Sena Cavalry Helmet Review

Sena Cavalry Helmet

Editor Score: 85.75%
Aesthetics 9.0/10
Protection 7.0/10
Value 9.5/10
Comfort/Fit 8.75/10
Quality/Design 9.0/10
Weight 9.5/10
Options/Selection 7.5/10
Innovation 9.5/10
Weather Suitability 7.5/10
Desirable/Cool Factor 8.5/10
Overall Score85.75/100

Sena has long been one of the leading companies in the realm of wireless motorcycle helmet connectivity. Offering a plethora of Bluetooth devices from which to choose for both full-face and open-face helmets, with a variety of features including rider-to-rider communication, smartphone pairing for placing and receiving phone calls, listening to music and GPS directions, Sena makes wearing a helmet more enjoyable regardless of style or brand. With the introduction of the Cavalry half-helmet Sena is embarking on the most obvious next step in the company’s evolution – integrating its communication technology with its own proprietary helmets.

Enter To Win A Sena 10R Dual Set

The Cavalry is the first salvo of this bold new product line, with a long-promised full-face helmet featuring noise-cancelling technology on its way later this year. If the full-face helmet delivers on its promises as well as the Cavalry has, Sena should have no problem establishing itself as a major motorcycle helmet manufacturer, because the technology powering the Cavalry helmet simply works, and works well.

Affixed to the helmet’s outer left side is Sena’s 10R communication module. All wiring is internal. The built-in, brow-mounted microphone features Sena’s Advanced Noise Control technology for reducing wind noise, while Sena claims the integrated speakers above the ears are of HD quality.

Affixed to the helmet’s outer left side is Sena’s 10R communication module. All wiring is internal. The built-in, brow-mounted microphone features Sena’s Advanced Noise Control technology for reducing wind noise, while Sena claims the integrated speakers above the ears are of HD quality.

As an all-in-one helmet, the first apparent nicety is its no-assembly-required nature. Once out of the box you simply pair the 10R module with your smartphone, and you’re good to go. With factory installation you also enjoy the benefit of no exposed wiring, affording the Cavalry a clean look.

I FaceTimed my daughter so she could see daddy working. Surprisingly, she sounded just like my wife. Even more surprising was the clarity with which she heard me. Up to 55 mph with a shorty windscreen and minimal crosswinds, a conversation-level voice is all it takes.

I FaceTimed my daughter so she could see daddy working. Surprisingly, she sounded just like my wife. Even more surprising was the clarity with which she heard me. Up to 55 mph with a shorty windscreen and minimal crosswinds, a conversation-level voice is all it takes.

The 10R is Sena’s smallest and lightest communicator. The shell of the DOT approved Cavalry is constructed of fiberglass, and the whole helmet weighs 2.3 pounds. The 10R enjoys the latest Bluetooth 4.1 technology, the ability to be conversing with four riding buddies at distances up to a half-mile away, and 10 hours of talk time. Unlike the standard 10R, though, is the lack of a boom microphone that would have you looking like a call center employee.

Located in the underside brow of the helmet is the microphone that does an incredible job of picking up the wearer’s voice and reducing wind noise, which there’s a lot of with an open-face helmet. Conversations at speeds up to 55 mph were clear without me having to raise my voice. A severe cross-wind during one conversation limited voice clarity to 40 mph, so the microphone’s effectiveness is somewhat dependent on weather conditions.

The Cavalry comes with two different ear inserts to help reduce wind noise and increase the sounds you want to hear from the speakers. It was a little chilly so I chose to install the larger of the two inserts. Regardless of temperature, however, the inserts definitely help reflect music for your listening pleasure, or to better hear phone conversations or GPS directions. The larger inserts are lined with the same fabric found in the helmet for comfort, slip around the chin straps, and have tabs that insert between the shell and EPS liner for easy installation and removal.

The Cavalry’s interior shape is a medium oval. The helmet is fastened via standard nylon straps and D-rings. The visor is removable, as is the interior comfort liner for cleaning and/or replacement.

The Cavalry’s interior shape is a medium oval. The helmet is fastened via standard nylon straps and D-rings. The visor is removable, as is the interior comfort liner for cleaning and/or replacement.

The Cavalry is available in Glossy Black and Matt Black in sizes XS – XXL for $349. A Sena 10R communicator retails for $239, plus the price of a half helmet. For the money, how well the technology works, the cleanliness of factory installation, and the fact that there’s no goofy boom mic or external speakers makes this helmet well worth its price tag. For more information or to purchase check out Sena.com.

To take full advantage of the Cavalry’s features, make sure to download Sena’s Utility app available for both Apple and Android devices.

To take full advantage of the Cavalry’s features, make sure to download Sena’s Utility app available for both Apple and Android devices.

