Bell Qualifier DLX and SENA SMH10 – Review


 

I was so enthusiastic about this.  I’ve always worn 1/2 or 3/4 face helmets since owning a Harley.  As I’ve gotten older I figured it was time to get a little safer, and move to a full face helmet for better protection.

I did some research, and for the money the Bell Qualifier DLX was all the rage.  I couldn’t find anyone who had anything negative to say about this helmet.  What made this helmet so appealing to me was the modern, sleek design, and the ability to install a fully integrated Bluetooth intercom system.  I knew very little about these, but what made this helmet special was that it came pre-cut with a little slot to install the after market intercom.  This seemed awesome.  Instead of jimmy rigging a helmet to do something for which it was never really built, this helmet would allow for 2 different intercom manufacturer’s intercom systems to be attached.

I settled on the SENA SMH10, because it had a larger rotator dial, which is easier to manage when wearing gloves.  Also, Bell manufactured an adapter kit which allows the SENA to seamlessly connect directly in to the slot in the helmet.  I ordered all three from Revzilla.com and anxiously waited.  It didn’t take but a few days, and I was excited to get to work.  Little did I know I would end up with this…

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The list of problems are as follows…

  1. The adapter kit came with no instructions for how to install it.
  2. To install the adapter kit, I had to practically take apart much of the inner liners of the helmet to run the headphone wires through.  The only reason I knew this was that I found a video online of another person who’d done this.  Installing SENA SMH10 to Bell Qualifier DLX.
  3. Once installed, and paired with my phone, it constantly wants to tell me that “intercom is ready”, even though I don’t give a shit and only want to listen to music (which it supports).
  4. The audio feedback is intermittently interrupted for reasons still unknown.  I thought it was Bluetooth, then the iPhone, then the adapter, maybe wiring?  I still don’t know.
  5. There are Velcro speaker pockets; however it certainly isn’t obvious at first glance.  In fact, I had torn everything down for the 3rd time before I realized I was sticking the Velcro from the speaker to the outside of the pocket instead of within the pocket.  Sure, this was user error.  But again…written instructions for fuck’s sake!
  6. The size chart from Bell is terrible.  I purchased the size recommended by Bell based on my head measurements dictated by their instructions.  The helmet is too small.

In the end, I was so excited that I didn’t think the helmet size was necessarily an issue.  I figured, “hey, it’s a new helmet.  it’s supposed to be tight and will get better.”  Nope.  After tearing the helmet apart 5 times to get the speaker wires set, I’ve found that I can’t put it on without the bottom cheek welds from feeling like they’re being stretched out of position.  My 20 year old helmet feels and fits better than this one.  In my anger I picked up the helmet and smashed it against the ground, and then ripped all the internal padding out.  That made me feel better for a few minutes.  I guess it’ll be time to purchase another one soon.  It won’t be a Bell, and I won’t be buying a SENA either.  I’ll be selling the SENA soon, so hopefully you won’t read this before I sell it.  🙂

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