If you are looking for only the best features in a motorcycle intercom, then you have to consider the Sena 30K-01 headset. Sena has long been one of the foremost manufacturers of motorcycle Bluetooth communications systems, and the 30K has raised the bar in terms of performance, quality, and features.
Standards have improved hugely since the first systems became available, and the Sena 30K-01D is the current pinnacle of rider communication. Attaching neatly to the side of your helmet, the unit is easy to use and offers the latest technological advances with Bluetooth 4.1 and the MESH-network multi-rider connection system.
Backing up the inbuilt technology is the phone app allowing you to easily control the unit’s setup. It’s a great system with a huge range of features, but do you need them all?
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The 30K unit weighs just 61g (2.15oz) and is small enough to barely notice it once attached to your helmet.
Sena claims a range of up to 1.2 miles for the intercom, and this is backed up by user’s comments. The main point to note is that this only applies in open terrain, which means being able to see the other person. Riding in mountain ranges will reduce the distance.
- Talk Time
With a fully charged battery, the Sena 30K will give you around 8 hours of talk time when connected to multiple riders and a whopping 13 hours while only using the Bluetooth intercom. As with smartphone talk time, this will reduce with heavy use.
Flat to full charge takes just 1.5 hours for the Lithium Polymer Battery, but when you’re in a hurry, the 20-minute quick charge feature will give you 5 hours of Bluetooth intercom.
- Bluetooth 4.1
The system uses Bluetooth 4.1 technology to connect between other devices
- Dual Processors
One processor controls the Bluetooth operation while a second dedicated processor takes care of the Mesh-Network.
- Advanced Noise Control
Sena has always had a great noise control system for their headsets and the 30K is no exception. This system removes background noise such as wind roar very allowing communication at even high speeds. It has to be mentioned, that the microphone and speaker setup and location make a huge difference to this, and it will require some trial and error.
- Mesh technology
This is one of the big features of the 30K. Riding with your buddies in a group is one of the best feelings in the world, but now you can all chat along the way!
For groups up to 16, the Sena offers a Private Mode to keep your conversations, well, private. If one of the group gets separated and loses connection, then when they rejoin the group, the network will seamlessly reconnect them. Perfect!
In Public Mode, the number of connections is virtually unlimited, but let’s be honest, it will get noisy and confusing with that many people. Watch how the Mesh Network functions on this video.
- Audio Multitasking
Thanks to the dual processors, the 30K can connect you with other riders in private or public mode, while simultaneously letting you control your smartphone and stream music. Pretty cool, especially as it’s all handled automatically. Take a phone call? The system will mute other inputs automatically.
- Connect to your smartphone
Need to receive calls while on the move? Pairing your headset to your smartphone is easy and once set up, the system automatically reconnects every time it’s switched on. You can then use the apps on your phone, such as Google Maps to get directions directly to your headset. No more getting lost looking for that top-rated biker’s bar!
- FM Radio
Long rides on the motorway need never be so bad again! Now you can pick up your favorite radio station direct through your intercom. No more need to pair your phone and tune through your radio app.
- Ease of use
Let’s be honest, fiddling about with an intercom while trying to concentrate on your riding could be a recipe for disaster, so this needs to be easy to use. With features such as voice control and easy-to-use buttons on the main unit, controlling your Sena 30K is easy once you have a little practice. The user guide is very detailed and will explain every feature.
- Price range
The Sena 30K is at the top of their range and has a price to match. Cheaper options are available for those that don’t need all the bells and whistles. For example, maybe you only ride with 1 or 2 other people? In that case, the Mesh Network feature is of little benefit, so why pay extra for it?
The 30K has some fantastic features and is a step up from previous models. The Mesh Network is brilliant when groups of friends want to ride together, keeping everyone in touch and even becoming an aid to safety.
The speakers came in for mixed reviews, with some saying they were too loud and others complaining they were not great for music or too quiet! We think a lot of this is down to speaker placement in the helmet. Some helmets are designed for speakers and have the ideal cut-outs, whereas cheaper brands probably don’t spend a great deal of money on speaker fitment. A little trial and error can normally overcome any problems.
Being at the top-end of the Sena range, this system is aimed fairly and squarely at the serious user, who covers a lot of miles with other riders and generally in larger groups. For some, the expense is worth it for the extra features, while others may prefer the cheaper option, such as the SMH10R, which is less than half the price.
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The Sena 30K-01 kit is the top of the range motorcycle intercom offered by the company and comes packed with all the features you’d expect. If you regularly ride with the same group of friends, then this could be perfect for all in the group to buy.
Connecting everyone together is easy and the auto-reconnect feature is very useful. For just a couple that wants to chat and listen to music while out for a ride, then this will be overkill and the lower spec and lower price Sena SMH10R will be more suitable.
Other points to consider are the many accessories available to provide extra functionality, such as remote control, a WiFi docking station and the 30K utility app to easily set up your system. Plus lifestyles change, and this will future proof your motorcycle communication for a good few years to come.
And to explain what the “D” of the Sena 30K-01D stands for… It’s the dual pack of the system. Enjoy your riding!