Tag Archives: Bluetooth

Wait for Sena Outrush modular helmet

Sena has released its first modular helmet with built-in intercom, but Australians will have to wait for the Outrush as it has still not been Euro-approved for sale here.

At the moment it is only DOT approved for North American markets.

There is no announcement yet on how long Aussie and European riders will have to wait or how much it will cost.

I have reviewed and recommend both the Sena Momentum Lite full face and Savage open-face helmets.

Sena Outrush

In the US, the Outrush comes in matte black and gloss white in sizes small through extra large for just $US199 (about $A280).

That’s amazing since the Savage costs $US299 (about $A421) and is available here for $A499.Sena Outrush modular helmet

So the Outrush should only cost in the low $A300s.

Yet it comes with all the features of the other helmets with integrated Sena Bluetooth technology.

  • They include:
    Jog-dial control
  • HD Intercom Mode
  • Bluetooth 3.0 integration
  • Smartphone connectivity
  • 2-way Intercom
  • 800m range
  • 15 hours talk time
  • 3-hour charge time
  • 5-year warrantySena Outrush modular helmet

The modular helmet comes with a retractable sun visor, multi-density EPS liner and three-way ventilation.

It has a quick-release ratchet strap instead of a D-ring for quick and easy fastening and removal.

Fans of modular helmets like their practicality, versatility and ease of putting them on and taking them off wth your glasses still on.

Some say they can also fill up at the servo without having to remove the helmet.

However, there may be issues with the helmets not having the safe structural integrity of a full-face helmet.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Sena 50R intercom raises sound bar

The biggest problem with many Bluetooth helmet intercoms is the poor quality of sound, but the new Sena 50R and 50S raise the bar on sound quality to a new level.

I’ve reviewed many intercom systems over the years and my go-to unit has been the Sena 20S for reliability and quality.

But my new favourite is the 50R slimline model that Sena Australia sent to me for review.

Sena 50R

Sena’s new 50 series consists of the 50R and 50S which cost $545 in a single pack or $965 for a dual pack.

The main difference between the Sena 50R and 50S is that the R is slimmer and has three buttons instead of the jog dial and has slightly shorter battery life.

Its slimline look is discrete and it probably reduces drag and wind noise, but I would be lying if I said I could discern any differences.Sena 50R

I thought I would miss the very convenient jog dial which has long been a feature of Sena models.

However, the 50S includes an automatic volume adjustment (or “Smart volume control”) that raises and lowers the volume as ambient sound changes.

In other words, it gets louder as you go faster and drops the level when you pull up at the lights so you aren’t blasted.

Consequently, I have never had to touch the volume buttons anyway.

The associated Sena 50 Utility app (available on Apple and Google Play) also allows you to quickly select whether you want this feature set to low, medium or high.Sena app volume control

That means you can have subtle changes in volume or quite dramatic changes. I wouldn’t have thought this would be a significant feature, but it is.

The 50 Series will also connect to digital assistants such as Siri or Google using standard voice commands of ‘Hey Siri’ or ‘Ok Google’. 

So you can use that to control volume, tracks, make and receive calls, etc, so there is no need to ever touch the controls.

Sound qualitySena 50R

Another significant update is the slimmer and therefore more comfortable speakers with more bass and 7% more volume.

Not only are the speakers slimmer, but they are bevelled so they fit even in the tightest of helmets and don’t hurt your ears which is important on a long ride.

In fact, I didn’t even need to fit the supplied foam speaker covers.

Sound quality is also greatly improved.

Many helmet intercoms sound fine when you are stationary, but when you hit about 80km/h the bass is drowned out by the wind noise.

However, these still have a full and rounded sound with plenty of bass, even at highway speeds.

They are also louder.

Now Sena don’t want to deafen riders, but they acknowledge that many riders use filtered earplugs with their intercoms.

I use the Alpine MotoSafe which filter out harmful wind noise, but allow you to still hear important sounds such as sirens, screeching braes, car horns and, of course, your music, albeit at a slightly reduce volume.

Alpine Motosafe earplugs
Alpine Motosafe earplugs

With most other helmet intercoms, I have to run them at or close to full volume when I’m wearing earplugs.

