I had the opportunity to road test a Hawk ST-1198 2-in-1 modular motorcycle helmet with a Hawk X1 Bluetooth communication bundle that I installed and it is awesome. Two of important items that differentiate the Hawk system from others are the ease of installation and the performance.
With the ease of installation, it was quick and simple. It might not sound that important, but if you have ever installed an aftermarket Bluetooth system onto a motorcycle helmet that it was not designed for, you probably have experienced some of the challenges noted below.
First, aftermarket Bluetooth system manufacturers make their product so one-size can fit all motorcycle helmets. Although this may sound like it does not create problems at first, this means that often the wires are longer than what your helmet requires. This can make the wires tangle and/or not stay where they were initially installed. Not only is this inconvenient and requires regular fussing to hide the wires, but it is also frustrating when you just want to hop on your bike and go.
Another issue with trying to install a Bluetooth system to a helmet that it was not designed for is often there are not areas to cleanly install the speakers. What this means, and what happened to me, is that the speakers have to be installed below the lining, which drastically affects the quality of the sound and the volume.
Third, when I needed to clip on the aftermarket Bluetooth unit to the side of my helmet it wasn’t intended for, there wasn’t an area specifically designed in which to install it. Actually, it was worse, as the area where I needed to mount the unit was glued down, so I had to pull it back some. Over time, this pad has pulled back further from the helmet and decreased the ease of use.
A final issue trying to install an aftermarket Bluetooth device to a helmet that is not intended to have one is too often they have inexpensive snaps that are designed to snap and unsnap only a limited number of times. To get a Bluetooth system installed in the right place, the lining and padding has to be snapped and unsnapped a number of times before you try on the helmet for the first time and then, most likely, it requires you to relocate some of the wires, microphone, or speakers necessitating more snapping and unsnapping, etc.
What happens now with this helmet is that whenever I pull it off, the lining pulls out of the helmet because the snaps are loose. Since the lining comes out, that means that I have to re-route the wires before I put the helmet on again. This occasionally happened right after I did the installation, but now it happens every time as the snaps are worn out.
After doing this a couple dozen times, it finally took its toll on the system and one of the wires to a speaker came loose, so I had to remove the aftermarket Bluetooth communication system from the helmet. Now, because the lining and/or pads pull out because of the snap issues described above, it is such a pain that I have relegated the helmet to a backup $250 helmet with a $200 mess of wires sitting in a box.
Now back to my experience installing the Hawk Bluetooth onto a Hawk motorcycle helmet that was specifically designed for. It was relatively quick and easy. Installation from the time I opened the box, read the instructions, laid out the system in the helmet, mounted everything, routed the wires, and buttoned everything back up was about twenty minutes.
After the helmet was taken off and on by me and some friends while testing it approximately twenty times throughout the day, all of the wiring was still in the right place and it looks like it will be trouble-free. Avoiding the installation problems and ruin that are common when installing a Bluetooth system onto a helmet it wasn’t designed for truly is reason enough to make this Hawk Bluetooth and helmet a good buy, and as you’ll read in the follow-up article, the performance is excellent.
You can pick up the Hawk Bluetooth Bundle right here, at LeatherUp.