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Wireless Freedom for Motorcycle Enthusiasts

Wired intercom systems are hard wired to your motorcycle for connecting the rider with the passenger. Each helmet is connected to a jack port mounted on the bike and it’s the killer way to have a conversation with your passenger as your ride. One bonus?  The signal is restricted to one motorcycle.

If you want your own “social network” for communication between different riders and motorcycles, wireless intercoms are what you’re looking for, but they do have some drawbacks. There are currently four various technical alternatives for wireless motorcycle intercom systems. An FM system uses a restricted, narrow frequency of the same kind found in FM radios, and tends to work better where there are few hills or structures to interfere with the signal.

For something with a little less range you can go with the Family Radio Service or FRS, alternative.

If you want the maximum coverage you can get, you have to go with a General Mobile Radio Service or GMRS , and it basically works like a walkie-talkie and includes the security drawbacks inherent in the system.

Both FRS and GMRS wavelengths are public, and damn near anyone who can find the frequency you’re using can easily listen to your conversations.

Intercom systems are available in a couple of main types:

  • Hard wired communicators
  • Wireless Devices.

Many helmet manufacturers offer their own Bluetooth headsets integrated into helmets and you can also go with third party suppliers who offer wireless headsets for almost any helmet.

The advantages of wireless systems is, of course, that they’re small and nothing gets installed on your motorcycle. You can take your helmet with you and maintain your communication services like  intercoms, GPS, music files  and your phone capability on any one of your machines..

Hard-wired systems offer the advantage of being capable of handling many more services and possibilities, and they do this through a central hub that connects to all sorts of other gear. Their major disadvantage is that, generally, you have to mount this gear on your bike and incorporate it into the bike’s power supply. Do that wrong and you’ll be stranded by the side of the road and wishing you had some jumper cables and a toolkit.

Open Road Solutions BikerComm is the central hub type, but offers wireless communications. A central hub, known rather generically as the “Control Box”,  connects to a wide variety of devices, and then connects, using Bluetooth 2.0 to a headset installed in your helmet.

This outfit is pretty darn versatile and connects, via wires, to a walkie-talkie which enables bike-to-bike communications  and even a Push To Talk  button. You can also hook up to music devices like an iPod or MP3 player, radar detectors, GPS systems and mobile telephones. This is all done via the hub using Bluetooth and allows for two Bluetooth connections at the same time. That’s a very nice feature…

With five incoming connectors, the hub has setting for “interrupt priority” and is wired to your motorcycle’s electric circuit, most likely through the  12 volt  cigarette accessory plug under your tank. The hub communicates with your helmet headset in full stereo, so listening to your favorite tunes will be in stereo. The headset clamps to your helmet and weighs less a quarter pound and the rechargeable battery  lasts somewhere around 12 hours talking time. The headset battery also fully recharges in a speedy 2.5 hours.

Getting rid of the wire to the iPod is a real treat and the audio quality was excellent. Your headset volume control does control the volume on your iPod, and it doesn’t get any more convenient. You can thereby avoid using the volume wheel of an iPod which is hard to do with gloves on.

Additional features include a wireless rider-to-passenger intercom, two-way radio connection for bike-to-bike intercom, wireless bluetooth connection for mobile phones to make and receive phone calls, wireless bluetooth to receive GPS prompts and if you’re really paranoid or just like to ride really fast,  radar detector alerts.

As far as using your phone goes, the one problem with the system’s design is that it automatically picks up every call to your phone, and while that’s  done as a safety measure to keep you from messing with your phone on the road, it is inconvenient and still a little distracting.

After that, it all comes down to tuning the highly adjustable volume controls to find the best levels to set for voice activation of the intercom, your  music and the rest. Doing that takes some trial and error, but once you determine your correct settings, you’ll be amazed at how well things work. The ambient noise adjustment feature is awesome, and as your speed and resulting wind noise increases, the audio levels come up just right to compensate.

BikeComm is by no means the only solution on the market, it just happens to be the one we’re most intrigued with at this point, so make sure you do your homework before you settle on the system that’s right for you.