Thanks to my filtered earplugs, it’s not deafening, but it does introduce distortion at those high levels.

Since the volume of this unit is louder, I don’t have to turn it up as high so there is less distortion.

That not only makes music more enjoyable to listen to, but also conversations on the intercom and phone are clearer.

The unit comes with thick and thin speaker pads to move the speaker closer to your ears, but I found the higher volume meant I didn’t have to bother.

ChargingSena app

Another great feature is the 30% faster battery charging time and longer battery life.

The 50R is rated at 13 hours of Bluetooth talk time and eight hours of Mesh intercom use.

From dead flat it charges in a couple of hours and when fully charged the standby time is more than a day.

I’ve found I can charge it to full and a week later when I switch it on, it still says 100% battery.

I’ve used it on long trips and it has never run flat.Sena 50R

On one recent multi-day trip, I forgot to charge it overnight and it still operated all the next day without going flat.

The app allows you to see how much charge remains. If you do need to charge it while out on a ride, you can plug it into a USB charger on your bike.

I found it was fully charged again by the time I’d stopped and had a 20-minute coffee and toilet break.

Consequently, I no longer have “range anxiety” about my intercom.

Updating

The only problems I’ve ever had with Sena intercoms has been fixed by resetting the unit and downloading the latest software.

However, this can be difficult when you’re out on the road unless you have your laptop with you.

The 50 series now comes with wifi capability allowing you to automatically download firmware updates with the special charging cable.

Just plug in the wifi charger and connect to a nearby wifi source such as your phone’s hotspot.

Sena series 50 wifi connector
Wifi charger

Mesh

Mesh is an intercom software system that allows multiple riders to connect even when some riders are out of line of sight.

It’s not a system I use much, but for group rides it is very convenient and is a vital safety feature. (In fact, on one occasion, a rider behind me yelped and I knew straight away he had gone down even though I couldn’t see him.) 

Critics say the Mesh software is unreliable, but Sena claim the flaws have been fixed.

I haven’t found any difficulties at all. In fact, there is less “crackling” interference from surrounding obstacles such as blind corners, trees, buildings, trucks, etc.

Sena says the intercom range s up to 2km in open terrain, which is about right by my tests.

I haven’t tested its full capacities with a “virtually limitless” number of riders in Open Mesh and 24 riders in Group Mesh intercom. (I don’t have that many friends!)

However, I have no reason to disbelieve Sena’s claims that Mesh extends range up to 8km (5miles) between a minimum of six riders.

Sena 50R tech specsSena 50R

  • Price: $545 (single pack), $965 (dual pack)
  • Warranty:  Two (2) year from date of purchase on manufacturers defects
  • Dimensions: 97mm x 48mm x 27 mm (3.8in x 1.8in x 1.0in)
  • Speakers: 40mm diameter, 7.2mm thick
  • Weight: 65g (2.29 oz)
  • Operating temperature: -10°C to 55°C (14°F – 131°F)
  • Bluetooth: 5.0
  • Working distance: up to 2 km (1.2 miles) in open terrain; Mesh extends up to 8km (5miles) between a minimum of 6 riders
  • Bluetooth Intercom: 4 riders
  • Open Mesh Intercom: virtually limitless (9 channels)
  • Group Mesh Intercom: 24 riders
  • Microphone Noise Cancellation: Advanced Noise Control
  • Codec: Built-in SBC Codec
  • FM Radio: 76 ~ 108MHz, 10 preset station memory
  • Battery talk time: 13 hours (Bluetooth intercom), 8hrs (Mesh intercom)
  • Charging time: 1 hour
  • Quick Charge: 20 minutes of charging equals 6 hours Bluetooth intercom or 3.5 hours Mesh
  • Battery: Lithium Polymer

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Will you download coronavirus tracking app?

If it meant pandemic travel restrictions could be eased, would you download the Federal Government’s coming TraceTogether coronavirus tracking phone app?

We want your opinion, so please take part in our poll at the end of this article. Results will be released next week.

Click here for the results of our pandemic attitudes survey.

TraceTogether App

The TraceTogether opt-in app is expected to be rolled out in the next two weeks.

