Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Los Angeles, CA, USA
Re: GPS into helmet
I went with the AutoCom system then did the Koss/Radio Shack $19 headphone mod - which works great, then added the AutoCom earbud cable (for a scant $55).
On long trips, I use my $300 BigEar headphones which are the custom molded jobs with fabulous drivers. These sound better than my $300 Etymotic ER-4 but I'm not happy about the flimsy wire BigEar uses. The Etymotics use wire you could pull a bus with - no danger of yanking it and breaking it inside the wire. High quality stuff.
So last year, I drove around California forest country for a week (6-7 hours a day) with the Etymotics under my helmet. After a few hours at the beginning of wearing them (for the first time - not of each day), your ears get used to them (at least mine did) and they were fairly comfortable (not perfect, but pretty good) until you hit the 5-6 hour mark each day. Then it's more like fatigue than uncomfortable. I also found that the foam squeeze-to-put-in tips were a lot more comfortable than the silicone bullet tips.
In December, I got fitted for the BigEar ones at the motorcycle show. Six weeks later I got them but they had to be sent back twice for adjustment, with a 4 week wait each time.
Over the July 4 holiday, I rode 700 miles (round trip) with the BigEars to Laguna Seca (they had a booth there, too) and although they start off and stay much more comfortable (and sound great while killing almost ALL wind noise), I still got to the fatigue after about 6 hours. But hey, what do you expect for having something in your ear 6+ hours?
So clearly, I'm only familiar with the AutoCom system but I'm a geek, so I did the install and LOTS of adjusting myself. I even did the unsoldering of the resistor to get the telephone levels correct myself - with great help from the tech at AutoCom.
It's close to perfect. I have a Passport 9500 radar detector, Zumo 550 with XM and traffic, the BMW radio with the CD changer removed and the Dice with my 60Gb iPod. The only thing that doesn't work as advertised is people have a hard time hearing me on the phone over 55 mph (my iPhone is in my breast pocket and it's Bluetoothed to the Zumo), although I can hear them fine.
BTW - the reason I don't Bluetooth the headphones in the helmet is that everything I've heard sounds crappy. Stereo Bluetooth wasn't good last time I listened, but that was last year. I'm an audiophile (lifetime musician and I listen to Macitosh tube equipment at home with LP's and a turntable) so I want as high quality sound as I can get in the helmet. Can you hear the difference at 70 mph? No, but lousy quality will kill your ears. At 52 years old, I'm losing my mids in one ear and have tinnitus in it, too (I'm bummed) but good quality sound is one way to keep your ears intact much longer. Distortion is your mortal enemy.
Hope this helps - ask any other questions.
2005 BMW K1200LT (got it in July 2007)
2002 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-12R (parked next to the LT)
1982 Suzuki GS-750EZ (paid $500
for it in 1985, sold it for $450 in 2000)
1978 Honda CB-500F (sold in 1980)
1976 Honda CB-400F (drowned to
death in the blizzard of 1978 in Boston)