Motorcycle communication systems

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Motorcycle communication systems

Postby Forest 1100 » 16 Mar 2013, 08:01

I'm thinking of buying a new comm system to replace my old Chatterbox unit that is a rider/pillion intercom only system and is connected by wire. I don't think we have a thread here anywhere dealing with just this topic, so I thought if I start one here, we might put all relevant posts into it. These could include links to reviews of various units.

I have done a bit of Googling on the subject and I am considering Bluetooth units that work for either bike to bike or rider/pillion needs. It seems the latest models will do much more than I presently need, like connecting to a Bluetooth phone that I don't own, as yet, but having that option for future possibilities is nice too. The reading suggests that for bike to bike comms, you need a Class 1 Bluetooth unit to have the greatest range, which is reported to be less than a mile, or even less, if you are out of sight of the other bike, or are obstructed by buildings, trees and such.

Two that have reviewed well are the Sena SMH10 and the Scala Rider G4, with the Sena being the higher rated of the two. Anyone here have experience with these, or have recommendations of their own?
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Re: Motorcycle communication systems

Postby Pieter Huizinga » 16 Mar 2013, 10:51

I have a Sena SMH5 in one helmet, and it runs circles around the very expensive BMW WCS-2 in my other helmet. So I guess that means a thumbs up for Sena.

I have never tried bike-to-bike or rider-to-pillion communications over bluetooth so I can't comment on that. However I'm pretty sure that Bluetooth is too weak to contact a rider who is out of sight. BT was designed to connect two systems close to eachother (say, your keyboard and your PC), not for walkie-talkie use. I would not expect it to work reliably over a distance of over 10 meters.

I have a Garmin GPS unit (Zumo 660) which connects over BT to the headset. My phone (Blackberry) connects to the GPS. This sort of setup allows me to listen to music (the GPS has an MP3-player), listen to instructions from the GPS, and answer the phone or make a call using the phone's address book on the GPS screen (although I rarely do that). And the headset could still connect to a pillion or co-rider headset. And to a BT music player if your GPS doesn't have one.

IMHO such a setup makes a Scala Rider totally superfluous. It is not much more than the old technique from the wired days, carried over to the BT era. Plus, I've read numerous questions and comments from Scala Rider owners who were fighting to get the unit to work as advertised. And it's expensive too, certainly if compared to the very reasonable price of the Sena headsets.
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Re: Motorcycle communication systems

Postby Pieter Huizinga » 16 Mar 2013, 11:03

As an afterthought: wouldn't this topic be better placed in the "Review" section?
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Re: Motorcycle communication systems

Postby BURNOUT1 » 16 Mar 2013, 11:07

Same here Forest. My 10 year old Chatterbox finally gave up the ghost last summer. After looking at some of the alternative sets, I just might go back to the basic Chatterbox. Ease of use, reliable and best bang for the buck $. I will however, keep a close eye on this thread and explore more options.

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Re: Motorcycle communication systems

Postby mbrST1100 » 16 Mar 2013, 13:09

Pieter Huizinga wrote:As an afterthought: wouldn't this topic be better placed in the "Review" section?

Then you'd need to alter the thread title for distinction...
This here is like about small, wireless clip-on systems...
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Re: Motorcycle communication systems

Postby Andi Archer » 16 Mar 2013, 16:22

Im sure Paul purchased a bluetooth unit from ebay last year which has a handlebar click on unit to select options i.e. rider to rider,radio etc.

The problem with some bluetooth units is they are crippled either intentionally by the manufacturer so will only connect to some predetermined devices through lack of profiles [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bluetooth_profile] or through lack of channels and will only connect to one or two devices where the user wants probably three or four.So you may want bike to bike,bike to gps,bike to mobile,bike to radio but have to juggle them round to talk through one another.
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Re: Motorcycle communication systems

Postby Forest 1100 » 16 Mar 2013, 16:30

Pieter Huizinga wrote:As an afterthought: wouldn't this topic be better placed in the "Review" section?


I wondered about where to put it at first, but, thinking it wasn't a specific review of one brand, but rather a desire for a broader discussion of all types of comm systems, I put it here.

I'm also interested to hear from those that may have radio based systems, but I do want to get away from the wire connected intercom type, like the old Chatterbox I have.
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Re: Motorcycle communication systems

Postby Cammy ST11 » 16 Mar 2013, 16:34

Here is a link to the set that Paul uses, his review is also included.
http://www.amazon.co.uk/UltimateAddons- ... _orig_subj
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Re: Motorcycle communication systems

Postby Paul Lingard » 16 Mar 2013, 17:27

Cheers Cammy mate

If you want to go bike to bike add to the system a bluetooth PMR radio for better coverage. The range of the system I have isn't good enough for touring distances but would be fine for training purposes. The addons system is brilliant for rider to passenger and phone use, a big memory card in the phone to use for music is an advantage.
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Re: Motorcycle communication systems

Postby alans1100 » 17 Mar 2013, 02:22

I've avoided this issue so far though Heather raised it with me a few weeks back.

So if we were to get something we'd only need person to person at most. http://www.strike.com.au/products/Motor ... le-Headset

This one might be better solo rider for up to 6 users http://www.strike.com.au/products/Motor ... le-Headset

or if you have a partner and up to 6 users http://www.strike.com.au/products/Motor ... le-Headset
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