It uses GPS tracking and Bluetooth technology to record contact with people, even if you do not know them.

The app would identify and trace people who tested positive for coronavirus and alert people who spent more than 15 minutes in close proximity to an infected person.

Other details are not yet available on the app, but some apps overseas alert people when they are entering a coronavirus hotspot.

The app requires a 40% take-up rate to be effective. It will be similar to the TraceTogether app used in Singapore (below) where the take-up rate has only been 20%.

Tracking app

Now, Australians and riders, in particular, love their freedom and have historically rebelled against civil liberties infringements, such as the current Draconian Personal Infringement Notices (PINs) or on-the-spot fines.

So we don’t expect we would have a higher take-up rate than Singapore where the app has anonymous ID.

If the government wants 40% of Australians to download the app, then they should consider offering inducements.

They could include the freeing-up of travel restrictions.

If that’s the case, we would like to see motorcyclists allowed to ride solo for leisure, so long as they observe other rules such as social distancing, personal hygiene, staying within state borders and no overnight trips.

If the authorities were worried about too many app users heading out for a ride, fishing, surfing, etc, maybe they could send out an alert to a certain percentage of users on particular days saying they are allowed out.

Then, if they were intercepted by police, they would have proof that they are legally allowed out of home detention.

Some European countries have a similar system to restrict travel into the CBD during peak hours based on the last number in their number plate.

X2 phone mountClick here to buy an X2 charging phone mount

Orwellian dystopia

It all sounds like some Dystopian Hollywood blockbuster film, but these are unusual times and perhaps it is time to start thinking along these lines.

The alternative is staying home, losing your job, getting depressed, drinking too much, etc.

Our concern is that the current Orwellian measures and extra police powers will not be rolled back when the pandemic ends.

However, surely with an app, you can simply opt out again and regain your freedoms and civil liberties.

Several countries are working on or have introduced similar apps.

Most are very intrusive.

However, Germany is working on an app with a rolling ID code that changes frequently to protect your privacy but still allow tracking.

Coronavirus tracking app poll

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

RoadOne controls bike accessories

The RoadOne controller replaces messy multiple switches to operate electrical accessories such as chargers, heated grips and seat, dash cams and auxiliary lights.

It allows riders to switch these devices on and off with the wave of a hand and a voice command.

Funding campaign

RoadOne accessories Support_chargeur_telephonePHone charger

French company Plug&Ride has launched an Indiegogo crowd-funding campaign to bring their RoadOne central controller to market.

Prices start at $A225 for the controller and phone charger or $A127 for funding supporters.

You can also buy packs that include their dashcam, lights and various warmers, or buy them separately.

However, it appears the RoadOne will only work with their proprietary accessories, not accessories from other suppliers.

Plug&Play plan to go into production in August and deliver from October.

Be aware there are risks to crowd-funding campaigns and you may not get a full refund if the project does not go ahead.

Plug&Ride has a flexible goal of $42,450 and has collected about a quarter so far with about 50 days to go.

How it works

RoadOne is basically a Bluetooth controller centre on your handlebars that uses their phone app to recognise voice commands, so you will require a helmet intercom to operate it.

You simply plug all the devices into a centralised box under your seat that is connection to the battery.

The device won’t drain your battery if you forget to switch the devices off when you park your bike as the app has a proximity feature that switches the unit off when you walk away.

It reactivates when you return to your bike.

Plug&Play also hope to raise up to $A170,000 capital to fund extra accessories such as a handlebar remote control instead of the app, a GPS, a radio and an anti-theft device that recognises when the bike has been moved and tracks its location.

They’re also researching an emergency SMS alert that sends a location text to a specified contact in the event of a crash.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Harley-Davidson CVO Road Glide unveiled

Harley-Davidson will return the Road Glide to its 2020 CVO range with a special Harley-branded Sena 30K Bluetooth unit that pairs to the BOOM! audio system.

The 2020 CVO Road Glide will cost $A55,995 ($NZ57,495) ride away which is $1000 more than the CVO Street Glide. It was last in the CVO Lineup in 2016 as a Road Glide Ultra with top box.

