Sena Impulse Modular Smart Helmet Review

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Back in the day, when the 1982 Honda GL 1100 Gold Wing Aspencade hit the scene, it wasn’t just bikes that got a tech upgrade – helmets did too! Suddenly, we were enjoying in-helmet speakers, chatting away with our buddies over Citizens Band radio (CB radio, anyone remember those?), and even piping tunes into our helmets to ease those long rides through dull countryside.

Fast forward to today, and Sena Technologies is pushing the envelope even further. With the internet revolutionizing our lives in ’83, smartphones hitting the market in ’92, and Bluetooth technology disrupting the scene in ’99 (making everyone pretty much glued to their phones nowadays – it’s the new addiction, right?), Sena unveiled the Impulse smart modular helmet in early spring 2022. Part of the Sena Quantum Series lineup, which includes the full-face Stryker, updated 50S and 50R intercom systems, and the Sena 50C (also available on HJC i70) with integrated 4K camera and BT and Mesh intercom capabilities, the Impulse features world-class SOUND by Harman/Kardon technology.

But what I find unique in the intermediate oval fit Sena Impulse modular smart helmet, evolving from Sena’s ‘Smart Helmet’ line introduced in 2017, is the Mesh 2.0 and Bluetooth 5.0 intercom tech. You can chat up to 1.2 miles (2 km) away with the BT intercom in open terrain, or stretch it to 5 miles (8 km) with Mesh. Need to rally the crew? The Group Mesh Intercom can handle up to 24 riders in a private chat, while the Multi-Channel Open Mesh Intercom mode accommodates virtually limitless riders for up to 11 hours. And even if your riding buddy’s still living in the Stone Age without Mesh, no worries – the Impulse’s 4-way standard Bluetooth intercom function will last you a solid 18 hours.

Adding to its appeal and functionality are WiFi connectivity with a working distance of 10 meters, voice commands in 8 languages, and an integrated LED taillight, making the Impulse the best choice for riders seeking advanced communication and safety features for their journeys.

Review of the Sena Impulse Modular Smart Helmet

Sena Impulse Modular Smart Helmet
Sena Impulse: Buy on RevZilla | Amazon
SpecificationsWhat I LikeWhat I Don't Like
● Shell Material: Composite Fiberglass
● Outer Shell Sizes: 2 (S/M/L) (XL/2XL)
● Shape: Intermediate Oval
● Weight: Appx. 3.87 lbs., 61 oz, 1760g Medium Size
● Color: Matte Black/Glossy White
● Helmet Certifications: DOT, ECE 22.05 (Homologation P)
● Bluetooth Version: 5.0
● Bluetooth Intercom Distance: Up to 2 km (1.2 miles)
● Mesh Intercom Distance: Up to 2 km (1.2 miles), Extendable to 8 km (5 miles)
● Bluetooth Intercom Riders: 4 Riders
● Open Mesh Intercom: Virtually Limitless
● Group Mesh Intercom: 24 Riders
● Bluetooth Intercom Talk Time: Up to 18 Hours
● Mesh Intercom Talk Time: Up to 11 Hours
● WiFi Working Distance: Within 10 Meters
● Battery Charging Time: 2.5 hours
● Electronics Certifications: CE, FCC, IC, KC
✔ Smooth ride with improved balance and reduced buffeting
✔ Once broken in, revel in long-lasting comfort on extended rides
✔ Optimal airflow with effective ventilation
✔ Stay connected with integrated BT and Mesh intercom capabilities
✔ Effortless firmware updates via onboard WiFi
✔ Precise fit and easy chin bar operation
✔ Conveniently manage settings with the Sena Motorcycles App
✔ Enhance visibility with the rear-facing LED taillight offering versatile output modes
✔ Top-notch audio from Harman/Kardon speakers
✘ LED taillight brightness could (and should) be improved
✘ Initial snugness may require some break-in time for optimal fit
✘ While sturdy, the helmet may feel somewhat heavy in larger sizes

For the last two years, I’ve been cruising around with the Sena Impulse modular helmet, specifically the DOT version in medium, weighing in at around 1,760g or 62oz, give or take 50g (2oz). There’s also the ECE 22.05 homologation P-rated version, also in medium, which clocks in at approximately 1,720g (60oz), with the same margin of error.

