I recently tested the new Schuberth C5 helmet, and now it’s time to test the optional Schuberth SC2 Bluetooth and Mesh 2.0 communication system that is exclusively for the C5.
The SC2 is manufactured exclusively for Schuberth by Sena and is based on Sena’s top-of-the-line 50S model. The installation is a 10-minute plug-and-play job, as every C5 arrives with HD speakers and three antennas for mesh and Bluetooth intercoms, plus FM radio.
The box includes the main and side units, a boom microphone with two foam wind covers, a USB-C cable, a spare CR2016 battery, and a quick start guide.
To install the SC2, remove two covers, snap in the controller unit on the left side, attach two press-fit wires on the main unit mounted on the back of the helmet, snap it in, and then add the microphone. Remove the rubber plug over the mic jack and press in the boom mic. You’ll need to hear a slight click to confirm the unit is fully seated. I found the best spot to press is on the lower right corner of the flange as equal pressure around the flange did not work—you won’t see this tip in the manual.
The Schuberth C5 in Large with the SC2 installed weighs 4 pounds 2 ounces on my postal scale.
I’ve got about 1500 miles of almost constant operation of this system under differing scenarios. I’ve connected it directly to my smartphone and operated it with the helmet controller. These controls are about an industry average for finding them quickly while gloved. I’d like to see the four buttons slightly better ridged, but I’m only nitpicking here. The operation is mostly intuitive. I can call up all the main functions, easily engage the mesh intercom and make other choices on the fly.
The FM radio works nicely; stations may be stored in memory or scanned. I don’t use this much, as I prefer my phone’s music library or streaming services. These all work well as expected. The telephone is easy to answer and has stored numbers. Conversation quality is good, varying due to the cell connection quality.
I’ve also paired the Schuberth SC2 and my smartphone to the Ultimate Motorcycling BMW R 1250 RS Project Bike’s system after unpairing the phone and helmet from one another. In this mode, I can control only the music player and telephone functions. I can start and stop, skip or go back a tune, and change playlists. I can make and take phone calls, see my previous call log, and scroll through my contact list. The radio and the intercom can only be activated with the helmet-mounted controller. The phone must be paired to the SC2 to use the app.
The helmet-mounted controller is done in an interesting way. It is not connected to the main unit with wires. As described earlier, the controller unit snaps into a receptacle on the helmet after I first pulled out a thin plastic strip, as you’ve probably seen on battery-powered devices. This activated the CR2016 coin-type battery within the system. That was a surprise, as was the fact that this controller connects to the main unit via Bluetooth, just like the Sena/Schuberth handlebar remotes have done for years.
The handlebar remotes are rechargeable, but these make me want to carry a spare battery despite Schuberth’s estimates the battery life may be as long as 18 months. The remote control automatically switches to sleep mode when the SC2 is turned off and can be powered off if a long period of disuse is anticipated. To wake it up after a restart of the SC2, one must tap the + key three or four times to get it connected to the SC2 again. I allow the SC2 30 to 60 seconds to “warm up” so the remote connects on the first + press.
Schuberth claims a run time on the main unit at eight hours using the mesh intercom and 12 hours using the Bluetooth intercom. No other estimates are made—you’re on your own if you just listen to music.
On one 400-miles slog, I ran the unit from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Leaving the unit on at all stops, it lasted all day. I haven’t had it long enough to exhaust the remote battery.
The unit runs the slightly outdated Bluetooth 5.0. The latest BT 5.2 offers better battery life, among other features, yet the SC2 did not display a short battery life.
Charging time is approximately two hours. The rear charging port is USB-C and is on the back of the unit. The SC1’s charging port was on the bottom edge—users didn’t like the helmet leaning on the cable while charging—so there’s no more of that.
Turning on the Schuberth SC2 is a two-step process. A two-second press powers up the main unit, and then I must turn on the remote.
The Schuberth SC2 app on iOS is a snap. However, I didn’t try Android. Some screenshots accompany this review.
If you’ve attached your phone to a handlebar mount, this app makes it easy to select any functions you like. It’s especially handy to connect to intercom partners in Bluetooth mode. I’ve never been a fan of BT intercoms because they’re often a pain to connect.
With the introduction of mesh intercom, the days of BT intercom are likely numbered. Just press one button, and anyone with Sena mesh doing the same connects immediately—no parking lot meetings to connect BT. Apps make the process even easier.
I’ve only used open mesh, which lets anyone within rage into the conversation, as opposed to group mesh, which allows for creating unique groups with different members. Perhaps that’s good on a giant ride, but I stick with open mesh for just a few riders. Up to nine groups can be created to segment your riders, if desired. The Schuberth SC2 has no limit on mesh connections, and a claimed range is 1.25 miles.
The SC2 does BT and mesh intercoms, and the quality of both is excellent. Mesh is easier and self-healing, so riders who are disconnected pop right back in once within range.
Here’s something that’s not in the manual. I tested with three comm systems. Two SC2-equipped systems (one from a C5 ECE Euro model imported for testing the SC2) and one Sena 10C, which only works with BT intercom. SC2 #1 connected to the 10C via BT, and SC #2 connected to SC #1 via mesh. We could all hear one another, so it seems the two intercom protocols can mix it up together.
I thought we’d need to all be on the BT intercom. Fortunately, that was not the case. While doing this, the audio was clear and static-free. I tried it with my phone paired to the SC2, as well as unpairing the phone and SC2 and pairing them both straight into the BMW’s dash. The results were equally satisfying.
I enabled Audio Multitasking, and my music track played until someone spoke. The SC2 system reacted instantly and cut the music so quickly that I didn’t miss a word. Then, upon about one second of silence, the music began playing again. The music doesn’t stop, so you might miss a few bars of your favorite song, but it is completely silenced while someone is speaking.
The sound quality of the Schuberth SC2 is excellent, thanks to the new generation of speakers. Schuberth does not mention the speaker brand; they are foam-covered under the liner, so I couldn’t look for any markings.
The speakers measure about 40mm in diameter, which is the new norm in HD speakers, although I have seen 45mm speakers from another brand. Running at high speed, I needed the volume near maximum, but it was always enough for me.
Siri and Google Assistant are supported, as is voice control.
The Schuberth SC2 is a solid piece of kit and, basically, a Schuberth C5 buyer’s only choice unless the owner wants to do some mods to use another brand, which I hear is a thing. For me, at $349 for the system, I’ll stick with the excellent SC2.