Ordinarily, you might think that raising your hand to the intercom positioned to the left-hand lower edge of your helmet to increase volume or skip a track if you are listening to music or indeed, make or answer a call is not a particularly tricky task. And most of the time, you would be right.
However, there are times when we want both hands (not too) firmly on the bars and in control of the bike and removing one hand and fumbling around at the helmet may distract or result in a reduction in the control we have for the bike.
After all, some intercoms’ controls can be fiddly and tricky to find. Many Sena intercoms, for example, tend to use three buttons to keep their profile low, particularly those designed to be integrated with Shoei helmets.
In this particular example, the control buttons are fairly small to make sure that the intercom has as low a profile as possible to cause the minimum external wind noise and give a smooth, unbroken look to the helmet.
However, the downside is that finding the right buttons, particularly with a pair of gloves on, can be a pain. Even having used mine numerous times and for thousands of miles, I still find myself turning the intercom off when all I want to do is skip ahead one track. So a remote control, with larger buttons for easier use, can help.
This is Sena’s most-basic remote control and fundamentally, there isn’t a huge amount to it. It connects to the intercom via Bluetooth and replicates the three buttons – a central operations button and a volume + and -. You use it in the same way as the three buttons on the intercom itself – it becomes a larger and more visible version of the intercom’s built-in controls.
There are several ways of mounting it; the intercom itself comes in a rubberised clip that can fix to the cuff of your right arm (so you can use your left hand to operate it) or, as I have done on several bikes, you can use that clip to tie-wrap it to the handlebars though arguably, you could also fit it to a mirror stalk, for example.
Alternatively, it also comes with a couple of self-adhesive Velcro mounts which you can use to stick it to the fuel tank or anywhere else you feel is appropriate.
Pairing is easy – just hold the + button down until it flashes then your intercom either automatically finds it or you long-press the main button and search for the remote control, then pair it when found. The remote will eventually power itself down after the intercom is switched off or goes out of range and the battery has lasted months for me at a time.
If money is no object – let’s face it, £40-50 is not pocket change – then this is a handy addition to your kit list. It is definitely easier to operate than the smaller buttons typically found on the intercom itself (or thumbwheels that need to be pushed and rotated at the same time to change tracks, for example) especially when wearing thicker gloves.
You can see the buttons easily and know exactly which one you are pressing for improved control as well as potentially keeping your hands closer to the bars for better safety. Unless you can mount it so close to the left-hand grip that you don’t need to remove your hand and can hit the buttons with perhaps a thumb. In which case, £40 is probably a reasonable investment.
Makes intercom control easier
Can fit to the jacket sleeve
Can fix to bike
Can still be a distraction depending on location