Sena just unveiled the M1, its newest trail helmet that comes complete with two-way radio communications technology. The German smart helmet brand specializes in using Bluetooth communications technology as an integrated feature within helmet design, and has now introduced a mesh intercom system, offering riders true hands-free communication, independent of a service provider.
Why would you want a helmet with an integrated Bluetooth feature, if you already carry a smartphone? The reality is that mobile phone and data signals can fade in mountainous terrain. All riders have experienced that dead-zone, when devices are completely beyond the reach of any signal relay tower. This is where the Sena technology proves its value.
The safety aspect is impressive, especially if you are guiding a group, or riding with kids. For inexperienced riders, or those who become separated from the main group, this communications feature can allay any anxiety and panic.
Comprising integrated speakers and a microphone, the Sena Bluetooth communication system will prove invaluable in helping trail guides and parents locate and recover riders who have fallen behind.
Avoiding issues on your group ride
There are two versions of the new M1 helmet: the M1, and the M1 EVO.
The M1 EVO allows an unlimited number of riders to keep in contact for up to half a mile, across nine different channels using Sena’s proprietary Mesh Intercom platform. The range can be extended up to two miles with a group of six riders spread over open terrain.
A lead rider with the M1 EVO helmet can call out trail features such as jumps, or fallen trees on singletrack, allowing a train of following riders to space themselves and avoid a collision.
The standard M1 helmet has the same half-mile range and uses Bluetooth signaling, with only four channels that can connect with up to three other riders.
Beyond the clever intercom communication, these new Sena M1 helmets can pair with your other devices and give you GPS directions or play music while you are on that search for singletrack.
However, the M1 and the M1 EVO cannot connect to each other, so it's important to make sure all your riding buddies get the same model.
The M1-series helmets are targeted at trail riders, so they come with a generous structure, covering the base of the skull. These helmets also feature LED taillights, which should make it easier for other riders to follow behind, when riding at sunrise, sunset, or through gloomy deep forest conditions.