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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
OK guys, her's my situation. Over the years (40+) that my wife and I have been riding together (separate bikes) we have fought the communication wars with varying results. Our current vehicles are my 2000 K1200LT and her 1994 R1100RSL. She is subjected to far more wind noise and has custom earplugs with speakers. We are currently using family radio handhelds wired with remote PTT buttons and remote mikes. This has become more and more unreliable with button failures etc. We also have trouble communicating at any speed over about 65mph. We typically run about 75mph so you see part of the problem. Neither of us has a smartphone but I do have a Garmin Nuvi 550 that is Bluetooth compatible and I have an i-pod Touch that I wouldn't mind listening to occasionally. I am not sure that a VOX triggered mike would be ideal especially considering the wind noise on my wife's bike (no she likes her bike and will not change it). Considering the advancements in electronic trickery, I would like to have input from you folks with experience in bike to bike communications so that I could find the ideal (for us) setup.

Thanks, Robert.
 

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I use the Sena bluetooth system for bike to bike and rider to passenger. They are small, can be moved from helmet to helmet should you change or upgrade what you wear. They don't need anything to work other than another unit to pair to and pairing is super easy. If you do have a bluetooth GPS, phone etc, pairing to these are supper easy to. No wires to mess with at all. This is nice as when you are off the bike, but still have your helmet on, you can still talk-handy at gas stations etc.

Put helmet on, turn unit on and as soon as the other unit powers up, simple push of a button you are talking. I have experienced great battery life with my units and the range is very good on them. As long as you can see the person, you can talk to them. Even around a curve or two it stays connected. Sound quality is very good and there is plenty of volume built into the units so you can hear it regardless of how you ride, with or without earplugs. You can even get an adapter for them to allow the use of custom earplug/speaker combinations. The units only have two buttons, both which are large enough and easy enough to use with gloves on.
 

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Scouter-50 said:
so you see part of the problem. Neither of us has a smartphone but I do have a Garmin Nuvi 550 that is Bluetooth compatible and I have an i-pod Touch that I wouldn't mind listening to occasionally.

Thanks, Robert.
I use a Garmin NUVI 500 on my LT. The NUVI 500 and 550 do not have blue tooth capibilities. Just thought I would mention just in case it would be a part of your decision making. I think Garmin does this to steer MC riders to the more expensive ZUMO models.
 

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+++ on the Sena Bluetooth system. Riding buddy and I use 'em in the Hill Country and haven't lost contact with each other on many spirited rides around the 'hood. I do have an iPhone 4S that has some favorite apps installed and will use one or two that throw music out, as well as a coupla GPS apps that talk outloud. Never a problem. I like not having wires from helmet to whatever - the ease of use of the Sena helmet pod - and the clarity and volume to the helmet headsets thru my MAX 1 ear plugs. Receiving a phone call takes priority over what else has been enabled - voice dialing eliminates the need to punch numbers gloveless - and battery life is better than I expected.
 

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For me it's the Scala rider 4. Bluetooth connection with Nav III and phone. Wireless and the voice clarity is excellent bike to bike.

I've used the phone function at 70 mph and the caller on the other end never knew until I told him.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
WillieC said:
I use a Garmin NUVI 500 on my LT. The NUVI 500 and 550 do not have blue tooth capibilities. Just thought I would mention just in case it would be a part of your decision making. I think Garmin does this to steer MC riders to the more expensive ZUMO models.

Thanks, Willie. I have so many Garmins that I don't remember which has what. Spoken instructions aren't that important to me as I usually ignore them anyway. ;)

Robert
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Dick said:
+++ on the Sena Bluetooth system. Riding buddy and I use 'em in the Hill Country and haven't lost contact with each other on many spirited rides around the 'hood. I do have an iPhone 4S that has some favorite apps installed and will use one or two that throw music out, as well as a coupla GPS apps that talk outloud. Never a problem. I like not having wires from helmet to whatever - the ease of use of the Sena helmet pod - and the clarity and volume to the helmet headsets thru my MAX 1 ear plugs. Receiving a phone call takes priority over what else has been enabled - voice dialing eliminates the need to punch numbers gloveless - and battery life is better than I expected.
Thanks Dick and Sit, I will look into Sena. I have researched the Scala G9 and am looking for options.

Robert
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Dick said:
+++ on the Sena Bluetooth system. Riding buddy and I use 'em in the Hill Country and haven't lost contact with each other on many spirited rides around the 'hood. I do have an iPhone 4S that has some favorite apps installed and will use one or two that throw music out, as well as a coupla GPS apps that talk outloud. Never a problem. I like not having wires from helmet to whatever - the ease of use of the Sena helmet pod - and the clarity and volume to the helmet headsets thru my MAX 1 ear plugs. Receiving a phone call takes priority over what else has been enabled - voice dialing eliminates the need to punch numbers gloveless - and battery life is better than I expected.

Which model is the preferred one? The specs look good. I forgot to mention that I use a flip front helmet.

Robert
 

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If you do not ride in big groups, try the Scala g4, I use it with my brother on his bike and 2 passengers. 4total. A bit cheaper than the 9. Check out www.compacc.com, that's where I got my units from.
 

