Choosing a Modular Helmet with Bluetooth, Tested and Reviewed

Evan Rally
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Modular motorcycle helmets are a thing of beauty. Full face protection (from wind and pavement) when you want it, and no chin bar in your way when you’re trying to yell to your buddy at the gas station to tell him his brake light is out.

But what if you didn’t have to yell? What if you could just talk to each other while you ride?

Sunshade down, chin bar up, mic hot and camera rolling. Let’s hit it.

That’s the beauty of bluetooth modular motorcycle helmets. Comms built right in, whether that chin bar is up or down, so you can easily communicate with your whole pack as you enjoy the road.  

If you’re looking for full face, open face and all the other options for a bluetooth helmet, check out our guide to the best bluetooth motorcycle helmets.

With that, let’s check out:

  • The Best Modular Helmet with Bluetooth (and a tail light)
  • The Best Value Modular Helmet with Bluetooth (great for music lovers)
  • The Low Budget Bluetooth Modular Helmet (from Sena!)
  • The City Rider’s Bluetooth Modular Helmet (nearly best looking)
  • The Best Looking Bluetooth-Ready Modular Helmet (thanks Bell)

Here are the top three choices:

Premium
Budget
DIY Bluetooth
Primary Rating:
4.8
Primary Rating:
4.7
Primary Rating:
4.6
$539.97$499.97
$269.00
$224.39
Pros:
  • Mesh & Bluetooth integrated communication
  • Premium Harman Kardon speakers & microphone
  • Multi-channel open mesh supports unlimited riders
  • Integrated taillight
Pros:
  • Bluetooth 5.0 for seamless connectivity
  • Advanced noise filtering for clear conversations
Pros:
  • Speaker pockets to insert your choice of headset
  • Lightweight fiberglass composite shell
  • Eyewear-compatible
Cons:
Cons:
  • Older Bluetooth Unit
  • No Mesh connectivity
  • Polycarbonate shell
Cons:
  • No included Bluetooth unit
Premium
Primary Rating:
4.8
$539.97$499.97
Pros:
  • Mesh & Bluetooth integrated communication
  • Premium Harman Kardon speakers & microphone
  • Multi-channel open mesh supports unlimited riders
  • Integrated taillight
Cons:
Budget
Primary Rating:
4.7
$269.00
Pros:
  • Bluetooth 5.0 for seamless connectivity
  • Advanced noise filtering for clear conversations
Cons:
  • Older Bluetooth Unit
  • No Mesh connectivity
  • Polycarbonate shell
DIY Bluetooth
Primary Rating:
4.6
$224.39
Pros:
  • Speaker pockets to insert your choice of headset
  • Lightweight fiberglass composite shell
  • Eyewear-compatible
Cons:
  • No included Bluetooth unit
05/21/2024 01:36 am GMT

Sena Impulse – The Best Modular Bluetooth Helmet

The Sena Impulse launched in 2022 and quickly rose to the top spot for modular bluetooth motorcycle helmets. The Impulse is a premium lid in every sense, from its construction to its electronics. Let’s dive in.

The Sena Impulse is a premium lid containing powerful communications technology.
The Sena Impulse is a premium lid containing powerful communications technology. (Image Source)

The Outside

The Sena Impulse builds on Sena’s previous forays in to the Bluetooth helmet category, with a sleek and well-ventilated lid. You’ll find a reinforced chin strap with a quick release buckle (instead of the traditional D-ring) to hold the helmet on. This helmet features two large vents, one on the chin and one on the top. The shell is constructed from composite fiberglass, a generally well-respected material for its flexibility and durability in crashes. The helmet weighs in at just 1,720g or 3.79 lbs, very light for a modular with integrated Bluetooth.

Many reviewers note the helmet’s intermediate oval fit is similar to the Shoei Neotec 2, a more expensive helmet without any Bluetooth pre-installed. Reviewers also note you may want to go up a size, as buyers found the standard sizing was too tight.

Finally, Sena included a customizable taillight on the rear of this helmet – an amazing feature increasing your visibility for riders and drivers coming up behind you.