Harley-Davidson Australia says the Sena 30K Bluetooth unit will be included in the price.

The mid-year model announcement comes as Harley has also unveiled a 30th anniversary Fat Boy.

Harley-Davidson Fat Boy 30th anniversary birtdhay2020 Fat Boy 30th anniversary (Photography: Capture)

The new CVO Road Glide comes as the new Indian Challenger arrives with a 1770cc (108 cubic inch) liquid-cooled Powerplus engine.

Indian’s Challenger will cost $A39,595-$A39,995, depending on colour, compared with the Harley Road Glide Special with 114-cube (1868cc) engine at $39,250.

2020 CVO Road Glide new features2020 Harley-Davidson CVO Road Glide

  • Reflex Defensive Rider Systems (read more here); 
  • Kahuna Collection heated hand grips, shifter pegs, brake pedal cover, muffler end caps, rider and pillion boards;
  • Low-profile two-piece fuel tank console with lighted CVO logo;
  • Sand Dune monotone finish with pearl topcoat and subtle graphics highlighted by Smoked Satin Chrome, Gloss Black and Black Onyx finishes;
  • Screamin’ Eagle Heavy Breather air cleaner in Gloss Black; and
  • Wheels finished in Gloss Black/Smoked Satin.

Sena Bluetooth

MY20.5 Location Photogaphy CaptureHarley-branded Sena 30K

The CVO Road Glide comes with a single Sena 30K Bluetooth helmet headset that pairs to the Boom! Box GTS infotainment system.

It features Sena’s Mesh Intercom Network that automatically connects to a “near-limitless number” of riders in “public mode” to eliminate lost connections when someone rides out of range.

The headset can also connect with up to 16 riders in private mode up to 8km.

It not only allows intercom, phone calls, navigation prompts, radio and audio, all with voice commands, but also includes Apple Carplay if the phone is plugged into the bike’s charger.

A Quick Charge feature can provide up to five hours of additional talk time with a 20-minute charge.

CVO 117`MY20.5 Location Photogaphy Capture

Like all 2020 CVOs, it is powered by Harley’s largest-displacement factory-installed engine, the Milwaukee-Eight 117 engine (1923cc) with 169Nm of torque.

Harley also now make the Screamin’ Eagle Milwaukee Eight 131 Crate Engine which can be fitted to current CVO models.

131 Screamin' Eagle c rate motor131 Screamin’ Eagle crate motor

It features the same 114mm (4.5”) stroke as the 114 Milwaukee Eight, but has been bored out from 101mm (4”) to 109mm (4.31”).

Harley claims it makes 90kW (121hp) of power and 177Nm (131ft-lb) of torque when matched to the Screamin’ Eagle Street Cannon mufflers. It also requires an ECM calibration and Screamin’ Eagle Pro Street Tuner.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

EyeRide HUD has unlimited group chat

French company EyeLights already makes head-up display units for cars and is now planning to move into motorcycles with a revolutionary EyeRide connection system for large group intercom.

Instead of using Bluetooth to connect, it uses a data connection to a Discord app server.

While EyeRide promises virtually unlimited group chats with others on the same network including non-riders, it relies on an internet connection and will use up your phone data.

Eyeride HUD screenEyelights EyeRide hud unit

Otherwise, EyeRide is like a standard Bluetooth intercom that supplies music, phone calls and GPS navigation prompts using Garmin HERE maps, but also has a small HUD screen for important information as in this video.

It is slightly transparent and on the right side, which may be fine in a country where you drive on the right.

We are not sure yet if it can be moved to the left for riding in Australia, New Zealand, the UK and other left-side countries as they haven’t released all the details yet.Eyelights EyeRide hud unit

The company plans to launch a Kickstarter shortly to get the product off the ground. (We will update with the link when it starts.)

We advise to be cautious of supporting Kickstarter programs as you may not get your money back if they don’t go ahead.

Given EyeLights already produce a car HUD system, they may be a little more secure than a normal speculative start-up.

HUD concerns

I haven’t used a HUD system yet in a helmet and can’t verify if it is a distraction or allows you to safely keep your eyes on the road.

