A BIG ZERO for Blue Ridge H-D for booking a service using their website

Completed the on-line form to book an appointment to have a tire changed. Waited 2 days for a reply. Nothing. Sent an email directly to one of the service associates. 3 days later. Nothing.

UPDATE. Emailed the General Manager. Did receive a reply email from the him apologizing about the slow response from my 2 previous emails. The response wasn’t slow, it simply never occurred. Anyhow, Tilly H-D in Statesville got me in, and got me out in less than 45 minutes. All is good.

Road testing the Sena 20S EVO, Sena Cavalary, and the HJC i90 helmet

I’ll begin with the Sena 20S EVO BT comms. These devices are installed in our HJC i90 modular helmets.

The 20S EVO model is a Bluetooth only helmet to helmet comms, and audio streaming device. I have no desire for the 30K or 50S units with MESH. MESH does not fit into our style of riding. Your mileage may vary.

The FM radio in the device works wonderfully. Pretty easy to manipulate while traveling. Cycling between station presets, scan, and seek functions all performed without a glitch.

Streaming from our iPhones, music, PODCAST, GPS instructions, all perfect.

Audio Overlaying. Nice, nice, nice!!! Like this feature a lot! While listening to the FM receiver, an intercom connection, etc, and when a second audio source activates (GPS instruction, Fuzz Buster, etc) the device will overlay that audio into the current connection, instead of eliminating the current connection. Read about it in the manual. Does take a little experimenting with the gain settings (similar to VOX on an amateur radio) so it’s works smoothly. This is why I strongly suggest the Sena Utility App for device configuration.

Bike to bike comms distance. Most everyone knows both Sena and Cardo overstate the BT comms range. Our results are from usage in the real world on motorcycles, heading down the highway. Crystal clear comms helmet to helmet line of sight at 80 MPH slightly more than ¼ of a mile. Experienced some dropouts when our distance was just under ½ of mile line of sight. In the curvy roads of the mountains, non line of sight, we we’re good for about 1/8th mile. These figures are inline with the SMH10 and 10S units. Very pleased.

Phone calls. Clear. Of course depends on your cell carrier. Junk in, junk out. Speed Dial works fine. Not our thing especially when on bikes to be jibber-jabbering on the phone though, so didn’t focus on that feature. However works just fine.

Sound quality is amazing when installed in a good quality lid. The key is to install the speakers properly in your helmet. Follow the directions in the manual. They must be centered over your ears. I have the EQ on the iPhone set to bass boost which provides excellent sound reproduction . All the add-ons available for your motorcycle stereo system will never equal the sound from internal helmet speakers. Never.

Is a comms system for everyone who rides? Of course not. If you ride alone and would like to enjoy some music, an iPod and ear buds will do just fine. If you Live To Ride, but your odometer says that’s a lie, you will not benefit from these either. If you ride in a group, and prefer the cluster fuk of of trying to use hand signals to communicate with other riders, these devices aren’t for you either. With that being said, I know of NO ONE that has a Bluetooth comms system that prefers to ride without it. No one.

Two thumbs up for the Sena 20S EVO’s.

The Sena Cavalry 1/2 helmet with integrated Bluetooth is a keeper! These are going to be our back road, lower speed lids. Both Sue and I are amazed with the performance from this lid. Lightweight. Just a tick over 2lbs. DOT/FMVSS 218 certified. Is a low profile lid. The only helmets with a lower profile I’ve ever owned were skid lids, that offer no real protection. I officially shit canned the skid lids yesterday.

FM radio works just as nice as in the 20S EVO devices. Like the 20S EVO’s cycling presets, seek, and scan all worked great.

Streaming from our iPhones, music, PODCAST, GPS instructions, Fuzz Buster, all perfect.

Like the 20S EVO’s, you can make and take phone calls. We just prefer not too.

Bike to bike comms distance was slightly less than with the 20S EVO’s. But still exceeded my expectations. Mountain riding, we had at least 1/8 mile helmet to helmet range. Line of sight was at least a ¼ mile, with crystal clear audio. Speaking of sound quality, very very good. Keep in mind the Bluetooth unit, the hidden mic and speaker are integrated into this ½ helmet. Very stealthy design. Sue and I had zero issues communicating at speeds up to 75 MPH. We used the padded ear cups that are provided with the helmet that directs the sound from the hidden speakers downward, into your ears. It works. Does the Sena Cavalry helmet sound as fantastic as the Sena 20S EVO with speakers mounted inside our HJC i90 lids? No. But damn close. However the sound from the internal FM receiver, or audio being streamed from a smartphone, blows the doors off ANY bike mounted stereo system. End of discussion. There is simply no comparison between the two. This helmet is the perfect choice for someone who prefers the half lids.

Two thumbs up for the Sena Calvary helmets!

The HJC i90 Modular “Bluetooth Ready” Helmet

Both Sue and I travel on higher speed Interstate Highways, as well as on the back roads at much slower speeds. I look at helmets the same way I do any other tool. Use the correct tool for the job at hand.