Nice touch that Sena included a taillight on this helmet. Riders can choose from a set of flash patterns, or leave it off.
Nice touch that Sena included a taillight on this helmet. Riders can choose from a set of flash patterns, or leave it off. (Image Source)

The Inside

As for the innards on this lid, you’ll find premium removable padding as you’d expect from a high-end helmet. You’ll also find an integrated sun visor operable from a lever on the left underside of the helmet, and a Pinlock-ready clear visor that locks in to place in the down position (you also get a Pinlock antifog visor in the box!). The chin bar lifts up with a button underneath the center front of the helmet. And reviewers note that all the mechanisms are easy to find and operate with gloves on.

There’s a small chin curtain – a luxury on many modulars – that helps to seal out wind noise when the chin bar is in the closed position. A few reviewers did complain about excessive wind noise in this lid at high speeds, but that assessment was far from the norm. However, one noted he listens to audiobooks at 80 mph with the clear visor up and has no issues with wind noise.

The Bluetooth

The Bluetooth communications kit on this helmet is where it truly shines. Sena included their best electronics to date in this lid, with Bluetooth 5.0 supporting up to 4 riders over 2 km / 1.2 miles of range and Mesh 2.0 supporting virtually unlimited riders over 8 km / 5 miles of range when over 6 people are in the group. You’ll find a few buttons to control the integrated unit on the left side of the chin bar, sleek in a way that only pre-integrated Bluetooth motorcycle helmets can do.

The sound equipment in this helmet breaks new ground, as Sena has partnered with renowned sound company Harman Kardon to produce and tune the speakers and microphone for their comms and entertainment system. Reviewers say this is not just a brand flex, and that “the sound is so much better than anything else” (2). The helmet boasts a stunning 18 hours of battery life on Bluetooth and 11 hours when using Mesh. Of course this unit also connects to your phone for music and GPS, and supports voice activation with Siri and Google Assistant.

The only complaints on electronics are around problems updating the lid over Wifi and the unique magnetic charger, which while convenient to use is annoying to replace if lost.

Our Assessment

The Sena Impulse is a premium modular helmet with stellar Bluetooth integration, making it a great choice for any rider looking for the a great combination of safety, comfort, and technology in a lid.

Sena Impulse DOT Flip Up Modular Bluetooth Helmet
4.8
$539.97 $499.97

A standout modular helmet with integrated Bluetooth communications, no dongle hanging off the side. Sound by Harman Kardon and 18+ hours of battery life.

Pros:
  • Mesh & Bluetooth integrated communication
  • Simple button controls on the left side
  • 18+ hours of battery life (better than any other Bluetooth headset)
  • Premium Harman Kardon speakers & microphone
  • Multi-channel open mesh supporting unlimited riders
Cons:
  • Can't connect over Mesh to large groups of riders without Sena units - need a Cardo for that.
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05/21/2024 01:36 am GMT

Sena also makes the best full face helmet with bluetooth – in case you were wondering.

Bilt Techno 3.0 – The Runner-Up to Best Modular Bluetooth Helmet

The Bilt Techno 3.0 used to be my favorite Bluetooth modular helmet before Sena came and stole the top spot in 2023. Why? Bilt packed everything you need for music and comms inside an incredible practical and functional lid. From the big chin bar flip-up lever to the simple controls, this lid is as rider-friendly as it gets.

The Shell and Fit

This modular helmet is a budget lid, so don’t expect any carbon fiber composite shell MotoGP jargon here. What you get is basic on the outside, an “injection molded alloy composite” which is a fancy way of saying – you guessed it – plastic. With just two shell sizes (the first covering XS-2XL and then 3XL – 5XL) you can expect a good fit in the middle with thin padding for big heads and bobble head look for small heads.

The Bilt Techno 3.0 is a simple yet powerful lid at an affordable price. Image Source: Cycle Gear

Those sizes do tend to run small, as noted in some reviews (2) and in the YouTube review by Motorcycling with Carl (6). Go a size up from whatever you measure on their size chart, and then use our fitting guide to make sure you have the right size for your head.

