While some riders despise the concept of being connected to the outside world when they’re riding – indeed, for many, that is the very attraction of riding their bike – for others, remaining connected is a key element.
Whether it’s to hear sat-nav instructions, listen to music or make or take important calls or communicate with other riders or a pillion passenger is a key part of riding.
A Bluetooth motorcycle helmet will easily pair to your smartphone or sat nav (or in some cases, your bike itself) for directions, music and calls.
Related: Best motorcycle earphones
If you want to talk to other riders – if you’re on a ride with a group, for example – then you can also often connect using longer-range Bluetooth or MESH technology, which automatically connects you when you come within range.
And there are lots of universal-fit intercom systems around from a variety of manufacturers – known and respected as well as less well-known and with varying degrees of functionality.
However, one thing that universal intercoms have is something on the outside of the helmet to control them. This can range from a simple button panel to the full intercom unit itself.
While this means they will fit any helmet, they are visible and can generate wind noise in their own right.
Related: Best universal intercoms
However, some manufacturers have sought to alleviate this by working with intercom manufacturers to develop integrated systems that are designed specifically for one helmet, to fit within the helmet and work seamlessly with it, without the need to cumbersome external control panels, boxes and so on.
And while this means that the intercom will only work with one helmet, if you love your helmet and want to keep it for a while (no longer than five years, remember) then it will work seamlessly through the lid’s life (and potentially, for its replacement too).
Here is a selection of integrate intercom solutions for a range of helmets.
Sena 10U Arai
Sena is one of the biggest intercom manufacturers in the world, so itu2019s no surprise that the company has partnered with various helmet manufacturers to develop integrated solutions for numerous helmets. This is the system for Arai full-face helmets and once integrated and fitted to the helmet, only the three-button control unit is visible.
The aerials, battery and main workings are housed within the helmet for a clean look and no external noise generation. It features voice prompting, a built-in FM radio, a range of up to a mile to connect to other riders and the battery will last for ten hours.
This particular example comes with Sena’s handlebar remote control so you barely need to remove your hands from the grip to control the intercom.
LS2 Linkin Ride Pal III
Another system developed by Sena, the Linkin Ride Pal III is designed to work with LS2 helmets and locates the three-button control on the chin strap rather than on the outside of the helmet.
Some say this makes it awkward to get to while others don’t find any problems with it. The Microphone is built into the speaker and the battery, antenna and charging port are all fitted within the helmet.
It will connect to your phone or sat-nav as well as other riders, up to a distance of 900 metres. Each audio source also has its own volume control so you can set it to provide louder sat nav instructions than music, for example.
This Sena unit is designed for use in Shoei helmets, particularly the GT-Air II. The speakers mount into specifically designed apertures which allow for the cables to exit the holes and the battery slots into an aperture at the rear of the helmet liner.
The antenna is housed in the right-hand plastic section while the left-hand section houses the familiar Sena three-button control almost flush with the outer surface of the helmet. The unit has a range of up to a mile and it works with Sena’s smartphone app, to tailor a variety of controls including audio boost settings.
Read all about the Sena SLR2's features and our verdict on the helmet in our full review.
Using the same operating system as the Sena 20S universal-fit intercom, this version designed specifically for a wide range of HJC helmets sees the battery located in the rear of the helmet liner and the control unit mounted on the outside of the helmet, so the antenna is external as well as the controls.
Like the 20S, there is voice control and Bluetooth connections to two devices, as well as a direct intercom with riders up to a mile away. It will control a smartphone for music as well as phone calls and has a built-in FM radio as well as input for MP3 players, for example.
This system for the Schuberth S2 helmet is produced by Cardo, another major intercom manufacturer and replaces the helmetu2019s original cheek and neck pads with the hardware built into the replacements. The controls are mounted to the bottom of the neck-pad and the speakers and microphone fit within the helmetu2019s cut-outs.
It will pair with up to three other intercoms to a range of 700m and also to a smartphone for calls and music and to a sat nav for directions. It will also connect to an MP3 player via a USB socket and respond to voice commands.
Scorpion Exo Com
The Exo Com unit is designed for several Scorpion helmets and uses Bluetooth 5.0 to connect to other riders as well as compatible devices such as smartphones and sat navs.
A smartphone app controls the sound characteristics and you can connect with up to four riders using the DynaMesh technology for seamless connections to a maximum distance of 800 metres. It’s voice-activated making it safer to use and works with both Google and Apple’s Siri.
Schuberth SC1 Advanced
Developed for the Schuberth C4 and R2 helmets, this unit clips into a recess in the helmet and contains the controls and antenna for the system, the speakers and microphone already pre-installed in the helmet. It offers a connection to smartphones and sat navs as well as up to four other riders.
Like many others, it can be controlled using the rider’s voice as well as the controls located on the bottom of the main unit and offers Bluetooth 4.1 technology. Remote controls to be mounted on the bike’s handlebars are also available.