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Bike to bike intercom help please

Discussion in 'Riding Gear and Bike Accessories/Parts' started by Cheeba, Oct 23, 2008.

  1. Hi All,

    I was hoping someone may be able to steer me in the right direction for a bike to bike set-up. Basically my GF has just been riding for a month or so and I have been following her in (or vice versa) to work and back which includes sections of the Westgate and Citylink. I think it would really help both of us if we could communicate during the ride as she often has questions, and I advice - also sometimes we get split up so it would be handy to give directions or say where you are. She is getting quite confident but we also want to start going on longer leisure rides too.

    Any recommendations would be greatly appreciated, thanks :)
  2. 2 Heinz cans and some twine. 2 rolls of gaffer tape to secure the cans and you are away.

    Or, just get some Blueant Interphone Bluetooth headsets or the scala rider2's

    Do a search, you'd be surprised at what you can find.
  3. Quite a few ways you can do it.

    Bluetooth is easy but range restricted

    UHF gives great range but can be more cumbersome units

    There are a few links across to the left in the preferred partners section that are a good guide

    Blueant do a good bike to bike bluetooth headset, but they are expensive

    Uniden have a helmet mic and speaker set, cheaper but you have wires running from helmet to UHF and push to talk controls

    EDIT: Vic beat me to it lol
  4. Yah.. Two options, really:

    * Bluetooth bike to bike; relatively short range (100-200m?) secure comms between two helmets only.

    * UHF CB radio; relatively long range (10+ kilometres, terrain permitting) communication to anyone with a UHF CB radio, for better or worse.

    Edit: Dane75 beat me to it.
  5. Thanks everyone - I think the bluetooth set up would be best

    Thanks Vic - we tried the cans and twine method but synching speeds and getting tangled around semi-trailers got a bit tiresome ;)

    I was also hoping for some personal recommendations of a brand people are actually using.

    I had found the two brands you mentioned - the Scala teamset looks like a pillion system and 2x the Q2s works out about the same as the BlueAnt set up.

    Ducfreak, I will try calling DMME as their site is confusing me a bit - I actually have two hand-held CBs which may be compatible but would much prefer a wireless set up if affordable; and Dane - will check the preferred partners section, tbh I didn't know it was there so that will come in handy for future needs too.

    Thanks for your input all!
  6. I've found the scala q2 really good so far. Me and a workmate use ours whenever we go for a ride. Was really surprised by how clear it can be heard, even with visor up at highway speeds. I've not used any other system so no idea how they stack up against others. Obviously it has its limitations on distance between rider (claimed at 500m), but if you're both riding within view of each other, as she's heading into work, this might be a goer.

    We bought ours on ebay, from Brisbane for about $160 each. I think they retail in stores for around $280.
  7. Hey Cheeba, The timing of this post is perfect.

    I have just spent the last few weeks spending waaaaaaaaay to much time on the internet browsing around way to many websites here and in the US to arrive at a well educated and cost effective decision to achieve the same result - Bike to Bike Comms that wont break the bank and that works for what I want. Yesterday I organised to buy one after it all.

    I have also spoken to a few people that have had these various units and busted their chops with 101 questions about ease of use and quality etc.

    So, this is what I can tell you.

    * BLue ant semms best, all the Techy Nerdy review type websites rate it really well and the company offer a good warrenty and customer experience in the event of returns etc if needed. You pay a bit more than the Scala Unit but not much more.

    * Peter Stevens and most other places sell them for $250 each - Obviously you need 2 for your purpose so thats a shite load of cash depending on your bank balance. After lots of ringing around to try and crunch some bling because Im buying 2 and have already blown my bike budget on other toys (as it happens), i got a cracking deal through Organiser World in Latrobe Street. $194 each. They have ordered 2 in for me as are out of stock and they should be in by Nov 3.

    Now the reason why she budged a bit on price (they were only $200 as it was which is still pretty good) is because I found an online company in WA that do them for $179 + $10 postage.. She couldnt match it, and fair enough.. at $194 she is cutting herself close but you know what.. for the extra few dollars I would prefer to avoid buying online. Just the hassle if stuff goes wrong or missing as apposed to over the counter sales and service..

