However, this can be difficult when you’re out on the road unless you have your laptop with you.
The 50 series now comes with wifi capability allowing you to automatically download firmware updates with the special charging cable.
Just plug in the wifi charger and connect to a nearby wifi source such as your phone’s hotspot.
Mesh is an intercom software system that allows multiple riders to connect even when some riders are out of line of sight.
It’s not a system I use much, but for group rides it is very convenient and is a vital safety feature. (In fact, on one occasion, a rider behind me yelped and I knew straight away he had gone down even though I couldn’t see him.)
Critics say the Mesh software is unreliable, but Sena claim the flaws have been fixed.
I haven’t found any difficulties at all. In fact, there is less “crackling” interference from surrounding obstacles such as blind corners, trees, buildings, trucks, etc.
Sena says the intercom range s up to 2km in open terrain, which is about right by my tests.
I haven’t tested its full capacities with a “virtually limitless” number of riders in Open Mesh and 24 riders in Group Mesh intercom. (I don’t have that many friends!)
However, I have no reason to disbelieve Sena’s claims that Mesh extends range up to 8km (5miles) between a minimum of six riders.
Sena 50R tech specs
Price: $545 (single pack), $965 (dual pack)
Warranty: Two (2) year from date of purchase on manufacturers defects
Dimensions: 97mm x 48mm x 27 mm (3.8in x 1.8in x 1.0in)
Speakers: 40mm diameter, 7.2mm thick
Weight: 65g (2.29 oz)
Operating temperature: -10°C to 55°C (14°F – 131°F)
Working distance: up to 2 km (1.2 miles) in open terrain; Mesh extends up to 8km (5miles) between a minimum of 6 riders
Bluetooth Intercom: 4 riders
Open Mesh Intercom: virtually limitless (9 channels)
Group Mesh Intercom: 24 riders
Microphone Noise Cancellation: Advanced Noise Control
KahunaCollection heated hand grips, shifter pegs, brake pedal cover, muffler end caps, rider and pillion boards;
Low-profile two-piece fuel tank console with lighted CVO logo;
Sand Dune monotone finish with pearl topcoat and subtle graphics highlighted by Smoked Satin Chrome, Gloss Black and Black Onyx finishes;
Screamin’ EagleHeavy Breather air cleaner in Gloss Black; and
Wheels finished in Gloss Black/Smoked Satin.
Harley-branded Sena 30K
The CVO Road Glide comes with a single Sena 30K Bluetooth helmet headset that pairs to the Boom! Box GTS infotainment system.
It features Sena’s Mesh IntercomNetwork that automatically connects to a “near-limitless number” of riders in “public mode” to eliminate lost connections when someone rides out of range.
The headset can also connect with up to 16 riders in private mode up to 8km.
It not only allows intercom, phone calls, navigation prompts, radio and audio, all with voice commands, but also includes Apple Carplay if the phone is plugged into the bike’s charger.
A Quick Charge feature can provide up to five hours of additional talk time with a 20-minute charge.
Like all 2020 CVOs, it is powered by Harley’s largest-displacement factory-installed engine, the Milwaukee-Eight 117 engine (1923cc) with 169Nm of torque.
Harley also now make the Screamin’ Eagle Milwaukee Eight 131 Crate Engine which can be fitted to current CVO models.
131 Screamin’ Eagle crate motor
It features the same 114mm (4.5”) stroke as the 114 Milwaukee Eight, but has been bored out from 101mm (4”) to 109mm (4.31”).
Harley claims it makes 90kW (121hp) of power and 177Nm (131ft-lb) of torque when matched to the Screamin’ Eagle Street Cannon mufflers. It also requires an ECM calibration and Screamin’ Eagle Pro Street Tuner.
Shoei’s new and improved J-Cruise II helmet lands in Australia later this month and offers a lightweight, aerodynamic half-face option packed with features.
The Shoei j-Cruise II Helmet, arrives late January 2020
The J-Cruise II features an updated shell design for a modern look, more compact shell design and better integration of features like the sun visor mechanism. Aerodynamics have also been improved, with front vents across the top of the helmet helping to flow up to 30 per cent more air into the helmet.
