I am a modular helmet rider, and I enjoy being technology-connected. I like my helpful toys, and I enjoy my interaction with them. When I saw that Sena came out with new modular helmet with Bluetooth built in, I had to give the Sena Outrush helmet a try.
The first thing I noticed when opening the box is that Sena put a top ring, cardboard filler around the top of the helmet protection pouch. I have opened many new helmet boxes recently, and a ring to keep the top of the helmet from hitting the roof of the box is something I haven’t seen before. I wondered to myself, what are they protecting?
I pulled the glossy white Sena Outrush modular helmet from its protective pouch. It has a top air scoop with a forward-pointing overhang. This air scoop has its open/close slider mounted on top of it.
It was surprising that the slider was slightly lifted on one side and could be clicked back into place or lifted out of position. It doesn’t affect the control of the scoop, but it does seem like a weak spot that could get snagged. Many people put things on top of their helmets, such as jackets and clothing layers. The helmet comes with a five-year warranty, so if it becomes an issue, I would hope it would be covered.
I gave the Sena Outrush helmet a once-over to find the exposed Bluetooth control. It is an easy to reach, single round jog dial back on the left side. Having used other Sena communication devices, I quickly recognized that the functions of calling, intercom, streaming music control, and FM Radio control could all be controlled with turns and pushes.
I pushed the jog dial in and turned it to the right, just to experience the push and turn limits, and I heard “Hello”. Obviously, I had found the combination to turn the unit on, but I didn’t see any indication of that—only aural.
It’s helpful that Sena sends the unit with a charge. As it turns out, mine was fully charged out of the box. When you power on the unit, a red LED flashes to advise the battery level. With a three-hour charge time, and 15 hours of claimed talk time, most of us will be stiffening up long before running out of battery.
I turned the Sena Outrush helmet over to reveal my first experience with a rachet, quick release buckle. I pulled on the little bright red loop, and the buckle opened. It was then that I saw a tiny, blue LED next to the buckle, telling me the Bluetooth is on. The only time you need to verify if the unit is on or not is when you have it off your head, otherwise pressing the jog dial will do some kind of beep combination in your ears, or an actual “Hello” or “Goodbye”.
Attached to the buckle is the manual. I cut the cord and thumbed through the first 34 pages, which are in English. I quickly got to the section on how to turn off the unit—press the jog dial in for five seconds. I heard “Goodbye” and the LED went out.
On the end of the little LED module is a micro USB port for charging and updating firmware. The Sena Outrush helmet comes with two microphone windscreens to help with noise reduction, plus a USB power/data cable that should only be attached when the helmet is not being worn, according to the manual.
The chin bar opens like all other modular helmets—a thumb switch unlatches both left and right metal to metal pin locks. It has a double air inlet vent controlled with a glove-friendly up-and-down switch. Inside of the chin bar is a removable chin skirt that I know from experience really helps on cold rides. I always pull it out for three seasons, and put it back on for winter riding.
I am a four-season rider, so having a fog-free shield is crucial for me. The Sena Outrush clear shield is UV-resistant and fog-resistant. I am wearing the helmet with the visor down as I am typing this. With great effort, pulling the flexible breath guard out of the way, I was able to huff enough hot breath to slightly fog the shield. I tried that on another helmet that is advertised, and I have proven to be, fog-free and got the same result by heavy huffing. It will be at least three months before I will have ambient air cold enough to test this feature on the road, but it did act the same as a known fog-free shield for this practical test.
The faceshield has four sturdy, position detents. Sturdy is good, as I ride with my shield up most of the time behind the windshield of my Yamaha Venture. If the detents are not robust, a strong crosswind or swirl from a tractor-trailer will change the shield’s position. That can be quite annoying when riding in a crosswind for several hours.
The lowest open position is what I would consider cracked open. I like the ability to crack the shield open because when I ride in heavy rain with the shield down, my glasses will fog. Having a cracked position keeps the rain out of the Sena Outrush, but directs some incoming airflow. The faceshield has glove-friendly, push and pull points on both sides of the center of the face shield for lefties and righties.
I did come across an interesting feature that I couldn’t find any further documentation on. This Sena Outrush helmet has a Lock switch on the right side of the helmet to lock the modular chin bar in the up position. Every other helmet maker’s manual I have read warns against riding with the chin bar in the up position. There is no such warning in the Sena manual, and they have installed a lock should you want to keep it up.
