-release visor
- speakers need more volume
|Rating||4.2 / 5.0|
5. ILM Modular Flip Up
- dsp echo cancellation
- effective noise suppression
- tight around the forehead
|Rating||4.3 / 5.0|
4. Torc T27
- one-button chin bar release
- ece and dot certified
- battery lasts 150 hours on standby
|Model||T27B1 SL L|
|Rating||4.2 / 5.0|
3. FreedConn Flip Up BIF01313
- 500-meter range
- absorbent cheek pads and liner
- up to 12 hours of talk time
|Rating||4.9 / 5.0|
2. AVE A-20 Atom
- anti-scratch and anti-fog visor
- weighs just over 3 lbs
- dot and ece approved
|Rating||4.7 / 5.0|
1. Bilt Techno 2.0
- removable liner
- drop-down tinted sun shield
- metal mesh rear vents
|Rating||4.8 / 5.0|
How Your Helmet Knows What Your Phone Is Thinking
Gone are the days of complicated military hand signals passing between riders on the road. No longer will you have to pull over and wait for your pals to catch up to you, or ride ahead at uncomfortable–even illegal–speeds to catch your friends and talk to them.
But radio frequencies from all our devices must clog the airwaves like so much space garbage. If bluetooth operates on the same radio frequencies as cordless phones, baby monitors, and even garage door openers, how does one device manage to talk to another without interference?
That answer is pretty simple. In addition to bluetooth devices needing to pair with one another, the output signal of any given device is pretty limited, coming in at about 1 milliwatt compared to your cell phone's average 3 watt output.
So that covers your headset from showing up on a car driver's bluetooth earpiece, but what about those stronger signals flying through the air at similar frequencies? Won't they butt in on your tunes?
Well, bluetooth devices employ this very cool thing called spread-spectrum frequency hopping, by which method a single device will randomly select one of 79 unique frequencies, hopping from one to the next up to 1,600 times each second.
I didn't study statistics in college, but I'm willing to bet that kind of system keeps interference at a near impossibility.
Check Your Head
If this is your first helmet purchase, the most important thing you can do to make sure you're satisfied with your new shell is to carefully measure your head circumference.
Most helmets on the market adhere to a pretty specific measuring system, and if a given brand or model doesn't fit that system, you're going to see that comment in every review, the positive and the negative alike.
Once you've squared that away, ask yourself what your primary purpose is for obtaining bluetooth capability? This question is meaningful whether this is your first or your fiftieth helmet.
Are you a marathon motorcycle tourist with an Iron Butt? A good set of speakers and reliable inter-helmet communication with a long range is going to be dear to you.
Are you more of a commuter popping around a complicated city with a great need for GPS direction? Your best bet is likely a helmet whose system has fewer compatibility issues, and the actual sound quality or comms distance might not be as crucial.
Know your noggin. Know your riding style. Choose accordingly.
100 Years On, The Tech Keeps Coming
Craig MacTavish was the last hockey player in the NHL to play without a helmet. His last game was in 1997. It's wild to think that such a dangerous sport could be played without helmets, that even goal tenders went without them for so long.
Motorcycle helmets have, by extension, been around for over 100 years now, with the earliest codified helmets appearing at races in 1914. And, much like the advent of helmets in hockey, riders were skeptical of the new gear's necessity. As lives were saved and concussion rates plummeted, the buckets became a mandatory standard.
Basic radio apparatuses crept onto the road with serious touring riders, at first in the form of hand held walkie talkies, and later with headset microphones attached.
In 2000, the first pieces of bluetooth technology hit the market, and among them was the bluetooth headset and the first mobile phone with the technology built in.
This made it possible, for the first time, to communicate from one helmet to the next, so long as riders were willing to outfit their own helmets with bluetooth systems.
It wasn't long before the industry caught up to the trend and began to release helmets with systems built in.
What tomorrow holds is equally exciting. Spurred on by technologies like the short lived Google Glass, independent innovators and helmet companies alike are exploring the next phase of helmet tech: The HUD, or Heads Up Display.
Any helmet you purchase has a safety shelf life of 5 years, so snatch up one of these bluetooth babies today, and come back here when you're investigating HUD helmets. We've got you covered.