The 6 Best Helmet BT Inserts
The Soundtrack To Your Life On The Road
This is a viable option for shuffling songs on a long ride, but it won’t give you any control over volume, tracks, or incoming phone calls.
For a long time, it didn’t seem like anything could improve this experience.
Riding a motorcycle is one of the few experiences available to the average citizen that provides a genuine sense of freedom. An open road in front of you, your problems receding into the rumbling wake of the motor, and a natural, high-speed breeze combine to give one the stimulating sensation of flying.
For a long time, it didn’t seem like anything could improve this experience. A good soundtrack could do the trick, but unless you owned a touring cycle with a beast of a built-in stereo system, your options for listening to music were severely limited. Headphones don’t fit very well underneath a safely fitted motorcycle helmet either.
Some riders will run ear buds up through their helmets. This is a viable option for shuffling songs on a long ride, but it won’t give you any control over volume, tracks, or incoming phone calls. Also, any chance that you might become entangled in a wire running down to the phone or MP3 player in your pocket could put you at serious risk while on the road.
By equipping your helmet with a Bluetooth insert, you allow yourself the opportunity to safely listen to music along your ride. Since the device is wireless, there’s no worry that you’ll get caught up in any cables. The units also often have controls built into a piece that adheres to the exterior of your helmet. This allows you to raise and lower the volume, answer phone calls, and skip from track to track in your music library.
With a properly installed Bluetooth insert, you’ll also find that it’s easier to run navigation programs to guide you to your destination. That way, you won’t have to pull off to the side of the road every few miles to reread your directions and attempt to memorize any exit numbers or complicated turns.
Signaling Through The Noise
Good tunes, safe navigation, and the ability to take phone calls are all well and good when you’re out riding alone, but some of the most rewarding experiences on motorcycle come from setting out in a group of riders.
Group riding instills a deep sense of community among bikers, as you endure the twists and turns of the road together. There’s an unspoken bond among bikers, and I mean that quite literally. For a very long time, the only way that bikers could communicate with each other on the road was through the use of hand signals.
Different groups of bikers may employ different signals specific to their journeys, riding styles, personalities, and more, but there are a few signals that have a universal appeal for their clarity and ubiquity.
This is where a Bluetooth helmet insert can make a world of difference.
The most familiar of these hand signals are the same ones you probably learned in your high school driver’s education classes, but have rarely, if ever, had to use. They’re your basic left turn (let arm extended straight out), right turn (left arm pointed up, bent at the elbow), and stop (left arm pointed down, bent at the elbow). In a car, these signals are all done with the left hand because that hand has access to the driver’s side window. On a motorcycle, it’s so your right hand can readily manipulate the throttle and brake while signaling. For that reason, all common, inter-cycle signals are all performed with the left hand.
Despite the variety of signals available to bikers, there’s a limit to what you can convey without learning how to speak one-handed sign language. This is where a Bluetooth helmet insert can make a world of difference. When riders in a group all have Bluetooth-enabled helmets, they can use the accompanying microphone system to verbally communicate with one another.
By communicating verbally instead of using hand signals, you never have to take your hands of the controls. The resulting ride is much safer. You’ll also enjoy the ability to casually converse with your group, share observations of beautiful sights, describe dangers in the road ahead, or simply argue about where to stop for lunch.
This kind of communication can also come in handy if you have someone riding on your bike with you. They can hold firmly to your waist and still be able to let you know if they need to take a pit stop, or if they have any other concerns.
Choosing And Installing Your Bluetooth Helmet Insert
Now that you’ve heard of the many benefits these inserts can provide, you’ll want to find a model that suits both your physical helmet and your riding style.
If you routinely ride alone or, at most, with a passenger behind you or in a sidecar, you don’t need to worry too much about radio communication distances. Some of the models on our list can maintain contact with other Bluetooth-enabled helmets across greater distances than others. You can easily sacrifice this feature if you don’t intend on traveling in a group of riders.
Your Bluetooth insert will likely install its small speakers and microphone in a pattern that interweaves with the helmet’s padding.
If, on the other hand, you regularly set out with your fellow bikers on long adventures, the odds are that your formation stretches out across several hundred feet or more. For your purposes, communication distance should be the first thing you use to evaluate the quality of an insert.
Other key features to look for are battery life and noise cancellation. Good battery life will allow you to stay connected longer without having to recharge. Noise cancellation in your microphone will allow your fellow riders — or anyone on the other end of a phone call — to hear you more clearly.
When it comes time to install whichever unit you purchase, follow the instructions carefully. Your helmet is your most important piece of safety gear. Your Bluetooth insert will likely install its small speakers and microphone in a pattern that interweaves with the helmet’s padding. Make sure that your helmet still fits properly after installation is complete.
Also, be sure to install the control portion of your helmet on the left side. This is the piece you’ll use to answer calls, change songs, and more, and you want to manipulate it with your left hand for the same reason that you perform your hand signals on the left side.