  • Mike Johnson

    John Burns et al: Buells are just too extreme and quirky being hyper short like unicycles with tiny rake and trail and they look offbeat by many miles. I have owned Buells and appreciate them especially the White Lightning but we all understand that they will never sell in numbers and margins to avoid bankruptcy and this is three times through the wringer.

    • john burns
      • Mike Johnson

        Okay, go for bankruptcy #4, then #5. I did not say that Buells do not handle as they do only that Buellies are a failed marketing concept. 1982 Buell quits Harley. Harley buys Buell/Buell fails/HD drops Buell after 15 years going nowhere. EBR Racing opens. Hero buys 50% of R&D – M.I.A. EBR goes bankrupt. Erik Buell now 65 years old with 34 years of serial bankruptcies but as a journalist do not let mere facts get in the way- no company-no production- no bikes- no engine building- no dealers- 1000s of alienated customers.

        • john burns

          How about a little govt love like H-D got before almost going tits up in `84? How about a tariff for bikes above 700cc like H-D got? Don’t put all the “failure” crap on Erik Buell. Only in America is a guy expected to be a mechanical genius, and a business and marketing one at the same time. Where’s the xenophobia when the Heros who left him holding the bag deserve it?

          • Ducati Kid

            John,

            Please review the W.I.P.O. (World Intellectual Property Organization – World Patents) – source – for Erik’s U.S. Patent portfolio – TRUE!

            Example:

            The much touted Z.T.L. Brake by U.K. resident Richard Ball assigned to AP L.L.C. today BREMBO.

          • Ducati Kid

            JB,

            The motorcycle depicted with Computer Controlled, Electronic Suspension and assorted aids – priced right – just might interest riders.

          • Mike Johnson

            I think the 700cc tariff is finally dead under the latest trade treaty. You raise a good point about HD though. In retrospect would it have been better to let HD die in 1984? The answer might be yes. HD still builds bikes with very poor crank shafts among many other chronic and critical problems such as incredibly antiquated valve gear and the latest completely weird cooling system. Owners regularly spend huge sums replacing inductions, timing modules, exhaust pipes as well as engines and transmissions. Poor old Sportster is still shaking like it is still 1957 and the V-Rod which had a credible engine 15 years ago was brought out as a bizarre flower bike for biker funerals. It too is a failure. The latest HDs are built in India as are some KTMs and Triumph twins are built in Thailand.
            I owned two Buells one of which was a Thunderbolt and the other a White Lightning. The isolation mounts on the Thunderbolt failed within 2,000 miles or so. They were junk. The WL was fun until the roller bearing crank went. No way that old paint shaker would hold 101 hp. These were FUNDAMENTAL engineering problems.
            Mr. Buell is a nice eccentric engineer who got more chances in life at building bikes than any one else. NO ONE will buy his brain children least of all anyone who has actually owned a Buell and ridden at the level of Buell hype.
            Motus has made a decent copy of the old Scat V4 from Midget Car racing about 30-40 years ago and I wish them all the best.
            If we examine Indian and read the fourth quarter 2015 issue of Ricardo Quarterly we see that Ricardo/Vepor actually designed the Chief and Scout engines.
            Cranking up Buell again as a kit bike with Rotax or other engine is completely pointless and after 25 or 30 years I feel that you understand this completely. It would be like electing Bernie Sanders President and I am sure you are not that sort of eccentric yourself.

          • john burns

            Go BERNIE!!!

          • DickRuble

            When all fails, a little socialism to the rescue..

          • Sayyed Bashir

            You have a very negative view of HD without saying whether you have ever owned one. Where are you getting all your facts? What exactly is wrong with twin precision cooling except it seems weird to you? My 2007 Softail Custom has 141,000 miles and still runs like new. Letting HD die would have been a big loss to the U.S. and the world. Only the Street 500 and 750 are built in India and they have excellent reviews. The KTM 390 Duke and the RC 390 race bike are built in India and have great reviews too. The RC 390 is the basis for the RC 390 Cup in Moto America. You had problems with Buells but that has nothing to do with HD or KTM.