 


Bad things can happen to you and your bike, and your insurance needs can get complicated. We’re here to help…


are hard wired to your motorcycle for connecting the rider with the passenger. Each helmet is connected to a jack port mounted on the bike and it’s the killer way to have a conversation with your passenger as your ride. One bonus?  The signal is restricted to one motorcycle.

If you want your own “social network” for communication between different riders and motorcycles, wireless intercoms are what you’re looking for, but they do have some drawbacks. There are currently four various technical alternatives for wireless motorcycle intercom systems. An FM system uses a restricted, narrow frequency of the same kind found in FM radios, and tends to work better where there are few hills or structures to interfere with the signal.

For something with a little less range you can go with the Family Radio Service or FRS, alternative.

If you want the maximum coverage you can get, you have to go with a General Mobile Radio Service or GMRS , and it basically works like a walkie-talkie and includes the security drawbacks inherent in the system.

Both FRS and GMRS wavelengths are public, and damn near anyone who can find the frequency you’re using can easily listen to your conversations.

Intercom systems are available in a couple of main types:

  • Hard wired communicators
  • Wireless Devices.

Many helmet manufacturers offer their own Bluetooth headsets integrated into helmets and you can also go with third party suppliers who offer wireless headsets for almost any helmet.

The advantages of wireless systems is, of course, that they’re small and nothing gets installed on your motorcycle. You can take your helmet with you and maintain your communication services like  intercoms, GPS, music files  and your phone capability on any one of your machines..

Hard-wired systems offer the advantage of being capable of handling many more services and possibilities, and they do this through a central hub that connects to all sorts of other gear. Their major disadvantage is that, generally, you have to mount this gear on your bike and incorporate it into the bike’s power supply. Do that wrong and you’ll be stranded by the side of the road and wishing you had some jumper cables and a toolkit.

Open Road Solutions BikerComm is the central hub type, but offers wireless communications. A central hub, known rather generically and sinister-sounding as the “Control Box,”  connects to a wide variety of devices, and then connects (using Bluetooth 2.0) to a headset installed in your helmet.

This outfit is pretty darn versatile and connects, via wires, to a walkie-talkie which enables bike-to-bike communications  and even a Push To Talk  button. You can also hook up to music devices like an iPod or MP3 player, radar detectors, GPS systems and mobile telephones. This is all done via the hub using Bluetooth and allows for two Bluetooth connections at the same time. That’s a very nice feature…

With five incoming connectors, the hub has setting for “interrupt priority” and is wired to your motorcycle’s electric circuit, most likely through the  12 volt  cigarette accessory plug under your tank. The hub communicates with your helmet headset in full stereo, so listening to your favorite tunes will be in stereo. The headset clamps to your helmet and weighs less a quarter pound and the rechargeable battery  lasts somewhere around 12 hours talking time. The headset battery also fully recharges in a speedy 2.5 hours.

Getting rid of the wire to the iPod is a real treat and the audio quality was excellent. Your headset volume control does control the volume on your iPod, and it doesn’t get any more convenient. You can thereby avoid using the volume wheel of an iPod which is hard to do with gloves on.

Additional features include a wireless rider-to-passenger intercom, two-way radio connection for bike-to-bike intercom, wireless bluetooth connection for mobile phones to make and receive phone calls, wireless bluetooth to receive GPS prompts and if you’re really paranoid or just like to ride really fast,  radar detector alerts.

As far as using your phone goes, the one problem with the system’s design is that it automatically picks up every call to your phone, and while that’s  done as a safety measure to keep you from messing with your phone on the road, it is inconvenient and still a little distracting.

After that, it all comes down to tuning the highly adjustable volume controls to find the best levels to set for voice activation of the intercom, your  music and the rest. Doing that takes some trial and error, but once you determine your correct settings, you’ll be amazed at how well things work. The ambient noise adjustment feature is awesome, and as your speed and resulting wind noise increases, the audio levels come up just right to compensate.

BikeComm is by no means the only solution on the market, it just happens to be the one we’re most intrigued with at this point, so make sure you do your homework before you settle on the system that’s right for you.

 


Bad things can happen to you and your bike, and your insurance needs can get complicated. We’re here to help…


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