Your helmet choice is almost as personal as your bike choice. If you’re riding larger bikes in congested traffic, a full-face helmet is going to make more sense. But out in the open roads of rural America or whipping a scooter through city streets, you may find yourself aching for that hair-in-the-wind freedom that only an open-face or half helmet can offer. Whatever your choice, Sena’s new Cavalry helmet comes with Bluetooth already installed, ready to go straight out of the box.
The Cavalry is Sena’s most open helmet and the only one that doesn’t have speakers directly covering your ears. Instead, the speakers project downward out of the section of the helmet right above the ears, and auxiliary pads direct the noise down into them while helping to cut out external sound. I was surprised at how well I could hear the audio while riding, but naturally there are some complications that come with engine and wind noise as you reach highway speeds.
The Cavalry helmet works best under 50 mph or tucked behind a fairing. I did a little bit of two-up touring with these helmets, and my passenger and I found it difficult to communicate on the highway when we weren’t tucked behind a full windscreen. Testing bike-to-bike around town was where we found the most success with the Cavalry. At these lower speeds, the speakers didn’t have to compete with wind and engine noise as much and could be heard loud and clear. The microphone picked up our audio clearly, speaking at just a normal volume.
The three buttons on the comm system are easy to use and I learned their functions very quickly. Press “+” to turn up volume, hold it to skip a song—controls are intuitive simple, and the buttons are easy enough to feel with gloves on. The system is sold alone through Sena as the 10R and is actually my preferred Bluetooth communicator.
The fit of the helmet is more oval than round, but fits me true to size. There’s no venting, but with your whole face out in the wind you don’t really need it.
The only place I find shortcomings in this helmet is where I find shortcomings in all half helmets: They’re too loud and don’t provide enough protection, but that’s because I live in California and spend most of my commute in traffic next to other cars and bikes. At lower speeds or on less congested roads, we found both the speakers and mic more than adequate and very clear.
Sena claims a weight of 956 grams (2 pounds, 11 ounces) with 10 hours of operating time and three hours to charge, which is right in range with other half helmets and comm systems.
For $350, you’re getting a quality half helmet with one of the best Bluetooth communicators out there (at more than $200) already installed.