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Old 10th June 2013, 13:53   #1
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Question Bluetooth Intercom / Headsets for Motorcyclists

Am thinking of buying a Bluetooth Intercom / Headset to use while riding. Tried searching the forum for Scala Rider, but got most results for the Renault Scala instead.

We have a . thread also . (The Riding Gear thread) and a. (Which Helmet? (Tips on buying a good helmet in post #78)) thread.

Couldn't find any reviews and suggestions on Bluetooth Intercom / Headsets and created this thread for users to give reviews and suggestions for the same.

Scala and Sena are the brands i have heard of, among their features an intercom feature is mentioned. Are the brands compatible with each other?
How is the pricing and where are they available in India.
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Old 10th June 2013, 15:52   #2
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Default re: Bluetooth Intercom / Headsets for Motorcyclists

Here's some posts to get you going, while the experts get here.

Helmet Review (Which Helmet? (Tips on buying a good helmet in post #78))

Link (The Riding Gear thread)
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Old 10th June 2013, 17:06   #3
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Default Re: Bluetooth Intercom / Headsets for Motorcyclists

@slicvic Units from Scala Rider and Sena Bluetooth are not compatible with each other.

I own a pair of Sena SMH-5 sets. I'm using only the intercom feature and nothing else. Not really sure what other info you need but I'll be happy to answer any questions that you may have. I bought them in the US for around 180$ for the dual pack.

In Bangalore, Let's Gear Up in HSR Layout and the bike gear store on Church Street (don't remember the name) sell them.
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Old 10th June 2013, 19:23   #4
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Default Re: Bluetooth Intercom / Headsets for Motorcyclists

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Originally Posted by Hells_Fury View Post
Units from Scala Rider and Sena Bluetooth are not compatible with each other.
This was my main query. So what i'd buy will finally depend on what most people in my group decide to.


Are these units detachable and transferable to another helmet without the need of tools? What about the water resistance during rains?

Right now contemplating between a Go Pro Helmet Cam and a Bluetooth.
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Old 10th June 2013, 23:27   #5
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Default Re: Bluetooth Intercom / Headsets for Motorcyclists

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Originally Posted by slicvic View Post
This was my main query. So what i'd buy will finally depend on what most people in my group decide to...
Exactly! Incidently Bachoo motors is now the authorised dealer for Midland bluetooth and intercom, which will pair with any brand (Max 4 units). These units are all weather, to answer your other query. But please remember none of these (intercoms) are legal in India.

The legal and probably a better alternative is Citizen band radio or simply CB radio. Please check out this thread:
http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/modifi...ble-india.html (CB radios now available in India)

The beauty of the citizen band radio is that:
1. It is legal, no licence, certificate or approvals required
2. it has at least twice the range.
3. There is no limit to the number of users that can be logged in at the same time.
4.And just like the bluetooth kits, it's range expands with every rider being added.

Let me give an example of this, let's say there are 5 riders spread over 15 kilometers with each rider being 3 kilometers apart from the one behind or ahead. In such a case the message initiated by the one at the head of the group will reach all riders, over the 15 kilometers distance, as each radio will act as a relay.

I am still not sure what it will be for me and look forward to added comments on the thread, since I am in no hurry (Of course if you have a pillion on mind then helmet intercom may be the best). The problem is that there are very few riders around, who are looking at communications alternatives and hence the limited choice and information. As a side note, show me a rider with a CB radio and I will show you a man called Mad Max.

One thing is for sure though, with leisure biking becoming more and more mainstream, this discussion/thread is going to be a popular one over the next few years...

Last edited by Insearch : 10th June 2013 at 23:29. Reason: editing and refining comments
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Old 11th June 2013, 10:22   #6
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Default Re: Bluetooth Intercom / Headsets for Motorcyclists

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Originally Posted by Insearch View Post
But please remember none of these (intercoms) are legal in India.

The legal and probably a better alternative is Citizen band radio or simply CB radio. Please check out this thread:
http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/modifi...ble-india.html (CB radios now available in India)

What is the legal problem? Bluetooth is used in almost all phones now and most cars too right.

Are the CB radios helmet mountable and truly handsfree though?
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Old 11th June 2013, 10:44   #7
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Default Re: Bluetooth Intercom / Headsets for Motorcyclists

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What is the legal problem? Bluetooth is used in almost all phones now and most cars too right.
Don't think there is any legal problem. We imported 2 pairs (4 units) of Scala Rider G9 from www.f-c.moto.de legally through customs paying taxes without any issues.

Scala Rider seems to be the most popular one around, with many Harley group riders using them.

I have been using the G9 for some time now, and like it very much. Switching between helmets is not as easy as one might think because of the unit mount. The speakers and mic can be easily changed, but the mount has to be either screwed in or stuck on. Not all helmets have room to fit with screws.

I use it mostly for music, and for short calls. Helps in group riding to stay together. Decent enough range, and if out of range, has a hotkey for calling your buddy's mobile number which can be programmed.

There is also an online community for Scala Rider which has Facebook and other social networking facilities as well.

The G4 is cheaper, but can connect upto 4 riders only, while the G9 can connect upto 9.

