I recently installed Sena's SMH10R bluetooth audio system in one of my motorcycle helmets. Now, it is hard to ride without it!
Most helmet audio systems are big, chunky monsters that clamp on to the side of your helmet, and so I avoided adding one for years. My Bell Bullitt TT was far too precious and good looking to muck up, even if I expected the functionality to be wonderful. I just couldn't do it.
Then I was introduced to the slimline Sena SMH10R. A shrunk down version of Sena's very popular SMH10 headset. The control panel is greatly reduced, consisting of 3 easy to identify/feel buttons in a very slim rubberized mount. The panel sticks to the side of your helmet with some 3M adhesive tape and connects to speakers, a mic and a small battery. Separating the battery from the control unit really drops the size of unit. The battery can be tucked away inside the lining of your helmet, with the speakers, or just affixed to the exterior. The unit is really very small.
Installation and set up were a breeze. I'd read a lot of complaints online, and was concerned, but if you've ever taken the liner out of your helmet to wash it (you do clean it occasionally, right??) installing is simple. The Bullitt and my Bell Star Carbon have pockets in the helmets shock absorbing foam for the speaker pucks. Running the wires around where they are unseen and unsnaggable was no problem. I chose to use the boom mic, and it was very easy to velcro into place. Total time 15 minutes or less.
Pairing was simple and the only learning curve skills you'll need to master is how long to press and hold the center activation button to start certain features. This is simple for me as I just use their approximately 3 second hold and press to activate Siri on my iPhone. Once Siri is up, I have hands-free access to Apple's highly inaccurate and occasionally hilarious assistance. Phone calls and music are pretty easy to start, however, frequently Otis Redding is mistaken for the Offspring.
My Mom says phone calls sound like I'm on a speakerphone. FaceTime works from the handlebar mount, but I image is unexciting for the caller. Watching a helmet bounce around with sky behind it can't be terrible interesting. As a rider you need to keep your eyes on the road.
I don't look at the screen for more than an instant, and prefer to keep the GPS up. I get that phone conversations aren't the smartest distraction and I think it'd be horrible to try and talk in traffic or surface street driving. On long highway stretches, however, I think its a lot safer to use. I haven't bothered to try the rider to rider communication stuff, because other people aren't my cup of tea, but friends have all told me it works very well.
Sounds quality is very good. Riding with ear plugs in, and the speakers nestled nearby, really works well. This set up makes long distance riding MUCH more comfortable. Prior to this I would ride with ear buds in, and after an hour or so they begin to hurt. The system is also plenty loud and I'm generally turning it down. I do not expect audiophile sound, but perhaps I should add a wooden block.
If you want a slim bluetooth headset that is simple to use, especially for playing music and the occasional phone cell, I'm a big fan of the Sena SMH10R.