Tag Archives: intercom

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

Noise-cancelling Mplus earphones for riders

Indian earphone company SoundPeats will next month release the Motikom Mplus earphones, the world’s first active noise-cancelling Bluetooth intercom for riders.

There is no price yet, but if you sign up now for their email newsletter, you can get 40% off their launch price.

The Mplus headphones have an awkward-looking neckband which is the controller with wires connected to the earbuds.

It seems there is also a microphone attachment with Bluetooth intercom reception up to 150m.

Noise cancelling

Passive noise cancelling earphones simply seal in your ear and dampen some background noise. Active noise cancelling uses a reverse soundwave to neutralise background noise.

We have tried wearing Bose and Sony active noise-cancelling earphones before under our helmet and they just can’t cope with the wind noise on a motorcycle at highway speeds.

Wind noise can sometimes be over 100dB even under your helmet, which can lead to hearing loss and/or tinnitus.

Sena was the first to have a helmet with noise cancelling intercom although it is not yet available in Australia. We suspect this is because of difficulties gaining Euro approval since the French ban riders and drivers from wearing earphones while riding/driving.

Digilens and Sena develop cheaper HUD helmet
Sena Momentum INC noise-cancelling helmet

There are several other noise-cancelling helmets coming to market soon from start-ups and Nolan Helmets.

Mplus claims

Mplus noise-cancelling earphones
Mplus noise-cancelling earphones

SoundPeats claim the Mplus has five-level noise cancelling that uses their trademarked “HDNC technology” to cope with highway speed wind noise.

Like the noise-cancelling helmets, they also claim the reduction of background noise helps to enhance important emergency noises such as sirens, horns and screeching tyres.

SoundPeats have promised to send us a set when they are launched next month, so we look forward to trialling them.

Rider earphones

Mplus noise-cancelling earphones
Truengine 2 wireless earbuds

Meanwhile, SoundPeats also make non-noise-canceling earbuds suitable for riders such as Truengine 2, the first dual-driver hifi wireless earbuds.

They claim their TruEngine Crossover tech delivers “incredibly detailed stereo sound with powerful bass, clear treble, and balanced separation, creating a wider sound field for a totally immersive audio experience”.

We’ll see (or hear) as they are also sending these for review.

They will be available at a prelaunch price of just $US69 (about $A100).

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

Sena Savage Bluetooth helmet review

If you have been looking for an open-face helmet with Bluetooth communication, the new Sena Savage is the answer.

It features integrated controls, speakers and a microphone discretely in the brow section of the helmet.

As you would expect, it’s noisier than a full-face helmet, the microphone is not as quiet as in a full face helmet, but it’s equal to or better than the boom-mic units people attach to their open-face helmets.

And it is neater as well. The compact two-control functions on the side of the helmet are sadly visible, yet easy to use.Sena Savage

They work the same as the Sena 20S controls wth a button and a dial/button/toggle control.

With just those two controls, you can switch on/off, summon Siri, play music, answer and reject calls, pair t your phone and another intercom, summon an intercom user, skip tracks and change the volume.

The only problem I found with the Savage is that the amplifier and speakers are not powerful enough to provide adequate sound when I wear my filtered earplugs.

The filtered earplugs reduce the overall sound a little, but mainly they filter out the damaging wind noise that gives you tinnitus.

They allow you to hear important traffic sounds such as emergency siren and horns, plus listen to your music and phone conversations at a lower volume that doesn’t hurt your ears.

Unfortunately, this system is a little too quiet, so it’s really only useful up to about 80km/h.

Last year I reviewed the Sena Momentum full-face helmet and I was so impressed it has now become my go-to helmet. Read my review here.

Sena Momentum Lite Bluetooth helmet hi-fi savage
Sena Momentum Lite Bluetooth helmet

It is a shame the Savage does not have the same volume levels as the Momentum Lite.

Still, it’s a very comfortable and useful helmet for around-town duties where an open-face helmet gives you extra vision to look out for errant traffic.

The quality of sound and noise-damping of the brow-mounted microphone is ok, but not great.

They also use this system in their Calvary half-helmet.

Sena Cavalry motorcycle half helmet with bluetooth unit savage
Sena Calvary

I talked to a few people on the phone while riding and they said it sounded a bit distorted at city speeds and over 80km/h there was to much wind noise.

That seems to be vindicated by this promotional video where the rider is mainly cruising around town.

Sena Savage

The Savage is now available in Australia in matte black in medium, large and XL sizes at $A499.95.

That makes it cheaper than buying a helmet and separate Bluetooth unit.

You can also buy optional long and short peaks and we imagine the three press studs would also fit many visors suitable for other open-face helmets.

It is the first open-face helmet with Bluetooth 4.1, connecting with three other riders up to 1.6km.

Like other Sena units, it is an intercom and has integrated 10-station FM radio which can be accessed hands-free with voice controls.

Talk time is 11 hours and the lithium polymer battery charges in three hours.

The composite fibreglass shell helmet weighs just 1100g and features removable and washable padding, with a nylon double-D-ring fastener.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Sena +Mesh links unlimited intercoms

Bluetooth giant Sena has introduced a +Mesh wireless adapter that will link any version of their intercoms to any number of other Sena headsets.

It basically turns any Sena into a Bluetooth intercom with their +Mesh technology that allows people using the headset to come and go from a linked conversation without breaking the link.

The unit is arriving in Australia this month at $259. So there will be no need to update your Sena headset to the latest unit to experience +Mesh tech.

Connects unlimited Sena intercomsSena +Mesh links unlimited Sena intercoms

Sena says the +Mesh wireless adapter allows “seamless communication with other Sena headsets”, rather than connecting via Bluetooth.

Range is claimed to be up to 800m line-of-sight.

You can install the device on your handlebars or any other part of the bike with unobstructed line of sight with your intercom and others.

Simply press the button to turn your headset into a more advanced and flexible Sena +Mesh headset.

“Mesh-network technology will instantly connect you to a virtually limitless amount of users and provides a more stable connection by intelligently searching for lost intercom connections and automatically reconnecting them once back within range, while the rest of the group stays together,” Sena says.

We can’t say how well it works, but Sena Australia say they will send us one to test, so stay tuned.

Sena helmets

Meanwhile, Sena’s updated Momentum Mesh helmet is coming to Australia later this year. 

Sena Momentum Lite Bluetooth helmet Sena +Mesh links unlimited Sena intercoms
Sena Momentum Lite

Australia will not get the Momentum PRO and INC and INC PRO until the second generation is released with European certification.

There is no release date for the second generation as yet.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com