Most of my riding adventures have been on my trusty Yamaha MT-07, a bike renowned for its robust high-strength steel frame, providing a perfect balance of rigidity for nimble handling—even without a windshield. And so, my thoughts on the helmet come straight from the saddle, based solely on my own firsthand experiences rather than relying on what others have said online.

Fit and Comfort with the Sena Impulse Modular Helmet

Securely Fitted Face Shield with Adjustable Ratcheting Side Plates
Wearing the helmet, demonstrating the tightly-fitted face shield with its ratcheting side plates in a fully locked position. The shield offers other two intermediate positions: slightly cracked for defogging with fresh air circulation, and fully raised for ventilation.

When it comes to helmets, first impressions are important, but patience is key. The Sena Impulse has an intermediate oval fit, and to nail down the right size, I consulted the manufacturer’s sizing chart below:

Size Head (In)            Head (cm)
XS 20.9-21.3 53-54
SM 21.7-22 55-56
MD 22.4-22.8 57-58
LG 23.2-23.6 59-60
XL 24-24.4 61-62
2XL 24.8-25.2 63-64

Keep in mind, though, that while the chart provides a helpful starting point, it doesn’t guarantee a perfect fit. To get the most accurate measurement, I wrapped a cloth measuring tape around my head just above my eyebrows and ears, ensuring a snug yet comfortable fit. After a few tries, I settled on the first shell size in medium measurement.

Typically, I wear a medium, so when I first tried on the medium-sized Impulse, it felt quite snug. I debated whether I should have gone for a large instead. But after breaking it in over 15 to 20 hours (starting with short sessions of 10-15 minutes and gradually increasing the time to 20, then to 30, and so on), the helmet molded to my head, providing a comfortably snug fit. Remember, patience pays off when it comes to breaking in a helmet—rushing the process will only lead to discomfort.

Having tried the Sena OutForce previously, I can confidently say that the comfortable fit of the Impulse has a clear edge over it. In fact, it reminds me more of the new Schuberth C4 Pro. The only minor observation I have is the slight pressure I feel along the cheek and jawbones when I pivot the chin bar down and lock it into place. But this pressure is far less compared to the sometimes obtrusive discomfort experienced with the Shoei Neotec II, even in XL sizing.

And the comfort just keeps coming with the Sena Impulse – it’s all about making sure you feel snug and secure on the road. The cheek, liner, and chin curtain are all customizable, with flexible plastic bits and sturdy inserts to keep everything in place. No wobbles or loose bits here! Plus, there’s a set of thicker foam ear cups for top-notch sound insulation, and if you’re all about that crisp audio, there are thinner options too. Switching them out is easy, so you can dial in your perfect setup without any hassle.

Now, if you’re like me and wear glasses with your helmet, you’ll appreciate the small eyeglass diagrams on the cheek pads. It’s a neat touch, though I have to admit, they could do with a bit more oomph compared to the Sena OutForce. Nonetheless, one cool thing about modular helmets is you can usually leave your glasses on when you’re taking it off or putting it on.

And when it comes to staying connected, the controls are straightforward and easy to use, and the Harman/Kardon speakers and boom microphone deliver smooth, top-notch sound quality. You’ve got four sleek controls on the left side (a step up from the three-button setup on the OutForce) for quick access, and those speakers fitted snugly into EPS liner recesses covered in soft foam acoustic housings? They fit like a glove, giving you an extra dose of comfort on those long hauls.

The AGV Pista GP R Carbon Valentino Rossi Helmet, one of the best helmets ever made

The motorcycle helmets I recommend provide a perfect balance of affordability and unwavering quality, ensuring the utmost value for your investment. These are items I've become well-acquainted with during my more than 50 years of motorcycling experience, where I've led and consulted for reputable companies in over 25 countries, in addition to being an avid rider. They are the very same helmets that have earned my trust and served me exceptionally well during countless adventures.

