I was recently given the opportunity to test out a Sena Cavalry Bluetooth half helmet and wanted to share my thoughts especially with April being Motorcycle Helmet safety month.
Fit and Finish:
The helmet sizing guide on https://www.sena.com/product/cavalry-helmet/#sizingguide was spot-on, I sent them my helmet size based on the sizing guide and the helmet is a perfect fit.
The helmet quality is on par with most half helmets I have owned. The build quality is extremely high and the look and weight are where they need to be. If this helmet didn’t have Bluetooth connectivity I could see it being an everyday helmet due to the construction of the helmet. The Bluetooth Communications Module is very low profile only sticking out about a ½ inch from the helmet and the controls are raised so that you can feel them through motorcycle gloves.
Bluetooth Pairing was very simple, using the quick start guide instructions I was able to pair the helmet to my phone in about a minute and a half. Sena also provides a full User Manual on their website https://www.sena.com/manual/cavalry-bluetooth-half-helmet/ . The User Manual has some additional settings and information that the quick guide does not have and I found that it came in handy.
Pairing to my touring motorcycle:
I was also able to pair the helmet with my Indian Chieftains built in Bluetooth system with the help of this video (https://youtu.be/QFFGX0hxMYQ). I’m sure Harley-Davidson and Honda have something similar. This allowed me to see the number that was calling my pop up on my in-dash display.
The first test of call quality was indoors just calling my wife in the next room. She was amazed that I was actually calling her from a motorcycle helmet which said to me that the call quality was very good on her end and I could hear her perfectly on my end.
I was able to get a maiden trip in with the helmet in late in late February (I live in Minnesota) and once again tested it with my wife calling me. After she told me to stop yelling into the phone which was my natural instinct since you are in the open air, she said she couldn’t tell the difference between me being on a speaker phone and talking through the Cavalry half-helmet. I would highly suggest taking and making a few calls off your motorcycle to get used to the process before trying this on the road, it’s not difficult to receive calls but get familiar with the systems before you get on the road.
The one part of the helmet I wasn’t impressed with and quite honestly wouldn’t suggest as a purchasing point would be using it to make outbound calls (honestly I tried it for the purpose of this review). In my opinion, it took too much effort to make an outbound call using the Bluetooth helmet.
Unfortunately, I was unable to test the intercom since I only have the one helmet and couldn’t find anybody that had an intercom system that I could sync up and go ride with. Once I get the chance to ride with someone with a compatible system I’ll be sure to update this review.
The last area where the helmet really shined was the audio playback functionality. I was able to clearly hear the lyrics to the music I was listening to from my phone through the helmet, and I could very easily adjust the volume and change songs with one or two presses of a button without being distracted in any way while I was on the road. The helmet also comes with ear pads that really helped with sound quality at highway speeds.
The companion app for the helmet Sena Utility Android or Apple needs to be improved upon, but basic functionality is there. Setting up speed dial, radio stations and being notified of firmware upgrades are all in the app but things like battery monitoring and updating the helmet firmware from the app are not available.
Charging time seemed to be very quick with the included USB cable (No wall plug-in, but most of us have an extra around somewhere). I was able to charge the helmet in about 3 hours to full and that give me about 10 hours of on time. I couldn’t find any information on talk time but I would guess around 3 hours.
Overall this helmet is a winner in my book scoring about a 4.5 out 5 stars and is the best helmet I’ve ever used even without the Bluetooth functionality. I would most certainly recommend this helmet as a buy for anyone that wants a Bluetooth helmet but prefers a half helmet. I wouldn’t be surprised to see this on a lot of end of the year best motorcycle products lists.
Please feel free to leave any questions in the comments section of this review.
Ride or Die!