June 15, 2020
Ok, so the 50R and 50S Mesh 2.0 intercom systems just hit the open road, and many of you have been asking, “what’s the difference between the two?” Well, let’s start with the obvious in that the 50R has a low-profile button trio, whereas the 50S rocks a sleek, glove-friendly dial. But that’s not all–not by a long shot. It’s time we set the record straight about what each of these has to offer your ride.
The 50R is built for the road less taken. Rugged and armed with Mesh 2.0, the 50R stays crystal-clear even on the most turbulent courses. In fact, to know that it was up to the task, the unit was stress tested by over 100 global ADV riders during the Int. GS Trophy 2020. When the results came in, the 50R more than held up its side of the bargain by withstanding intense conditions at every turn.
This device has an incredible amount of punch packed into a tight space. With a compact battery, sleek mounting options, and no aux port, this is one of Sena’s lowest-profile intercoms yet. Even with the reduced battery size, the R has a talk time of 8 hours in Mesh Intercom and 13 hours in Bluetooth Intercom. Both the 50R and the 50S are equipped with rapid-charging, so even just a quick charge can bring you hours of use.
To ensure maximum weather protection, the 50R can adhere directly to your helmet. This is different from the 50S, which has a weather-resistant quick-release clamp, but more on that in a moment.
The R includes two types of microphones: the wired boom microphone, and the wired microphone. In place of a built-in 3.5mm earbud adapter, the 50R is compatible with the 10R Earbud Adapter Split Cable (part #: 10R-A0101) so that you can use your own earbuds for audio rather than the speakers. Less hardware and hardy design are what makes this unit lighter, sleeker, and more adept at high-speed rides.
The "S" can be considered Standard because it uses Sena’s standard helmet clamp. Whereas, to keep the profile low and be sure that it can weather extreme conditions, the 50R can attach directly to your helmet without a clamp, but also has the option of a slide-in clamp. Unlike the 50R, however, the still-sleek 50S has a quick-release mechanism. The major pro for the 50S quick-release clamp kit is that you can take the intercom off to charge it. So, if you’re stopping for lunch and need to charge, instead of bringing your entire helmet into the café, you can just take the pocket-sized unit. The 50S, along with its clamp, is still highly weather and water-resistant.
Where the 50R has the 3-button design, the 50S uses Sena’s classic Jog Dial. The 50S has a slightly larger battery than the 50R, resulting in 9 hours in Mesh Intercom and 14 hours in Bluetooth Intercom instead of 8 and 13 hours.
Just as the 50R is Mesh 2.0 enabled for cutting-edge tech and sound clarity, as is the 50S. Where the S differs from the R in the audio realm is that it includes three types of microphones: the boom microphone, the wired boom microphone, and the wired microphone. The additional boom microphone lends extra versatility to the 50S, making it a great option for half-helmet users.
Another advantage for many is that the clamp kit on the 50S includes an AUX port for a non-Bluetooth MP3 player. As opposed to the 50R being 10R Earbud Adapter Split Cable enabled, the 50S comes with a built-in 3.5mm earbud port so that you can use your own earbuds for audio rather than the included high-quality speakers.
One thing to note is that the jog dial on the 50S is really convenient for a gloved hand. However, depending on a multitude of factors, such as rider build, size of shoulder armor, helmet, location of the 50S on the helmet, ergonomics of the motorcycle, and how the rider is positioned on the motorcycle, sometimes a rider can inadvertently tap the jog dial with their shoulder, usually when checking to merge to the left. This results in quick beep if your volume is all the way up, or it can result in triggering the unit to search for an intercom connection.
The seemingly-random beeping can be troubling if the rider is unaware that the device has been bumped. However, once aware of it, it’s easy to simply reposition the device or tilt your head a few degrees to avoid the shoulder bump. A lot of riders have no problem with this bump, but it’s worth a mention. The major benefit to the 50S having a touch higher profile than the 50R is that awesome quick-release capability.
The sleek 50R is built for robust reliability. The 50S is designed for convenience with the same clarity of sound. You’re going to get an hour more talk time from the 50S battery as opposed to the smaller, sleeker battery on the 50R. Both are Bluetooth® 5 enabled and come with the brand-new one-click to connect Mesh 2.0 intercom, HD speakers, rapid charging, voice-activated digital assistant access, and nine-channel operation.
With an extra boom mic, the 50S can be used in a variety of different scenarios. Having just the two main mics on the 50R further minimizes its hardware, making it more streamlined. The 50S has the tried and true, glove-friendly Jog Dial, whereas the 50R has an ultra-low-profile button trio.
The 50S has an AUX port with lead-in and lead-out. Alternatively, the 50R is compatible with the 10R Earbud Adapter Split Cable (part #: 10R-A0101). Both house Sena’s most up-to-date tech in both hardware and software. And, both are incredible pieces of machinery.
So, if you’re looking for a top-of-the-line intercom for touring, with the convenience of a quick-release clamp kit, go for the 50S. If you’re looking for a low-profile intercom with the durability to stand up to the elements in any situation, the 50R won’t let you down.
Looking for more info? Check out the 50R and 50S spec pages.