Clear Line of Sight: A Winning Formula for Comfort and Safety

The Clear Distortion-Free Face Shield
The clear, distortion-free, scratch-resistant, and UV-resistant face shield designed to protect the eyes from direct sunlight, serve as a barrier against roost (flying mud and debris), and offer protection from tree branches during off-road riding.

The combination of the chin bar, eye port, face shield, and sun visor in the Sena Impulse offers a comprehensive package for rider protection and visibility.

Specifically, the large size and shape of the eye port ensure an undisturbed view without any optical distortion through the face shield, crucial for maintaining continuous situational awareness both horizontally and vertically.

While the scratch-resistant sun visor is a commendable addition, some users, including myself, would appreciate a slightly darker tint for enhanced glare reduction. Still, it works, fits and feels like a premium helmet, a notable departure from the loose-fitting visor and cumbersome activation lever I encountered with the Sena OutForce. In the Impulse, the sun visor fits precisely, devoid of any vibration or slack, while the left bottom edge slider operates smoothly, reminiscent of mechanisms found in the Schuberth C5.

The clear, Pinlock-ready, anti-mist, non-scratch, flexible 2mm thick polycarbonate face shield of the Impulse is different from the OutForce, featuring slight thickening along the top for added durability. Plus, there’s a well-shaped tab on the lower edge for easy lifting, lowering, and locking.

When fully locked and with chin skirt in place, the shield sits flush along the lower and side areas, ensuring optimal airflow and noise management, although it may not match the quietness of the Schuberth C5, which is known for its exceptional noise reduction level of 85 dB(A) at 62 mph (99.78 km/h), even without earplugs. There is also the slightly cracked position for defogging with fresh air mode, making it versatile for various riding conditions. You’ll know when it’s fully raised or closed thanks to the distinctive step when opening or closing.

The chin bar lock clicks securely into place, providing peace of mind that the face shield won’t budge, even during unexpected dismounts. I initially found operating the release mechanism with winter gloves a bit tricky due to the design of the release button. But with time, I got the hang of it, aided by the recessed release switch.

An adjustable micro-ratchet chin strap with reinforced design ensures a snug fit and quick release
An adjustable micro-ratchet chin strap with reinforced design ensures a snug fit and quick release. The handy red-colored spring-loaded release pull is easy to spot and use. Adjusting the right-side strap is easy for personalized comfort and security. Softly padded strap covers enhance comfort, minimizing any potential rubbing or irritation.

As for the chin strap, it’s your typical ratchet style, though I personally prefer the SNELL, ECE, FIM-approved Double D ring for added security. Just be mindful of any excess strap that might flap around in the breeze if not properly secured.

Ensures Smooth Airflow Without Compromising Microphone Performance

A reliable, silent retractable sun visor with precise positioning ensures glare-free riding. Easily controlled by a slider at the bottom left edge, it swiftly deploys to shield the eyes from bright sunlight. The visor moves smoothly with distinct Up and Down stops for convenient use.
A reliable, silent retractable sun visor with precise positioning ensures glare-free riding. Easily controlled by a slider at the bottom left edge, it swiftly deploys to shield the eyes from bright sunlight. The visor moves smoothly with distinct Up and Down stops for convenient use.

The chin bar comes equipped with a hefty three-inch-wide air-intake vent, and it’s got this nifty glove-friendly sliding cover. When you pop it open, bam! Air comes rushing in, hitting you right smack on the forehead. I decided to put it to the test on a chilly 35-degree day, just to see where that air was headed. Then, I cranked it up to 85 degrees to double-check those ventilation pathways.

Now, up top, there’s another vent doing its thing, channeling the air about two inches straight down before it lands on your noggin. I could definitely feel that chilly air making its way down when I was checking out how it handles the cold stuff.

