Best Motorcycle Intercom (Bluetooth Headset)

pillion riders

When I first started riding, I enjoyed the solitude of the open road and the sense of freedom it gave me.

But, I’ll admit it: It didn’t take long before I wanted to share the experience with someone else (guess I’m not such a solitary guy after all).

That’s when I started looking into the best bluetooth headsets and decided to put together this buyers guide.

I’ve also reviewed some of the best value products on the market and given you the lowdown on their strengths and weaknesses.

Lets get straight into it and have a look at what you need to know before making a decision.

Click here to go straight to the reviews.

 

Our Top Bluetooth Headset

The Sena SMH5 is our top recommendation.

It is feature packed and offers high quality sound.

This unit is a step up from the cheaper less well known brands and the extra money is well spent.

 

What Is a Motorcycle Intercom (and Why Might You Need One)?

A motorcycle intercom is a device which lets you talk to someone else while riding. Depending on the type of intercom, that someone else can be a passenger, a fellow rider, or many other riders.

Here’s why I chose a bluetooth headset:

  • GPS\Music\Phone connectivity: Most Bluetooth intercoms connect to your smart phone (and we’ll talk about those in the motorcycle intercom reviews) allowing you to wirelessly get directions, make calls or listen to music. 
  • On long rides, I like talking to my pillion: My wife often sits behind me when we go on trips. It is great to be able to point things out and chat a bit. This wouldn’t be possible without a motorcycle intercom. Try talking through a full-face helmet at 60+ mph and you will know what I mean! *If you haven’t taken a passenger yet, read this Guide to Riding Pillion.
  • I don’t have to stop to talk with other riders: My wife recently got her own bike and we often go cruising without any particular destination in mind. It’s so handy to be able to communicate without having to stop.

Safety Note

One of the main attractions of Bluetooth motorcycle intercoms is that they can connect to your phone. This means that you can listen to music and take phone calls while riding.

I personally find that music and especially calls can be distracting and may cause your concentration to wander from the road.

We are all different so some riders may not have this problem.

At the end of the day it is your call and each rider is responsible for their own safety decisions.

Motorcycle intercoms have come a long way in the past few years. Before you start looking at the reviews, make sure you understand what you’re looking for!

Here’s the key questions to ask to make your choice.

 

Who Do You Want to Talk To?

This is really important because some headsets only work well with pillions. If you want to talk to lots of people in your group, range becomes more important.

  • Just to your pillion or for solo use with smartphone: In this case, range is not an important consideration.
  • To other riders and\or pillions: Once you start wanting to talk to other riders, then range begins to matter. The larger your group is, the larger range you’ll need. Generally, 500 yards is adequate for small groups of 2-3. You’ll need approximately 1,000 yards range for larger groups .

 

Where Will You Be Riding?

A big problem with wireless motorcycle intercoms is that objects can lessen their range.

For example, let’s say that you are riding in a city. You go around a turn and your riding partner is stuck at a red light. The buildings between you can interfere. Suddenly, you’ve lost contact with your partner!

So:

  • City riding = need larger range
  • Open country = need lesser range

 

What Will the Weather Be Like?

I bring this up because I’ve heard of many riders who’ve had their cheap motorcycle intercoms ruined by a mild rain. Pay attention to waterproofing!

 

How Will You Mount Your Motorcycle Intercom?

There are two options for mounting: clamps and tape. In general, most people prefer the clamp mount because it is more secure.

The video below gives you an idea of how to mount an intercom in your helmet.

 

Motorcycle Intercom Features to Look for

When reading motorcycle intercom reviews, try not to get overwhelmed by all of their fancy-sounding features.

These are the ones you actually need to pay attention to:


Intercom Range

If you are only going to use your motorcycle intercom for talking to a passenger, then range isn’t so important. With city riding or larger groups though, you’ll need more range. As a general guideline:

  • For smaller groups or open-country riding: Range of up to 500 yards is adequate
  • For larger groups or city riding: Range of at least 1000 yards is necessary

Sound Quality

I tried my friends Bluetooth motorcycle intercom system. It was working great – until we hit 40 mph (not exactly super-sonic speed). Suddenly, the wind was so loud we couldn’t make out what the other was saying.

To make sure you can actually communicate with your intercom, look for:

  • Noise reducing capabilities
  • Digital signal processing (DSP)
  • Wind and engine sound reduction

Wireless Technology Used

If you are going with a wireless motorcycle intercom (which are the most popular now), know that there are different technologies used. Bluetooth isn’t the only option!

  • GMRS or FRS: These are basically the same tech used for walkie-talkies. They provide great range, but has the downside that GMRS and FRS are public frequencies so other people could be able to hear you! *If you want to learn more about these systems, here is a good guide to two-way radios .
  • FM: Produce clear sound, but only when there aren’t obstructions in the path. Also is a public frequency, so others will be able to hear you.
  • Bluetooth: Not only does Bluetooth mean that you can communicate with other riders, but you can also communicate with your bike and mobile phone. The downside is that range is low (often just 100s of feet, not miles). Bluetooth may be combined with other technologies in order to extend range.