    So, Feel free to check out the links below. I have heaps more but have just sent you the ones that helped me the most. One of them does a review and compares the blue ant to other units. Lots of great info there.

    Im not sure when you looking to buy, but if want, when I use mine for the first time (8 NOV is when Im riding with my buddy for the official launch) I can post some feedback.

    Hope this helps, Greg




  8. Hi Greg - that is a great post, thank you very much! I'd be very keen to hear your experience as I had decided on either the Scala or BlueAnt but need to try a few booze-free weeks (or at least pub-free!) ;) to get the pennies together to buy them! I've pretty much convinced the GF that they would be worthwhile :D

    Will be interested to hear how they go with the mobile too if you try that. The Scala did have the edge slightly by being able to incorporate an MP3 player too.

    edit - looks like I was wrong - I was convinced the Scala had MP3 player functionality but that isn't the case; it does have an FM radio though.
  9. no worries, can do all of that no probs when the time comes.

    Yeah, the MP3 feature is cool but Im trying not to listen to music when I ride. The distraction is just too much risk and on the odd ocassion I have been speeding way too much as the beat/music has taken over my conscience thoughts etc. If you have a long boring commute or highway riding to tackle then maybe but Im leaning towards the Blue Ant. Anywaaaaay Personal preference bla bla. There are some great threads on Netrider debating the listening to music debate whilst on the bike.

    Funny you mention tightassing it with the cash flow. Im in the exact same situation. Made me laugh, glad its not just me. Ive been hassling people for cash in hand work (lawn moving etc) on the weekends and stuff to get the bling together, which is why when i found the cheap price I was wrapt as was under budget.

    Delayed Gratification is a good thing sometimes. Makes you value/respect stuff more.. When we are both kitted up with these sh*t hot units and loving the buzz it will feel so much better coz the hard yards have been done to research and save.
  10. Hi,
    I recommend the scala q2. It is clear and has a good range. I think I seen it for around $350 for 2.

    Here is a review of it:

    The scala q2 uses Bluetooth 2, where as the Blueant uses BT1.2. This means you can actually connect more devices to the the q2. You can pair a buddy, phone and GPS at the same time and listen to the radio.

    I have a q2 and i highly recommend it.

  11. Hi there,

    Currently have the Blueant Bluetooth, have consdered the hard wired stuff and finally made hte decision to go with Card Scala Q2 Multi..(for around $369.95 for the twin pack)..Scala Q2 has many advantages over Blueant unit..range and talk time just to name a couple...
  12. Hi there,

    Currently have the Blueant Blue tooth, have considered the hard wired stuff and finally made hte decision to go with Card Scala Q2 Multi..(for around $369.95 (mrgadget) for the twin pack)..Scala Q2 has many advantages over Blueant unit..range and talk time just to name a couple...
  13. Well I reckon I have saved nearly a third of it so far ;) I agree about the delayed gratification - I don't do plastic transactions as I prefer paying in cash and knowing there is nothing waiting. So how did you go on your ride?

    I must admit I did deliberate for ages before choosing to listen to music on the bike. I was even dead-set against it at first but after trying earphones in and just doing small local rides I found it not too distracting and I am an observant driver/rider. I have them at a pretty low volume - enough to hear the music but also enough to hear engines and horns. My commute to work involves going through the Burnley tunnel and I was getting pissed off by being deafened by big bloody semi trucks as they run alongside me; some of them are SO loud especially when they are labouring a bit up the incline. I DJ and write music so I was actually concerned that it would be damaging my hearing. I have the volume low enough that I can even hear my GFs horn when she is behind me. I tried finding some of the previous discussions but the search seems to do the whole web and not just Netrider. Unless I am not seeing an obvious other search somewhere.

    Thanks also Andrask and Sepe.
  14. Offtopic,
    You do wear earplugs or isolator earphones for hearing protection while riding, right...?