          • Mike Johnson

            What I have is a very negative view of Harley management going back to the AMF days not Harley Davidson motorcycles or the people that buy and ride them.
            I do most of my own work so I know these engines pretty well from a repair point of view especially those parts that give trouble, are pointlessly heavy, and so forth.
            We all can understand that people buy Harleys because they like the way that they look especially since the first EVO came out following the introduction of rubber mounting. People liked the way Harleys looked and sounded but they disliked the way the ride was actually experienced- heavy vibration.
            My point is that many of the problems could be fixed without changing the looks of the bike in anyway noticeable to the average HD client. A good example is the valve gear inside the engine. HD management has had 80 years to improve that. The old knife and fork con rod and roller bearing lower end/pressed together should have been replaced with one piece forged and plain bearings. This could have been done 50 years ago easily but instead we still have many crank related problems. Almost nothing is worse for a roller bearing crank than heavy vibration and any preignition (detonantion) so all HD engines until the TC ‘B’ engine and V-Rod vibrate extremely heavily beating the lower ends up and wiping out the oil pump and cam drive on TC engines once crank run-out is hammered past a certain level. These and many other problems could have been solved long ago with little or no change to the looks of the bike and the engine.
            As for liquid cooling the engineering reality is that making V2 engines larger and larger is simply a nutty thing to do as all problems are wildly amplified especially with a 45 degree cylinder angle so almost all Harleys run hot on the rear exhaust valve as well as the rear cylinder generally which is why HD has proposed turning that cyl on and off when over heating becomes critical.
            Naturally 100 inch air cooled engines buried under a mountain of bagger gear will over heat- the entire engine will overheat – so rather than introduce LC heads that have the internal plumbing (invisible to customer) for the coolant of proven design HD management insists on a particularly bizarre arrangement that will, from our HD experiences of the past, be a source of problems as were the chain drive for the cams on the TC engines.
            If HD had been bankrupted it is possible that besides the management being destroyed (#1 goal then and today) the IP could have been transferred to a new company and all these basic engineering faults would have been corrected 30+ years ago and 90% of the buyers would never see the difference and get far better service form their purchases.
            If you want to see what I mean compare the engineering drawings for the 103 T Cam Harleys with the drawings for either the X- Wedge (S&S) and especially for the Air cooled Yamaha Road liner engine. All three are completely obsolete exercises in retro engineering and likely all the unquestioned improvements could be hidden inside the current HD design with less alteration than those in the TC “B” engine.
            If we look at Indian today as a comparison with either the Chief or Scout Motors against the T Cam or XL motors we can see what a change of management and a good house cleaning can accomplish.

          • Sayyed Bashir

            Despite all the technical “problems” you are describing above, Harley is doing very well, selling over a quarter million bikes a year. People love them exactly the way they are. It is not just the look of the bike, but the feel and sound. The changes you are suggesting would change the character of the bike. It would become just another Japanese wannabe cruiser which is smooth and performs well, but nobody wants. Changing the 45 degree angle would definitely change the heart beat sound. Harley also tries to minimize engine mechanical noise so the exhaust sound can be heard. That is why it uses chain driven cams instead of gear driven. Harley has hundreds of engineers who know exactly the latest technologies being used by everyone else, but they have to be very careful not to alienate their core buyers, even if it means not using the most efficient design. People want their Harley to look, feel and sound like a Harley, and they will not forgive any tampering.

          • Ducati Kid

            JB,

            Informed Golfer ‘Tiger’ Woods is HERO’S (MotoCorp) Global brand ambassador now that Erik has lost consulting and Stateside distributorship rights.

            Not a bad idea – ‘Tigers’ a known public face!

      • Pete M

        Sure they test well, they don’t sell well, never have.

  • ADB

    My son just picked up a brand spanking new EBR 1190RX for ten grand. Fabulous bike, fabulous deal. There were some winners in this sad saga.

    • john burns

      nothing better than a smart son! Congrats, ADB. (Did you see my Top Ten Used Bikes?)

  • Old MOron

    Wait a minute. According to my MOronic information, Bruce Belfer’s original deal was for $2.25 million. http://blog.motorcycle.com/2015/08/07/industry-news/new-owners-erik-buell-racing/

    Now after all the wrangling, someone buys EBR out from under him with LESS money?! I read the linked story in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, and it seems like they would be happy to sell to Bruce, but they will do whatever gets them the most profit.

    I have a feeling the U.S. will be producing cruisers forever. And I’m still angry about Victory’s Project 156-based bullshit.

    • Pete M

      From what I’ve read on Bad Web, many posts by Bruce himself to the forum, he couldn’t get the financing together in time for the first auction, hence the second. My concern would be if he couldn’t cobble together $2M to buy the assets, how on earth would he put together $10M+ to operate the organization?

      • john burns

        this is what we posted from the story linked to above:

        And now due to problems that stem from eleventh hour claims to assets that arose after the auction, but before the closing, Erik Buell Racing’s manufacturing assets will go back on the auction block in early December.

        Belfer was recently quoted in the Milwaukee Wisconsin Journal Sentinel, stating, “In a nutshell, our right to close ended September 30. Hero’s right to claim against inventory ended October 6. No financing could be secured with an uncertain balance sheet.”

        Will we be seeing another Buell or EBR race team in the not too distant future?

        Both parties are understandably tight-lipped on details, but it appears that there was a major gap between what Belfer and his financiers assumed they were buying, and what Hero felt they were entitled to take with them, and not enough visibility to nail things down before the clock ran out.

  • DickRuble

    Hey Burns, What’s God telling YOU now?

  • john phyyt

    How is it powered ? re-charged?..

  • VForce

    Small li-ion rechargeable battery. They also sell a portable battery pack that you can use to charge it on the go. I can usually use my 20S all day before I need to recharge it though.