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Bluetooth Helmets vs. Bluetooth Communicators
From interacting with your Bluetooth devices such as GPS, cell phones, and music players, to full-on conversations with your riding team, a motorcycle helmet with Bluetooth technology really opens new doors and riding experiences that otherwise would remain closed. So, what exactly is a Bluetooth motorcycle helmet? Good question.
To answer that, we need to make the distinction between a Bluetooth motorcycle helmet and a motorcycle helmet with Bluetooth. Seems like a small difference, right? Just re-ordering a few words. But, it is a common occurrence that the two are seen as the same, when in reality they aren’t. To eliminate any confusion over the two, here is a brief breakdown:
Bluetooth Motorcycle Helmets:
This term is often used (incorrectly) to denote helmets that have specially-designed shells/internal features to accommodate Bluetooth communicator kits. Features such as special cut-outs for speakers, mounting indents, etc. are all indicative of these types of structural designs aimed at better allowing for the inclusion of a Bluetooth helmet communicator.
To be a true Bluetooth motorcycle helmet, the helmet must have Bluetooth capabilities right out of the box. No addons needed. No third-party pieces to include or mounting instructions to follow. The Bluetooth features are ingrained in the helmet. End of story. In the grand scheme of things, the amount of true Bluetooth motorcycle helmets is relatively limited, and is rarely an endeavor taken on by the world’s most premium motorcycle helmet manufacturers.
Motorcycle Helmets with Bluetooth:
As you might expect, these are the motorcycle helmets that were described at the beginning of the Bluetooth motorcycle helmets section above. More often than not, when someone is talking about a Bluetooth motorcycle helmet, this is what they are referring to. For the most part, this type of helmet does not come with the Bluetooth features ready-to-go right out of the box. While the designers of these helmets have taken special care to plan ahead for the addition of a Bluetooth kit, they have done so with the mindset that the rider will select the option that they want, and then install it themselves.
Bluetooth Motorcycle Helmets vs. Motorcycle Helmets with Bluetooth:
Ok, cool. So we’ve talked about the basic differences between a true Bluetooth motorcycle helmet and a helmet that was designed to accommodate an aftermarket Bluetooth kit. That’s all well-and-good. But, which one is better?
The truth is, it sort of depends on what you are looking for. Generally speaking, the best motorcycle helmet manufacturers in the world tend to want to focus on making the best motorcycle helmets. The same is true for Bluetooth communicator manufacturers. By selecting a helmet that has been designed to comfortably make use of a Bluetooth kit, you allow yourself the best of both worlds, as long as you are willing to take a few minutes to do the instal. Additionally, Bluetooth communicators vary wildly in price, functionality and aesthetics. Going with a separate helmet / Bluetooth setup thus allows the rider to make the decision about what combination works best for them, rather than being tied to the Bluetooth capabilities that come with a specific Bluetooth motorcycle helmet itself. This method also allows to focus on fit and protection rather than the Bluetooth feature that can be added later.
That being said, for streamlined fitment and ease of use, a full-on Bluetooth motorcycle helmet offers both at a high level. Also, in many cases, the full integration of Bluetooth capabilities is a team effort between the helmet manufacturer and the Bluetooth manufacturer, thus allowing each to do what they do best. In such an instance, if the features that come with a specific Bluetooth helmet are the features that a rider is looking for, it may minimize the need to look anywhere else. At the same time, as technology becomes more of a driving force in the game, more of the world’s top-tier helmet manufacturers are increasingly likely to take notice and could very-well offer a greater selection of true, premium-level Bluetooth motorcycle helmets.
In the end, it really is an individual selection that is all about rider-specific criteria. While the horizon is waiting, and full-on Iron Man style helmets are certain to be the way of the future, for the time being riders can select between these two options. Depending on what is paramount on their list (seamless integration vs. increased selection/options), the decision between a Bluetooth motorcycle helmet, and a motorcycle helmet that is Bluetooth-ready, is one that simply comes down to rider preference.