For those who do not ride motorcycles, the fact that we can talk to each other while riding sometimes sounds like a surprise. However, for motorcyclists intercoms are no longer a surprise – almost everyone we know, who rides together with someone, use one or the other kind of communication systems.
We are as well not new to this. We started from good old CB radio system. Back then it seemed to be most accessible, affordable and effective option – while riding in groups with our friends, we would all put a set of speakers and a mic into our helmets, attach the push-to-talk buttons on our left handles and put a Cobra device into our pockets. There was a “ritual” to connect each other’s wires before getting on the bikes, since while riding we had to be attached to the buttons and each time we stopped and wanted to get off the bikes, we had to disconnect the wires. It wasn’t too comfortable and the wire connections would often get broken from constant connecting and disconnecting them, cheap buttons would get “killed” in a heavy rain due to poor waterproofing and we each had to talk in turns, since only one person could be heard at a time. However, there already was lots of fun with that – we managed to tell tons of jokes to each other, our friend Mindaugas would sing to all of us as we ride and there was a possibility to warn each other about various dangers on the road or simply agree on when and where we should all stop for lunch.
Three years later Linas and me, we decided that it was time for some innovations to come into our motorcycle life – we decided that we need to have a proper set of Bluetooth intercoms to be able to talk to each other while riding, make a phone call or listen to some mp3 tracks. However, since our riding buddies were still very happy with the CB radio solution, we researched the possibility to connect those two systems into one and successfully found an option! So we bought a pair of Midland BT Next Conference intercoms and Linas found old Nokia headphones and bought some special connectors and created a custom cable to connect the CB radios to our new Bluetooth intercoms. On our next vacation trip to Morocco we were still all tangled in cables and continued pushing-to-talk, but already had a separate private communication channel between us two. So we could constantly hear each other through our Bluetooth intercoms, but simultaneously we were participating in the discussion with all the other group members through the CB radio system.
Luckily soon enough all our friends upgraded to the same intercom system and we could connect up to four of us into a conversation through Bluetooth and so the jokes and songs became much longer without having to constantly crumple the push-to-talk button…
Finally, last year, our loyal, but already old (not only in years, but as well in technology) Midland intercoms left home together with us on a round-the-world adventure and successfully helped us to share our impressions with each other while riding the amazing Patagonia in South America, did the priceless task of transferring our warnings for one another about the dangers on the road or the cars coming from the front on the super-curvy mountain roads in Ecuador and Colombia and kept us in good moods through the hard riding days by giving us the opportunity to cheer each other up. But time has come for an upgrade. So after an extensive research we decided to go for the new Scala Rider PACKTALK from Cardo and now we no longer talk to each other via Bluetooth. We use DMC! The new Digital Mesh Technology gives us a longer range of connectivity and in case we need to, we can have up to 15 friends riding together with us and talking! And no more connecting or disconnecting the intercom broadcast for us – we turn on the devices and we immediately can talk to each other.
With the new intercoms, we can each listen to our own music in the background while talking to each other without having to connect any additional cables (feels like we are sitting in a car with the radio playing a great song :) ) or we can even share the song which we both like and enjoy it together. It is so smooth now – with the old Midlands we were forced to listen to some amount of the wind noise from each other’s helmet, while now, we only hear the voice, crystal clear – it’s amazing how good their noise canceling system works! Also, previously our mics were always “hot” – while riding slowly, we could hear each other’s breathing and now the intercoms only broadcast at times when we actually talk to each other. And I don't need to remember all the meanings of each button on the intercom - it has a beautiful app for my phone which controls all it's features!
Unlike some other travelers that I know of, we do use our intercoms A LOT! Not only for discussing what we see while riding at that moment, sharing the joy of traveling, agreeing on the plans for the day, but also for some fun talk about our previous trips or even some serious discussions about the fresh-water resources on the planet Earth or the electric current generator working principles.
So, we started the third generation of communication while on the bikes – from the CB radio frequency, through Bluetooth technology to the new DMC. I am already curious, what kind of crazy advanced technology will be our next step? :)