What are Bluetooth motorcycle intercoms?

The answer is straightforward.

If you have a motorcycle and would like to communicate with your passenger, other riders in the group, or others on the road ahead of you, then these devices can be a very effective solution. Motorcycle helmets typically come equipped with two speakers and one microphone. The problem is that this setup doesn’t allow for communication between riders. Bluetooth motorcycle intercoms solve this issue by allowing up to four people to talk at once from distances of up to three miles. They also allow riders to answer calls over the intercom system and bring them into their helmets, which is a great way to stay safe while you’re on the road.

Bluetooth is the latest technology to hit motorcycle intercoms. Not only can these systems communicate totally wirelessly from rider to passenger, they can be used to communicate from bike to bike. Although with these systems the range is usually not in miles, it is in hundreds of feet. Since you are likely riding close to your buddies, this is not usually a problem. Range is getting longer as manufacturers use other technologies to boost how far the signal carries.

What may be called a Bluetooth intercom may only be using Bluetooth to communicate to another Bluetooth device like a telephone. For bike-to-bike communication, they often use other technology like GMRS (General Mobile Radio Service), which is a two-way radio group of frequencies, or CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access), which is the same technology as some cell phone carriers use. Systems that actually use the Bluetooth standard would have a much shorter range since the technology is only designed for short-range communication. But with these other technologies, you can get a half-mile or even more distance in open conditions.

One thing you’ll find about Bluetooth intercoms is that they come with a whole lot of features packed into a tiny housing. In addition to intercom capability between driver to the rider, or other bikers, they let you connect to cell phones, GPS devices, and music players like an mp3 or iPod. While all those features sound nice, they can make the intercom difficult to use and they may not work as well as you like. If you look at the reviews on the Internet about these devices, one of the top complaints is volume. When you get up to higher speeds they can be difficult to hear. The noise cancellation does a pretty good job of removing wind noise, but that same cancellation may be working so hard to reduce the high noise level, it won’t let the intercom get very loud. I’ve used some of this intercom on a bike without any sort of windshield (in a helmet with a shield) and after about 40-45 miles per hour, it gets pretty hard to hear. My kids sitting behind me have a better hearing so they can still understand the communication just fine. For older drivers, they may be a problem if your bike doesn’t have a windshield. Newer units are getting better all the time, so soon this problem will likely be resolved.

Another complaint is the controls. There are so many functions and only a few buttons to control them. Plus, you have to do it all by touch, which becomes very difficult if you are wearing gloves. Since you can’t see what you’re doing on the intercom, anytime you try to change a function, it becomes easy for you to put the unit in a state where you don’t know what it’s doing. At that point, you almost have to pull over and take your helmet off so you can see what’s going on. I’ve had times where I rendered my unit useless by trying to change a function while riding.

If you are buying these intercoms to listen to high-quality music you may as well just save your money. They just don’t have the volume for that. You really shouldn’t be listening to loud music while you’re driving anyway if you want to be safe. If you just want to hear some music, they may be fine for you. Just don’t expect an iPod-like experience.

Cell phone connection may work fine for you as long as you aren’t going so fast that the volume isn’t sufficient for you to hear the conversation. But remember, the more functions you use on these intercoms, the more confused you can get on what button to push to get a function to work. I’ve found that these intercoms really work best at just being an intercom. If all you want to do is talk to a rider or fellow bikers, they work great at taking the solitude of riding away. If that’s your favorite part of riding, then you may not want an intercom

Before you purchase a unit you need to identify how many riders you want to talk to. Lower-cost units typically only communicate between two people. Newer units now can communicate with groups of 15 or more.

Motorcycle Bluetooth intercoms are a great way to stay in contact with your riding partners when you’re on the road. They allow for hands-free conversations and help keep you safe by not needing to take your eyes off of the road. Here’s how they work, what they do, and why you might want one!

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