Product Review: Sena M1 & M1 Evo Smart MTB Helmets
Sena M1 & M1 Evo Smart
Sena is a leader in communication technology for powersports riders, cyclists and people who enjoy staying in touch outdoors. You might be familiar with Sena technology if you commute by motorcycle or enjoy listening to your favorite tunes during a long ride. The all-new M1 and M1 EVO helmets pack the same level of technology Sena has used to help motorcyclists communicate with one another on the roads and trails but has integrated it into an MTB helmet. This mountain bike-specific helmet is packed full of features that allow riders to easily radio back and forth with each other or listen to music during solo rides. Let’s dive right into this review to see what Sena’s new MTB helmets are all about.
Tech features: Sena offers its MTB helmet in two options, including the premium M1 EVO model and the regular M1 model. Both helmets do basically the same things, but for an additional $20, the EVO model offers more features, such as the ability to link more intercom systems. These helmets are designed to pair with your smartphone, allowing you to make phone calls, listen to music or chat with other riders wearing Sena helmets. Sena also focused on safety while commuting to the trails by adding a taillight to the helmet for better visibility. Inside the helmet is an intercom system above the brow and two speakers that sit above your ears. The goal was not to drown out noise with loud music but to add to your ride with a background sound track. The helmet’s construction is fairly basic.
There is no MIPS liner or cool magnetic buckle, nor does the visor adjust. That said, Sena did a nice job integrating its system into the helmet with seamless audio devices, easy-to-use buttons and no wires. Other than a few small details, riders would easily mistake this advanced helmet for a regular one.
Field test results: Out in the field, we quickly paired the Sena helmet speakers with our smartphone using the Sena Cycling app. We had full control of playing our music through the speakers or chatting on our phone while riding. While the speakers might not be Bose quality, the microphone was quite impressive. In fact, people on the other end of our phone calls could hardly tell we were in the middle of a trail ride. This, of course, came in handy when ditching the office for an extended lunch ride.
As far as the actual fit and design of the helmet, our riders had mixed opinions; however, the ability to intercom with other users is a real benefit. While the M1 might not offer all the bells and whistles of a high-end trail helmet, its benefits could outweigh its minor flaws. The range was fairly impressive in our open environment, allowing us to speak with riders nearly a half-mile away. All things considered, Sena’s M1 helmet is a solid option for riders for whom communication is a priority. Meanwhile, diehard riders who use their rides as an escape from technology might not find this product all that appealing.
• Advanced intercom system allows users to communicate roughly a half-mile apart
• Sena did a great job disguising its technology within the helmet
• Bright taillight provides commuters with additional safety
• Lacks an anti-rotational safety system
• Fixed visor position can limit field of view
• Another item you need to remember to charge before you ride
Price: $139; $159, M1 EVO