Sena SC1M Bluetooth for the Schuberth M1 Pro Helmet Test
The Schuberth M1 Pro jet-style helmet is delivered pre-wired for a Bluetooth device with earphones, antenna, microphone, and related wiring already installed. Pre-installing internals to allow simple attachment of a device to a helmet is becoming more popular lately, and there are a few manufacturers who are doing this.
The M1 Pro is unique to my knowledge in that there are not one but two different Bluetooth units available that take advantage of this setup.
In our review of the Schuberth M1 Pro helmet, we tested the Cardo-sourced SRC-System. This time the M1 Pro gets the Sena SC1M Bluetooth communications device, and it connects in the same way as the Cardo unit—by snapping into the niche at the back of the helmet. Like the Cardo unit, the Sena SC1M offers smartphone connectivity for music and telephone calls, GPS connectivity, and allow intercom conversations, whether bike-to-bike or pilot-to-passenger, but there are some important differences. For example, the Sena SC1M has a remote control device.
Included in the box with the SC1M are the control unit, remote, micro-USB cable (no charger), hook and loop pads, pressure tape, and a unique clip-mount device holder that attaches to the rider’s right sleeve or elsewhere. These choices ease and expedite mounting. The unit recharges through a micro-USB port, while the remote uses a standard CR2016 battery, and an extra battery is included. During the testing, I never depleted the battery. The lifespan of the battery can be anywhere from several weeks to months, depending on usage.
Sena’s remote control can be affixed to the helmet, to the clip mount that can attach to clothing, or with double-sided adhesive, or hook and loop fasteners, that can place it on the helmet, fuel tank, or any smooth surface you find appropriate. This makes finding the controls a lot easier and helps get your left hand back on the grip where it belongs. The stated feature list includes:
- Motorcycle-to-motorcycle intercom at a range of up to 500 meters (up to 4 participants)
- Rider-to-passenger intercom
- Receive and place telephone calls
- Four-way intercom
- Universal intercom
- Voice prompts
- Smartphone app for iPhone and Android
- Built-in FM radio tuner, with a station scan and save function
- FM sharing
- Music sharing
- 2 Bluetooth connections for mobile phones, MP3 players, GPS navigation devices
- Audio multitasking
- Audio source priority
- Noise control
The bonus features that attract me most to the Sena are the remote control, audio multitasking (allows music to play while intercom is active), FM radio, music sharing and FM sharing (allows your passenger to hear the radio). The lack of any, or all, of these features is not a deal-breaker, but they are nice to have. I rarely ride with a passenger and never listen to FM, as I’m often in the middle of nowhere and get no reception. Other riders may find those features essential.
Bluetooth communicators often require firmware updates, so when I receive a new device, I check the firmware version before use. It was the latest version. In some cases, some units are up to date out of the box, and others are not. Updates can often be a pain, but necessary for the best outcome (especially with group intercom).
The Schuberth Sena unit does not use the Sena Bluetooth Device Manager used by other Sena devices I’ve tested. Instead, they have an online portal dedicated to the devices they build for Schuberth. The site has the device manager software, as well as online manuals. I used the device manager to set the speed dial number, and FM radio station presets. See the graphics for available options.
I found both systems easy to use, intuitive, and without any quirks. Bluetooth has come a long way, and these updaters are much better than those of a few years ago when they had problems recognizing devices. Pairing the SC1M to my iPhone took 30 seconds. There are many choices in the setup of the SC1M to allow pairing with GPS and phone simultaneously, and one that chooses which paired unit has priority.
I was undecided as to how to mount the remote control, so I utilized the clip mount that allows attachment to my jacket sleeve. As it turned out, the clip is quite tight, and due to the rolled edge of my leather jacket sleeve, would not allow the mount to slide all the way on. I did find it attached snug enough to use it in this position.
Schuberth claims 14 hours of battery life. I found I could turn the unit on in the morning, ride with it playing music all day, take a phone call or two, leave it on during lunch, and still get home with battery life to spare.
With a bit of memorization, the functions are easy to navigate. Three buttons on the remote control work all functions. The music quality is excellent and on par with most other brands. At highway speeds, I need to crank the volume to its highest level, but that is enough. Be sure to turn the volume to the max on your smartphone, too.
Schuberth claims this model can intercom with three other units. I presume any Sena communication devices will link up, but I did not have the opportunity to try this capability out.
I did use the FM radio and was quite satisfied with the reception. The radio allows scanning the band then saving a station as a temporary or permanent preset. This functionality is similar to other brand radios I have used.
This SC1M is a powerful unit in a small package that has a great deal of ability to configure to a rider’s needs. With an MSRP of $269, the Sena SC1M is easy to install, operate, and it satisfies my need for music in the saddle.