Nick has been using the Shoei GT-Air II with SENA SRL fitted for about six-months now on his daily 200km return commute to University. here are his thoughts, along with a fitment guide..
I’ve been doing the daily commute with the Shoe GT-Air II and the SENA SRL2 for the past six months. This is my first shot at using any inbuilt Bluetooth or telecom system having spent the majority of my rides with my headphones in, or, constantly falling out…
The SRL2 comes we have is the GT-Air option, so it’s made to fit and costs $479.00 RRP. It is built to more or less mimic their best-selling SENA 20S with a 3-button control on the right-hand side of the helmet. It’s compatible with three of their helmets: The Neotec II (after March 8, 2019), J-Cruise II and obviously, the GT Air II. The SRL2 is a super-light system that is incorporated into the helmet via two side and one rear section, with blanks being removed from the helmet once you’re ready for the install.
Check out our SENA Prism Action Camera review here…
There’s cut-outs for the speakers/headphones, as well as a channel for the microphone, with all the wiring easily hidden in the helmet. Installation is simply, but a little bit fiddly, as you’ll need to remove those blanks from the helmet, pull out some of the lining, plus run the wiring, and make sure everything is back in place, particularly all the linings, which all clip back in.
SHOEI GT-AIR II Crossbar TC-2 ($1099 RRP)
The GT-Air II is a fantastic helmet. It’s my first proper Shoei, albeit second-hand from Jeff, but man it’s awesome. In terms of quality and comfort, it’s up there with the best helmets I have ever owned. The drop-down sun visor has been perfect for commuting, as I’ll keep only a partially tinted visor on for the night rides and in the mid-day sun, I’ve got the dark drop down!
Check out our SENA SRL for Shoei Neotec II review here…
This is the first helmet I’ve had that has the ratchet mechanism on the chinstrap. I struggle to understand how any new helmet manufacturer could ever bring out something with a D-ring now for the street (not racing obviously), it’s honestly one of those things you don’t realise how useful and handy they are until you’ve got it. Being able to whip in on and off even with the thick winter gloves on is something I could never do with the D-ring… The GT-Air II is just intuitive, the vents are huge and easily accessible, the visor is simple to open and close and the drop down is a simple slider on the side. It has clearly been very well developed and tested by the team in Japan.
When looking at the physical size of the SENA unit, it’s virtually undetectable. It’s sleek and hidden, you’d honestly be hard pressed to know it was even there if you weren’t sure. The battery compartment is in the rear of the helmet and offers USB charging via a micro-usb charging port. Strangely, they’ve placed the charging port face down, so the helmet has to be on its side or hanging of the edge when charging, which was kind of odd to me, something worth considering for future designs, not sure why they wouldn’t design it to be on the side.
I haven’t been able to test out the intercom functionality (I don’t know anyone else with one). SENA say it’s good for 1.6km in ‘open’ terrain with 7 other riders, which is pretty impressive! So far, I’ve only been using it to listen to music and podcasts on the daily Uni commute and to take and make calls. Previously, I was looking at some moulded inner-ear headphones in the hopes that I’d be able to drown out some of the wind noise, but they’re also very, very expensive! If I were to be honest, the SENA is OKAY for music while riding.
When you’re cruising the local streets the volume/sound clarity of the SENA is fine, there is plenty of volume and the GT-Air II does a fairly decent job at keeping things quiet inside. When you hit the freeway, however, it’s nearly impossible to hear anything. It requires a fair bit of concentration to understand what the podcast is saying or hear the music properly. I also get a little worried about how loud it really is and what effects that has on my long-term hearing, even if I’m struggling to understand.
Check out the new CFMOTO 650MT staff bike Nick is riding here…
Call functionality works but can be hit and miss using Siri. Hearing the phone call on the freeway at 115km/h is a little difficult, but manageable. This would change from bike to bike also. It’s definitely better than having to pull over and take the helmet and gloves off! In terms of my voice clarity, apparently it is fantastic outgoing, and the mic is able to clear almost all of the wind and road noise and just let my voice pass through. This is the ‘Advanced Noise Control’, and it seems to do the job! Around town and at speeds lower than freeway speeds the system works well and is very handy for calls.
Short battery life is an issue, the unit seems to draw power even when it’s turned off. I’d say there is also some form of low-voltage protection, as it takes a huge amount of time to finally get the unit to accept any form of charge if it has gone fully flat. I’ve tried the suggested charging current, higher and lower and it just won’t take it. Having Googled this issue, it seems like battery failure is fairly common in these units and I’m definitely not the first, I’ll follow up this test with updates once I get a new battery sorted from SENA.
SENA offer a mobile app for the unit. I couldn’t get it to connect for quite a while. I ended up just connecting through the Bluetooth settings in my iPhone.
If you’re interested in the Shoei GT-Air II and SENA SRL2 Communication System, see your local Shoei stockist, or visit the McLeod Accessories website.
How to install the SENA SRL2 system.
There’s good instructions included with the SENA SRL2, but here’s a bit of a quick guide with pictures. As you can see it’s a very neat system, with the rear battery unit, two side units with controls on the left, two speakers and the microphone.
The included instructions are good, for the install and basic operation, as well as for the full abilities of the SENA SRL2. You’ll need to remove the three plastic blanks that are placeholders for the unit first up. The cheek pieces slide down at an angle as you can see from the arrow which points the direction they’ll need to be removed for installation of the SRL2.
Use a flat head screw driver to release the rear piece, which has a foam placeholder under it. This may require a bit of work to get loose. I pulled out the lining to make the job a little easier as well as the cheek pads. The cheek pads are a tight fit, make sure you’ve disconnected the white clips, and there’s a plastic section which runs along the edge and clips down into the helmet lining.
Slide the control unit into place, it should go in easily and again clip into place, just note the angle it slides in on. The wiring from the rear central unit includes tabs which you push into place.
Check all the wiring is hidden away and the tabs in place before replacing cheek pads and lining. Replacing the cheek pads can be a fiddly job, so stay patient, push the plastic tab into place towards the rear of the helmet first, then at the chin last.
Then connect up the white clips on the inside of the helmet. The cheek pads are quite deeply mounted, and should sit as flush as they were when you started. P ull the chin strap back through the cheek pad flaps and you’re all done!
SENA SRL2 Specifications
- Talk time: up to 10 hours
- Operating temperature: -10˚C ~ 55˚C (14°F ~ 131°F)
- Charging temperature: 0˚C – 45˚C (32°F – 113°F)
- Speaker: driver unit 31.9 mm – thickness 4.4 mm
- Boom microphone: length 55 mm
- Wire between speakers: length 85 mm
- Weight: main module – 100 g (3.53 oz)
Radio and sound
- Noise Cancellation: Advanced Noise Control
- 10 pre-set FM radio station memory
- Bluetooth 4.1
- Headset Profile (HSP)
- Hands-Free Profile (HFP)
- Advanced Audio Distribution Profile (A2DP)
- Audio Video Remote Control Profile (AVRCP)
- Working Distance: Up to 1.6 kilometres (1.0 mile) in open terrain
- Supports up to 8 riders
- Charging time: 2.5 hours
- Type: Lithium Polymer Battery