Tag Archives: intercom

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

Helmet intercoms are all about the bass

First it was Sena who increased their 50 series speaker diameter to 40mm to enhance bass response and now Cardo have introduced the Packtalk Black with 45mm speakers.

Packtalk Black is, of course, black, but all other features remain the same. They also offer 45mm JBL speaker replacements for existing Cardo units.

It’s all about the bass

Like Meghan Trainor sang, “It’s all about the bass”, although she refers to body size, not music quality.

Bass doesn’t really matter for intercom or phone conversations, but a lack of bottom end severely impacts sound quality for music, especially modern music that features a lot more bass.

Lower frequencies are wiped out by the abundance of mid to high frequencies caused by wind noise when riding.

Anything above about 50km/h can substantially reduce bass response. It is almost non-existent at highway speeds.

That leaves riders listening to shrill and distorted music which can be a dangerous annoyance.

To compensate, many riders now wear special filtered earplugs that reduce wind noise.

However, some of these can also decrease bass response.

I tested the new Sena 50R and found the bass response and volume substantially increased without any increase in distortion levels when turned up loud enough to hear over my Alpine filtered earplugs.

Sena 50R bass
Sena 50R

Is audio important?

We have published many stories about listening to music while riding.

Some don’t like it, but more and more are finding it not only relieves the boredom on long highway sections, but also helps them relaxant concentrate on riding.

Those who listen to the radio also receive important traffic and incident alerts.

So if you are listening to lots of music, it’s less distracting and tiring to listen to good quality audio rather than tinny, distorted tunes.

Note that the type of music you listen to can also positively and negatively affect your riding!

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Ducati launches new touring gear

If you love touring on your Ducati in Italian style, safety and comfort, you’re going to want the new touring range from the Borgo Panigale manufacturer.

Ducati Australia and New Zealand head of market Alana Baratto says the touring gear will arrive in November.

If you can’t wait, you can buy the gear online on shop.ducati.com.

Sport Touring C3 Jacket ($A789)Ducati touring gear

The Tour C3 sport-touring jacket, is produced by Spidi exclusively for Ducati with CE-certified protectors on shoulders and elbows. You can also fit a back protector.

The outer jacket, made of a mix of polyester fabrics, is equipped with large air vents and has a waterproof and breathable H2Out membrane.

The removable thermal lining can also be worn as a casual jacket.

It is designed to be worn zipped together with Tour C3 trousers.

It comes in a men’s cut in black/red and high-visibility black/ yellow, and for women in black/red.

Tour C3 Trousers ($A499)Ducati touring gear

The Tour C3 trousers are designed by Aldo Drudi and made in collaboration with Spidi Sport.

They also have the H2Out membrane, CE-certified shin and hip protectors, a removable lining, elastic fabric, and zipper-adjustable air vents.

The pants are tailored in different cuts for men and women.

Fabric-leather gloves Strada C4 ($A299)Ducati touring gear

These limited Strada C4 gloves are produced by Held exclusively for Ducati.

The exterior is made of cowhide, sheep leather and polyamide fabric.

Inside is a Gore-Tex waterproof and breathable membrane. However, the reduced thickness created by the Gore grip process still allows control sensitivity.

They also have SuperFabric inserts, volume adjustments on the wrist and are fully CE-certified.

Horizon helmet ($A999)Ducati touring gear

The Horizon composite fibre helmet is based on X-lite’s X-1004 shell, but designed by Drudi Performance.

This modular helmet is one of only a few flip-up designs approved to be worn while riding in the open position.

The chin guard has a dual safety opening system and ventilation system.

There is a removable and washable internal padding, a sun visor with UV 400 protection and reflex inserts for greater visibility.

Black Steel helmet ($A949)Ducati gear

The Black Steel helmet is based on the Arai Renegade V and designed by Drudi.

The outer shell is made of SFL fibre while the inner shell is made of EPS with differentiated density.

Its interior is made of antibacterial and washable fabric, the VAS visor has a wide field of view and the ventilation system is able to circulate about 14 litres of air per minute.

All Terrain Touring Boots ($A569)Ducati touring gear

These CE-approved, full grain leather and suede, all-terrain boots were made in collaboration with TCX.

They are equipped with a waterproof and breathable eVent membrane and a closure system with adjustable, interchangeable aluminium levers.