However, I have driven several cars with HUD systems on the windscreen and found them extremely useful, safe and non-distracting.Eyelights EyeRide hud unit

Unfortunately, few of these aftermarket HUD systems or integrated HUD helmets have made it to market.

Infamously, Skully HUD helmets raised a record amount through crowd-funding then fraudulently spent it on fast cars and fast women and went bankrupt.

It was later bought and resurrected as the Skully Fenix AR, but we haven’t seen them here yet.

Skully Fenix AR head-up display helmet HUD revolutionSkully Fenix AR

Yet, almost every month new HUD systems and helmets are announced.

The latest smart helmets, unveiled at the recent Las Vegas Consumer Electronics Show, are one from Chinese cycling helmet company Livall and the Tali Connected from a French startup

Tali Connected and Livall smarter helmetsTali Connected and Livall HUD helmets

Meanwhile, the first aftermarket HUD company, NuViz, recently closed down, leaving owners stranded with no GPS function as their map licence expired, according to RideApart.

KTM invests in Nuviz-770 HUD technology smart helmetNuviz HUD unit

Like all new technology, there will be bugs and it seems HUD has had more than its fair share over the past few years.

That doesn’t mean HUD technology isn’t coming.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Sena introduces new 50 series intercom

Sena has introduced the next generation of Bluetooth helmet intercoms with the new 50 series that includes wifi capability to efficiently charge and automatically download firmware updates.

That means there is no longer any need to plug it into your computer, just plug in the wifi charger and connect to a nearby wifi source such as your phone’s hotspot.

Sena series 50 wifi connectorWifi charger

We expected a 40 series would be next after the 10 and 20 series.

However, they have skipped ahead to the 50 series which includes the 50R and slimline 50S.

Sena 50S 50 series bluetoothWhile the slimline model retains the easy-to-use “jog” dial, the 50R now comes with buttons.

Sena 50r 50 series bluetoothSena 50R

They claim charging time is 30% faster, but the 50S has a smaller battery so bluetooth talk time is limited to five hours or three hours on group chat.

There is no word from Sena Australia on pricing and when they will arrive, but we notice on their website they have added a section for the 50 series which is currently blank.

However, in the US they will cost $US329 (about $A475) for the 50S and $US299 ($A430) for the 50R which is only slightly higher than the current 30 series.

More reliable series

Critics of the current models say the Mesh 2.0 software that is supposed to provide faultless group chat is unreliable.

Sena claim the flaws have been fixed and rather than “daisy-chaining” group connections, you can now join in a group of nine with one connection.

Apart from more reliable group chat, they also claim there is experience less interference from surrounding obstacles such as blind corners, trees, buildings, etc.

The other major update is 7% more volume.

Sena don’t want to deafen riders, but they acknowledge that many riders now use filtered earplugs such as the Alpine MotoSafe which filter out harmful wind noise, but also slightly reduce the volume from intercom units.

Alpine Motosafe earplugsAlpine Motosafe earplugs

To improve rider comfort, speakers are now thinner and bevelled so they don’t hurt your ears under a tight helmet.

The 50 Series will also connect to digital assistants such as Siri or Google using standard voice commands of ‘Hey Siri’ or ‘Ok Google’. 

They claim their app has also been improved and restyled.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Domio Moto Bluetooth helmet speaker review

As much as we like the idea of wire-free vibration technology to introduce sound into a helmet, we just don’t think it works very well in the Domio Moto or Headwave Tag bluetooth units.

Both stick to the outside of your helmet and pump the sound into your helmet via vibrations. At $A264, the Domio Moto is cheaper than the Headwave Tag ($A329).

Our 2016 review of the Headwave system found it was too quiet, had poor sound quality, there was no stereo effect and the sound was drowned out by wind noise at anything over about 60-70km/h.

Headwave Tag turns your helmet into a speaker domio
Headwave tag

In June we published an article about Domio launching a Kickstarter crowd-funding campaign for their similar unit.

Not only did we express some concern about the sound quality based on our Headwave experience, but also the complaints about delivery from annoyed customers.

The Canadian company contacted us and said they had since updated the product, production had started and they were satisfying orders.

They also offered us one for review, but it has taken about five months to arrive.

