I am not particularly a gadget guru or electronics wizard by any means, mechanically inclined sure, but when it comes to new fangled electronic devices my patience wears thin, fast. So it better work right and it better work right now.
So I took both units out of the box, read the first page or two of directions and went after getting them charged. Although unlike Chris' report from Everyday Riding, ours came with two 12v power outlet chargers and not a wall charger his did, which I found to be odd. Fortunately our phone charger fits and works just fine, but if we absolutely need to we can charge both units while we ride... once I wire a 12v outlet to Brandy's bike (mechanically inclined +1).
While the units charged I mounted the bases to our helmets, tucked the ear pieces inside and ran the wires along the helmet lining. The mounting bracket slides between the helmet shell and liner then fastens like a clamp with a couple of allen screws (easy mounting +1).
|Stock photo from senabluetooth.com|
Once both units were charged we hooked them up, donned our helmets in the house and tested them. The first push of the button we were welcomed by a soft spoken female voice and cheerful "hello" greeting, next I was in crystal clear communication with Brandy. Where the Sena excels is that both units came from the factory paired with each other, way to keep it simple. Sonja also praised the simplicity of the Sena in her blog.
For the past several years, we've been using walkie talkie type radios with push to talk buttons on the handlebars requiring too many wires, not only tethering our helmets to our handlebars but literally tethering us to our bikes. Whenever we wanted to stop and take a picture we'd have to untangle ourselves, dismount, unplug our helmets, take a photo, walk back, plug our helmet back in, mount our bikes and make sure our wires were out of harms way in order to ride safely. We've had to replace two microphones because of fragile soldering and delicate wiring, the last one broke on our trip home from Enterprise, I could hear Bobskoot and Brandy talking but I couldn't verbally respond, relying only on hand signals and head nods.
The Sena eliminates all of this and gives us the ultimate freedom from wires, cords, buttons and radio mounting locations in exchange for just a few ounces on the left side of our helmets. I can't even begin to describe how well designed and fantastically simple the Sena is, we went for a ride today using the VOX feature and it took both of us several miles before we finally re-trained ourselves not to reach for the phantom PTT button. We could both talk without having to cue the microphone, wait for the delay or have to talk over the hiss of the radio interference. We talked to each other today in normal conversation tone and volume and it was wonderful. Although the Sena is capable of so much more with its other bluetooth features, I'm happy simply using it as we did today.
Thank you Santa and thank you Sena.