People who ride with me know that I’m obsessive about wearing earplugs, as nothing ruins your hearing better than a motorcycle helmet. If we cut the marketing BS, there is really no such thing as a quiet helmet, just helmets that are quieter than others…until now.
Behold, a noise-cancelling helmet is finally available to the masses, with the Sena Noise Control Helmet.
It is almost surprising that noise-cancellation technology has taken this long to come to the two-wheeled space, of course any industry veteran can tell you how slow to change the motorcycle industry is, even with established technologies.
Noise cancellation technology is so well-known right now, we doubt we even need to breakdown this announcement for you, but we will anyways. Because, Luddites.
Helmets are a rather stagnant segment of the motorcycle industry, with even the more “innovative” designs being evolutions to the basic principles of crash helmets, rather a revolutions.
Companies like Skully and Reevu aim to add more visual features to helmets, while major brands like AGV, Arai, and Shoei are ever improving their designs for better customer fit, whether it be through additional helmet models, or rethinking how the helmet fits to the rider’s head.
All of these improvements are good for us motorcyclists, of course, yet they are all based on the same basic principles of a hard protective shell, lined with some sort of impact absorbing material.
In fact, the only truly revolutionary helmet design we have seen, comes from the bicycle sector, and involves advanced airbag technology. In 50 years, we’ll be wearing these helmets (or not wearing them, as the case may be). But until then, the basic design continues to evolve.
I ride bikes for a living, in case you didn’t know this already. I ride more miles on two wheels in a year, than the average American does in their automobile (I put more four-wheel miles down a year than the average American does as well, if that gives you any idea how much of Asphalt & Rubber is written while on the road). With all this riding, I’ve become increasingly concerned over my hearing, as I’d like still to have it when I’m older. Thus for my own personal benefit, I’ve been trying out the different kinds of ear protection that are available to motorcyclists, as well as a variety of helmets from manufacturers (articles surely to ensue).
So when the Journal of the Acoustical Society of America published a study titled “Aeroacoustic Sources of Motorcycle Helmet Noise” in which the various frequencies and decibel levels of helmet-generated noise were measured and tested, I became very interested in the study’s findings. Bear in mind I’m a staunch believer in helmet laws and riding with a full-face helmet (my apologies to the Libertarians in the group), so when the study suggested that my two main concerns regarding my head may be at odds with each other, it piqued my interest.