Motorcycle Helmet Intercom System:
Bike to Bike CommunicationCredit: http://www.sxc.hu/photo/748341
If you're a motorcycle rider who enjoys travelling with a friend, you doubtless know the difficulties of communication while on the road. With helmets, road noise and other distractions getting in the way, bike to bike communication is a difficult thing. During any given ride you may want to communicate dozens of times, anything from 'let's stop here to use the can' to 'there's debris on the road ahead'.
This article will talk about motorcycle helmet intercom systems, and the merits, costs and issues involved with these systems. We'll talk about the technology behind them and how well they work. We'll touch on cost, and we'll talk about issues you might face using these devices. We'll talk about a few good brands to consider too, to get your search rolling.
Let's get started and learn all about motorcycle helmet intercom systems!
Helmet to Helmet Intercom Systems:
Technology and Practicality MixedCredit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/chaparral/2083287570/
Bike to bike communication systems are fairly new technology, and they represent the vast improvements of short range radio communication that we have made in the last 50 years. These units are small enough to ride with without feeling restricted or loaded down with too much bulk, but they are powerful and capable of clear communication on the fly. Motorcycle police have been using these systems for years!
Like any radio technology they are not perfect and they may experience interference, but they're currently the best way for two riders to talk back and forth during a ride.
Bike to bike communication systems are usually headsets that fit inside your helmet. They work wirelessly to send radio signals to your riding partner(s). The transmitter and receiver are either held within the helmet or the headset unit, or they are carried on the back, belt or somewhere on the bike.
Motorcycle helmet intercom systems usually work with one of two technologies to deliver the message.
FM or GMRS :
Motorcycle helmet intercoms utilize radio technology to send and receive signals, and they often use the standard FM frequencies (though narrower frequencies are usually used for motorcycle specific use). This means long range and good reception, at up to 2 miles distance from one another.
Hills, tunnels and other obstructions will limit their effectiveness, and other riders will be able to pick up your signal and hear your conversation. Unless your talk is top secret, this usually isn't a problem.
Many newer motorcycle helmet intercom systems are making use of bluetooth in recent years, and it's a popular technology for specific reasons. Primarily, bluetooth is great for people who want their conversation to be 'private'. This is because with bluetooth, two devices must be paired to one another in order to communicate.
Range is a problem with bluetooth, and your helmet to helmet communications system will be limited to just a few hundred feet, meaning you'll have to close any gap to talk to one another. Generally speaking though, most riders ride closely together, so it isn't a huge issue.
Extra Features to Consider Before You Buy:
Motorcycle Helmet Intercom Systems
Before you buy your helmet to helmet communications system you should be aware of the options available to you. Consider where, when and how often you typically ride. These clues will help you pick out a motorcycle intercom that suits you. There's no sense shelling out extra money for features you won't use!
Here is a list of some of the available options currently on the market today:
- Water resistant and waterproof motorcycle helmet intercom headsets. This is important if you plan to ride in the wet on a regular basis. Even inside your helmet, chances are your intercom is going to get a bit wet if you ride in driving rain.
- Noise Reduction. Reducing outside sound is an important feature for motorcycle helmet intercom systems because there is a lot of ambient sound on the road. Just the constant roar of the wind is enough to drown things out. A noise reduction system cuts down on the auditory interference.
- Built in compatibility to other devices. Often bluetooth motorcycle helmet intercoms will have the capacity to connect to other devices such as your MP3 player, radio or cell phone. You can even have a cell phone conversation while you ride, hands free!
Motorcycle Helmet Intercom Systems: Brand Recommendations
The Best Helmet to Helmet Intercom Systems
If you're planning to spend the money on a helmet to helmet communication system like the ones we've been discussing here, I would make sure to go for a quality system. There are a lot of options out there, many of which are low priced. When you consider that a good system could save your life, it's worth spending a little extra for quality.
Stick with the best known brands, and purchase helmet intercoms from companies that build them specifically for motorcycle use. Here are a few recommendations:
Starcom1 Motorcycle Communications:
Starcom1 is a company that specifically designs motorcycle helmet intercom systems, and they have been in the business for a while. Their intercom headsets and transmitters are built to be integrated to a bike's frame, so expect a lot of technical support and model specific instructions. Check out the Starcom1 Wire3 bluetooth headset interface.
Cardo Systems - Bluetooth Motorcycle Headsets:
Cardo systems specializes in motorcycle helmet intercom systems designed specifically with bluetooth in mind. They claim to have broken the '1 mile' barrier for bluetooth headsets. Their headsets are small in profile and very technologically advanced. Check out the scala rider G4 PowerSet to get started.
Motorcycle Helmet Intercom Systems:
Final ThoughtsCredit: http://www.sxc.hu/photo/542937
A few other considerations you might want to take into account are battery life and how long your rides will be. Most motorcycle helmet intercom systems are designed with light to medium riding in mind, so if you'll be doing some long distance, all-day touring, you might want to look into extended battery options.
I suggest reading online reviews before purchasing any helmet to helmet communications system, because the best way to get a feel for a product is by asking others about their experience. Remember, no one system will be perfect.