Freakin’ awesome! That pretty much sums up my attitude about the Sena SMH10R Bluetooth headset and intercom. I love the low profile and the total control the design gives me over how it’s installed in my helmet.
I’ve read some less-than-glowing reviews of this device, but I have to tell you, after installing it and testing it in my helmet, I think the “problems” listed by other people were more ‘user error’ than actual issues with the device. This little guy is just perfect.
The HJC IS-MAX BT helmet helps a lot. It is designed with some space for a Chatterbox XBi2-H Bluetooth intercom system, which, physically, is nothing like the Sena SMH10R. What that means is there are cavities built into the helmet for a specific device that is not the device I put into them. But it works wonderfully.
One of the biggest complaints I read over and over about the SMH10R was the external battery mounted on the back of the helmet. I get that. It would be ugly. All the pictures I saw were really ugly.
Mine doesn’t look like that. This is what mine looks like. (ignore the charging cable hanging down there) (click pics for big ones)
I have to go do other things right now, but when I come back, I’m going to show you step by step how I installed this wonderful little guy in my helmet.
Step 1 – look at the parts.
The box contains:
- The unit
- The speakers
- Velcro covered foam pads for the speakers
- The battery
- Two types of microphone
- Adhesive-backed Velcro pads for mounting things
- Super gray double-sided sticky permanent pads for mounting the same things
- Foam windscreens for the boom mic
- A lighter socket charger and a USB cable
Step Two – Poke around a bit and dry-fit some things.
There is actually quite a bit of space in the average helmet, and this one is a bonus because it is designed to accommodate a Bluetooth setup such as this one. That means there are a couple of little things that made this install a snap.
Oh yeah. Wash ’em.
Step Three – Stick the main unit on the outside.
Step Four – Get the wires inside.
Step Five – Battery.
Senna suggests it can be mounted inside the helmet, but the illustrations are rather sparse, and the battery bracket is obviously made to be mounted on a convex surface. The inside of the helmet is concave. We’re on our own here.
DON’T DAMAGE YOUR HELMET.
There are plenty of safe places to take out just a little of the Styrofoam stuff. Use your brain.
Step Six – Speakers.
See if the speaker will stick to the inside of the helmet without the Velcro pad. If not, then you have to stick the Velcro pad on there first.
Step Seven – The Microphone
My helmet is a convertible, meaning the front chin guard unlocks and flips up.
So I’ll be using the boom mic.
Determining the placement of the mic was probably the hardest part of this whole process, and it wasn’t all that hard. I opened the clear shield and put on the helmet. Then I positioned the mic. Holding it in place from underneath, I closed the chin guard and made adjustments. Firmly holding the mic base against the side of the helmet, I opened the chin guard and removed the helmet.
I probably did this three times.
Next, I stuck the Velcro pad in place where the base was to go, then attached the boom base. Ba-da-boom.
The last tweak I had to make was to cut a small hole in the hard plastic mounting surface of the left ear pad.
This allows the boom-mic base to recess into the ear pad about an eighth of an inch, which lets the ear pad settle into its normal position.
So here’s the final result. Perfect.
Maybe it’s because I have this helmet.
Maybe it’s because I do this sort of thing for a living. I dunno.
I think this Sena SMH10R is the cat’s meow. It works perfectly, and mounted just the way I hoped it would.
It looks great, too.
So, if you’re in the market for a Bluetooth intercom solution for your motorcycle helmet, don’t be put off by some of the negative comments you might read about this one. It really is a great product.
By the way . . . I am in no way compensated by anyone to write this post.