This combo of vents – the big chin vent, the top one, two small brows, and those dual exhaust ports on either side – they’re like little air-conditioners for your head, sucking out all that heat and keeping you feeling fresh.

Stay Connected with Sena’s Advanced Communication System

The four tactile control buttons, designed for ease of use and versatility. From bottom to top, they include the power on/off button, volume down (-), intercom, and volume up (+). The upper button facilitates volume increase, while the lower button adjusts volume downwards.
The four tactile control buttons, designed for ease of use and versatility. From bottom to top, they include the power on/off button, volume down (-), intercom, and volume up (+). The upper button facilitates volume increase, while the lower button adjusts volume downwards.

At the heart of the Sena Impulse helmet lies the advanced Sena communication system, revolutionized by the latest Sena Open Mesh Intercom software.

Unlike traditional systems, you will not need any pairing. With Sena Mesh units, you can chat with others within range on the same channel, reaching up to a mile under optimal conditions. From my own rides, I’ve found that if you can see them, you can talk to them—even on expansive highways or lengthy freeway stretches over half a mile. Simply command, “Hey, Sena. Mesh on,” and confirm on Channel 1 to chat with up to 4 riders.

But the intercom’s flexibility doesn’t stop there. It links with other Sena Mesh units, Sena Bluetooth devices, or non-Sena units in Universal Pairing mode. While setting up simultaneous connections may require some manual tweaking, it’s worth it for the expanded communication options.

In situations with strategically placed Sena Mesh units, communication can leap over miles, enabling extensive group conversations. And for private chats, start a group chat with up to 24 riders by saying, “Hey, Sena. Mesh Grouping,” and sync up.

Switching between Open Mesh channels and private Group Mesh is easy, whether through voice commands or intuitive button presses. Positioned on the left side of the helmet, four large, clearly defined buttons offer tactile feedback, even with summer gloves. While thicker winter gloves might make differentiation tricky, the unique bottom Mesh button remains a reliable reference point.

Experience Harmon Kardon Speakers and Microphone Integration

The Harmon Kardon speakers in the Sena Impulse helmet offer an exceptional sound quality that truly enhances your time on the road. Positioned perfectly close to your ears and aligned with your ear canal, they immerse you in your favorite tunes or conversations like never before.

In terms of fit, the helmet sits snugly, just a hair closer to your lips and chin compared to others in its class. Although the snugness adds a sense of security, it does mean that the built-in boom mic, complete with a windscreen sponge, might make slight contact with your cheek.

It’s a small hiccup, really. While there’s not much wiggle room to adjust the mic’s position, it’s not a dealbreaker. Typically, you might position the mic to barely touch your lips, but with the Impulse, it tends to nudge towards the corner of your mouth, creating a constant connection.

Efficient Battery Management and Innovative Charging Technology in the Sena Impulse

The Sena Impulse introduces a unique charging experience with its non-replaceable 1300 mAh (lithium polymer) battery and Magnetic Pogo Charging Port, cleverly situated at the rear of the helmet’s rim. The connection is made effortless with a magnetic alignment, though the control unit powers off during charging—a minor inconvenience that requires removing the helmet as per the Sena User Guide.

Despite this, a mere 20-minute charge provides a generous two hours of talk time from full discharge. But be mindful of the charging cable’s susceptibility to highway airflow; the magnetic connection may detach if not secured properly.

For longer rides, the battery life of the Sena Impulse proves adequate, with continuous Mesh intercom usage lasting up to 10 hours and Bluetooth extending it to 13 hours. Yet, utilizing the integrated helmet taillight can diminish battery longevity significantly, prompting strategic charging breaks during extended rides.

While the LED taillight of the helmet offers multiple modes, its effectiveness is somewhat restricted by its limited output, particularly in daylight conditions. To maximize visibility, I typically keep it in Day Flash mode, which provides the brightest and most conspicuous illumination.
While the LED taillight of the helmet offers multiple modes, its effectiveness is somewhat restricted by its limited output, particularly in daylight conditions. To maximize visibility, I typically keep it in Day Flash mode, which provides the brightest and most conspicuous illumination.