As for airflow, you only get 2 vents on this lid – one at the chin bar and one on the top of the head. Normal for a modular with chin bar that flips up to provide plenty of ventilation – but not great.

Love a good Chernobyl reference.

One reviewer wrote, “Could use some additional venting, gets pretty hot in stop and go traffic during the afternoon commute, tempted to flip up the modular chin bar” (2).

The Insides: Electronics, Rider Comfort

Just like any other lid costing more than $50 you get a nice removable lining made of moisture-wicking material that can be washed when the sweat builds up. 

Where the Bilt Techno 3.0 gets interesting is in the sun visor and chin bar areas. The Bilt Techno 3.0 comes with an integrated sun visor; The lever to drop it down is on the left behind the chin bar hinges, making it super easy to find and low key as far as looks go.

Profile shot of the Bilt Techno 3.0
Controls are neatly tucked in to the side of this helmet. Image Source: Cycle Gear

To lift up the chin bar and take advantage of the modular feature, you actually have to push up a lever on the outside of the helmet. This is different than every other modular helmet but it’s a welcome change, since the lever is easier to actuate and means you can have a full chin curtain to block out wind noise.

The visor sits in four positions and forms a decent seal which should keep out some wind noise. The chin bar also locks tightly to prevent whistling. The visor is also Pinlock ready but you need to buy the right lens separately. I highly recommend a Pinlock. Set and forget, and you’ll never worry about fogging again.

The Speakers, Comms, and Controls

The helmet specs are pretty standard for a mid-range lid, but it’s the Bluetooth sound and comms system that you’re here for, right? 

The unit in the Techno 3.0 is a Sena DWO-6 which is equivalent to the stand-alone Sena 10R kits. That’s a pretty old standard at this point, but then again this lid costs less than a Tomahawk steak in New York or Miami.

Just stupid expensive.

The Bilt Techno 3.0 comes with:

  • Bluetooth 4.1 with about 10 hours of battery life that can connect to four riders together
  • 6/10 of a mile or 1,000-meter range between riders over comes
  • Decent speakers and microphone built in
  • All the components hidden with just a small control unit on the left side
  • An iOS and Android app with upgradeable firmware (so Bilt can keep adding features while you pay $0 more)

You can use the fully integrated set to make and receive calls, listen to music, take GPS directions, intercom with your riding buddies – as long as they all have a Sena set – and listen to FM radio. Pairing with your phone takes 2 minutes out of the box.

In terms of quality, some users say the speakers can be a little quiet, but the overall sentiment is summed up with this review: “Phone calls are clear on both receiving and transmitting end and radio and nav synchronizing was a snap” (2). 

Our Assessment

The Bilt Techno 3.0 isn’t going to knock your socks off, but it will get the job done if you want a helmet that will play music, take calls, tell you directions and connect to a few riding buddies right out of the box. While it’s not the top rated bluetooth motorcycle helmet, it’s still a solid deal.

BILT Techno 3.0 Modular Sena Bluetooth Helmet
4.5

A bit dated, but it gets the job done at a bargain price

Pros:
  • Integrated Sena DWO-6 bluetooth
  • Convenient drop-down sun shield
  • DOT-approved
Cons:
  • Max 4 riders in intercom
  • Older Sena unit
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Sena Outrush R – The Low Budget Bluetooth Modular Helmet

For the price you pay for the Sena Outrush R, you get a decent bang for your buck – though the fit and finish are definitely less ironed out than the newer Sena Impulse I talked about above.

The Sena Outrush R comes in two simple colorways – white or black. Image Source: Sena

The Outside

The Sena Outrush is basically a cheaper Sena Impulse: polycarbonate plastic for the shell instead of fiberglass. No tail light. Weighs in at 1,730g or 3.81 lbs, just a bit more than the Impulse. Same vent situation: one on the chin bar, one at the top of the head.

It looks like someone used a needle to bore the vent holes though – they’re pretty small, so the ventilation isn’t amazing. Not surprising for a modular, but still a let down.