The boots have a rubber sole for maximum grip on the pegs and feature lined pleats to increase comfort.

Ducati Communication System V2 ($A569)Ducati gear

This intercom system with voice commands allows up to 15 motorcyclists to communicate simultaneously in a range up to 1.6km in “ideal conditions” and about 1km in “real conditions”.

The connection is automatic, activates by talking and goes off after 30 seconds of silence.

In case of interruption, the connection is automatically restored.

It is based on a Cardo Intercom System and allows the rider to make and answer calls, control mobile devices with the touch of a finger or a voice command and listen Bluetooth music or the integrated FM radio.

The volume of the device adjusts automatically according to the background noise.

It features universal connectivity with any Bluetooth headset of any brand.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

iASUS Rekon is a classy helmet intercom

Audio company iASUS is about to release its classy Rekon intercom that promises top audio quality, long battery life and the ability to connect up to 6000 riders on one channel.

We have tested their audiophile-quality XSound auxiliary helmet speakers and they are the best we have come across with clear highs and deep bass.

So we have high expectations for their “Rekon wireless smartphone interface”.

Rekon is more than just another intercomiASUS Rekon motorcycle intercom

It works with push-to-talk mobile/cellular networks to connect users and is compatible with WhatsApp, Line, Kaokao, WeChat and other voice communication platforms.

That means potentially up to 6000 users can be networked into a riding group. Now that’s an interesting concept on a ride!

The Rekon is expected to be available in the next couple of months, depending on the current unpredictable pandemic ramifications.

It will cost $US349 (about $A580) and will connect with any aftermarket speakers.

Or you can buy the Rekon with their XSound 2.1 speakers for $US399 (about $A665) or with the updated XSound 3 speakers for $US499 (about $A830).iASUS Rekon motorcycle intercom

Classy style and function

So they are not cheap, but they are crafted more like a luxury watch with steel, glass and polished aluminium rather than plastic like most intercoms.iASUS Rekon motorcycle intercom

The thin, light and minimalist unit features a three-way control with tempered glass face for ease of use.

Its glass face exposes the details of the mechanical movement and, as a showstopper, it’s backlit!

Rekon uses Hi-def aptX and ADP2 wireless audio formats for high-fidelity sound and operates on Bluetooth 5.0 low-energy power management system, which delivers 250 hours of standby with 10 hours of operation time.

The units slides and locks into position on a special mounting bracket which can be easily detached.

iASUS Rekon motorcycle intercomQuick-release mounting bracket

Each Rekon comes with two mounting bracket kits.

Interestingly, it attaches at the front of the hemet, rather than on the side, which may affect aerodynamics and head rotation in a crash.iASUS Rekon motorcycle intercom

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

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

Aerodynamic ARK bluetooth intercom for AGV

AGV is the latest helmet manufacturer to partner with leading Bluetooth company Sena to develop a special aerodynamic ARK intercom for their helmets.

So far, the ARK intercom is only compatible with the AX9 Adventure range, K5-S Sports range and Sport Modular Touring.

The AGV ARK intercom costs $399, but you have to also buy a helmet-specific base at $29.95. However, for a limited time, riders can save money by buying the compatible helmets and SRK in “combo deals”. 

Sena’s ARK intercom is a sleeker and more aerodynamic unit than their usual intercoms.

Instead of the handy “jog dial” rotating knob common to most Sena intercoms, it has buttons.

These may not be as easy to use as the jog dial, but there is also a handlebar remote available at $149.

Sena ARK bluetooth intercom for AGV helmets
Handlebar remote

ARK features

Australian distributors Link International say the ARK unit features 30 minutes of “quick charging” which equals four hours of intercom use. 

It is compatible with the Sena SF Utility App which allows users to configure device settings and accessing quick guides and the Sena RideConnected App that allows intercom with a virtually limitless number of riders over an extensive range, so long as they are connected to a mobile network.

Other Sena features are: voice prompts for functions; FM radio; microphone noise control to reduce wind and background noise; music sharing with another intercom; multi-way conference intercom. 