Interstate travel presents additional dangers that we address by using modular helmets. Our solution is simple. We carry 2 helmets on our bikes if our plans include Interstate and back roads (Blue Ridge Parkway, Skyland Drive, etc) travel. From my experience one of the most common dangers while on the Interstate is from small objects being kicked up by vehicles that are in front of you, that always seem to smack me right on my face. Also June Bug at 70MPH to the face will bring blood! In addition to that added layer of protection, wind noise from high speed travel with a 1/2 helmet, without using ear plugs will damage your hearing. Ask me how I know!

Sue and I road tested these on I40 at speeds that we’re well above the posted 70 MPH limit, while riding my Street Glide with an 8 inch shorty windscreen, and Sue on her Road King with a standard height windscreen.

Stability even at these elevated speeds was remarkable. Wind did not lift the helmet at all. No side to side bobbling. No strain on the neck.

Field of view is fine. My prescription motorcycle glasses restrict my field of view way more than the i90 does.

Air venting keeps one pretty cool. You can feel the air moving inside the lid if you open the intake vents. The vents are easily opened and closed while riding.

Face-shield has a positive lock when fully closed, and does take a little more effort than my older lids. Contrary to some other reviews I’ve read, you can click it open a notch or two, and it will remain open at highway speed. The Internal sun visor operates flawlessly.

The chinbar is easy to raise and lower as needed at highway speeds. This is the beauty of a modular helmet over a full-face lid, as both Sue and I always carry something to drink while moving on down the highway.

The padding is plentiful, and plush! Chin strap even has some padding.

Helmet is pretty quite for a modular design. Much quieter than our old IS-MAX lids.

This helmet is designed for a comms system, with several wire channels, and speaker cutouts. Installation of the Sena 20S EVO was a breeze.

Two thumbs up with approval from Sue for the HJC i90.

HJC i90. First ride

Installed the Sena 20S EVO, and took off for the first ride with this lid. I did install the chin curtain, and removed the breath deflector. Rode over to speak with one of main riding buds, Jerry McDowell to button up an upcoming motorcycle camping trip we have planned. Right off the bat the i90 is much quieter than my old HJC IS-MAX. The IS-MAX had many miles on it, and of course had some rattles. This lid is new, and all is tight. Did also notice that the helmet comms systems much louder in the i90. Much! This is a welcomed improvement cause my ears don’t hear too gud! Lots of shooting, drag racing, and very loud music over the past 50 years took it’s toll. Anyhow, overall very pleased. The ONLY thing that I found that is a little more cumbersome over the IS-MAX is raising of the face shield. It has a very positive lock when down, and does take more effort to raise than I was accustom too. However, I’m sure I’ll quickly master that simple task, and all will be just fine.

Sena 20S EVO (not the original 20S). Initial thoughts.

Build quality IMO improved greatly over the SMH10, and slightly better over the 10S. Overall appearance as compared to the SMH10 has greatly improved. Here is where the 20S EVO shines the greatest. The mount. I love it. Smaller than the previous models, however the device is more secure. A very positive click when it locks to the mount. Although Sue and I never had an issue with the SMH10’s or the 10S devices accidentally dismounting (some have), I don’t see this happening with the 20S EVO. You really have to press the metallic control to remove these devices from their mount. The speakers appear to be the same or very similar to those for the 10S. Much improved over the SHM10 speakers. The 20S EVO ships with 3 mics. Boom, boom with a pigtail, and the button mic. From appearance, both boom mics appear to the different that the SMH10 and 10S mics. Can’t tell if the button mic is different. Helmet installation is like all other Sena BT comms units. Installed these units in our HJC i90 Bluetooth ready modular lids without any issues. Sound quality and loudness of the 20S EVO in this lid is amazing. Pairing the 20S EVO is like any other Sena device. Once paired to your smartphone, I strongly suggest the Sena app for device configuration. Much easier than wading through the button presses. For those who have never used a quality BT comms system in a good helmet have no idea of what your are missing out on. My Street Glide has a decent HD stereo system onboard, however it remains in the OFF position. There is ZERO comparison in sound quality of the 2. The only time I ever turn the HD stereo system on, is when I’m washing the bike. Not only has the BT comms made riding more enjoyable, IMO it has added another level of riding safety, especially when riding with a group. Again, if you’ve never used one, you have no clue.

Best price I found was on Amazon. The Dual Pak was $360.00 plus tax, shipped. Single paks are also available.

We’re taking off in a while for the first road test of the devices, and I’ll update this review with our findings at a later date.

*Mounted the button mic in a similar fashion as the mic in Sena Cavalry lid is configured. Curious how well this works.

UPDATE. The button mic mounted in a similar fashion as in the Cavalry, didn’t perform as well as I had expected. The hidden mic in the Calvary is more than likely a different design, because it works amazingly well. That being said, I mounted the boom mic supplied with the 20S EVO, and the intercom clarity from bike to bike is top shelf.

History lesson

This is an Indian motorcycle.

This IS NOT… This is a Royal Enfield, with a Indian decal/logo on the tank

This is an Indian motorcycle.

This IS NOT… This is an Italian Sport bike imported by Floyd Clymer, with a Indian decal/logo on the tank

This is an Indian motorcycle.

This IS NOT… This is a Kawasaki, with a Indian decal/logo on the tank

This is an Indian motorcycle.

This IS NOT… This is a Polaris, with a Indian decal/logo on the tank

Any questions?