Speaking of the taillight, it offers four modes—off, solid, day flash, and night flash—controlled exclusively via the Sena Motorcycle app. But its visibility is limited to nighttime scenarios.

Sena’s commitment to innovation is also evident in the Impulse’s automatic Wi-Fi firmware updates. By configuring the helmet on the same 2.4GHz network as your mobile phone, firmware updates transfer during charging, eliminating the need for manual intervention via computer connection.

And did I mention that the Sena Impulse support for the IEEE 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi network, offering a solid 33ft (10m) working distance? Yes! You also get an FM radio with RDS AF (Radio Data System Alternate Frequencies) and global region settings. Easily access 10 pre-set station memories using the controls or the Sena Motorcycles App. Switching between On and Off modes is as simple as pressing the Down control for one second. Easy peasy!

Michael’s Summary and Conclusion

AGVSPORT Knee and Body Armor

I've diligently categorized my motorcycle gear recommendations into all available categories, with the aim of providing you with a comprehensive analysis that showcases the absolute best options for all your needs. These items are the culmination of in-depth research, extensive testing, and personal use throughout my vast experience of 50+ years in the world of motorcycling. Besides being a passionate rider, I've held leadership positions and offered consultancy services to reputable companies in over 25 countries. To See Top Picks and the Best Prices & Places to Buy: Click Here!

FAQs — I Have The Answers!

Q: How Do I Pair My Sena Impulse With My Smartphone?

To initiate the pairing process between your Sena Impulse and smartphone, first ensure that Bluetooth is activated on your smartphone. Next, press and hold the power button on your Sena Impulse until the LED indicator begins flashing red and blue. Then, navigate to the Bluetooth settings on your smartphone and select the Sena Impulse from the available devices to complete the pairing.

Q: What Is the Best Method for Charging My Sena Impulse?

For optimal charging of your Sena Impulse, utilize the provided USB cable to connect it to a power source such as a computer or USB wall charger. Before plugging in the USB cable, inspect the charging port on the Sena Impulse to ensure it is free from any debris or obstructions. Allow the device to remain connected until the LED indicator illuminates solid green, indicating a full charge.

Q: How Can I Adjust the Volume Settings on My Sena Impulse?

To adjust the volume levels on your Sena Impulse, simply locate the volume control buttons on the the left side of the helmet. Press the upper button to increase the volume or the lower button to decrease it. The volume up and down buttons allow you to customize the audio output during calls or while listening to music according to your preferences.

Q: What Is the Effective Bluetooth Range of the Sena Impulse?

The Sena Impulse offers an impressive Bluetooth range of up to 2,000 meters (2 kilometers or 1.2 miles) when operating in open terrain, but environmental factors and obstacles may slightly impact the actual range experienced during usage.

Q: Can I Simultaneously Connect My Sena Impulse to Multiple Devices?

The Sena Impulse supports multi-point pairing, allowing you to connect with up to 4 Bluetooth devices or 24 Mesh devices simultaneously.

Q: Is the User Manual for the Sena Impulse Available in English?

Yes, the user manual for the Sena Impulse is available in English, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Chinese, Japanese, and Russian. The 8 Voice Commands in 8 languages ensure that users from various regions can access comprehensive instructions and guidance for operating the device effectively.

Information for this article was partially sourced and researched from the following authoritative government, educational, corporate, and non-profit organizations:


Picture of About the Author:

About the Author:

Michael Parrotte started his career in the motorcycle industry by importing AGV Helmets into the North American market. He was then appointed the Vice President of AGV Helmets America. In total, he worked with AGV Helmets for 25 years. He has also served as a consultant for KBC Helmets, Vemar Helmets, Suomy Helmets, Marushin Helmets, KYT Helmets, and Sparx Helmets.

In 1985, he founded AGV Sports Group, Inc. with AGV Helmets in Valenza, Italy. For over 38 years now, the company has quietly delivered some of the best protective gear for motorcyclists in the world.

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