The chin bar raises using a button under the chin, and the mechanism is pretty smooth given the price point. A chin curtain is also thrown in to cut down on wind noise.

Unfortunately you get a ratchet chin strap instead of the safer double-D, although this lid did score a covered and rare ECE safety certification on top of the standard DOT.

The Inside

What’s not budget about this lid is the multi-density EPS foam – usually you only see that in $400+ lids.

As is standard, the liner in this lid is removable and washable. The padding is comfortable and thick enough to not cause rubbing or pressure points, according to reviewers. 

The visor also cracks to a few different opening positions, so you can let a little airflow in without letting every fly smack you in the eyeballs at 60mph. Another nice touch rarely seen on a helmet at this price point: a notch at the front of the visor to keep it locked down. I can’t tell you how many $500+ helmets I’ve seen that miss that one simple detail.

There’s also an integrated sun visor; though it has a ridge at the bottom though which can distort your view a little. 

With the chinbar down, the Outrush R is a sleek lid. Image Source: Sena

The Bluetooth Comms System

If you’re riding 10+ deep, this is not the lid for you. However, for the price point, the Bluetooth system really is not bad. A standalone Bluetooth system from Sena or Cardo would run you about this price anyway, without the helmet.

First off, the entire bluetooth and audio system is tucked away sans a tiny control unit on the left side with a few simple buttons for volume and track control, picking up calls and dealing with intercom. That allows for a bigger battery than is typical in a Bluetooth intercom system as well – here you get 12 hours of talk time with just 2.5 hours to charge up to 100%.

The intercom spans an impressive 0.6 miles or 900 meters between riders, of which you can have 4 connected together at once. The lid also allows for voice prompts (Siri, Hey Google) for all controls, and has Sena’s Advanced Noise Control to cut down on engine and wind noise blocking out your music.

Reviewers note the volume and communications with chinbar down are great: “No wind inside to disturb my calls or music. I’m not a fast rider but got up to 86mph and was still jamming quite nicely” (4).

Our Assessment

If your budget is a barrier to getting the best of the best (the Sena Impulse) then the Sena Outrush R is a very solid choice. Especially if you’re riding solo or only with 2-3 other riders.

Sena Outrush R Bluetooth Modular Motorcycle Helmet
4.2
$269.00

A budget version of the Sena Impulse. Older comms, but fine if you're riding alone or with 1-2 other riders.

Pros:
  • Connects to phone, GPS for music and maps.
  • Basic intercom functionality over Bluetooth
Cons:
  • Basic polycarbonate shell
  • Doesn't support Mesh for 4+ rider intercom
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05/21/2024 01:36 am GMT

Torc T28B – Best Modular Bluetooth Motorcycle Helmet for City Commutes

I’ll be honest, the Torc T28B is the worst modular bluetooth helmet on this list. That said, it is the worst of the best, and that’s saying something given the slew of awful picks you could make by just browsing online for best modular bluetooth motorcycle helmets.

If you’re just riding solo in a city over short distances, the Torc T28B is a good fit and could save you some serious cash. Let’s get in to it.

The Torc T28B in vapor red
The Torc T28B in Vapor Red. Source: Torc Helmets

The Outside – Basic as Can Be

This lid is made from thermal polymer alloy, which is Torc’s own fancy way of saying “we made it with plastic, probably in China.” However they must have accidentally mixed some lead in there, because this helmet is heavy weighing in at 5.15 lbs or 2,300g. Hence why I can’t say this helmet is great for long rides.  

As with the other helmets we’ve looked at, you get chin and top-of-the-head vents and rear exhausts. 

The Inside – At Least the EPS is Good

Along with the multi-density EPS foam and removable and washable, antimicrobial liner, you get the integrated sun visor thrown in. All basic, except that multi-density EPS foam is a pretty nice touch. Multi-density foam absorbs different impact strengths for better head protection. Nifty.

inside Torc t28B
Inside the Torc T28B. Image Source: Torc Helmets

The modular section lifts up with a release button in front of the chin curtain. 

