Why add a communication device to your helmet when you can buy a helmet with communications already built-in?
These days, motorcycle communications devices are a dime a dozen and are available from quite a few manufacturers. However, Sena may be the most common name in the motorcycle communication business. Sena makes headset accessories for just about any helmet.
Recently, however, Sena launched its own line of helmets with integral headsets that are so discreet you wouldn’t even know there was a communication device installed – wiring, communication module, speakers and microphone except for the three buttons built into the left-hand side of the helmet’s shell.
Setting up the Sena Momentum helmet’s communication system is simple. The helmet comes with a “quick start” guidebook with easy-to-follow instructions. For more in-depth instruction or for reference during road trips, you can download a PDF of the entire manual to your smartphone.
If you use the Sena Smartphone App, it prompts you to download the most up-to-date firmware to your helmet. You can use the app to interface with your Momentum helmet and choose a multitude of interactive settings to personalize your helmet – and the same app works with dozens of other Sena headsets.
I know that all sounds very high-tech, but the setup and customization processes really are seamless and foolproof. Connecting the Momentum helmet’s headset to my smartphone was a breeze, as was using the helmet to connect to other Sena headsets. The Momentum helmet also uses Bluetooth 4.1 to connect to other Bluetooth-enabled devices, such as MP3 players and GPS units.
Ten FM stations can be programmed into the app or the headset can “roam” to find stations if you are in unfamiliar territory. If you find a station you like when roaming, just push a button to make the station a preset.
You access headset functions by pushing various combinations of the three buttons on the left-hand side of the helmet. Memorizing the various button combinations can be a bit frustrating, but repetition soon overcomes the annoyance.
The Momentum also works by voice command. Saying “Hello Sena” opens up your communication with the headset, then you can say a multitude of things, such as “stereo music” to play or pause music from your phone or MP3 player; “FM radio” to turn the built-in radio on or off; “intercom [1, 2, 3, etc.]” to communicate with other headsets; and “speed dial [1, 2, 3…]” phone numbers that you preset using the app.
The Momentum allows audio multitasking, meaning you can listen to music and have a conversation with an intercom user. The helmet can connect up to eight intercoms and even have group intercom conversations, and the intercoms don’t have to be Sena units – any Bluetooth intercom system should be able to connect to it.
Sena claims a 20-hour talk time and a working distance of up to 1.6 km in open terrain.
On the Road
Phone calls were easy to make, thanks to preprogramming numbers into the app. Accepting or rejecting calls was easy; listening and talking were clear, leading to problem-free conversations. The buttons on the side of the helmet were some of the easiest I’ve used because of their placement: they are at different heights, allowing for easy recognition by feel of which button(s) your finger(s) is/are on. My one complaint is that the buttons ascend toward the back of the helmet – I assume for internal fit or to follow the lines of the helmet – and while they are easy to find, I think the layout would be easier to use if they ascended forward from the bottom button, a more natural fit for your fingers to land on.
The Momentum helmet is very quiet on the road, provided you are riding in clean air – meaning: no turbulence from a small windshield or windscreen. I prefer the wind in my face, so I leave my face shield open quite often. That means I very much appreciated the Momentum helmet face shield’s significant detent in the fully open position, which keeps the face shield open at speed instead of it slamming shut.
Another nice feature: the helmet’s face shield accepts a Pinlock lens to prevent the face shield from fogging up in cooler temperatures. The face shield is easy to remove and to reinstall. Ventilation is standard: chin and top vents with an exhaust port at the back.
If you are in the market for a new helmet and a communication system, The Sena Momentum might be the helmet for you. Overall, it is a comfortable helmet with bells and whistles built in.
When I checked Sena Momentum prices online, I found $499.95 at gpbikes.com to $575.99 at fortnine.ca.