Phone Calls While Riding A Motorcycle: Not sure it should be a thing…

In the wake of the Spring Trip and all of the minor problems we had during it I decided that I finally wanted to get headset communication in my helmet. We’ve been looking at them for a while so when it came time to actually pull the trigger we already knew what we were going to get. Now the group is the proud owners of four Sena 20S.

Of course since then we haven’t had time to go on a group ride and test the intercom function, however the reason we picked them was they do so much other stuff.

The biggest selling point was that they can connect via bluetooth to two different devices, I haven’t tried to connect to more than my phone, but that’s enough.

Now I can do all the things I used to do with a bluetooth adapter like this, which was almost exclusively listen to music while I ride. Now however I have the ability to adjust the volume, pause and skip songs. Oh, and I can call people with the phone…

This really shouldn’t be a thing. I am pretty against people talking on the phone while driving and this is definitely just as bad or worse. Motorcycling takes a lot of attention, and holding a conversation is pretty damn distracting, combining these two things is not a good idea. Which is to say of course I’ve done it.

In the interests of doing a comprehensive report on it of course.

I have to say that every single time I was convinced it was a bad idea and I would/should never do it again. Then something would happen and I would want/need to ask the wife something and it was so much easier to just hit the button and say “speed dial one” than pull over and do it. I have only done this on the freeway when I have a bit of a space cushion, but even then it is so very distracting. I’m also a horrible conversationalist. There are long pauses as I focus on what that car is doing and not at all how to phrase a reply to whatever my wife is asking me. Of course the wife doesn’t chat much when I call her from the bike, she’s all business, she wants me home safe and doesn’t want me distracted either.

Overall though the headset is great. Good battery life and the music comes through great. I can’t wait to try out the intercom function. Now that the leg is better I’m planning some trips. I’ll let you all know how they work as soon as we try them.

There is really only one bad thing. It’s the volume of the beep when you change functions or turn off the headset. The beep is disproportionately loud compared to the volume of everything else. I use my Shure headphones with it and from what I’ve read this might be a problem when using headphones and not the included speakers. I’m hoping they can fix this in a software update because it mars what would otherwise be a perfect product.



About MotoCynic

I started riding motorcycles in 2006, and there is no going back. I've ridden more than 100,000 miles, most of it on a Ducati Monster, and despite setbacks and murderous BMW's I'm loving every mile.
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4 Responses to Phone Calls While Riding A Motorcycle: Not sure it should be a thing…

  1. motoventures says:

    My buddy introduced me to a Sena last year, right before we rode about 1400 miles together. It was AWESOME! I don’t always ride with it when by myself, but it is great for group rides, music, and even making an emergency call when necessary (like last night – caught in a thunderstorm). I simply pressed one button for Siri, said “Call Wifey” and all was well. Technology can be nice. Enjoy!

    • MotoCynic says:

      I really can’t wait to try them out as intercoms. It sounds like it would be awesome. Which one do you have? How is the practical range?

      • motoventures says:

        I think mine is the Sena SM-10H. We really had great range in all conditions (mountains, plains, etc.), but I’m not sure how far exactly. In the open I’d say about a mile, in the mountains maybe a half mile? Let me know how you like them!

  2. I’ve been using a wired intercom for a few years and for the most part it works really well even for making phone calls if I wanted to. The limitations are few but they are annoying.

    The limitations have lead me to start researching a Bluetooth alternative and I have to admit I’m tossing between the sena and the uclear, although the sena is my preferred choice.

    As for phone calls, well I’m with you, I don’t like the idea. But I guess if some one calls me it must be important 😊


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