Motorcycles

 

Gear Review - Dainese Airstream Corsa (Bluetooth)

 

Dainese Airstream Course helmet

Just before I left for Montana I stopped by the new factory Dainese store in San Francisco.  After studying their new Airstream Corsa helmet extensively, I purchased one.  The feature that really drew me in was the built-in Bluetooth wireless speakers and microphone.  With this system I can send and receive cell phone calls while wearing the helmet.  I can also communicate wirelessly with other people nearby wearing similar helmets, whether my passenger or other riders.

 

Riding And Talking

Before anyone gets too riled up and emails me, let me state my thoughts on cell phones.  Whether operating a car or a motorcycle, the ideal time to have a conversation is not in traffic. I have always limited the amount of time I spend on the cell phone while driving and I have no desire to catch up with old friends while on my motorcycle.  However, there are many times when it would be extremely handy to have ready access to my cell phone while my helmet is on. 

 

The first is thankfully not a common occurrence but there have been times where I would like to have been able to call the police quickly and easily while riding.  Whether it's reckless drivers, drunk drivers, or debris in the roadway, I don't want to have to pull off to the side of the freeway, remove my gloves, remove my helmet, remove my earplugs, fish my cell phone out of my bag, and then place a call with cars whizzing past at 80mph.  More commonly I am riding somewhere and running late.  Rather than feeling pressured to go faster or go through the inconvenience of stopping to call from the side of the road (making me that much later), how nice to be able to place a quick call from inside my helmet, hands-free.  Works great calling ahead for directions as well.  The headset also proved very handy on my Montana trip when I needed some emergency assistance.  If the thought of placing or receiving a single cell phone call while riding abhors you, then don't buy one. Not every new technology is for everyone. 

 

Bluetooth Headset

Bluetooth is just a name given to a wireless communication standard, allowing electronic devices - in this case the microphone and speakers built into my helmet and my cell phone - to communicate with each other without wiring them together.  The headset in the Airstream Course works very well.  All operations are controlled with a single button located on the left side of the helmet. Holding the button down for different lengths of time activates different features.  Feedback is provided with beeps inside the helmet of different types and lengths.  It just took a few times before I had the operation down.  Sound quality during calls was surprisingly good.  I had a few friends call me while on the road and they would not have known I was going 70mph on my motorcycle if I had not told them. 

Dainese Airstream Course helmet

Here you can see the single headset control button towards the back of the helmet.

 

When I picked mine up there were two color choices - matte grey and red/white/green.  The tri-color was the newer design and has only a single speaker, whereas the matte grey model has a speaker near each ear and will be phased out soon.  I don't know how much of a difference this makes if any, but I was told the change was made was due to liability concerns here in the U.S.  Pathetic.

 

Dainese Airstream Course helmet

A small zippered enclosure hold the Bluetooth rechargeable battery plug.

 

Dainese Airstream Course helmet

The microphone is right near your mouth, helping to ensure good sound quality. Ignore the H.A.R.D. system I added.

 

Features

So the Bluetooth operation is great, but how is it as a helmet?  So far I've been very pleased with it.  The helmet is comfortable, quiet, and has decent ventilation.  The interior padding as well as the strap are made of a really soft material that kept me comfortable during my entire trip.  The lower chin vent is a little hard to close while riding as the upward push needed just shoves the helmet up on your head.  Minor issue though.

 

The visor fitment/removal process is not quite as good as Shoei but better than Arai.  Just push the small lever forward while pulling the visor upwards and outwards to remove it.  Position the visor over the mechanism in the right spot and just pop it back on.  The helmet comes with one clear visor.  Shown here is the optional Iridium visor. Dark tinted is also available.

 

Protection

It was never my intention to test the crash-worthiness of this helmet but a Volvo driver felt differently.  I'll discuss that a little later (I'm fine, btw!) but in this minor incident the helmet fared well.  It thankfully wasn't much of a test for the helmet.  As you can see below I did scrape the ground, leaving a series of light scratches in the paint and across the very edge of the visor.  Very minor damage and the helmet appears to still be 100% functional. 

 

Dainese Airstream Course helmet

Conclusion

Overall I find it hard to find fault with the helmet.  The quality of the materials is quite good, the design is functional and comfortable.  It's plenty quiet and the Bluetooth system works well.  A very worthy alternative to a Shoei, especially if Bluetooth capabilities interest you.

 

Dainese Airstream Course helmet

Also included: A nice storage bag, headset battery charger, anti-fog shield, wind-blocker chin guard, and manuals.

 

Dainese Airstream Course helmet

Adjustable vents - open.
 

Dainese Airstream Course helmet

Adjustable vents - closed.
 

 

Dainese Airstream Course helmet

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