Domio Moto reviewDomio Moto Bluetooth speaker

Let’s start with the positives.

The advantages are that you have no messy wires and there are no speakers uncomfortably pressing against your ears.

Sadly, the Domio Moto audio system isn’t any better than the Headwave system.

Sound quality is dull and mono only, there is little bass, and the sound is drowned out by wind noise at speeds over 60km/h on a bike without a windscreen and 80km/h on bikes with screens.Domio Moto Bluetooth speaker

I also tried them with filtered earplugs to drown out the wind noise. These are very effective with traditional Bluetooth units where the speakers are next to your ears as the filters are directional.

However, in this case, the sound is non-directional, so with the earplugs in I could hardly hear the music even at slow speeds.

Domio sits in a cradle and they provide you with two so you can swap from helmet to helmet, while the Headwave unit sticks directly to the helmet, so it will only go on one helmet.

After my Headwave review, the makers accused me of not sticking it on properly, yet I had followed all their instructions.

Again, I followed the instructions this time to the letter: I found a smooth surface on the helmet with no joins or vents; I cleaned it carefully; and I firmly stuck it on with the supplied cradle.Domio Moto Bluetooth speaker

Since it comes with two cradle fittings, I was able to trial it on two full-face helmets.

You can stick it anywhere on the helmet, they say. I tried one on the top and one on the back, but you could also put it on the side.

The poor sound results were the same for both helmets.

The legality of stick-on attachments is still up in the air. Also, there is some concern that stick-on units could cause head rotation and subsequent spinal injury in an accident. However, test results on such attachments will not be available until next year.

Click here to read more on these legal and safety issues.

The Domio at least has a lower profile than the Headwave.

Good vibrations

While both systems use vibration to send the sound into your helmet, they call them different terms.

Domio say they use “micro-vibration technology” and Headwave Tag call it “surface transduction”. It’s basically the same thing.

It’s difficult to explain, but the sound certainly surrounds your head because there is no discernible source such as from speakers next to your ears like in conventional Bluetooth helmet systems.

So it doesn’t really matter whether you put it on the back or one side.Domio Moto Bluetooth speaker

However, it does not have any spatial or stereo effect because it’s coming from one source which is transmitted throughout the helmet via vibration.

The simple controls only allow switching on/off, pause/play and volume up/down. To select, advance or replay tracks, you would need your music source or phone within reach on the handlebars.

Like the Headwave Tag, the Domio Moto doesn’t have a microphone, so it is speakers only. That limits its use to listening to music and satnav instructions.

However, Domio Moto Pro ($A338), scheduled to ship in January, includes a wireless, noise-canceling “air mic” that, like the sound unit, sticks to the outside of the helmet. It uses “beamforming” technology which is a process that focusses a WiFi signal.

Domio Moto Bluetooth speaker
Domio Moto Pro with kic

Verdict

While traditional bluetooth systems have lots of messy wires and uncomfortable speakers next to your ears, sound quality is usually pretty good.

Domio and Headwave may be tidy and comfortable, with reasonable sound, but they are almost useless once over 60-80km/h, depending on whether you have a windscreen.

Commuters may love them!

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Narrate your video while you ride

Sena’s new 10C Evo helmet intercom arrives this week with a slimmer profile and an integrated 4K camera that allows you to narrate and include background music.

Tracey Pola of Sena Australia says the $589 unit will arrive this week and the entire shipment is pre-sold.

The popularity of both intercoms and cameras to record rides for entertainment and evidence in the case of accidents is increasing.

So units that combine the two should be winners, especially in such a compact unit as this Sena 10C Evo.

Be warned that police in Victoria and South Australia still believe cameras attached to helmets render the helmet non-compliant.

However, since we have not heard of any police fining a rider for having an intercom on a helmet, you may be able to fool the cops by telling them it’s just an intercom!

Sena 10C Evo

The new 10C Evo intercom will pair with four other units with range up to 1.6km (1 mile).

It includes all the usual intercom functions, as well as FM and pairing with a device up to 15m away.

Despite also including a 4K (30 frames per second ) camera, the unit is now 10% slimmer at 95mm long, 59mm tall and only 31mm wide. That’s only about 5mm wider than their 30K unit.

