An informal poll of motorcycle riders revealed to me that one of the reasons people don’t like to use an intercom system while riding is because they believe the system is complicated. “If they were easier to use, I might try one,” was a common response.
Well, the newest version of a helmet intercom system from Sena aims to lessen the learning curve and make things simpler. The model name is simply “30K” (referencing the new technology), and it uses the latest advancements to allow seamless and simple pairing of two or more headsets that’s called Mesh Intercom technology. Wikipedia explains mesh this way: A mesh refers to rich interconnection among devices or nodes.
Benefits of System
The main benefit of the 30K intercom system is that when two or more intercoms come within a certain distance of each other, they are automatically connected. No pairing of the devices is involved.
When I attached the intercom system on both my helmet and my husband’s helmet, I simply turned each unit on and they were connected automatically. No waiting for blue lights to flash, or buttons to push and hold. That’s benefit number one to me! There’s also no chance the units will disconnect from each other accidentally, causing the need to pair them again. Mesh technology eliminates that.
I’ve been using Bluetooth intercom systems on my helmet for the last eight years, but more recently have gotten familiar with the Sena system when I reviewed the 20S Bluetooth system here a few years ago.
What I like about the 30K is that I don’t have to relearn all the buttons and features; most are the same as the 20S. For those who use intercoms in a group of riders, the biggest benefit of mesh technology is that when one rider leaves the group, the rest of the group stays seamlessly connected. This is a downside to Bluetooth connections; they are connected like a “chain.” When one rider goes out of range, essentially breaking the chain, the connection to other riders is lost. This is benefit number two to 30K. Everyone stays connected.
Knowing this, if I regularly rode with a group of three or more riders, I could see where always staying connected would be a huge benefit. The 30K is “intelligently” always searching for the lost connection and reconnects when the rider comes back in range.
There are two modes on the 30K, public and private. Public means anyone who happens to ride by with a 30K mesh system on his or her helmet will automatically be added to your connection. But how unlikely is that? Just in case, there is a private mode you can configure with up to 16 riders that works up to a range of 1.2 miles.
Sena’s website states that in public mode riders stay connected within a 1 mile range. For my test rides using the 30K, it was just my husband and myself using the units. Even at a 1 mile range on a straightaway the connection was crisp and clear with no static or crackling. That was the most impressive to me. When out of each others’ sight, we needed to stay less than a mile apart to stay connected.
Simplicity on Other Levels
I like how Sena designers try to make their products as user friendly as possible. For example, the photo below shows all the pieces that come with just one intercom system. There are accommodations for nearly every style of helmet for mounting the intercom, along with different size speaker pads, and extra microphone boom covers.
More to Know
The 30K works with Bluetooth, so if you have a Bluetooth 4.1 intercom you can connect to a 30K. The 30K also has a “quick charge” feature allowing you to charge the device in just 20 minutes. This gives you five hours of Bluetooth intercom or two hours of Mesh. So if you’ve run out of battery, you can do a quick charge at lunch or while stopping for a cup of coffee. But it’s unlikely you’ll run out of battery unless you forgot to charge it the night before. A full charge, which takes just 1.5 hours, allows for 13 hours of talk time using Bluetooth intercom, and eight hours using Mesh.
There’s a Sena 30K Utility App you can download on your smartphone that lets you configure device settings and access the quick start guide. The 30K intercom will also connect with the Sena RideConnected App.
One more important aspect of Sena that I really like is the company’s YouTube channel containing lots of helpful videos. Sena’s team has thought of nearly every question you’d have with the 30K, as well as their other systems. The videos are well done, and very informative.
For more information on the 30K and to buy online visit, Sena.com.