Bluetooth helmets - - Excellence in Motion
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post #1 of 20 (permalink) Old Jan 10th, 2010, 5:29 pm Thread Starter
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Bluetooth helmets

What are the good full face bluetooth helmets available. Your recommendations would be greatly appreciated.
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post #2 of 20 (permalink) Old Jan 10th, 2010, 5:48 pm
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Nolan's (N-103) are nice that they integrate the B.T. n-Com II into the shell so well. My only issue, other than a Bluetooth battery dying at either the dongle-end (if used) or inside the helmet, is that the helmet is noisier and heavier than my Shoei Multi-Tech which I've gone back to (okay, back to hardwire as well over B.T.).

B.T. is too finicky on a bike for me. Pairing. Poor stereo (some are mono). Weak audio. Drop outs. Odd issues with different models and brands of B.T. (i.e. works between same manufacturer, sometimes not so well or not at all between various manufacturers). If pairing drops out, you often have to pull off the highway and try and get them re-paired up, and sometimes weird button-pressing dances too which requires a manual to do. Then there is the issue of dealing with a dead battery which needs charging and waiting it out. Using the B.T. on the Nolan "loudly" with plugs kills the battery quicker (more juice needed). Kills the phone of mine far faster too if B.T. is on.

I'd save your money and get a good mixer/amp: e.g. now defunct Autocom, Starcom1, or something that won't go dead or require a struggle with on a trip. Hardwire may be old tech, but it rarely fails as much as B.T. nor requires any charging time to get back up and running. Sounds much better too, especially with good in-ear phones.

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post #3 of 20 (permalink) Old Jan 10th, 2010, 6:27 pm
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I agree with all those comments. I've dabbled with comms a bit. The BT is so touchy at pairing (with 3rd party devices) and batteries X2 are a pain. Most of the BT units I looked at get you to spend more for a bike charger (essential) and you need spare batteries as well since Nolan et Al use proprietary types (more to spend). Not like the old days when everything ran off AA cells, you can get 12 volt chargers for those anywhere.

At the mo. ready for Summer, I'm experimenting with PMR. They are so cheap and buying 3 you can use one pair for bike to passenger coms and the 3rd can stay with the bike for satnav. Not the kind of thing for audio quality though. If I wanted cheap reliable low power radio comms I'd look at FM. You can run things like cheap radio mics off a couple of AAA re-chargeables for hours.

In the end, I think the most reliable setup delivering best audio quality will be a simple mixer with noise cancelling and filtering with wires to a headset. That's pretty much Autocom.

Beware aftermarket fitting speakers into helmets. My Shoei Raid just doesn't have the space. Anyway, earbuds will probably win hands down on any helmet speaker at speed.

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post #4 of 20 (permalink) Old Jan 11th, 2010, 3:06 am
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forget built-in-helmet bt. it is nice having it in zumo though and pairing with the cell phone.

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post #5 of 20 (permalink) Old Jan 11th, 2010, 8:01 am
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Chatterbox xbi. Full stereo and easy to setup. I upgraded the battery so I have over 15hrs of use
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post #6 of 20 (permalink) Old Jan 11th, 2010, 10:29 am
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I use the Scala Rider Cardo wireless set up, just to be able to answer the damn phone, and I like it. I had to hog out some of the styrofoam in my helmet in order to inset the speakers so they didn't press against my ears so hard, but that has been the only downside. I've carried on comfortable phone conversations with my wife (in Anaheim, CA) while I was doing 70mph out near the Grand Canyon in Arizona. I have looked at the advertisements for the Nolan N103 several times, and it still looks pretty nifty to me. I'm thinking my next helmet will be one of those, although I haven't tried one on and don't know if my head will fit it. Then the next step will be to buy one for my son for his birthday so we can pair them and have wireless comm between bikes. Even though the range is only supposed to be about 10 meters, there are always plenty of times when the bikes are that close together.
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post #7 of 20 (permalink) Old Jan 11th, 2010, 1:34 pm
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I have an N-Com 102 since 2007, and love it. I use the bluetooth through the zumo for the telephone, and have the mulimedia wire V produced by nolan handle the music, and zumo directions. I think in the three years I've had it the bluetooth dropped maybe three times, and I was able to Sync it up again to the telephone instantly. The telephone address book is displayed on the zumo which duplicates your telephone display when paired. I have gotten as much as 12 hours on a single charge, but now it's down to 9-10 hours after three years of use. I used the point to point com system a few times with buddies who have same helmet and thats definetiely the weak point of the system no range really maybe 75 feet at best, and the set up for a handshake between two helmets is tricky.I'm running an 8GB SD card with music, I have two of them which I swap out from time to time. the Flip feature of the helmet is great, but of course it offers less protection then a regular full face helmet the Nolans are DOT only not SNELL approved. The sunvisor is weak at beast so I took mine off and just use sunglasses, but they improved that on the 103's. By the way the set up is very waterproof trust me on that I have ridden through heavy down pours no problems, but as the directions say at the end of the day before you recharge remove the bluetooth module and check for water inside. I have yet to find any.

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post #8 of 20 (permalink) Old Jan 12th, 2010, 5:03 pm
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I have a Nolan 103 factory bluetooth - $600 waste of $$. Don't do it. 103 is loud and the link unreliable.
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post #9 of 20 (permalink) Old Jan 12th, 2010, 5:35 pm
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Originally Posted by Whitefield
I have a Nolan 103 factory bluetooth - $600 waste of $$. Don't do it. 103 is loud and the link unreliable.
Huh. Well, that's disheartening. It looks like such a good set up too.
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post #10 of 20 (permalink) Old Jan 12th, 2010, 6:39 pm
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I'm successfully using Camos BTS200's in my setup. Paired with Zumo550 for directions, MP3's and XM Sat. Zumo is paired with iPhone for calls. I also get Valentine 1 radar alerts into, but this required some special hookup that I have posted previously.

I like the bluetooth setup for freeing me up from most of the wires. The connection to Zumo and to my riding partner work fine. A full charge lasts a long day of riding and I bring charger for overnite recharging of headsets. Works fine. Takes some reading and practice getting everything to pair and it must be done right, but then, once it's paired it stays paired and you just have to turn everything on and it auto-connects. To get stereo out of the Zumo requires a small bluetooth 'dongle' (I used WiREvo D1000, $60) plugged into the Zumo's audio output, as the Zumo 550 does not broadcast stereo. With this I get stereo audio which sounds much better than one channel.

I consider the bluetooth headsets not to be a mature technology, and look forward to the next generation, as the current crop is not quite there for the money, but fun to play with if you can afford a second set of helmets for wireless and one set for wired (I have my wireless using Baehr intercom, a great but expensive setup.

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