Sena’s moving its communication devices forward a generation. The company’s just announced the new Spider ST1 and RT1 comm sets, and both work entirely on Sena’s Mesh 2.0 system.
Currently, Sena’s comm sets can link up via Bluetooth technology, or in recent months, Sena’s new Mesh 2.0 network. Mesh 2.0 is supposed to be more stable, offer more clarity, and drop less calls.
Now, the latest comms from Sena will work entirely on the Mesh 2.0 network. In theory, this means better communications quality, but it also limits backwards compatibility. The new Spider ST1 and RT1 will only work with other Mesh 2.0 systems like the 50S, 50R, 30K and Momentum EVO. If you’ve got an older Sena that works entirely on Bluetooth, there’s a solution, though—Sena has a +Mesh Adapter that allows riders to upgrade an older comm set.
The ST1 and RT1 follow Sena’s familiar form factor. They’re designed to clamp to the side of a motorcycle helmet, with internal high-definition earphones attached by wiring (you can attach your own earphones via 3.5 mm jack). Users can opt for either a boom mic, or a lapel-style mic. The ST1 uses a jog dial to change settings and volume; the RT1 has a three-button interface. Both comm sets integrate with your mobile phone for updates, network management and other tasks.
Of course, to connect to your phone, the comm sets must use Bluetooth, even though their comm-to-comm network runs on Mesh 2.0.
Mesh 2.0 capabilities
Older comm sets had two basic modes: A peer-to-peer link, or a larger network that still only allowed limited participation, often at the cost of call quality.
Here’s how Sena’s press release explains the Mesh 2.0 technology:
The SPIDER ST1 and RT1 feature two different intercom modes: Group Mesh and Multi-Channel Open Mesh. When using Group Mesh, users create a private group that supports up to 24 riders over a range of up to 5 miles / 8 km (min 6 riders @ 1 mi / 1.6 km intervals). Users are invited into Group Mesh, giving added control and privacy. Multi-Channel Open Mesh allows riders to communicate with virtually any number of participants in the Mesh 2.0 network within a range of up to 5 miles / 8 km. Open Mesh also features multi-channel options, riders can switch between nine frequencies for conversations with different riding groups within the larger Open Mesh group.
Basically, the new Group Mesh mode allows a much larger private conversation, that can be carried over a long distance (five miles sounds optimistic, though). Open Mesh allows the rider to jump into a public conversation with unlimited participants, similar to an old CB radio system, although based on a much smaller area. The Open Mesh system has nine channels, so even there, riders can sub-divide themselves into smaller groups as needed.
Talk time is supposed to be around 11 hours; the new Senas will recharge in 1.5 hours.
While this sort of tech isn’t for everyone, there are many moto-applications, even for ADV riders. Of course, the ability to answer calls and listen to music isn’t for everyone, just like everyone doesn’t want constant communication while riding. But, if you don’t like it, you don’t have to buy it …
Speaking of buying—both the Spider ST1 and RT1 are priced at $199 apiece in the US.