    Helmet wind noise is usually >85dB(A) at freeway speeds, usually closer to 90-100dB(A) depending on the helmet and fairing design.
  15. Hey Cheeba, Im at work and have been trying to get onto NR for ages to post heaps of good stuff about my ride on Sat with the Blue Ant.. I just cant get 2 mins to myself.. Will get to it soon mate,

    IN a general nutshell, the Blue was Awesome.. I totally loved it... My mate and I were just like kids in frigin candy store the whole time.. We didnt shut up on the INtercom for 2 hours and then on the way home I pretty much just rang every one I knew as I was riding (anything over about 90km hour is a bit hard to concentrate on coz my helmet is a bit too loose and airey, but I was the happiest camper around after using it..

    anwmore, more details when I can... Greg
  16. Here it is....

    Enjoy and feel free to ask any questions…

    If after all this your still unsure want to test it yourself, your more than welcome to come for a ride with me and my mate on our next ride in a few weeks and you can use my helmet, on a quiet back road for a period if your comfortable with that (I know its Gospel to never trust or use another helmet but your own) and you can test the Intercom. I can also pair it up to your mobile so you can test it whilst riding etc.

    PRICE –
    RRP is $250 as advertised at Peter Stevens. I haggled Organiser World down to $194 because I was buying 2 but they ran out of stock, so I took my order form from OW to Peter Stevens and they matched it (I almost fell down the stairs when they did that, wasn’t expecting it.. Shows how much bloody mark up there is on stuff hey).. So that’s my tip – Go to OW end of NOV or go to PS and mention OW (they may want to see proof) If so, you can have my order form and go in a say “my mate got this deal with you and he has sent me to see you.. etc) They may not give you it for $194, but you will save heaps down from $250 easy…

    A bit fiddly and you have to be careful you don’t try and force it to fit etc. It took me about 20mins – Feeding the head piece/wiring/microphone etc in – under – around the various helmet lining/padding etc.. A classic example, is my cheaper KBC helmet was easy to install. There was a Velcro padded bit just near my ear that came out and I put the headpiece there, nice…. The micro phone wires etc easily contoured to the inside of the chin part and the screw/clip part fit in great…. When it came to fitting my mates Scott on Sat, with his mega expensive helmet, jeeeeeeeeez, it was a fiddly and annoying process but eventually we got it done and although the micro phone is sitting up against his visor in the bottom corner, it works great and is no better or worse than mine all done and dusted

    Ok, this can be a bit daunting for the unsuspecting.. Luckily because I was totally obsessed with this unit before I finished saving for it I had downloaded and read the user manual about 30 times. Go to the Blu Ant site, its there. This meant that fiddly button pressing – in order sequence – watch the light for flash red- blue which means this that or that other etc etc etc didn’t really bother me.. My mate picked it up pretty quickly from a quick 5min show and tell, however learning and using all the features etc could be frustrating (high volume – low volume, auto answer, auto reject, switching between phone and intercom etc etc), all with various button pressing combinations, however 1 afternoons messing around and getting it wrong a few times it was all good.(cutting people off, accidentally ringing people at 75km/h hour etc,)once that’s all done, you will be an expert. I pretty know all the sequences – durations to press the various buttons to achieve the desired outcome on the headset and im no genius.

    Once you follow a few of the ‘set up ‘procedures you will never need to do them again anyway.. Just remember.. be gentle with the gear. When installing and using don’t get to heavy handed. When you install it, you will know what I mean – i.e. – rest your thumb underneath the bracket for support every time you adjust the volume, just to ensure that you don’t force the bracket to break should you be unlucky enough to hit a bump at the same time you take your hand off the bar and grab the Blue Ant.. Anyway, I digress….


