I had the original Lexin FT4 on another motorcycle helmet and I was pretty ambivalent about it. The original FT4 took calls and streamed music, but it was unimpressive. This experience got me thinking. Does the world really need another aftermarket helmet Bluetooth communication system? To be totally honest, entering a market with firmly established companies like Sena and Cardo didn’t really sound like the smartest of ideas. But the folks at Lexin reached out and sent me the new FT4 Pro unit. I installed it on a Simpson Ghost Bandit helmet and gave it a good old 1000-mile thrash test. And here are my findings…
The installing the Lexin FT4 Pro went well. I’ve installed my fair share of helmet com systems over the past decade or so. I knew what to do and how to do it.
For the first timers it may seem like a daunting task. But if you just take your time and don’t be forceful with either the helmet or the wires then you should have a clean install.
I keep my personal com system setups simple and clean both inside and outside of the helmet. That’s why I chose the sturdy 3M double-sided tape option to affix the control unit to the helmet shell. I also affixed the button microphone to the inside front of the helmet, right above the chin curtain.
Once the system was fully installed and charged up I turned on the water resistant FT4 Pro and pared it with my iPhone 11 Pro in less than two minutes.
On another brand’s big jog dial, I fumbled around with it too much when I had gloves on. This caused the advancing of songs and inadvertant stops and starts to the system. On yet another different brand, my shoulder would hit the jog dial over hard bumps or dips. As a result, that raised/lowered the volume, which drove me nuts. But the Lexin jog dial seemed to work really well with or without gloves on. The Lexin FT4 Pro’s dial possesses really positive clicks, and it doesn’t have any portion of it protruding below the unit, which was a very good thing.
Lexin FT4 On the Road
After I was well acquainted with the FT4 Pro’s interface I hit the highway. I made a few calls via Siri and found the sound quality close to on par with other systems I have used in the past. Even at triple digit speeds, when I asked the person I was talking to how the sound quality on their end was, they really couldn’t believe I was on a motorcycle doing 110 mph. I am sure this is in part due to Lexin’s proprietary noise-canceling technology. After the phone call tests were done I hit up my usual iTunes playlist for testing in-helmet intercom and on-bike stereo systems. It ranges from speed metal, to country, hip-hop, and even some overly produced top-40 crap. The playlist finds any deficiencies that any speakers may have. To tell you the truth the sound quality when playing music through the FT4 Pro was pretty damn good. The 40mm speakers weren’t AirPod Pro or Beats quality, but they sounded good at speed; even with the aggressive wind noise that the Simpson helmet is known to have. This device also features a four-rider long-range intercom with a 1.2 mile range, which I didn’t use. I just don’t party like that so I cannot attest to the quality of this feature.
I have tested com systems with cameras and other accoutrements before, but not any with a headlamp. And yes, the FT4 Pro has one. I thought that having an LED light on the unit was a pretty lame idea. That is, until I dropped my house key under my bike at 11pm in the pitch black darkness. All it took was a double click of the “A” button on the control unit and I had enough light to find the key without crawling around on the ground on all fours like some sort of helmet-wearing crackhead. Also, if you press and hold the jog dial for five seconds it makes the LED light strobe. This feature sounds useful in emergency situations.
If I had any gripes it would be the size of the unit. It’s a bit big hanging off the front of the helmet, but it’s also not the largest communications unit out there. Also, I have had issues with the first generation FT4 unit in the Phoenix, Arizona sun. The taped-on source unit came unglued when the temperature got over 105-degrees outside, but so far so good with the redesigned FT4 Pro. Just be wary about leaving your helmet out in the sun if you didn’t use the screw-on bracket.
For the money ($169.95) the FT4 Pro packs a lot of well thought out technology into a fairly simple and easy to operate package. Sure you can get other brand com systems with more bells and whistles that may even sound slightly better when streaming music, but for the price of the Lexin FT4 Pro is pretty hard to beat.