It also has audio overlay which allows phone calls, GPS instructions and intercom conversations to be heard over audio from the radio, music or GPS app instructions in the background with reduced volume.Sena ARK bluetooth intercom for AGV helmets

Specifications 

  • 10 hours of talking time 
  • Three-way conference phone call with intercom participant. 
  • Microphone mute option 
  • Smart Volume 
  • Audio Boost 
  • Voice activated phone answering and intercom start. 
  • HD quality crystal clear and natural sound. 
  • Bluetooth Audio Recording 
  • SENA firmware upgradeable 
  • Water resistant 
  • Bluetooth 4.1 supporting profiles: Headset Profile, Hands-Free Profile (HFP), Advanced Audio Distribution Profile (A2DP), and Audio Video Remote Control Profile (AVRCP). 

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Sean +Mesh Bluetooth adaptor review

Sena +Mesh review by Jim Hulme 

The Sena +Mesh Adaptor is designed to seamlessly and easily link riders into a group conversation without broken links. We sent rider Jim Hulme out to test the $259 unit on the road with his riding partners. Here’s his review:

Out of the box

The +Mesh adaptor click-locks into either a rubber-strap-connected base or a surface-mount adhesive base. The adaptor containing the electronics and screw-on antenna easily separates from the base with the press of a button.

For my test, the rubber strap base could not be used on my BMW handlebars as there is no available handlebar real estate.

So I tested it in my jacket front pocket, inside my top box and finally on the pillion grab handles.

While mounted on the grab handles, it was easy to reach and activate the mesh intercom because Sena has provided it with a nice big button on the front of the unit.

The waterproof rubber-sealed USB port for charging can be difficult to access.

Setup and range

The +Mesh adaptor is easily paired with your Sena headset, then it automatically connects each time.

The 30K in the test was used to create a mesh group and the +Mesh client (Sena SRL integrated into the Shoei Neotec II helmet) was added to the group. During use, the main button could be used to leave and return to the mesh group as required.

The +Mesh adaptor is claimed to have 800m range in an uninterrupted straight line.

My experience with measured stops and voice quality checks verified this is accurate.

Connections

Sena claims it works with both Bluetooth4.1 and Bluetooth3.0 models, however, the audio quality is best with Bluetooth 4.1 models.

The +Mesh Adaptor takes up one of your bluetooth intercom spaces. If your headset is capable of connecting with three other headsets for four-way intercom, the +Mesh will take up one of those three spaces, leaving two spaces remaining for bluetooth intercom connections.

At least 2 mesh devices are required to be in a Mesh Intercom.

My use of two Sena SRL models provided almost flawless performance, but connections between the SRL and a Sena 30K were frustrating.

The biggest problem with the SRL is that it is not possible to use while charging. It also has an “irreplaceable rechargeable battery”, so when the battery ages, you have to buy a new SRL.

However, the 30K can connect to others in either “bluetooth intercom” mode which requires pairing, or mesh intercom which doesn’t require pairing.

Link and sound qualitySena +Mesh links unlimited Sena intercoms

Once the mesh link is established, increased distance and lack of “line of sight” due to curves and hills etc have a dramatic effect.

While the sound level can be still good, speech is unintelligible.

In most cases, this will recover as the link path improves, but can sometimes remain poor. This is a problem I experienced in other Sena devices such as the 30K.

To fix it, try disconnecting/reconnecting the link or turning it off and on again.

I also experienced intermittent, short, loud “screaming” sounds which my 30K partner could not hear.

I thought it was caused by the +Mesh adaptor, but later testing between two 30K units in a mesh connection resulted in some similar noise, but less often.

Following the adaptor test, we changed to two 30K units and tried them in normal paired connection and mesh connection.

In normal paired connection, there were significant sound quality issues, failure of the link after separation, and this didn’t recover without a reboot. There was no apparent increase in the range.

Then we changed to mesh connection and while the sound quality was not always perfect, the overall communication satisfaction was better.

As the two units recovered from the lost link connectivity, they seamlessly reconnected to the mesh. As reported with the +Mesh adaptor, the occasional loud screeching noises were still happening but not so often as when using the adaptor.

Conclusion

I think the +Mesh adaptor provides a better functional experience when connecting dissimilar units.

They also improved range and sound quality over a mesh of more than two units as they enhance the network signal strength.

The combined cost of the adaptor and your existing communication unit is significant so unless you really needed to use it to participate in a group of mesh users, you are probably better off just buying a 30K instead.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com