Sena SR10 review from someone who actually owns one.

I spent months looking up information and looking for reviews of the Sena SR10. I wanted one but I was concerned that it would not do what I really wanted or what it really promised.  There were a LOT of holes in what the Sena sales literature mentions that the device can do, and they do not list anything in the "it cant do" column.   Online motorcycle forums have people full of speculation but nobody that really uses the device. The ONLY review of the unit from someone that used the SR10 was on webbikeworld, every other article and "review" was based on someone playing with a demo unit in their office for 10 minutes.  I wanted a real life review of someone that used it daily and relied on it daily.  So I finally took the plunge.   I own a set of 4 year old Scala Rider Q2 bluetooth headsets for my and my wifes helmets,  These are early units that do not do A2DP, and honestly nothing really did A2DP back then.  I loved how they integrated with my phone and the wireless all the time intercom to my wife worked well.   But there are times I ride with a group that uses FRS radios and I wanted to bring a touch of my Ham Radio hobby with me on the bike.  Plus I installed an older Garmin GPS on the bike and wanted a way to get the audio from the GPS into my helmet.  The Bluetooth Motorcycle GPS's are still insane priced, even on the used market, so going the SR10 route was a lot cheaper when paired with an older Garmin 2720 GPS.

Being a very frugal (wife calls it cheap) guy, I scoured ebay for a very good price and found the SR10 new kit with the lighter plug power cord for $125, another $15 and I had the Icom radio plug that works with most radios.  3 days later I have the items and on the charger the SR10 went.  The unit I bought had to have it's firmware upgraded, and honestly you really want it to be at the latest 1.2 firmware to fix a lot of problems with the SR10.  This was rather painless except for Sena requires you register the unit with them before you can get access to the firmware loader.  While it was charging I turned the unit on (press and hold the top pairing button and the center big/PTT button until lights come on) and updated the firmware, Everything so far is easy.

Sena has a interesting "waterproofing" technique.  the plugs are all very recessed in the grey rubber and when you plug in the cable it "seals" around it.  This worked great for all the cables that come with the SR10,  but other cables might have problems.  I saw right away that the cable I bought for a permanent mounted PTT switch on my bike will not fit, so I will need to buy another SR10 PTT switch extension cable and modify it.  Luckily the cable that I have for my GPS audio fits into the AUX ports just fine and actually look like they seal against the grey rubber.  Your cords may or may not work, so be sure to try them before running any cables on your bike.  All of the Sena cords are very thin and feel delicate. This makes them very flexible, but I worry about their longevity,  life on a motorcycle is not all careful and delicate.  Time will tell if they actually last for a decent lifetime.  The add on Icom cable for my handheld radio was the most curious, it was very light weight and small as you can see in the photo.  The special connector they have for the radio plugs is well built and clicks on the SR10 nicely, you have to pull back on the outer ring to release it.

Pairing the unit to my helmet Scala Rider Q2 and my HTC ONE M8 cellphone was rather painless.  It takes a bit for the SR10 to show up on the phone to be available for pairing, but like all Bluetooth it takes time.  After 30 seconds it showed up and paired.  I then paired the SR10 to my headset by putting the SR10 into pairing mode first, then the headset.  they both blinked away for about 45 seconds and then they started blinking blue to let me know they paired.

The first weirdness I experienced is if you plug your radio into the SR10 and then try to power on the SR10, it will force your radio to start transmitting, so it is important that you turn on the SR10 first then hook up and turn on your 2 way radio.

I followed all the instructions in the manual and paired my helmet headset and my HTC ONE M8 phone to the SR10  everything worked great in the garage so I shut everything off and went inside.  The next day I decided to ride to work and give this a real workout on my 40 minute commute.  Right away everything went wrong.  The SR10 refused to stay connected to my Phone.  It happily connected to the helmet and I had GPS audio and two way radio comms all the way to work, but the phone refused to stay connected and actually would disconnect when I touched the PTT button on the SR10.   At work I checked the sena forum,  completely useless.  so I searched the internet and found a LOT of people have this exact problem.  a full reset of the SR10 seems to solve it.  so that is what I did.  On the top by the pairing button there is a recessed dot,  push in there with a smaller screwdriver to hit the reset button.  This will erase the SR10 to factory defaults.  So now you have to pair your helmet and phone again.   I did this and now it seems to stay connected but the phone will not auto connect to the SR10, you have to dig it out of your pocket and go digging into the bluetooth menus to find  it in the list of headsets and click on it to make it connect.   Direct to my helmet or direct ot my headset I use for the car is automatic,  Sena for some reason does not search for the phone on power up and try to connect, that is a flawed design as any bluetooth device should aggressively try to connect to it's paired devices.   I can not really report on Two-Way operation,  of course nobody was on the regional repeater this morning, and where I buried the Icom handheld in the tank bag I could not change to any of the other frequencies.  I hope there is a better chance of using the radio on the way back.  UPDATE: 3 days later and still no response from SENA tech support.  I am pretty sure they ignore their support email address.  So do not expect tech support from SENA if you need it.  I decided to load the firmware again and then fully reset the device.  It is now keeping the phone connected if you do not touch anything for about 5 minutes after turning all the devices on and manually hitting the connect button on the phone in the bluetooth menu.  The device is very finicky.