Narrate videoSena 10C Evo allows you to narrate over your video

However, the big attraction with this integrated unit is that you can easily narrate over the video.

You can even add background music with their Smart Audio Mix tech – all on the fly!

No need for editing all this into the video later on.

You can start recording at the touch of a button and voice prompts will keep you updated on your videoing.

There is also a video tagging function to save important events from a continuous loop of video to create highlights.

Apart from video, it will also take photos in still shot, burst, or time-lapse mode (one shot every second or every 2, 5 or 10 seconds).

A full battery charge will provide about 20 hours of talk time and 90 minutes of video recording.

The 10C EVO accepts MicroSD cards up to 128 GB.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Neckmike intercom headset for riders

Neckmike intercom is similar to those tactical headsets you’ve seen the good guys using in Hollywood blockbusters.

It’s the product of a two-person Swedish company that produces headsets for military and first responders.

But co-founder Carl Franzén says they don’t just make them for use in combat or special ops, so they sent me their civilian version suitable for active use such as motorcycling, skiing and cycling.

The Neckmike M4+ bluetooth intercom bundle includes a handlebar controller and costs $US219.99 (about $A320) from Tactical Headsets.

Neckmike from Tactical headsets
Neckmike and handlebar control come in handy zipped container

 

Advantages

Most helmet intercom microphones are useless against wind noise, even when they have those little foam “socks” over them or have active noise cancellation.

As the name suggests, Neckmike uses a neck microphone that straps around your throat with two different collar sizes.

The mic is positioned right up against the skin of your throat so it doesn’t get any wind noise at all.

People I have spoken to on the phone, even when wearing an open-face helmet, say the voice quality is superb.

They couldn’t even tell I was on a motorcycle travelling at highway speeds.

Surprisingly the nec mic isn’t uncomfortable on a trip.

Neckmike from Tactical headsets
Neck mic

Another advantage of this unit is that it uses earbuds rather than speakers.

These silicon earbuds won’t irritate your ears and are passive noise cancellers if you shove them in far enough.

There are three different sizes of earbuds included to match your ear size.

They are comfortable for all-day use sop long and your helmet has ear recesses.

They also reduce damaging wind noise which can lead to rider fatigue, tinnitus and permanent hearing loss.Neckmike Case

Pairing is quick and easy and re-pairing when you power on is foolproof every time.

They don’t advise what bluetooth level it is and I couldn’t connect to other brands of intercom.

You can also download their free Zello app that turns your smartphone into a “push to talk” (PTT) device, using the 3G and 4G network.

So you can simply add other Neckmike users to your app channel and you’re connected at the touch of a button, although it only works if you have phone signal.

Disadvantages

Neckmike from Tactical headsetsOur main concern with the Neckmike is that they take ages to fit each time you put your helmet on or take it off.

There are too many messy wires as well as a velcro strap to hold the neck mic in place. It all gets in the way of the helmet strap.

The waterproof controller has seven buttons — way too many — and they are all so small you can’t discern which is which when trying to find them with gloved fingertips.

And the volume controls are upside down with the down volume button on top and vice versa. Very strange.

However, the handlebar control does make controls easier to access and operate.

We also don’t like the fact that you have to hold the power button for up to six seconds to switch on and off.

Carl says the earbud speakers are made with hi-fi elements from a “renowned Danish company” and we found the audio quality very clear for speech.

However, it is a bit shrill and high-frequency-oriented for playing music.

Uses

Neckmike Case
Bundle comes with M4 intercom and handlebar controls

We acknowledge that some riders are critical about intercom communication and audio entertainment while riding.

However, there are other riders who love music and being able to stay in touch. It’s also a safety device on group rides.

Plus there are professionals who need to be in contact for work while riding such as couriers and moto-journos like me!

For the latter, this Neckmike is ideal as the microphone and earbuds are perfect for making and receiving calls and intercom communication.

If you are a courier or tourer who won’t be taking off your helmet frequently, this unit would be suitable.

They are also ideal for use with open-face helmets thanks to their noise-cancelling microphone and earbuds.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com