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Intercom System?

Discussion in 'Electronics' started by DemstarAus, Feb 21, 2016.

  1. Hello All,

    Please share your experiences regarding rider intercom systems.
    Before I was riding myself, we'd used a single bike system which consisted earphones and microphones that were velcro'ed inside the helmets, and a lead was plugged into them each time getting on the bike from a pack under the seat. I remember not the brand.
    I guess things like that are still available but now I am my own human-bike creature and I need an untethered way to communicate with my fellow bikeman.
    I have a Shoei TZ-R and wonder if the Scala SHO-1 system is worth getting over a different style (also since that helmet is a couple of years old now if it's suitable; that model has been replaced by a new series I think).
    Pros? Cons? Get what you pay for?


  2. Sena SMH-5 are a good bit of relatively cheap kit.

    Have a look at the Sena range for sure.
  3. I use the Sena 20S -- great range with good audio quality, although I normally use earplugs instead of the helmet speakers. Its perfectly compatible with all other Sena gear (including the Prism camera) and universal intercom pairing will let you talk to riders with other brands of headset. You can pair up to 2 phones and a GPS unit, if thats important to you.

    Admittedly its not the cheapest, so if all you want is to talk to someone at a fairly close distance, one of the other models may be more suited.
  4. Sena's customer service is shit. If you go for Sena, don't buy anything with an internal battery as you can't buy replacements for them. Sena don't want to know you once the warranty expires.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  5. Sena are the market leaders in this segment and for good reason.
    Ive got the 10r and love it. Its got a very low profile and does everything I need it to do. No complaints here.
  6. We have the SENA SMH-10. No complaints from us, and we are likely to go SENA again in the future when these finally give up.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  7. Has anyone had both the Aldi unit and a Sena? Is there a huge difference in sound quality?

    My Aldi Bluetooth works well and has done a good enough job so far but I keep thinking that something better would be nice on longer rides.
  8. I have a SENA 10U, one of the speakers packed died in a month and the other only farts at you now. Hit and miss with SENA I think.
  9. Have a rider 4, OK for a cheapie and has a handlebar remote that works well, only thing is its a bit quiet, especially with earplugs in, music from my gps is just ok but phone callers need to speak loudly so I can hear them - traveling mostly country areas doesn't help with phone signal, would be good for commuting and battery life is good - approx 7 hrs
  10. This is all very useful. Keep it coming.
    Partner is keen on a Sena system, have to consider him too because obviously we'll both need to match.
  11. I do not have a brand prefrence, just looking at what is available with good range and battery life.
  12. Don't get me wrong....I love my Sena SMH10, but it's pretty useless when you can't buy a replaceable consumable like a rechargeable battery. It IS going to die eventually.

    I ended up importing some I had manufactured in China, but difficult to sell bc can't airmail them overseas and not a lot of demand here.
    But if anyone needs one......(shameless plug).
  13. We used Sena SMH10's between the three of us (never had an issue with battery life) but the multi user intercom sometimes had issues. Just recently we upgraded to the 20S and it's light years ahead in terms of sound quality and noise reduction. You can get a damned good range with the 20S but even the SMH10's were pretty good.
  14. The 20s is the one I have had my eye on, good to hear positive feedback on it.
  15. Th
    Sena 20s is great. Make sure you get the latest series with the metal lock pin in the back holding the device to the base. The second series with the plastic pin had issues. I had great service from Sena via the dealer here in replacing the units. Since then, no problems. Works well linking intercom, gps via phone & phone calls. You have to seat the ear buds well in your helmet. I have a Shark Evo & the dimples fitted perfectly.
  16. I thought about the 20s, but couldn't justify spending that much money on a system when I know that it has a limited life due to the non-user changeable battery. As such the SMH10 was as far up the chain as far as cash I was willing to spend.

    In short - when it comes to intercoms, find out what others you're likely to be riding are using, and match with them. If you're starting with a clean slate, then you have a lot of options. The only gripe I have about SENA is their batteries not being user replaceable, but in the end... it's hard to find another reputable intercom system that does have user replaceable batteries. If they addressed this with the 20s, I'd be a proud owner of a couple of them. Thankfully the 10's are still available new and at nearly half the price of the 20's.

    Range on the Sena's is hit an miss. There are times I've gotten close to a km out of them quite well, and other times where it struggles to make more than 200m. Both in rural areas with line of site. Not sure if it's intercoms from other users also with Sena's, sunflares, local mobile towers, aliens or just a bit of hit and miss with them, but for reliability I'd suggest expecting not to be more than a few hundred meters line of sight and when you get further consider it a bonus.

    They're great in every other aspect. Functionality, ease of use, intuitive (once you understand which button does phone and which one intercom everything else starts to fall into line pretty quickly), plus they have a lot of different accessories and mounts for them.

    One thing to keep in mind - If buying a Sena, be careful what kit you get - there are different kits for the same intercom.

    ie: There are some kits out there with a boom mic permanently attached to the helmet clamp, and others that come with a detachable boom mike and a seperate 'button' mic. Some online versions which are a bit cheaper may have a few less options in the kit, so it pays to check this out first.
    • Like Like x 1
  17. What kind of battery life do you get with them?
    When we're talking about the battery here... you mean the batteries are rechargeable by the user but not replaceable by the user should they start to fade, right?
    It seems like a dumb question but I thought I'd check.
  18. Most have an integrated battery like an ipod,once its dead (will no longer hold a charge)the unit is unusable, the Sena 10R however has a seperate battery which they suggest you mount to the back of your helmet, this battery is replaceable or you could carry a spare with you on an extended trip.
    Looking at one of these in the near future with a handlebar remote. Sena can also (they tell us) pair with other brands of headsets.
  19. A fully charged battery will last you all day easily. I have mine playing music if not on coms all my trips and never had it run out. It's possible you could go a few days without recharging, but I like to recharge each night as it's not difficult to do and ensures I have all the power I need.

    When we're talking about concerns about battery life, we're talking about until the battery is useless (as Rus Ler mentioned). It is possible to change the battery - but it's like changing an iPod battery in that it's not designed to be replaced by the user, you will have to source a suitable and compatible battery yourself, and solder the connectors from the old battery onto the replacement battery. I believe greydog may have a few of these spare as he ordered a lot in a while ago, so it's possible, but obviously the ideal would be a supported user replaceable system by SENA.

    However as already mentioned, I believe other intercoms such as Scala also don't have user replaceable batteries either. It may be possible to rig up your own external battery system by just using the USB cable so you're 'charging' a dead battery the whole time.

    Not complete deal breakers but something that's worth knowing before making the purchase - aka why I chose the 10's over the 20's.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  20. Using the USB cable to power it is a good idea. Could even use bike power if you didn't mind the wire going to the bike someplace.