The GPS audio was clear and the bluetooth connection came up quick,  although my older Garmin will do an "alert tone" before any spoken command so the SR10 get's a full 1/2 second heads up before any speech to open the audio channel. I had to drop the GPS audio output level to 70% to get rid of any distortion, but it was very clear in my ears. Listening to the FM radio in my Q2 headset the GPS instructions would trigger the Q2 to switch to the GPS audio quickly,  5 seconds later the SR10 drops the audio headset connection and my FM radio that the Q2 has built in comes back.   I did have it set for 3 seconds, but it seems that that setting that you can only set via USB and their windows only app is wiped out when you hard reset the device, if having to hard reset it is a regular occurrence, that setting is pretty useless.   It also seemed that it did not want to hang up a phone call from the headset,  instead I had to wait for the other end to hang up,  this is a major flaw that could have been fixed in firmware.  Directly paired to my headset the phone calls work flawlessly, so it is the SR10 that is causing a problem.

I am concerned that they have  had no firmware updates for nearly a year and no other information about the SR10 that has been updated, coupled with their tech support not getting back to me about the device is making me think that they are abandoning it or about to discontinue it.  I hope not, as it's the ONLY device that can give you bluetooth control over a two way radio with some audio mixing.   Nobody has made a bluetooth enabled FRS radio yet that actually works well, and  large riding group communication is important.  The ham radio community that rides and wants to also use the radio while riding is so small, that we are just lucky that the device exists at all.

Overall, if you have a bluetooth headset for your helmet or built in bluetooth that is old enough to only have 1 audio channel, this is a great device to connect the devices you  have to your helmet.  IT give you GPS audio integration that is a LOT better than what any of the Garmin motorcycle GPS's can accomplish for significantly less money.  But it is a product that is in a dead end market.  If you bought a more modern capable Headset for your helmet like the Sena SMH 20R, SMH-10 or the Scala G9x and  paired with your smartphone in a decent mount or tank bag with power connected to it from the bike you can have a lot more going for you.  the Apple iPhone has had stellar voice control for 4 years now for motorcyclists,  but the latest Android release has really upped the game with "google Now" integration.  

I would buy the SR10 ONLY if you already invested in gear that you do not want to replace and only want to spend a little bit of money giving it some integration, or if you really need two way radio communications to your bluetooth helmet setup.    If you want the ultimate in communications, phone and music then spend your money in a modern headset that is bluetooth 3.0 or 4.0 with multiple device connection and mono audio mixing.  


  1. Thanks for the great review was it done in 2014 or 15? Just wondering if you have had any more success with it? I'm buying a new bike and helmet in October and was considering this unit. currently I have wired speakers and mic direct to my uhf radio it works great but all the wires are annoying. Out of interest do you miss any of the transmission when some one transmits to you? cheers

  2. 2014 but all the models are exactly the same. Only time I miss any conversation is when the GPS chimes in and a little bit of the first word spoken. One thing I have learned is that you need to make sure the connectors do not get pulled hard at an angle, the radio cable is incredibly thin and gets damaged easily. so be sure to give it a lot of room and not get pinched where it will rub for a long time or you will be buying a replacement radio cable.

  3. I have had the SR10 for 3 years also, and can no longer trust it. The issue has been after about 20 minutes of two way radio use the unit starts transmitting a garbled to carrier only transmission which is not when used for public safety purposes. My Unit was replaced under warranty and I also replaced all the cabling and the same issue has been happening again Sena techs have been no help at all, and when disconnected from the SR10 my radio system functions perfectly


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