Wireless Intercom???? - K-Bikes.com - Excellence in Motion
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old Jul 5th, 2011, 1:44 pm Thread Starter
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Wireless Intercom????

Anyone using a wireless intercom? What kind, and would you buy it again?

Thinking of adding one; appreciate the input. Thanks!
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old Jul 5th, 2011, 4:17 pm
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I could write a book on my experiences with it from the nearly $3,000 in wasted gear too.

Short answers:

1. Sound quality is bad if you have any reasonable ability to still hear audiophile-type sound or want to. Okay, audiophile quality via BT it ain't compared to some nice Ultimate Ears UE-11 to UE-18 musician phones too that seal off all the bad stuff.
2. Batteries die at often bad times enroute and you are dead of all sound. More so, if you have to turn them up loud to hear anything over wind noise and they die off sooner. Louder = Shorter battery life.
3. You will get tinnitus as they do not protect you from wind noise as would an in-ear phone that protects your from that high dB damage. Less fatigue with in-ear phones too.
4. Units may not be compatible with other brands of gear. I got drawers full of non-compatible BT stuff. Had to buy a new phone to get it to link up to one receiver.
5. You may have pairing issues (see above). Or BT to the point you'll need a binder full of instructions on how to get A paired-up to B once a battery dies and you need to re-pair them back.
6. You may have to carry a charger, or two, or maybe even three for all the wireless devices. They will all have a different power connection to charge them up. You may also need a power strip to carry as you cannot fit 3 box-ended chargers into one cheap motel AC outlet either (damhik either!). You may need a his and hers charger (2 of them) unless you want to wake up in the middle of the night and switch the sole charger to the other helmet. Sometime not even two will fit one AC outlet without a strip plug.
7. At some point you will figure having a spare wire to hook them up is handy once the batteries go south. In time, they will go south faster too and may not be available as in my Sony music player which cost me $400 and they want $278 for a new battery as "It's built-in and glued together too." You may end up carrying a Zip-Lock bag full of sundry hookup wires and chargers too "Just in case."
8. Blue-tooth can cross-feed if the guy next to you has a stronger signal and your "pairs out" then you have to stop and press an endless array of buttons in sequence to get the paring back. "Thanks Nolan n-Com!" Genius!
9. There was a reason Autocom thought it wasn't a good idea. Their BT sucked and was mono. It's pairing-up was very weird too as I had to take the seat off and hold down some button by the Autocom to get the paring code reset.
10. Multiple pairings can get arudous. Phone is one pairing and the GPS/Music is another one. Do it wrong or out of order and you can lose the other pairing. So may blinks of the blue LED for this channel and so many for that. Ugh!
11. Built-in (Nolan, Schuberth, etc.) is a pain to move between multiple helmets even if you could. I own 9 helmets now (passenger's and mine). Can I afford to equip each with a BT setup?

All shoved back into the drawer now. Two Nolan N-103's are in their boxes probably never to be used again along with their chargers. They were too noisy anyway over the Shoei Multi-tec I have.

Plugging in a wire will not fail you and it will always sound better!

Not a big issue compared to losing the battery in one device, or worse in the helmet(s), and you got nothing until you sit down and find a outlet to babysit for a few hours while they charge up again. Then again, you could hard-wire the helmet to a power supply and then you are wired again. I had one Nolan battery that lost charge in about 30 minutes. They replaced it free, but it was a pain dealing with the "Why is this crap not working?" for a few weeks. New they may run for 3-4 hours, but in a year maybe an hour just like your laptop battery does. Nothing beats like telling your buddies, "I got to wait until the batteries charge up."

Just get something like an Autocom or Baehr or similar and you'll be fine for many miles.


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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old Jul 5th, 2011, 4:58 pm
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I agree 100% and I didn't waste $3,000!

As soon as you get BT pairing problems on devices from different manufacturers and all the other problems mentioned, you realise bikes are for riding and intercoms and entertainment are best on wires. If you want bike to bike then look at PMR radios which are dead cheap.

All I need is a decent (analogue!) small mixer into which I can plug things like satnav, music and PMR radio and get them into my ears on wires. The only proviso is I do think decent digital filtering and noise cancelling is worth having on the electret microphones. But the smart stuff costs. A smarter alternative to in- helmet microphones which need noise cancelling, is throat type microphones. No wind noise or acoustic feedback, perhaps a bit of clothing rubbing noise that's all. They used to be good enough for Lancasters and 4 Rolls Royce aero engines must have been noisy in the cockpit!

Now we can talk all day long about in helmet loudspeakers advantages and disadvantages. I don't like adding more decibels to the helmet noise I already have. Earbuds are the Bees - better bass response from the decent ones, no feedback to microphones and lower power for more volume in the ear - meaning less battery drain if using local in-the-pocket battery packs.

But then boys will want flashy toys and hope they will work.



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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old Jul 5th, 2011, 6:05 pm
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I donít have any experience with anything other than the Cardo-Scala Bluetooth set up. My son and I bought a pair of the new generation headsets and we each installed them in our own helmets. I use foam earplugs and he does not.

We both get good phone reception and transmission. I have had several comments from people who were surprised that I was talking to them while riding.