You can easily switch out your visor for one of five special tints that you can buy from the manufacturer, too.

The Bluetooth – Off Brand

Unlike every other helmet we’ve looked at, the Torc T28B uses Blinc Bluetooth rather than a Sena kit. That’s a big let down, as that means you’ll be taking up a Bluetooth spot on someone’s headset, and most everyone is riding with Mesh these days. It’s just WAY better. So if you like hearing just your music and not your riding buddies, this one is for you.

Left side of helmet
The Torc T28B’s Blinc Bluetooth unit and sun visor slide. Image Source: Torc Helmets

There’s no record – even in the user manual – of which Bluetooth spec it uses, but it can pair two phones so we’re assuming it’s at least 4.1. No one seems to have tested the range on it, either, but I wouldn’t trust it to go very far. The specs we do know are that it pairs with a phone for music, GPS and calls, and you get an impressive 12 hours of talk time.

It’s not great at high speeds, with one review noting, “Other than when the bike is at an idle, you can’t communicate with each other. Everything is garbled” (5). 

Our Assessment

If you’re looking to have a modular Bluetooth helmet to commute around the city, this works well. It’s kinda heavy so not great for long rides, and if you go out in groups you might be the odd one out not using Sena or Cardo.

It’s DOT and ECE certified so it’s safe and you’ll be able to listen to music all you want. 

TORC T28B Bluetooth Integrated Motorcycle Helmet
3.8
$279.99

This helmet just won't cut it. Better off getting a standard modular helmet from a better manufacturer and putting in your own Bluetooth unit from Cardo or Sena.

Pros:
  • Multi-density EPS (premium for this price point)
  • Drop-down sun visor and anti-fog shield
Cons:
  • Heavy shell
  • Off-brand Bluetooth
  • Bad sound quality
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05/21/2024 01:40 am GMT

Bell SRT Modular Helmet Bluetooth – Best Looking

The Bell SRT Modular helmet is a stunning helmet that’s easy to wear too, thanks to the low weight of its fiberglass shell. The recessed speaker pockets in this lid make it simple to install any Bluetooth kit – from the Cardo Spirit to the Sena 50S – right in to this lid. Just remember to use the boom mic so you can lift the chin bar up.

Bell SRT modular from the side
The Bell SRT is a striking lid. Don’t let your wife catch you looking at those curves. Image Source: Bell

The Shell and Chin Bar

Beyond being an absolute looker, the Bell SRT is also DOT and ECE certified for safety. That’s impressive for a modular helmet, most of which you could remove the chin bar with a swift punch.

The juicy details on the outside of this lid keep getting better.

  • It’s made from fiberglass, which absorbs and distributes impacts better than the standard plastic / polycarbonate used in many other lids on this list. That means a safer head.
  • It’s shockingly light for a modular, weighing in at just 3.85 lbs / 1,750g in Medium. Most modulars are over 4 lbs.
  • There are three shell sizes covering XS-2XL (most lids only have 2) – this makes for a more snug fit which is safer, more comfortable, and better looking.
  • There are three vents on the chin, two on the forehead, and one at the top. More than most full face helmets can claim.
  • The chinstrap is secured with the safest option – a double-D ring. Many modulars use low-quality plastic ratchet strap fasteners which, despite being more popular with squids, are way less safe (nor as easy) as the classic Double-D ring.

The Insides, Guts, What Touches Your Head

Internally the Bell SRT Modular feels premium, a cut above it’s price class. The EPS foam has recessed pockets for you to slide in a nice helmet speaker system like the Cardo 45mm JBL kit I absolutely love.

The liner and cheek pads are removable and antimicrobial, as we’d expect from any halfway-decent motorcycle helmet. Of course this is a modular helmet, so you can raise the chin bar with a button right at the chin.

What’s definitely a cut above other similarly-priced helmets is the built in sun visor (controlled on the lower edge of the helmet) and a Pinlock-ready main visor. Pinlock visors are a set-and-forget method for completely eliminating fog in your visor. Highly recommend getting a Pinlock installed before your first ride. Absolute life-saver when temps drop or humidity rises.

