My BMW R1150 GSAA at Deals' Gap

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Entries in Shoei Neotec (2)


Sena SMH10 installed in a Shoei Neotec - Success!

The Shoei Neotec is an impressive helmet. But, with its $$ price tag vs. my old $ budget HJC Symax II, it should be. I took a moment to weigh it because a sales person insisted that it was the lightest modular helmet around. The Large size weighed in at 3 lbs., 15 oz. My old Symax II with the Autocom headset installed actually weighed in exactly the same. So, in reality HJC had the weight advantage, but with the build quality and added strength of the Neotec, I'm not going to quibble.

Old and New together for a while

Lid up, visor downWith the helmet comparison out of the way, here's an idea what you'll get yourself into if you decide to go wireless with the Sena SMH10. Unboxings are fun and Sena does a nice job of packaging everything you'll need to complete the installation.

Nice presentation from Sena

All the "electronics" for one of the two headsets in the kit is shown below. The universal boom microphone is shown here, but there's also an alternate microphone for use with a full face (non-flip!) helmet.

Here's a shot of the backside of the mounting assembly, showing the metal clamping plate that is tightened to secure the mount to the helmet.

Here are the extras that come in the kit to make installation easier with a variety of different helmets. For helmets where clamping the mount is impossible because there's no room between the outer shell and the protective foam, Sena includes an adhesive mounting pad (left).

Adhesive pads with the fuzzy side of Velcro are included for use when the helmet doesn't have "fuzzy" material in the right places. The speakers and microphone already have the "hooky" side of the Velcro attached, so under the right circumstances, they just literally stick in place where you want them to - or sometimes where you don't.

There's also the required allen wrench used to tighten the machine screws on the clamp.

Finally, to the right is a spare foam cover for the boom microphone and that strange shaped piece of plastic in the middle is actually a more serious wind-blocking mechanism for the boom microphone - more on that later. 

The Neotec actually has the necessary room between the outer shell and protective foam to allow the metal clamping plate to slide right in. For kicks, I attached the adhesive mount just to see how it would work. There's nothing that says you couldn't use it on the Neotec (with proper cleaning and preparation), but it just seemed better to use the clamp.

Here's a shot with the mount secured to the helmet with just enough room remaining to actuate the Neotec's visor lever with a finger from your left hand.

With the clamp in place and secured, here's a view from the bottom. Note that the helmet's left hand cheek pad is still in place for this picture. I'd advise removing both right and left cheek pads from the start and did so when I repeated the installation steps with Elizabeth's Neotec.

With the cheek pads removed, it's time to install the left and right speakers. Although they aren't marked, it's easy to tell which is which, since one has a longer lead allowing it to reach around to the opposite (right) side of the helmet.

Shoei provides speaker "cutouts" of some sort on each side of the helmet. In theory you could place the speakers behind these removable pads, providing additional clearance for your (big!?!) ears. Comments on the internet suggest that you will want to locate the speakers as close to your ears as you can get them and make sure to properly align them to the ear canal.

In this picture, I've relied on the speaker's "hooky" side Velcro to stick it in place near the center of the cover for the speaker cutout. This is OK for preliminary placement, but I'd recommend moving it up and to the left from center in order to get it closer to where I think your ear canal might be in reality.

Next, I took a guess at where the best place to "stick" the base of the boom microphone might be. I didn't do too bad, actually.

With the microphone and both speakers in place, I spent some time routing the leads out of view. With the cheek pads removed it occurred to me that I had two options: 1) Route the wires over and around the left side cheek pad or 2) Tuck the wires in between the protective foam and shell just enough to allow the cheek pad to be attached without binding on the wires. I chose number 2 for a much cleaner-looking installation, although finding the right "helper" to push the wires into place was tricky.


With everything in place the headset electronic module snapped in place on the mount and looked nice!


Here's a close-up shot of those wires tucked in behind the cheek pad.


Here's a close-up of the boom microphone with the foam cover removed. Note the position of the little wing on the end of the boom where it attaches to the mic. You want that wing pointing away from your face.

As mentioned above, Sena provides an additional wind blocking device that simply snaps in place over the windy side of the microphone. I expected the microphone to be pretty sensitive to picking up wind in a modular helmet, so I proactively chose to use the wind blocking device.

I then carefully tugged the foam cover back over the top of the microphone.

Time for a test fitting. You really didn't want to see my entire mug, did you?

With everything in place, I allowed the SMH10 some time to charge up using the supplied USB cable. Once charged, I turned the unit on and experimented with speaker placement and volume levels using the voice prompts. I also used a finger to determine how the speaker aligned with each ear. The speakers stick pretty well to the fabric in the helmet making it somewhat difficult to move them around without pulling loose the Neotec's speaker well covers. Remain calm and you'll be happy.

With the installation complete on one helmet anyway, I weighed the Neotec and this time found it to weigh 4 lbs., 6 oz. That's just 7 oz. for the SMH10.

Next up: Prepping the bike for the Nuvi 665 installation. Hint: Lots of old wiring was removed in the making of this story.



Sell a bike, re-farkle another - Yeah!

You might have noticed that another of my bikes joined the Departed section of this website. With the BMW R1150GS Adventure still in the inventory and likely to remain that way, Elizabeth and I agreed to update its electronics a bit this spring in preparation for a couple of back-to-back summer trips. First, we purchased a pair of Shoei Neotec modular helmets to replace our aging HJCs. Then, we decided that it was time to go wireless, as in Bluetooth for personal comms. This was a more difficult decision, as we realized that over the years we had grown used to simply plugging in to our Autocom and riding away. This should be more convenient, but it brings about an expectation that there might be "fiddling" involved to make sure things work and continue to do so. Finally, with the adoption of Bluetooth came the realization that the old Garmin 276C wasn't going to "plug and play". Easy fix... buy a new GPS.

So, with all that in mind, some of the money the sale of the bike brought in was quickly dispersed for the two helmets, a Garmin Zumo 665LM and finally the Sena SMH10 Bluetooth Headset/Intercom with Universal Microphone dual kit.

What's to come? I'll be tackling the Sena SMH10 installation in the Neotecs and posting pics and possibly a video here very soon. Along the way, I should have some comments and comparisons regarding the Neotec vs. HJC Symax II. They're obviously in different classes, but comparing weight, etc. might prove interesting. Then, I'll post info and pics on installing the Zumo on the R1150GS Adventure and getting everything paired up and talking. I have a little more than a month to get all this working before departing on the first trip, so watch for updates. This should be fun.