Hope that helps.

Cheers

Ride Safe.
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Old 11th June 2013, 18:08   #8
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Default Re: Bluetooth Intercom / Headsets for Motorcyclists

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Originally Posted by gthang View Post
Switching between helmets is not as easy as one might think because of the unit mount. The speakers and mic can be easily changed, but the mount has to be either screwed in or stuck on. Not all helmets have room to fit with screws.
Same goes for the Sena units too.

The mount is the toughest part to install/uninstall. Rest of the pieces can easily be transferred between helmets. But most of these units come with two types of mounts, a screw-on type and a stick-on type. So if you want you can install the two different mounts on two different helmets and switch the unit between them. Additionally, you can separately buy another set of speakers and a mic to install in the second helmet. Then all you would need to do is transfer the main unit between the helmets.

The Sena units are waterproof and rains will not affect them. I have ridden in light to moderate rainfall with them but have not used them in heavy rains.

Last edited by Hells_Fury : 11th June 2013 at 18:11.
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Old 11th June 2013, 18:35   #9
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Default Re: Bluetooth Intercom / Headsets for Motorcyclists

Quote:
Originally Posted by slicvic View Post
What is the legal problem? Bluetooth is used in almost all phones now and most cars too right...
Quote:
Originally Posted by gthang View Post
Don't think there is any legal problem. We imported 2 pairs (4 units) of Scala Rider G9 from www.f-c.moto.de legally through customs paying taxes without any issues.
I did not say that bluetooth is illegal (The word I used was intercom). Also phone and other bluetooth devices typically have a range of 30 feet maximum, and typically the term "Bluetooth" is used in that limited context.

I too have imported walkie talkies a few times. Mostly Motorola. The problem is that the frequency used by international brands may not be legal in India.
The Indian government has reserved certain frequencies for the Army, Air Force, Navy and other national services and civilians are not allowed to use these frequencies. Next: Certain frequencies may be used with a licence from the government, for private use (Which is different from civilian). for example construction activity, etc.
and last: There are certain frequencies which are open to citizens without any licence requirements. These are called Citizen band(s).

These frequencies are determined by the government of each country and the products sold in those countries are accordingly tuned to the legal frequency.
The Americans for example, use a different band for citizen band radios as compared to India. The imported sets are tuned to the CB frequency of the country where they were originally meant to be sold. Since this might be different from the band allowed by India, they could be illegal (Based on experience, most are illegal).
Hence the statement made in the last post.
Also the range for citizen band is limited to 5 odd kilometres due to the legal limitation of 5 watts output.
If your walkie talkie has a higher range, then it has a higher wattage, making it illegal. Of course the range of most helmet bluetooths (and Intercom ) is less than that, though the frequency may be in question. (A CB radio may actually be cheaper, legal and with more range.)

On the other hand if a large company has appointed an authorised dealer in India, hopefully these details have been given to the manufacturer and the imported sets are tuned as per Indian laws. Please share on the thread, if such is the nature of the bluetooth intercom that you have come across. They would be much more nifty than a CB radio.
The few suppliers I checked with in the past, were selling illegal stuff.

Here is a post by Randhawa from the other thread.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Randhawa View Post
As per Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, License for CB radio was De-Licensced in August 2005. Yet not many people were even aware of the legality of it, including me.

Government allowed us;

Use of wireless equipment in the band 26.957 – 27.283 MHz.- Notwithstanding anything contained in any law for the time being in force, no licence shall be required by any person to establish, maintain, work, possess or deal in any wireless equipment intended to be used while in motion or during halts, on non-interference, non-protection and shared (non-exclusive) basis, in the frequency band 26.957 – 27.283 MHz with 5 Watt Effective Radiated Power and built-in antenna

You cannot use CB Radios with ability to gain/increase the signal above 5Watts.


De-licenseing notice here- Click Me

So anything between 26.957 - 27.283 MHz with max 5w output for antenna is legit.

@IronH4WK- They are certainly available but I am a bit confused about the spectrum they use for that frequency(AM/FM/VHF/UHF). As in some countries they use AM for CB radio and in some FM for CB radio. Where as Walkie Talkie as per the link posted by Jaggu says it uses VHF and requires license-Click Me

It will be safe for me to say AM/FM CB radio using (26.957 - 27.283 MHz) is what we are allowed in India. I don't think we can use VHF/UHF legally without a license and it would defeat the purpose of CB Radio.

Last edited by Insearch : 11th June 2013 at 18:48. Reason: Spelling. The net has a variety of spellings for "License"
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Old 12th June 2013, 00:05   #10
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Default Re: Bluetooth Intercom / Headsets for Motorcyclists

Quote:
Originally Posted by Insearch View Post
I did not say that bluetooth is illegal (The word I used was intercom). Also phone and other bluetooth devices typically have a range of 30 feet maximum, and typically the term "Bluetooth" is used in that limited context.
The Scala Rider (and others) uses Bluetooth for intercom as well, and have a line of sight range of 1 mile (1.6km).

http://www.cardosystems.com/scala-ri...er-g9#overview

Don't think there is any frequency or license violation. Also, I think we're talking apples and you're talking oranges.