Bell SRT with chin bar up.
The chin bar on this helmet settles at a nice right angle. Image Source: Bell

The Bluetooth

The great part about the Bell SRT coming Bluetooth ready but not pre-integrated means you can pick the kit you want to fit your needs. Then just pop it in to this top-class helmet.

I recommend the Cardo PackTalk EDGE if you ride in a big pack of riders, or the Cardo Spirit if you want a budget option that will still give you music, navigation, and communication with 1 rider or passenger. The new Cardo PackTalk Custom is also a great option if everyone you want to communicate with is also using newer Cardo’s that utilize Cardo DMC Mesh technology. The Custom is a massive bargain for what it can do, in my opinion. Pick it up before Cardo realizes this and jacks up the price!

Note the reviews mention a subscription: for certain features you do need a subscription, but these features are only relevant if you want to connect to Bluetooth systems of other brands (like Sena or Uclear). I confirmed with Cardo’s customer support and my own experience that the Cardo Packtalk Custom will connect to 15 other Cardo units over Cardo’s DMC Mesh (like the Bold, Edge, etc) without any subscription at all.

Budget
Upgradeable
Best
Description:

Best for solo riders, pairs and passengers.

Description:

Best if your group has all latest-gen Cardo units

Description:

Best for riding in big groups

Pros:
  • Affordable
  • Waterproof
  • Music, Intercom, GPS
Pros:
  • 15+ rider intercom over Mesh
  • 10+ hour battery life
  • Half the price of similar units
  • Connects to phone for music, GPS
Pros:
  • 15+ rider intercom over Mesh
  • 4 rider normal intercom (any brands)
  • Bridges to Sena groups (anyone can join your Mesh group)
  • Magnetic easy mount
  • Everything in the Custom, unlocked on Day 1
Cons:
  • Max 2 Intercom Participants
Cons:
  • Upgrade required for Bluetooth intercom (only when connecting to old units or Senas)
Cons:
Primary Rating:
4.4
Primary Rating:
5.0
Primary Rating:
5.0
$143.96
$269.95$205.22
$359.96$319.96
Budget
Description:

Best for solo riders, pairs and passengers.

Pros:
  • Affordable
  • Waterproof
  • Music, Intercom, GPS
Cons:
  • Max 2 Intercom Participants
Primary Rating:
4.4
$143.96
Upgradeable
Description:

Best if your group has all latest-gen Cardo units

Pros:
  • 15+ rider intercom over Mesh
  • 10+ hour battery life
  • Half the price of similar units
  • Connects to phone for music, GPS
Cons:
  • Upgrade required for Bluetooth intercom (only when connecting to old units or Senas)
Primary Rating:
5.0
$269.95$205.22
Best
Description:

Best for riding in big groups

Pros:
  • 15+ rider intercom over Mesh
  • 4 rider normal intercom (any brands)
  • Bridges to Sena groups (anyone can join your Mesh group)
  • Magnetic easy mount
  • Everything in the Custom, unlocked on Day 1
Cons:
Primary Rating:
5.0
$359.96$319.96
05/07/2024 06:05 pm GMT

Our Assessment

The biggest drawback of the Bell SRT modular helmet is the Bluetooth. Because there’s not a specially designed set to use it comes behind the HJC i90 that we looked at. 

It’s still a very solid helmet that looks and feels great, though. 

Bell SRT Helmet
4.6
$224.39

The helmet combines touring and commuting features with a lightweight fiberglass composite shell for versatile and comfortable riding.

Pros:
  • Speaker pockets to insert your choice of headset
  • Lightweight fiberglass composite shell
  • Eyewear-compatible
Cons:
  • No Bluetooth unit included - pick your own
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05/21/2024 01:40 am GMT

Comments

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  • Cierra Mcclanahan

    1 year ago

    I was struggling to figure out if I even want a modular helmet – this helped me out a lot. Keep it up!

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