    Awesome… (mind you.. you use this unit with your visor down.. ok, at 30km/h or less you could keep it up, but generally it’s a visor down gig)

    Ok, so im giggling away to myself on Saturday grinning ear to ear just about to make my first call after some niggling problems (explained later, totally my fault). I hit the speed dial on my phone to ring my dad, pop the mobile back in my pocket and take off..(I didn’t use voice activation – will explain why later) I am talking to my dad, for about 5 minutes trying to convince him im riding my motorbike on the move. I was taking Kermit to the redline over and over to a point that I couldn’t even hear him talking and he said it I was like in the room next door. I thought he might just be going a little batty and or taking P*ss, so rang a few other people and told them at the end of the call that I was on my bike after riding hard at times and they were like “bull shiaaaaaaat†– so, all the hype that Blue Ant make (that I was sceptical about) in relation to micro phone noise reduction technology – i.e. – blocking out anything but voice etc is spot on) – at higher speeds I was expecting lots of complaints from the other end, but nothing. At higher speeds or higher un necessary Revs you may not be able to hear people but they can hear you perfect.. bizaare…

    Great, really great. – however it did take some time get there… When I first installed it, the ear piece was mounted under the padded lining and beyond my ear hole a bit… Till about 60km/h, (and on full volume) I could hear, but beyond that I had to pull over just to finish a convo. Too be honest I was like “oh faaaark, there goes 194 dollars…. What a waste..†At the time I though the earpiece was bang on target, so that’s why I was really distressed about it all. I unfortunately, from playing in band when I was younger and listening to headphones way to loud for years am a little hard of hearing. Nothing major, but enough to know that I need volumes up a bit louder etc sometimes. So at 60km and hour, on full volume not being able to hear seemed like the worst case scenario.

    I went home and kept moving the earpiece around till eventually I mounted it above the lining so it does touch my ear, but doesn’t rub or hurt coz its thin and flat) and in the exact right spot. Tested it again, and it was awesome – like the difference between night and day much to my relief. So I cant stress the importance of getting the ear piece right and maybe mounting it above the lining... Above 75km an hour I do need it on full, but when I slow down I do press the volume reduce button. If your hearing is normal and you have a super tight fit helmet, I don’t reckon you even need the full volume. Worth mentioning that on full volume the earpiece does distort a touch. You don’t notice it at speed, but with less wind/travel noise it was a bit annoying – The unit has a 2 year warranty, so if it is faulty and does get worse, no biggy – and I am being a little picky.

    INTERCOM – same deal – super clear and thanks to fixing the ear piece 2 way convo is easy and a real buzz. No more hands signals and if you want to change direction at the last second etc, just say it and it will be done. It was also great for when Scott took his Motard over a round about to avoid a car and he told me to watch out, as I was a bit behind him. The range of 500 metres is handy.. I reckon that the quality of convo up to 300/350 is great, and then it diminishes (cracking – fading slightly etc) as you start to get closer to 500 metres, but jeez, 300 metres is pretty good. On Sat when one of us would take off for a squirt, we could still hear each other fine.. When at traffic lights to kill time it was great for convo and then when lane splitting, I would take one line and Scott the other and we would tell each other how clear it was so we could weave in and out in etc.. Ok, so some may not condone that, but it meant not only was I really observant for myself in my own space I had my riding buddy telling me how clear he was too…

    Is great for Bird and Car Watching –“mate, mate…Hotty at 2pm and Fully sick VL Turbo at 9:45†for example….


    • you can set it up so that when your blueant is switched on and comes into range with your mobile providing your bluthooth is on, they will pair automatically
    • from that moment onwards, when your paired up and on ‘standby’ providing your mobile isn’t on silent, if it rings, you will hear it in your earpiece. So it could be in your backpack or wherever. You then press the function button on the blue ant and your talking. (or speak to answer if your on voice activation)
    • If your talking bike to bike, and the phone rings, it wont come through your ear like the above. When I figured this out, I just put my mobile in my leather jacket pocket, so when I vibrated I knew there was a call, to which I press the function button on the helmet twice and hello there, im on the call. At the end of the call I hold the function button for 3 seconds and im back to the bike to bike again.. or….once you get the hang of it, its easy….
    • The unit has an voice answer feature.. Turn it off….. wind noise or your own breathing answers the phone and that’s annoying… if you turn this feature off, to answer you just press the MFB (Multi Function Button) once and your on. SLIGHT ANNOYANCE – the manual says that with this feature on, if you stay silent for 10 seconds, it goes to your vmail if you have it. Ok, I switched it off because there were calls that I did want to reject by being silent but the noise/my breathing triggered it to answer. So with this feature off, it solves that problem,, but for some unknown reason it still only gives me 10 seconds till vmail kicks in. I checked my mobile diversions and they are 30seconds as normal, and when I switched my blue ant off and tested it, sure enough, 30 seconds.. so I don’t know if im missing something, but from what I can tell, with the blue ant connected, regardless of what ‘answer’ mode you have set up, it will only give you 10 seconds. Its only a slight annoyance, I got over it pretty quick and really, if within 10 seconds I cant decide if I want to answer or not, then I really shouldn’t take the call in the first place hey?
    • It has a HIGH VOLUME and LOW VOLUME mode.. After testing, all it really is that when you choose the high volume mode it takes the setting to the highest volume you could have already chosen and locks volume adjust button,. So I wouldn’t worry about it. Just leave it as standard and then you can choose the level.