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Another vote for Sena. The wife and use them with HJC flip ups. I have also used the wife's when I transferred it to my son-in laws helmet, no issues with communication on backroads or highway. I always ride with ear plugs and have no problem hearing any communication. We have SMH10 model with a boom mike options. The latest models are mini-usb software upgradeable, batteries latest three days on our trip along the blueridge this June using voice only. (no music needed) Can be charged on the fly, but then you have a wire. The simplicity of using only a jog dial or a button on the back for all functions really sealed the decision to pick this brand. The latest version of the firmware allows for 4 headsets connected at once, the original version only allowed 2.
You might want to look a Webbikeworld.com as they have done a number of tests with bluetooth headsets and do ongoing evaluations.
Bluetooth is an evolving communication protocol and there are changes and improvements every six months to a year. Thats a good reason for picking one that have upgrade capability.
 

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I use the SMH10 only because it was the first to come out, so that is what I ended up with. My brother uses a flip up and I can hear and understand him fine with his helmet open to maybe 30-40, then once shut there is no problem. Clarity bike to bike is superb. When calls come in, often the caller can't tell I am on my bike, even with the visor open.

The Sena is also up-gradable so as they change the software to make it better, you can update the programming. Customer service for Sena has been just great.

I have not used the Scala or other platforms. I didn't want to mess with little buttons. That is why the Sena appealed to me. Big button for the intercom that rotates for the volume. Very easy with gloves on.
 

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My wife and I use the Sena SMH10 for rider to passenger communication My buddy has a pair of Scala G4's that one time he strapped one to my helmet for rider to rider comm. After that I decided the Sena was a better unit, easy to use with gloves, way better sound and volume. Now when I ride with him we just voice dial each other since we have our smart phones synced to our "different" headsets.
 

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Had the Scala Rider G4 Powerset and used it for one season. The units are easy to pair, also with the Zumo and cellphones. Design features were great, but the units regularly lost communication, and sometimes even in cities sound quality was less than acceptable. We used them in a rider-to-passenger configuration, as well as in rider-to-rider configurations. Battery life was good, would last a full day. But I wasn't pleased with the communication reliability and sound quality and eventually sold the set. Went back to BMW VOICE system but am still looking for a good rider-to-rider solution.
 

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Has anyone tried the u-clear system? I'm looking for a blue tooth system myself. I like the fact that the mic is built in, so you don't have the external one to deal with. Cycle Gear has them for $149 ea. now.
 

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Another vote for the Sena SMH10. My friend and I just installed them last week. Very easy to turn the units on. No problem pairing for communication or to our iPods. Communication was very good. Our problem was with the VOX. It required a puff of air onto the mic to activate the intercom. This is fine under clam conditions, but with high speed wind under my friend's helmet (A Schuberth J-1) there were numerous "false" activations. Also noticed that when listening to music and the intercom set for VOX, the music begin clipping. Rather annoying listening to a song when every 6th or 7th word gets dropped. Switched over to the PTT mode and the clipping vanished. Pro's and con's to this: Pro - pressing the jog button immediately switches the unit to intercom. Con - you can't do this "hands free." Using VOX is hands free, but there's a slight delay of one or two seconds before the intercom is activated. Once you stop talking it takes up to 20 seconds for the music to return. (If you aren't listening to music, this isn't an issue.)

Voice audio was very clear and the range was good within two tenths of a mile and line of sight. Music quality was acceptable. Volume was also very impressive.

I notice in your avatar you're wearing a flip-up helmet. If you go for the SenaSMH10, you'll also need to order the accessory kit with the boom mic so you can install it inside the helmet.

Haven't tested the run time with the unit charged but other reviews say it's excellent. Two notes of caution - the charging socket on the unit is small and it's a tight fit. Make sure you have the charging plug correctly oriented before you plug it in. #2 - the plastic clips that hold the unit to the helmet mount are not indestructible. Be careful when removing and reinstalling the unit to the helmet.

With that said, enjoy the intercom (No matter which model). It sure beats having your pillion pounding on your shoulder shouting something unintelligible while you negotiate highway traffic at 70 mph shouting, "What? What? WHAT?" :histerica
 

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Tracus said:
I notice in your avatar you're wearing a flip-up helmet. If you go for the SenaSMH10, you'll also need to order the accessory kit with the boom mic so you can install it inside the helmet.
Chris,
Sena now sells the SMH10 with the boom mic as a kit. So you can buy either the standard clip on model or the boom mic model. I had asked them over a year ago to make the boom mike version an option so I guess they had a few other requests and now sell it either way.(Of course I bought the boom as a additional kit before they switched)
Hard to keep up with changes as this accessory is changing as we write posts.
Wille you didn't mention if the wife used a flip-up like you, Sena has new models designed for open face helmets and shortie helmets.
 

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johnbaker15 said:
Chris,

Hard to keep up with changes as this accessory is changing as we write posts.
.
Thanks for the update. My freind bought the set so I was unaware of the "New improved kit." To paraphrase your comment, "It was obsolete the moment I opened the box."
 

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bamarider said:
Has anyone tried the u-clear system? I'm looking for a blue tooth system myself. I like the fact that the mic is built in, so you don't have the external one to deal with. Cycle Gear has them for $149 ea. now.
Guy at work tried these and he is very impressed.
 

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Scouter-50 said:
Spoken instructions aren't that important to me as I usually ignore them anyway. ;)

Robert
This is in reference to the GPS, NOT your wife... LOL
 
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