Bluetooth communicator selection - Kawasaki Vulcan Forum : Vulcan Forums
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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 09-10-2015, 03:34 PM Thread Starter
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Bluetooth communicator selection

Shop says my bike will be ready by this weekend, all healed up after my close encounter with a SAAB. The Sena SMH-10 on my HJC FG-Jet helmet is cosmetically impaired from the incident, and I am contemplating replacing it when I get my new helmet.

Requesting input regarding replacement. Considering upgrade to a 20-s, but unsure if there are improvements to warrant the $$. Also heard complaints of failures if caught in the rain. The SMH-10 worked well. Never had range or other issues. Occasional clumsiness while pairing, but it always worked out.

What do you think? 20? 10? Other?

Thanks.

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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 09-10-2015, 03:59 PM
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I have a smh-5, if I remember at the time, the 10 was more money and had a radio that sounded useless. It works well for me, though the music doesn't have much bass. If there is a way to improve that, or change the speakers, I might consider that. And I rode through an hour and a half of very heavy rain a couple of weekends ago and it survived. I didn't have it on during that downpour, but it worked fine the next day.
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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 09-10-2015, 07:34 PM
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I have the 20S, and I love it;

The principle feature, for me, is the dual bluetooth radios. You can listen to a GPS, or your phone (music, for example), at the same time as communicating with a passenger. Or, in my case, I also have a Sena Prism camera, which connects via bluetooth. That works flawlessly with the dual bluetooth feature.

The speakers are a bit better, and the audio quality is a bit better, than the SMH10. The range of the 20S is longer (My parents have the SMH10 and my wife has another 20S, and it's noticeably more range when the 20S; such as when one gets stuck behind a light)

If those features aren't important to you, save your money and go with another SMH10. The SMH5 is a good solution too but it has a significantly shorter range; Sena only intends it for rider-to-passenger not rider-to-rider. In our cases, we're often on two bikes so range is important.

The 20S is not waterproof; neither, technically, is the SMH10 but it performs better. Sena claims the 20S will simply shut off in the rain and when dried out, will work fine. But some have reported otherwise. The base IS waterproof (the only part that isn't is the jog dial) and the unit is 'water resistant' and can handle a light rain, just not a sustained heavy drenching. But since the base is waterproof, you can just disconnect it and stuff it in a saddlebag or pocket until the rain subsides.

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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 09-11-2015, 12:28 AM
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Hi I use the Uclear HBC200 there's no boom for mic everything connects to it Even sena and scarla brands. used the duel system for about 4 months and it's been fantastic.
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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 09-11-2015, 07:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by con View Post
Hi I use the Uclear HBC200 there's no boom for mic everything connects to it Even sena and scarla brands. used the duel system for about 4 months and it's been fantastic.
I've heard good things about these as well. A couple may end up under the Christmas tree this year!

Living the dream...
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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 09-24-2015, 11:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Romans5.8 View Post
I have the 20S, and I love it;

The principle feature, for me, is the dual bluetooth radios. You can listen to a GPS, or your phone (music, for example), at the same time as communicating with a passenger. Or, in my case, I also have a Sena Prism camera, which connects via bluetooth. That works flawlessly with the dual bluetooth feature.

The speakers are a bit better, and the audio quality is a bit better, than the SMH10. The range of the 20S is longer (My parents have the SMH10 and my wife has another 20S, and it's noticeably more range when the 20S; such as when one gets stuck behind a light)

If those features aren't important to you, save your money and go with another SMH10. The SMH5 is a good solution too but it has a significantly shorter range; Sena only intends it for rider-to-passenger not rider-to-rider. In our cases, we're often on two bikes so range is important.