A large CJ-2 visor offers a large, clear field of view, with a reinforced design across the bottom of the visor, while reducing turbulence within the helmet. A new airtight-sealed window beading also offers improved sealing and durability for the life of the helmet.
Shoei J-Cruise II Helmet – Aglero TC-5
Helping ensure riders don’t accidentally open their visor is a locking mechanism down at the chin, while riders can flip the visor open easily with a finger when not locked. There’s also a position for keeping the visor slightly cracked for better airflow, for instance in cooler weather.
A premium standard inclusion is a Pinlock Evo lens, which helps eliminate fogging inside the helmet, regardless of conditions.
Air-flow has been boosted by 30 per cent over the outgoing model
The drop down sun-visor has also been improved, and is now 5 mm longer than the outgoing model, and located closer to the rider’s face to help reduce the amount of reflected glare up under the visor. The nose section has also been cut deeper to ensure this doesn’t effect fit.
The interior of the helmet features fully removable liners, with a moisture-absorbent, quick-drying material in the cheeks and brow for sweat , while the cheek pads now use a reinforced material on the bottom edge for greater durability.
Internals are removable, with a drop down sun-visor, and visor locking system
The Shoei micro-ratchet style strap is also used, although ratchet straps do tend be a hot topic amongst riders.
A further premium feature is the ability to fit a Sena SRL or Sena SRL2 system into the J-Cruise 2, with an inbuilt attachment mechanism and integrated design to maintain the look of the helmet. These systems can be purchased separately but fully and seamlessly integrate with the helmet, which is designed especially to work with this system.
The Sena SRL2 unit can be purchased separately for $429.95 RRP
McLeod Accessories have announced they are the sole distributors for the brand new Sena Savage open face helmet in Australia, with the Savage offering a low fitting Fibreglass Composite open face helmet with a Sena unit installed and ready to go, for only RRP $499.95!
The battery is hidden in the rear of the helmet, and recharging is through a port on the chin strap, with the Sena Savage available in Matt Black in three sizes only – Medium, Large and XL, as these are the only three sizes this helmet offer with ECE approval. The heavier DOT version available from the USA that covers XS to XXL however it is not legal for use here. The ECE approved versions available in Australia boast the most competitive pricing worldwide!
These low fitting helmets come with two styles of peak, and the intercom unit fitted is the equivalent of the SENA 10S which has an RRP of $367 – so the Savage represents amazing value! Plus the microphone is hidden in the top centre of the liner, so there is no boom mic to get in the way! This mic works effectively up to 100+km/h so Harley and cruiser riders will love it! The Savage Sena system can connect with up to three other riders via the built-in intercom up to 1.6 km (1 miles), listen to music, hear GPS directions, or take and make phone calls.
You can check out the this video on the USA model – which has exactly the same functionality in the Bluetooth unit, however the ECE version available in Australia is lighter and only available in M, L & XL sizes
The AGV ARK intercom costs $399, but you have to also buy a helmet-specific base at $29.95. However, for a limited time, riders can save money by buying the compatible helmets and SRK in “combo deals”.
Sena’s ARK intercom is a sleeker and more aerodynamic unit than their usual intercoms.
Instead of the handy “jog dial” rotating knob common to most Sena intercoms, it has buttons.
These may not be as easy to use as the jog dial, but there is also a handlebar remote available at $149.
Australian distributors Link International say the ARK unit features 30 minutes of “quick charging” which equals four hours of intercom use.
It is compatible with the Sena SF Utility App which allows users to configure device settings and accessing quick guides and the Sena RideConnected App that allows intercom with a virtually limitless number of riders over an extensive range, so long as they are connected to a mobile network.
Other Sena features are: voice prompts for functions; FM radio; microphone noise control to reduce wind and background noise; music sharing with another intercom; multi-way conference intercom.
It also has audio overlay which allows phone calls, GPS instructions and intercom conversations to be heard over audio from the radio, music or GPS app instructions in the background with reduced volume.