I followed the manual and easily paired my iPhone and TomTom Rider GPS unit to the helmet. I have a Sena SF1 Bluetooth unit and paired that to the Outrush as well. It is vital to get to know how to operate technology in the comfort of a no-stress location before heading out on the road. Even though it is only one dial to push or turn, you do need to learn when to push, when to turn, and for how long.
It was 90 degrees at 6:30 p.m. here in the Pacific Northwest when I headed out to the west. Accelerating up to 65 mph, I noticed no particular wind noise above what I am accustomed to from modular helmets. Next on the checklist is head buffeting. With a shorty windshield on my 2007 Yamaha Venture, I had zero head buffet—it was noticeably absent. Every other helmet I have ever ridden with has buffeted, at least a little bit. Sena really got this shape right for my height and my motorcycle’s airflow.
The sun was just a bit to my left, and just up enough that I was still able to look straight ahead. I lowered the Sena Outrush’s internal sunshield, and I was amazed at how it toned down the brightness without scattering the light. Peripherally, I could see the ball of the sun; usually, it is a scatter of light with other internal sunshields.
My route turned me more to the north, so I raised the sunshield and noticed it doesn’t retract all the way out of sight. The lower edge hangs down about quarter-inch, though it will stay all the way up if pressed with a finger. I tried it several times, and it does not fully retract with the glove-friendly slider only. If I didn’t give it a touch to raise it up, it was a bit of a distraction.
I turned back toward the sun, and lowered the sunshield again. That is when I noticed that the nose cut out was allowing a lot of light in over the tip of my nose. Comparing the nose cutout of the Outrush to other modular helmets, it really is a larger cutout. I am sure, with time, I will look past it instead of at it. It’s like getting used to a scratch on the shield that sits right in your field of view.
While I was playing with the Sena Outrush’s faceshield and sunshield, the Bluetooth was streaming music from my iPhone, and the TomTom turn-by-turn directions were breaking in clearly. I wasn’t riding with an intercom passenger, but I did test it with a Sena SF1 attached to a different helmet. Pairing was quick and easy, and communication was clear. The Outrush is Bluetooth 3.0 and the SF1 is a low-power device, so I couldn’t do a reliable absolute distance test, but it certainly worked for a two-second distance on the freeway.
Sena advertises the intercom capability as “ideal for 2-up adventures,” so you can stretch that distance a bit. I did connect the Outrush to a Cardo system. It worked for intercom, but due to the connection technique, you lose other functions.
I used Siri—push in and turn clockwise—to call my daughter to get her input on call quality. She said it was clear, with very little background noise. I noticed that both with the music and phone, I had plenty of extra volume available that I wasn’t using. The speakers produce good quality sound for music, directions, intercom, and phone. Press and hold the jog dial for three seconds, and up came the FM radio. Push and turn the jog dial to change stations. Push the jog dial in for one second, and the streaming music returns. The only drawback I could uncover is that the Outrush doesn’t do music sharing yet. The Sena line is firmware updateable, and this is a newly released helmet—perhaps that feature will come later.
Lastly, I started thinking about airflow. That is when I realized at 90 degrees ambient temperature, I had left the faceshield in the closed position for quite a while. I always ride with the shield open for the airflow and the inevitable nose itch. I had been focusing on all the other evaluation points and didn’t notice how good the airflow is on the Sena Outrush. Evidently, the two side exhaust ports use the rushing airflow through their little tunnels to help pull air through the helmet and not wait for it to be pushed out by the inlet air. That is a testament to good airflow design.
Sena is a name brand company, so I trust that they did the DOT testing the certification represents. Remember, DOT standards are self-certificated by the helmet company. If you want a modular helmet, the only certification you can get is DOT. In the case of the Sena Outrush, you get a polycarbonate shell with a multi-density EPS liner. Its weight of 3 pounds, 14.6 ounces in size Medium falls in line with most modular helmets, and it has communications equipment installed.
I really liked the zero head buffeting, the ease of use of the Bluetooth, and the amazing airflow on the Sena Outrush. The shell is an intermediate oval shape, and fits me comfortably for extended rides. I experienced no hot spots or pain points. The helmet is accessibly priced at $199, especially considering the built-in Bluetooth. If you are in the market for a modular helmet, either as a solo rider or two-up, take a close look at the Sena Outrush.
Sena Outrush Helmet Fast Facts
- Sizes: Small – Extra Large
- Weight: 3 pounds, 14.6 ounces (Medium)
- Colors: Matte Black; Glossy White
Sena Outrush Helmet Price: $199 MSRP