When you hit the road with a fellow rider, a good part of the venture is enjoying fresh air, exercise, speed and being connected with the road and the environment. Still, you’re not riding alone, and it’s good to converse with your fellow rider without having to yell. You'll have times, too, when you want to give your riding companion a heads-up about a pothole or some other roadside hazard. Various bike-to-bike communication systems are available and they differ vastly in cost and function.
Many bike-to-bike intercoms are marketed for motorcycles. These systems offer wired or Bluetooth connections. Wired intercoms have a main unit for each cycle attached by a wire to a headset composed of a microphone and, often, speakers that attach inside the helmet. Headsets with earphones are available online, if not provided with the original equipment. Most wired intercoms are CB or FRS/GMRS, which requires a FCC license, according to a 2007 issue of Motortcycle Cruiser. The chief advantage of FRS/GMRS is that it allows for communication among an unlimited number of fellow riders. One of the considerable disadvantages of most wired motorcycle intercoms, aside from their weight, is the expense, which can start at $300 and can go well above $1,000, as of January 2011. These systems tend to be simplex, meaning that only one person can talk at a time.
Motorcycle Bluetooth Intercoms
Bluetooth bike-to-bike intercoms connect to the main unit via Bluetooth and so don’t require wires. They are lightweight and can be built into or attached to the helmet. Most Bluetooth intercoms broadcast to speakers which are designed to attach to the inside of a helmet, so you will have to look for compatible earpieces or headsets.
You can save money by building your own wireless intercom with used hardware found easily on eBay or elsewhere online. Buy a low-end wired motorcycle intercom. You won’t need the wired headset. Instead, connect a Jabra A210, an adapter that allows two-way communication with Bluetooth.You might need to get a further adapter cable to convert the intercom output into the 2.5 mm cable input necessary for the Jabra A210. Then, sync your Bluetooth earpiece with the Jabra A210.
Search the web and you’ll find other options that allow bike-to-bike communication. Tandem digital wireless provides duplex communication between two riders, meaning both riders can talk at the same time. Speakers are held in place by a behind-the-head headset and are equipped with a boom mike. The units are not waterproof and need to be protected by a plastic bag in case of rain. Another option is to go with the Interphone Bluetooth, an intercom system designed by a European consortium, according to Web Bike World. This system is water-resistant and allows communication between riders up to 500 m away, reports SoftPedia. Instructions for how to retrofit a commercial headphone neckband to hold the Interphone in-helmet speaker system can be found at Tandem Rides.