Cheers

Ride Safe.
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Old 12th June 2013, 11:03   #11
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Default Re: Bluetooth Intercom / Headsets for Motorcyclists

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Originally Posted by gthang View Post
The Scala Rider (and others) uses Bluetooth for intercom as well, and have a line of sight range of 1 mile (1.6km). http://www.cardosystems.com/scala-ri...er-g9#overview

Don't think there is any frequency or license violation. Also, I think we're talking apples and you're talking oranges.

Cheers

Ride Safe.
Bluetooth with Intercom could be illegal, depending on the frequency used for the intercom. the "Adventure on the Rocks" store in Hyderabad used to sell intercom enabled headsets and had to stop selling them since they got into trouble with the police. The frequency being used was not legal. It seems it interfered with some frequency being used for other purposes, officially.

If there is no frequency issue involved, then I could be wrong and your apples versus oranges analogy may be correct .

By the way I checked with the owner of "Bachoo Motors", Mumbai on Midland bluetooth and intercom kits. He has verified that they use the free or Citizen band frequency (26.957 27.283 MHz)and hence are legal.
So some good news for all of us.

Last edited by Insearch : 12th June 2013 at 11:12.
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Old 12th June 2013, 12:32   #12
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Default Re: Bluetooth Intercom / Headsets for Motorcyclists

Quote:
Originally Posted by Insearch View Post
I did not say that bluetooth is illegal (The word I used was intercom).
Quote:
Originally Posted by gthang View Post
The Scala Rider (and others) uses Bluetooth for intercom as well, and have a line of sight range of 1 mile (1.6km).

http://www.cardosystems.com/scala-ri...er-g9#overview
.
Since they are called Bluetooth Intercom's i thought the wireless mode used was Bluetooth.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hells_Fury View Post

The mount is the toughest part to install/uninstall. Rest of the pieces can easily be transferred between helmets. But most of these units come with two types of mounts, a screw-on type and a stick-on type. So if you want you can install the two different mounts on two different helmets and switch the unit between them. Additionally, you can separately buy another set of speakers and a mic to install in the second helmet. Then all you would need to do is transfer the main unit between the helmets.
So during an upgrade of the helmet, if the screw-on type of mount was used, i guess the old helmet would then be useless as a hole would have been drilled
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Old 12th June 2013, 14:59   #13
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Default Re: Bluetooth Intercom / Headsets for Motorcyclists

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So during an upgrade of the helmet, if the screw-on type of mount was used, i guess the old helmet would then be useless as a hole would have been drilled
No, fixing the mount does not require any drilling. Its just a clamp that is tightened using screws.
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Old 13th June 2013, 16:45   #14
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Default Re: Bluetooth Intercom / Headsets for Motorcyclists

I use the Sena SMH-10 and have been very happy with it. It is a very well engineered product that can be used easily even with your gloves on.

I bought a dual pack with universal mounting kit.

Installing on any helmet is a 10 minute job. You can switch it to a second helmets fairly easily as well.

If you have a full face and a modular helmet then order the kit that comes with the universal mounting kit so that you get the boom mike as well.

Sound quality is very good and most people on the other end of the line cannot believe that you are riding while talking since the noise cancellation is excellent.

It does support streaming audio as well so listening to music is possible though I find the sound a bit too tinny for my taste for music.

It can pair with 4 riders simultaneously so it can allow a 4 way conference or you can daisy chain the connections to extend the connections to your entire riding group as long as they are using the same product.

Range in a straight line is probably about 400 metres though the box claims 900 metres. The 900m claim would probably be true if it was a completely open road which is rare in India.

If you have any trucks or any obstacles between you and your fellow rider then the range comes down.

Ultimately you should choose what the majority of your riding group is using as long as the product is good enough.

There is no point having an intercom facility that no one else in your group has.

/sanjay
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Old 14th June 2013, 10:43   #15
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Default Re: Bluetooth Intercom / Headsets for Motorcyclists

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I use the Sena SMH-10 and have been very It can pair with 4 riders simultaneously so it can allow a 4 way conference or you can daisy chain the connections to extend the connections to your entire riding group as long as they are using the same product....
Could you please explain the daisy chain. Does that allow for more than 4 simultaneous connections then?

Quote:
Originally Posted by san9jay View Post
Range in a straight line is probably about 400 metres though the box claims 900 metres. The 900m claim would probably be true if it was a completely open road which is rare in India.

If you have any trucks or any obstacles between you and your fellow rider then the range comes down.
This is the reason why I feel that the CB radios will be better. They will perform even if you are not in line of sight, over a longer range. As per the supplier, even if the rider in front of you is over the hill, you should be able to reach him, though range may be reduced from 5 to 2 Kilometers.

Quote:
Originally Posted by san9jay View Post
Ultimately you should choose what the majority of your riding group is using as long as the product is good enough.

There is no point having an intercom facility that no one else in your group has.

/sanjay
Right, and since these are early days for bike communications in India, it would be great if more of us chose the CB radio. Because, then even when we travel outside our city or without our group, we could still be able to call other riders and help each other out, just the way we do here on the net (No pairing needed!).
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