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Discussion Starter #1
Any of you ladies or gentleman use comms systems in your helmets? Any opinions on the best ones? Best voice quality, range, number of riders connected, and ease of use?

I run a FreedConn T-Max which is awesome for riding in pairs or a group, just wondering if there are better options out there?
 

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Bought Cardo Packtalks 3 years ago! Not perfect but very happy with them. I think they have 2 newer versions now
 

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I've been looking for one as well, for longer trips.

My buddy just yesterday was talking about the Cardo setup and how much he liked it. So I might look that route. IIRC he said that the Sena and Cardo can talk to eachother, but I could be making that up
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I've been looking for one as well, for longer trips.

My buddy just yesterday was talking about the Cardo setup and how much he liked it. So I might look that route. IIRC he said that the Sena and Cardo can talk to eachother, but I could be making that up
Your guess is as good as mine, I know a lot of people use Sena from reviews and other forums mentioning it. I’ll check out more info on the Cardo, haven’t heard of that one.
 

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Cardo works well. Never tried to pair with senas. But does really well with other cardos. I added a cardo Smarth that was on clearance. Me and both the sons can converse at same time thru the woods 200 yards, around one bend in the road.
 

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My wife and I have the Sena SMH-10. They are older technology and I have read a lot of poor reviews about this comm unit. Usually the poor reviews are from users trying to connect more than 2 devices. I don’t doubt that the SMH-10 is poor with 3 or more riders. For exactly 2 riders, which is the way My wife and use our SMH-10’s, they work great. When you buy these comm units consider the max number of units you want to connect with. I’m happy with the SMH-10 for my purposes but if I expected to connect to 3 or more riders I would be looking at units with mesh technology.


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Sena 20's for my friend and I,,, mostly because of the ability to have the GPS instructions/ Music/ Audio continue even while communicating. Audio overlay or somesuch. Leading a group it's really helpful to not to miss turns and exits. We've daisy chained up to 7 people (with 10's and other brands) with them. The range is excellent, line of sight pretty much. My friend (who's way more tech savvy than I) can answer a phone call and even link me in on the conversation. They're not without issues, linking with Sena 10's causes some odd interference some times, disrupting audio. But this may have as much to do with the Neanderthals using them and never updating the software as anything else. Was pretty happy with the 10's. I also like to have speakers mounted permenant in the helmet as well as the ability to use the custom molded earplugs just by plugging them in when on a naked or noisy bike/ride.
 

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Cardo works well. Never tried to pair with senas. But does really well with other cardos. I added a cardo Smarth that was on clearance. Me and both the sons can converse at same time thru the woods 200 yards, around one bend in the road.
Cardo's with DMC mode (Packtalk, Packtalk Bold and Slim) will only pair with other brands in bluetooth mode. They do have the ability to bridge in other brands with some help from a teenager :D
 
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I have the Cardo Packtalk and it’s awesome. I use it riding with my 9 year old son so I can talk to him and give directions. It was amazing the first time and the wife rides the RZR and can talk too. No hands required and you just talk normal and there’s no reconnecting. If you go out of range as soon as you get back in you just start talking again. Also pairs to your smart phone and has an FM tuner.


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I’ve tried three different comm units and currently use the Sena brands.
The noise cancellation is amazing with no annoying motor or wind noise in the background.
I really like the Sena’s ability to multi task and run the intercom, music, nav, and radar all simultaneously without a lot of fuss. I also use the handlebar remote on my street bike and really like having the controller at my fingertips.
The comms really shine when teaching new riders and it really shortens the learning process.
07CEDAA0-D9F5-4796-9B88-0B1352685F66.png
 

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I’ve tried three different comm units and currently use the Sena brands.
The noise cancellation is amazing with no annoying motor or wind noise in the background.
I really like the Sena’s ability to multi task and run the intercom, music, nav, and radar all simultaneously without a lot of fuss. I also use the handlebar remote on my street bike and really like having the controller at my fingertips.
The comms really shine when teaching new riders and it really shortens the learning process.
View attachment 196786
...and radar, I like it!:D
 
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No radar on the Tdub, with the 13/55 sprockets I don’t break 55mph.
The radar detector has saved me many tickets. I was surprised to find all the rangers and Park employees running radar. Yellowstone and Glacier Park have so many running radar that they have overlapping coverage.
The funniest alert was in the middle of ION (s/east Oregon) I get slammed with a full scale alert, but I can see10 miles in every direction and see nothing. Then we get buzzed by an F15 flying low,loud and fast.
 

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I've been through hell and back with comm systems.

Got a set of Sena s because they were hyped up by some friends. Got the ones that fit into the helmets. My helmets are Shuberth C3Pro and Shoei Neotec. The people I ride with got them also. They have Neotec helmets.
WE COULD NEVER GET THEM TO CONNECT RELIABLY. THE BATTERY LIFE STARTED OUT AT 6HRS AND AFTER 6 MONTHS EAS DOWN TO 4HRS. COULD NOT CHARGE AND USE THE SYSTEM AT THE SAME TIME.

Another group of guys I ride with use Interphone. So I got another Shuberth C3pro and installed an Interphone. It was very nice, but did not interface with other systems well. Pulled the com from the helmet and gave the helmet to a new rider.