Battery

Look at the battery life and also how the battery is charged. You don’t want your intercom dying on you in the midst of a ride!


Voice Control/Hands-Free

Many of the top motorcycle intercoms are voice activated. There are some situations where you won’t want your intercom coming on when you speak (such as if you have to stop to answer your phone).

So, look for an intercom which lets you override voice control and use manual switches instead.


Number of Connections

The more connections you need, the more expensive the motorcycle intercom will be.

However, think twice before skimping on the number of possible connections. You might want to ride in a larger group later on and have to get a completely different intercom!


GPS

All the intercoms featured here can connect to your smartphone which allows you to use GPS – but don’t assume that all do!

If you want this feature (which is honestly really helpful), be sure to check for it before buying.


Waterproofing

Virtually all motorcycle intercoms will say that they are “weather resistant.” This is NOT the same thing as waterproof!

If you ride in the rain (or might be caught in the rain), be sure your intercom is waterproof. Or, have a plastic bag to put around it.


FM Radio and Music

I personally would find it distracting to listen to the radio or music while riding. That is why I am putting this feature last.

However, some riders really like the “music sharing” feature on Bluetooth intercoms.


The Top 5 Bluetooth Motorcycle Intercoms Reviewed

Sena SMH5 Bluetooth Motorcycle Intercom


Quality

Price

Our rating


When it comes to motorcycle intercoms, Sena is a leading name. They are known for their sound quality, and the Sena SMH5 was made to deliver the best sound.

Pros

 

Up to 4 other users

Can use with other brands of intercoms

8-hour talk time; 7-day standby time

Reliable voice controls

Great sound quality

Hands-free integration with mobile phone

Bluetooth music controls and FM tuner

Cons

 

Only 437 yard range

Doesn’t have all of the features available in newer, pricier intercoms

Not completely waterproof

Sena SMH10 Bluetooth Motorcycle Intercom

sena sm10 motorcycle intercom


Quality

Price

Our rating


Here’s another great Sena intercom. It has almost all of the same features as the SMH5 but has a much better range and longer talk time. Of course, you will have to pay a bit more for these features. If you don’t use motorcycle intercoms often, it might not be worth the price for you.

Pros

 

Up to 4 other users

Can use with other brands of intercoms

12-hour talk time; 10-day standby time

980 yard range

Superb sound quality and volume

Hands-free integration with mobile phone

Bluetooth music controls and FM tuner

Cons

 

Figuring out the “priority modes” can be a bit confusing

Water resistance could be better

Check Current Prices

Veetop (Two Pack) Bluetooth Motorcycle Intercom


Quality

Price

Our rating


For a cheap motorcycle intercom, the Veetop has some impressive features like hands-free mobile phone connection and a built-in FM radio. The most annoying thing is that you can only talk to one rider at a time. If you want to talk to another rider, you have to push a button – which can be difficult while wearing gloves. Thus, this intercom is really only good if you just want to talk to one rider or a pillion.

Pros

 

Great value

Built-in FM radio

Water resistant

Walkie-talkie connection

Hands-free integration with mobile phone

8 hours of talking time

Cons

 

Connects to up to 3 units, but you can only talk to one person at a time!

Sound quality isn’t always consistent

Very poor instruction manual

Check On Amazon

BEEWAY (2 Pack) Bluetooth Motorcycle Intercom


Quality

Price

Our rating


This is one of the only cheap motorcycle intercoms which lets you connect larger groups of riders. The range is also impressive. However, the other features suffer – usability and audio quality are reflected in the low price.

One major downside is that there are no priority modes. If you are playing music, you won’t be able to chat with other users. If you are using GPS, it will interrupt your conversions when the GPS gives directions.

Pros

 

Up to 6 riders

1,310 yards range

Hands-free integration with mobile phone

Great weatherproofing and water resistance n

Great price

Cons

 

Only 7 hours of talk time

Audio quality is not great

Buttons are fairly small and fiddly

Need to press a button to switch to another user

No priority modes

Check On Amazon

Boblov BT-S2 (Two Pack) Bluetooth Motorcycle Intercom


Quality

Price

Our rating


Due to its limited features, the Boblov BT-S2 is actually more like a mobile phone for your motorcycle. It isn’t even hands-free, but you can activate Siri with the intercom. For riders who only need to occasionally talk to a pillion or other rider, and who don’t want to spend a fortune on an intercom, this might be enough to meet their needs.

Pros

 

1,000 yard range

Great price

Hands-free integration with mobile phone

Cons

 

Not loud enough at high speeds

Only 6 hours talk time

Isn’t hands-free

Up to 3 users – but not at the same time

Check On Amazon

The Verdict?

After hearing a lot of riders complain about problems they’ve had with their cheap motorcycle intercoms (and then ditching them to buy better quality units), I’ve got to say that the Sena SMH5 is probably the best choice for most riders.

The Sena SMH5 is more affordable than other Sena units, yet still has all of the features you need to communicate safely and reliably.

Since its Universal Bluetooth means it can pair with other models of Bluetooth intercoms, you don’t even have to worry if your riding mates don’t also have a Sena.