The 20S is not waterproof; neither, technically, is the SMH10 but it performs better. Sena claims the 20S will simply shut off in the rain and when dried out, will work fine. But some have reported otherwise. The base IS waterproof (the only part that isn't is the jog dial) and the unit is 'water resistant' and can handle a light rain, just not a sustained heavy drenching. But since the base is waterproof, you can just disconnect it and stuff it in a saddlebag or pocket until the rain subsides.
Im getting ready to pull the trigger for a 20s dual kit cuz of the features and its ability to use earbuds (we wear half helmets on the vulcan), are the speakers that come with the kit removable from the unit when you use the ear buds? I plan on using the speakers in my modular snowmobile helmets in the winter. Im also wondering how hard it will be to transfer the units from the half helmets to the modular helmets? And last but not least where did you buy your sena,s from? Thanks in advance for any info you can provide me.
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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 09-25-2015, 12:00 AM
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Originally Posted by Snowmobiler View Post
Im getting ready to pull the trigger for a 20s dual kit cuz of the features and its ability to use earbuds (we wear half helmets on the vulcan), are the speakers that come with the kit removable from the unit when you use the ear buds? I plan on using the speakers in my modular snowmobile helmets in the winter. Im also wondering how hard it will be to transfer the units from the half helmets to the modular helmets? And last but not least where did you buy your sena,s from? Thanks in advance for any info you can provide me.
So, the Sena 20S has a 'base' and that base has two jacks, one for the mic, one for the speakers; and an additional earbud jack. It's certainly possible to simply not use the speakers and use exclusively the earbud jack along with the boom microphone. Alternatively, you could use speaker pockets available for half helmets and use the Sena speakers; which work quite good and don't have any legal hairyness in most states. (Most states forbid earbuds on a motorcycle). Just unplug them, easy as that. Stick them in a drawer somewhere.

If it were ME; I'd get speaker pockets such as these:


And just use the speakers. They'll sound better, no earbuds in your ear, etc.

If you're using a real half-helmet it'll have some sort of an EPA liner that those speaker pockets (and the 20S mount) will slide into. If you use novelty helmets then they generally don't have that liner (if you don't have a liner those pockets can slide into, you don't have ANY protection; worth mentioning in case you've been led to believe otherwise.) So if you use the latter than that's moot; but if not, then that's a great solution.

Another option is over-the-ear behind-the-neck headphones, instead of earbuds; which are legal in more places than earbuds are. A few of my riding buddies use them on their Harley's CB units. Something like this:


Naturally you can spend a bunch more if you wanted better quality. Those would plug into the 20S base just as well as earbuds.

As far as switching between helmets; one cool thing about Sena is that they sell each individual part separately. You'll get three microphones; so you'll use the attached boom with the half helmet and probably the adhesive internal boom for the modular. But the EASIEST way is just to buy extra bases. The part number is 20S-A0202 and they run about $75. That's an extra expense of course; but it means you simply need to click the base onto the other helmets. If you don't want to do that, then all you have to do is loosen the thumb screws, and plug in the speakers. If you share the base across two helmets; I would suggest just sticking with the external boom microphone and not switching between them.

I bought mine on Amazon. I have an Amazon prime account, and Amazon is just great anyway. RevZilla is another good source. You definitely want to buy from somewhere with a generous return/RMA policy, as dealing with manufacturers if you get a dud can be a hassle. It's rare, but if you get a defective unit on deliver, it's much easier to deal with Amazon's super painless return process to just return it, rather than having to contact the manufacturer, get an RMA, and wait weeks for a replacement. Similarly, it can be nice to get it at a local store; though nobody anywhere near me sells them.
flash ninja and Snowmobiler like this.

"8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us."