10 hours of talking time
Three-way conference phone call with intercom participant.
Microphone mute option
Voice activated phone answering and intercom start.
HD quality crystal clear and natural sound.
Bluetooth Audio Recording
SENA firmware upgradeable
Bluetooth 4.1 supporting profiles: Headset Profile, Hands-Free Profile (HFP), Advanced Audio Distribution Profile (A2DP), and Audio Video Remote Control Profile (AVRCP).
The Sena +Mesh Adaptor is designed to seamlessly and easily link riders into a group conversation without broken links. We sent rider Jim Hulme out to test the $259 unit on the road with his riding partners. Here’s his review:
Out of the box
The +Mesh adaptor click-locks into either a rubber-strap-connected base or a surface-mount adhesive base. The adaptor containing the electronics and screw-on antenna easily separates from the base with the press of a button.
For my test, the rubber strap base could not be used on my BMW handlebars as there is no available handlebar real estate.
So I tested it in my jacket front pocket, inside my top box and finally on the pillion grab handles.
While mounted on the grab handles, it was easy to reach and activate the mesh intercom because Sena has provided it with a nice big button on the front of the unit.
The waterproof rubber-sealed USB port for charging can be difficult to access.
Setup and range
The +Mesh adaptor is easily paired with your Sena headset, then it automatically connects each time.
The 30K in the test was used to create a mesh group and the +Mesh client (Sena SRL integrated into the Shoei Neotec II helmet) was added to the group. During use, the main button could be used to leave and return to the mesh group as required.
The +Mesh adaptor is claimed to have 800m range in an uninterrupted straight line.
My experience with measured stops and voice quality checks verified this is accurate.
Sena claims it works with both Bluetooth4.1 and Bluetooth3.0 models, however, the audio quality is best with Bluetooth 4.1 models.
The +Mesh Adaptor takes up one of your bluetooth intercom spaces. If your headset is capable of connecting with three other headsets for four-way intercom, the +Mesh will take up one of those three spaces, leaving two spaces remaining for bluetooth intercom connections.
At least 2 mesh devices are required to be in a Mesh Intercom.
My use of two Sena SRL models provided almost flawless performance, but connections between the SRL and a Sena 30K were frustrating.
The biggest problem with the SRL is that it is not possible to use while charging. It also has an “irreplaceable rechargeable battery”, so when the battery ages, you have to buy a new SRL.
However, the 30K can connect to others in either “bluetooth intercom” mode which requires pairing, or mesh intercom which doesn’t require pairing.
Link and sound quality
Once the mesh link is established, increased distance and lack of “line of sight” due to curves and hills etc have a dramatic effect.
While the sound level can be still good, speech is unintelligible.
In most cases, this will recover as the link path improves, but can sometimes remain poor. This is a problem I experienced in other Sena devices such as the 30K.
To fix it, try disconnecting/reconnecting the link or turning it off and on again.
I also experienced intermittent, short, loud “screaming” sounds which my 30K partner could not hear.
I thought it was caused by the +Mesh adaptor, but later testing between two 30K units in a mesh connection resulted in some similar noise, but less often.
Following the adaptor test, we changed to two 30K units and tried them in normal paired connection and mesh connection.
In normal paired connection, there were significant sound quality issues, failure of the link after separation, and this didn’t recover without a reboot. There was no apparent increase in the range.
Then we changed to mesh connection and while the sound quality was not always perfect, the overall communication satisfaction was better.
As the two units recovered from the lost link connectivity, they seamlessly reconnected to the mesh. As reported with the +Mesh adaptor, the occasional loud screeching noises were still happening but not so often as when using the adaptor.
I think the +Mesh adaptor provides a better functional experience when connecting dissimilar units.
They also improved range and sound quality over a mesh of more than two units as they enhance the network signal strength.
The combined cost of the adaptor and your existing communication unit is significant so unless you really needed to use it to participate in a group of mesh users, you are probably better off just buying a 30K instead.