Cycling on open roads alongside distracted drivers is dangerous enough, even if you keep both hands on the bars. But staying connected—talking on the phone and listening to music—boosts your risk of a wreck. Sena aims to change that with the X1 Bluetooth Helmet. Using knowledge from its motorcycle communications systems, the company built smarts into a lightweight cycling lid, so you can keep your eyes on the road and ears open to traffic. Here’s how it works.
VIDEO CAPTURE: Splurge for the X1 Pro model ($349) if you want to add a forward-facing camera that will capture everything you see. It stores up to two hours of 1,440 pixel HD video on a microSD card, so you can relive your ride on a big screen—or show police the license plate of the jerk who ran you off the road.
FULL CONTROL: Leave your phone in your jersey pocket. Temple-mounted buttons let you easily switch from streaming music to phone calls or even tune in local FM radio stations. As with all Sena products, however, there are only a few buttons that control a ton of functions via taps and presses, so memorize the user manual.
RIDER RADIO: Want to talk to your riding partners, even when traveling single file? The X1 has an intercom built in so you can communicate with up to three other cyclists from a half-mile away on flat, open roads. Talk time is rated up to 16 hours, but it’ll take 3.5 hours to fully recharge the helmet’s battery.
SAFE AND SOUND: Like most bike helmets, the X1 has an EPS liner that deforms on impact to reduce your risk of injury. What’s different are the two down-firing speakers built into the outer plastic shell above your ears, which let you hear music and voices clearly without inhibiting your ability to detect road hazards.
[Sena XI Bluetooth Helmet, $199; sena.com]