You’ve gotta love it when technology works as advertised—especially since the opposite seems to occur fairly often. The Sena FreeWire for Harley-Davidson Touring bikes and Honda Gold Wing models promises to untether you from the bike, allowing you to wirelessly use its CB radio, infotainment system, GPS, on-bike communication and AM/FM/XM radio.
Even if dealing with cords and cables isn’t a problem for you, the FreeWire also addresses a request I’ve heard repeated like a motorcycle-touring litany: bike-to-bike Bluetooth communication without disabling or foregoing the CB radio. It seems many a touring rider has wished to be able to talk to his non-CB-equipped buddies during a ride—without giving up the ability to use his bike’s CB.
We tested the FreeWire on a 2017 Harley Road Glide Ultra, which is able to receive a Bluetooth signal from a phone or GPS, but still relies on a DIN cable to relay the signals to the rider’s helmet headset. Setting up and installing the FreeWire was relatively painless and took about five minutes. After plugging the little (3 inches tall by 2 inches wide by 1 inch thick) black box into a computer to charge it and update the software, you plug it into your bike’s DIN port with the provided cable, mount it either on the handlebar or directly on the bike (both kits are included), and pair it to your Sena headset. Yes, you do need a Sena headset unit to use the FreeWire; it works with the 20S, 10U, 10C, 10R and 10S.
Once installed, you are now free to move about the motorcycle. Gas stops are easier, as you simply dismount and go about your business, including walking inside to grab a drink. In testing, the rider maintained contact with the bike up to about 40 feet away.
You have three options to integrate a passenger. If your passenger’s helmet is already set up to be hard-wired to the bike, they can continue using it while you use the FreeWire. Or, you could install a second FreeWire into their connection point on the bike (and get them a Sena headset). Lastly, they can use a Sena headset only—the only caveat is they lose the use of the CB.
Sena says the FreeWire is good for 7 hours of talk time (ours was still going strong at 8 hours), and it can be charged while being used. However, our tester reported a loss in audio quality with the AM, FM and Weatherband radio while it was plugged in. Overall, however, he was pleasantly surprised by the audio quality, reporting it was even better than a competitor’s hard-wired headset.
The FreeWire works with any DIN-equipped Harley or Honda Gold Wing model, and retails for $249.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
See your dealer or visit sena.com