Romans 5:8 (NIV)

2014 Kawasaki Vulcan 1700 Vaquero ABS SE
iPod Connector Kit, Kuryakyn Highway Pegs, Mustang Touring Seat, Marvella's Hitch, Kuryakyn Trailer Wiring Kit, Haul-Master Tag-a-Long Cargo Trailer

2011 Honda Shadow Aero 750 (Wife's)

Memphis shades quick-release windshield, OEM Solo Seat, Mustang Fender Bib, Chrome Solo Luggage Rack

Past: 2006 Vulcan 900 Classic LT

Last edited by Romans5.8; 09-25-2015 at 12:04 AM.
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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 09-25-2015, 10:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Romans5.8 View Post
So, the Sena 20S has a 'base' and that base has two jacks, one for the mic, one for the speakers; and an additional earbud jack. It's certainly possible to simply not use the speakers and use exclusively the earbud jack along with the boom microphone. Alternatively, you could use speaker pockets available for half helmets and use the Sena speakers; which work quite good and don't have any legal hairyness in most states. (Most states forbid earbuds on a motorcycle). Just unplug them, easy as that. Stick them in a drawer somewhere.

If it were ME; I'd get speaker pockets such as these: http://www.amazon.com/Vega-Speaker-P...peaker+pockets And just use the speakers. They'll sound better, no earbuds in your ear, etc.

If you're using a real half-helmet it'll have some sort of an EPA liner that those speaker pockets (and the 20S mount) will slide into. If you use novelty helmets then they generally don't have that liner (if you don't have a liner those pockets can slide into, you don't have ANY protection; worth mentioning in case you've been led to believe otherwise.) So if you use the latter than that's moot; but if not, then that's a great solution.

Another option is over-the-ear behind-the-neck headphones, instead of earbuds; which are legal in more places than earbuds are. A few of my riding buddies use them on their Harley's CB units. Something like this: Amazon.com: Sony MDRG45LP Behind the Neck Headphones: Electronics Naturally you can spend a bunch more if you wanted better quality. Those would plug into the 20S base just as well as earbuds.

As far as switching between helmets; one cool thing about Sena is that they sell each individual part separately. You'll get three microphones; so you'll use the attached boom with the half helmet and probably the adhesive internal boom for the modular. But the EASIEST way is just to buy extra bases. The part number is 20S-A0202 and they run about $75. That's an extra expense of course; but it means you simply need to click the base onto the other helmets. If you don't want to do that, then all you have to do is loosen the thumb screws, and plug in the speakers. If you share the base across two helmets; I would suggest just sticking with the external boom microphone and not switching between them.

I bought mine on Amazon. I have an Amazon prime account, and Amazon is just great anyway. RevZilla is another good source. You definitely want to buy from somewhere with a generous return/RMA policy, as dealing with manufacturers if you get a dud can be a hassle. It's rare, but if you get a defective unit on deliver, it's much easier to deal with Amazon's super painless return process to just return it, rather than having to contact the manufacturer, get an RMA, and wait weeks for a replacement. Similarly, it can be nice to get it at a local store; though nobody anywhere near me sells them.
Thank you for your very in-depth explanation. Im going to purchase the vega speaker pockets from amazon. We do have "Dot Approved" helmets that will accomodate them perfectly. Also i wont have to deal with the ear bud lengthy wires. Ill prolly purchase the 20s through amazon as i found some deals than what revzilla is offering. It does look like revzilla has a good selection of all the seperate pieces i will need to switch to the modular snowmobile helmets tho.

Thanks for clueing me in. Much appreciated.
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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 10-06-2015, 10:14 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks to all for the great discussion and information.

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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 10-18-2015, 11:23 PM
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Originally Posted by con View Post
Hi I use the Uclear HBC200 there's no boom for mic everything connects to it Even sena and scarla brands. used the duel system for about 4 months and it's been fantastic.
I just purchased the HBC200 and I am really impressed with this boomless mic technology. Haven't taken it out on the road yet but the wife and I tried it in the house with us being at opposite ends and the sound quality is excellent. She even had to turn it down to the lowest setting. Are you able to listen to music from your phone (or other bluetooth device) while you are in intercom mode? I believe you can do this with the Sena brand, but to be honest I like not having the boom so much I think I can live with switching back and forth between modes.
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