Pairing with my sonís headset was preset at the factory, and worked well from the beginning. We took a weeklong trip last month, and we were able to talk back and forth perfectly for any speed up to about 60-70mph. Above that and there was a noticeable wind noise which made it a little more difficult, but still do-able. We talked several times while travelling at over 90mph.

As I said, I use foam earplugs. For me, it cuts out the wind roar through my helmet and still allows me to hear the speakers as long as I keep the volume up. My son says he doesnít have the same problem, although his hearing has not been pounded by a lifetime of shooting as mine have been.

Neither of us has had a problem with batteries going down. You charge it up at night, and it works all day. Commuting back and forth to work, I charge it up once every two or three weeks.

I like the headsets and havenít had any problem with them at all except that the little wafer speakers are still thick enough that they were uncomfortable until I cut through the helmet liner and hogged out some Styrofoam and made some room for them.

Editing: I see that I didn't mention that my son and I are on different bikes, rather than him being a passenger. The headsets really come in handy when we lose track of each other ("Hey, what happened to you? I turned at the last stop sign when you went straight ahead, dumbass!")

Last edited by chuckwilmot; Jul 5th, 2011 at 7:34 pm.
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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old Jul 7th, 2011, 1:10 pm
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Sena Bluetooth systems work well

Gets very high ratings on performance and support. Bike to bike, pillion to pilot, iPods, bluetooth phones, etc etc.

http://www.senabluetooth.com/

I've used mine extensively on long distance trips as well as around town with a rider. Very nicely made - near audiophile sound quality. I wear foam ear plugs to block wind noise and crank up the volume.

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Robert Persig - Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance


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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old Jul 8th, 2011, 10:33 pm
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+1 on the Sena, I have one and am very happy with it. I bought the set of 2 for me & the wife. Mine is paired to my zumo and have paired 2 different phones to the zumo with success.
I either use the speaker baseplate with earplugs or the alternate baseplate the accepts a headset jack and then I use in-ear headphones with them to block wind noise.
I don't imagine I would be very happy with it if I didn't use earplugs or the in-ear speakers.
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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old Jul 11th, 2011, 2:06 pm
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Bought Schuberth SRC sets for my wife's and mine C3 helmets from Touratech webshop, installation took 3 minutes each, pairing took another 2 minutes. Tested them in our latest two-week trip to Norway, I am happy with them. In fact they are Scala G4, I believe.
Used them solely as intercom - communication between our two bikes- and up to 300 metres we were able to talk and to hear each other. At speed up to 100-110 km/h. After 10 hours of action the batteries were still OK. Only once, when the third helmet was paired and we stayed in a group of three during a riding day, the battery of my SRC was finished faster than the two others. My biggest concern was about rain - I remember each and every System5 helmet's intercom here was unable to survive a heavy rain. SRC were OK - we spent several days in rainy weather, varying from light shower to really heavy thunderstorm..

the weak point is the VOICE function - sometimes it works OK but sometimes it takes efforts to activate it - needs to cry out loud with all your limits

Take care!

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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old Jul 11th, 2011, 5:07 pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by easyman05
the weak point is the VOICE function - sometimes it works OK but sometimes it takes efforts to activate it - needs to cry out loud with all your limits
Vladimir, my son and I had the same issue with the VOX function, and just bypassed that by manually connecting them to ALWAYS ON. They worked well that way.
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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old Jul 11th, 2011, 10:35 pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by easyman05
Bought Schuberth SRC sets for my wife's and mine C3 helmets from Touratech webshop, installation took 3 minutes each, pairing took another 2 minutes. Tested them in our latest two-week trip to Norway, I am happy with them. In fact they are Scala G4, I believe.
Used them solely as intercom - communication between our two bikes- and up to 300 metres we were able to talk and to hear each other. At speed up to 100-110 km/h. After 10 hours of action the batteries were still OK. Only once, when the third helmet was paired and we stayed in a group of three during a riding day, the battery of my SRC was finished faster than the two others. My biggest concern was about rain - I remember each and every System5 helmet's intercom here was unable to survive a heavy rain. SRC were OK - we spent several days in rainy weather, varying from light shower to really heavy thunderstorm..

the weak point is the VOICE function - sometimes it works OK but sometimes it takes efforts to activate it - needs to cry out loud with all your limits
The big problem with the Schuberth SRC is that it shuts off completely when you charge it. If you need to charge it while you are on the bike, by connecting a mini-USB cable to power from your bike (Powerlet, whatever...) then you have no communications or audio whatsoever. This is a show stopper for me.

True, the voice function doesn't always work. I have a friend with one, and often the first word I hear from him when I call is "ANSWER!!", shouted at the top of his lungs.
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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old Jul 12th, 2011, 12:02 am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chuckwilmot
Vladimir, my son and I had the same issue with the VOX function, and just bypassed that by manually connecting them to ALWAYS ON. They worked well that way.
yes, Chuck, we tried it too - but the battery dies faster and at the end of the riding day, when you just need it to discuss the plans(to ride one hour more or to search a hotel) you have to stop to do it...also, constant wind noise is a bit irritating( we ride small GSes now, K12GT and F8ST were sold).

Take care!

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'09 F800GS Grey
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