    So swapping between phone and bike to bike is easy and the quality of sounds back and forth for all parties is great.

    You can make a voice activated call by pressing the MFB once and speaking, but jeeeeeeez the Nokia system is a joke.. on my N95 I can records tags so I have to speak like the computer voice and no shite I have never ever once got it to match, so yes, it is a bummer that I have to pull over to dial the number from the phone and press call and take off, but I can live with that VS wanting to ring John and the phone starting ringing emergency services. For other phones it may work well, but the blue and might as well not have the voice dial feature.

    A few people have said that the Blue Ant cant pair to MP3 players etc.. and yes, this is true, so the Scala unit seems to have it there.. However, it was a nice surprise that when I switched on my Nokia N95 music player and radio, ………it plays through the ear piece. What a bonus!!!!!!! Problem being is that the unit only has 1 ear piece, so don’t expect surround sound and also, the unit was designed for speech, so when I turned up the volume a bit, it distorted like crazy……. So Cheeba, If you just want that “damn im bored and need some background sounds for company’ capability with the blue ant you will get it, but that’s all it will be. I cant stress that enough. Mine didn’t like the music up too loud… but it was pretty cool to have it. If the phone rings, its smart enough to alert you by ringing in your ear and switches off the music player.

    I cant think of any really.. Only what I have mentioned above. I’m so glad I bought it, especially with my mate having one a the same time, but even on its own with the phone and music its great…..and having the 2 year warranty is good peace of mind just in case the micro phone or ear piece goes on me.

    Just remember to:
    * be gentle with it during installation
    * Read the manual a few times and understand it
    * get the ear piece positioning right
    * Set it up with the features as per how you want it before you take your maiden voyage
    * using it when you ride, at first will be a little awkward, but beyond that you will wonder how you ever rode without on

    Good luck with the savings. Never be ashamed to buy homebrand in your quest for saving cash!! My Blue ANt is proudly sponsored by mass production Milk, Bread and Flour.....

    Thumbs up Borat Style from this little GPXKERMIT250!!

  17. Hi Spots, thanks for those figures - that is a lot higher than I would have envisaged! Nowadays when I am riding I use in-earphones with music set to a specific volume prior to getting on the bike. I was trying to get my GF to think about wearing some form of ear protection as she is a musician but she doesn't get much wind noise in her helmet (nor do I particularly, it's more heavy lorries in tunnels etc that bothers me.
  18. Hi Greg,

    Mate, that was a superb review! I really appreciate (and I am sure others will too) you taking the time to write such an extensive reply. Had me laughing in quite a few places and I particularly liked the sentence "Is great for Bird and Car Watching –“mate, mate…Hotty at 2pm and Fully sick VL Turbo at 9:45†for example…." :LOL:

    You should get a job writing for bike mags! I have a KBC lid too so that's good to know it was relatively easy to install in yours. I have a Sony Ericsson which is probably as painful to use the voice activation on as yours is - especially when you record the tags in a 'phone voice' and then forget how to replicate that. It's normally a nasal squeak ha ha. I don't think my music player on the W810i streams via bluetooth like your flashy N95 does ;)

    I will almost definitely take you up on your offer to try it on your next ride if I am around, that would be great! I will drop you a message now with my email address.

    All my savings are brought to you by the letters A, L, D and I ;)

    Cheers! Michael