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2016 RT Bluetooth Clarification- BMW or Sena


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I've looked through the threads to get clear about the Bluetooth compatibility on the new RT with Bluetooth. I want to know what the Sena Will Do, and what it Won't Do. I don't take passengers, and I don't communicate with other bikes. Just want the features of the BMW (turn wheel, menu on the instrument panel, etc.) to work. The Sena 10U will fit my Shoei, the BMW Bluetooth apparently is made for the Shuberth. If this is answered elsewhere please point me there.

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The BMW system is built only for Schuberth helmets. The only advantage I know of with the BMW system is it will allow two riders to use bluetooth connectivity to the RT's systems. Since you don't have a passenger, that won't apply.

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Sena or the Bike (however you want to look at it) will not allow you operate the volume control via the wonder wheel. IIRC, someone here had come up with a workaround.


Pretty happy with Sena, will be buying again. :thumbsup:



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SENA SMH 10 sound quality is no where near earbud quality...alas BMW didn't give us a 3mm headphone jack so more or less have to use an external device. It can be a challenge to sync the device sometimes. There is a good sequence for syncing we can send you if you buy the SENA. Battery life on the SENA is somewhere around 3-4 years. SENA claims it is not replaceable and you have to buy a new unit...well that turns out to not be true. You can buy a replacement battery and with a simple soldering iron and 10 minutes easy to change the battery for about $8.


No personal experience with the Schuberth but would take Terry's word for it.


Would I buy a SENA again...yes.. Not because I think it is awesome, but is the best of the choices IMHO. With a little bit more focus, a little better speakers, and a little less distortion SENA could make it truly awesome.

Edited by Skywagon
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If it won't control volume, then it won't control the ability to select channels, change from fm to satellite, etc. Correct?


The Sena takes the bluetooth signal from the bike. The control of volume is then only done with the wheel on the Sena unit. I actually don't find that a burden. But, channel selection, switching from satellite to usb, fm, etc is still done with the bikes controls. Either the buttons on the left fairing or the thumbwheel. Just like if the sound was coming from the bikes speakers. So, you only lose volume control with the Sena.


As for sound quality, I think that is a BMW problem. As I understand it, the BMW bluetooth signal the Sena picks up is a lower quality, lesser standard than it could be. Maybe the newer bikes will upgrade that. Still, while on a bike at speed, the sound quality is plenty good.

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Yo, Big....


I faced the same issue when I got the Wethead RT. (which I love- by the way)...


First of all, I love the sound options on the Wethead bikes. I love the controls and options that are built in.


I went with the basic Sena SMH-10. Yes it is older and perhaps a generation behind but I can tell you that it works, I like it, and my start-up routine for any/every ride is to do the pairing steps from the SMH-10 to the Bike and the GPS. note: Once you break the code and do the setup- the pairings all turn on automatically on every ride except for one... which involves manually pairing the headset to the GPS. That takes about 3 seconds. All the various "pairings" operate automatically after the first pairing as long as the headset is powered up.


The audio quality is not full living-room Hi-Fi for sure, but it is very useable for me. IMHO the last percent of sound quality while blasting down the highway is not an important part of the "fun" equation... for me.


The volume control is from the Sena headset. If you want to control the volume from the bike, you can do that if you just turn on the speakers and forget the BT options altogether. Of course you can't hear much in a full face helmet blasting down the highway and you won't the making or answering phone calls... (which is via the GPS anyway. Speaking of which- if you use the GPS for turn-by-turn directions you are going to need some sort of helmet audio system)


Like most things in life- everything depends on everything else... You can spend a lot of money on the BMW setup and Shuberth helmet but I suspect the Sena will get the job done at a fraction of the cost and still be serviceable.


The early part of the learning curve concerning Pairing is not abundantly obvious but many of us have broken the code. The best reference I have found is the "RKA" video: https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=rka+pairing





Edited by hopz
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This is just awesome, exactly the info I'm looking for! Many thanks.


I've got about 400 miles on my new 2016 RT. Traded in my 09, and I cannot believe the difference between the two. #1 is the power, it's liquid. #2 is the handeling. And #3 is the dash layout. The seat is firmer, but somehow more comfortable. Very happy camper right now!


The only things are the tiny glove compartments, big enough for a chapstick! And my Shoei helmet won't fit in the top box unless I take it out of its cover, remove the carpet at the bottom, and position the helmet in an exact certain spot. Really??


That being said, you would have an impossible time getting this bike away from me.

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I have the SENA SHM10's also. I have tried the RKA method and it doesnt work for me. I cant get the GPS to reliably link to my iphone and the Garmin smart link app. I do get the GPS to sync with the SENA, but then every time I have to manually link the bikes radio system to the Sena by pushing on the phone button for 6 seconds. I have to admit that i am confused about the initial pairing. Do i use the phone button for 6 seconds or the jog dial for 6 second. they both will do different pairings. BTW I am told by my BMW shop that the schuberth system is very old, you have to carry battery packs inside you helmet also. its not as tidy as the SENA

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mig...the RKA works for me 99 times out of a hundred. I turn on my bike and let it settle in for about a minute before I turn on the Sena. Then it takes a few seconds for the SENA to connect, but almost always does. When it doesn't, I go to the Bluetooth screen on the bike, go to helmet 1. Before I select helmet 1, I push the SENA button, not the jog dial, until it starts beeping. Then I select helmet 1 on the bike and wait for it to show SENA. Then I select SENA and all is well.


Try the RKA method again, get it all synced, then try what I described

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I tried the RKA method also. Wouldn't allow my bluetooth music from the bike to the Sena. Bluetooth signal on dash kept flashing. So, while flashing, I pushed the phone button on the Sena for six seconds. It paired up and works perfectly now. That means 3 different pairings from the Sena to the bike


Aliens sent us bluetooth technology. Until we figure it out, and we are far from that, they will simply watch us from a distance........while we build fires and carry clubs.

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Thats what i am doing as well. but the third pairing to the bike I have to initiate, but whats funny is that when i turn on the SENA it tells me the media is paired and the phone is paired although I don't have my phone turned on ??? weird

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  • 4 weeks later...

Mig, I just hooked up a Sena 10U on my 16 RT. It was confusing at first because the BMW has its own radio. But in the BMW owners manual (for the audio system ) there are instructions called Expansion stage 4, which suite my use. No 2nd helmet, etc. I followed them to the letter and it works great. You might want to look at the options in the manual, and follow those instructions for the set up of your intend to use. I guess I'm assuming that you have the BMW audio system. Basically I didn't connect my phone to the Sena, but to the BMW GPS instead. And I don't use the Sena radio, but use the BMW radio. I don't answer the phone on my bike.

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