Got a set of 2 Cardo Smartpacks. Installed on my buddy's Neotec and mine. Got an extra mount for my C3Pro. The units have no issues whatsoever, can be charged while riding (but I have not killed the battery yet, even at 13hrs), They connect automatically, can listen to music while intercom is on. TOTALLY SEAMLESS!
They have had the firmware upgraded, and have great functionality.

So. Cardo is the one.




Any of you ladies or gentleman use comms systems in your helmets? Any opinions on the best ones? Best voice quality, range, number of riders connected, and ease of use?

I run a FreedConn T-Max which is awesome for riding in pairs or a group, just wondering if there are better options out there?
 

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Five of us have never been able to make the Sena talk to the Cardo. Not in a way that was natural or easy, or permanent. And, once dropped, the Sena will not reconnect, and is difficult to reconnect.
Unless you want to stop on the side of the road and fiddle with electronics.

Not me. I'd rather ride.


I've been looking for one as well, for longer trips.

My buddy just yesterday was talking about the Cardo setup and how much he liked it. So I might look that route. IIRC he said that the Sena and Cardo can talk to eachother, but I could be making that up
 

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Smitty had pretty much the same experience I did with Sena's. I had a 20S model. All the advertised claims for range, battery life, ect were total BS. They claimed something like "up to" 1 mile of range. Horse hockey. More than 1-200 yards, even direct line of sight and it'd drop out and you had maybe a 50/50 shot of it reconnecting on it's own. Otherwise, yeah, it was pull over and fiddle with the damn thing to make it work again. Battery life was same experience. Never got through a whole day with it and after 6 months it had dropped noticeably, usually crapping out before lunchtime. Go to update the firmware, their updater software was a POS and you had a slight chance of it actually successfully doing the update. Mine failed, and "bricked" the Sena unit. Called customer support. Absolutely worthless. Give you 3 canned, unrelated "solutions" and then more or less tell you to buzz off. Found how to do a "hard reset" poking around online which revived it. Didn't attempt to update again. Plus, the helmet speaker model is fine for low speed riding, but on the highway it's useless. Engine and wind noise easily drowns it out and music sounds like complete ass out of the little speakers.

Cardo's are a way, way better product. They spent their money making something that actually works and is a finished product, rather than rushing a prototype out the door and blowing all their money on marketing and hype as Sena seems to do. Battery life is much better- gets through a full day ride no problem, they reliably connect without constantly fiddling, and range is surprising. But Sena runs a pretty aggressive marketing campaign and mails out free "demo" units to any mildly "internet famous" blogger or "reviewer" (read: shill) in exchange for a glowing 5 star review. When you look for reviews on Sena products you'll find they seem to be overwhelmingly positive if you look on moto blogs, tech review websites, ect. Go to the review section of a retailer, or look on forums, and you get a pretty different story from people who actually paid for and use them, and didn't get a free one to play with on camera for 5 minutes and declare it's fantastic.

FortNine did a pretty entertaining video review on Cardo vs Sena not too long ago and came to pretty much the same conclusion.

If you need more reliable long-range communications, get a set of GMRS radios and some headsets. They make kits designed to be installed into helmets with speakers/mic and then just plug them into the radio on your belt, handlebar, ect. Those have ranges often of 20+ miles, not a couple hundred yards and battery life measured in days, not hours. Some have voice-activated features in addition to push-to-talk, so if you're not worried about bluetooth or yakking to Siri while on the move, they offer a similar experience for rider-to-rider communication but with far superior range and longevity.

I don't really care about being in constant contact with people I'm riding with and so far my favorite product has been Plugfones. They're reasonably priced, come in wired or bluetooth versions, are effective at blocking engine/wind noise and music/voice comes out loud and clear. If I really need to talk to someone I just call them- if you tuck the little pod with the mic in it up into the cheek pad of your helmet, that seems to block most wind and the person on the other end can hear you (these weren't really intended for motorcycle use, they seem to market more toward the construction/equipment operator industry). The battery on the Liberate bluetooth ones I have easily goes all day and customer support is excellent- first pair stopped charging after about 6 months, called them up, and they sent me a new one (actually the upgraded 2.0 version, said the original ones were out of stock) no questions asked under the 1 year warranty. The Bluetooth ones support your phone assistant function as well, so you can ask for directions, play music, call someone, send text, ect all via voice if you need to. Or there are regular wired ones that go in a headphone jack- I've read about people using these+ a Cardo/Sena instead of the helmet speakers with excellent results. The battery also lasts much longer in the helmet com when it's only powering earbuds, not the speakers as well.
 

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I have owned both Cardo and Sena and i have no real love for either.

I started off with the SRC unit that Cardo made for Schuberth for the C3 helmet that was based off the Cardo G4. A friend and I both bought them at the same time and could never get them to stay connected reliably, they would lose pairing constantly while in use. I also could could not get it to connect reliably with the Cardo G9 i got for my girlfriends helmet, same issue. From there the unit stopped working and i made the mistake of getting a G9x and that one too would not connect reliably to her G9, same issues as before. Noise control was poor on these too, nothing like hearing the exhaust of my Ducati and a bunch of wind noise thru the headphones constantly when connected. There were also times i would tell my girlfriend to shift her TW since i could her her engine better then i could my own. According to Cardo these units were all said to be compatible with each other and they were to a point. I could get them to connect easily enough, it was keeping them working for more than an hour that was the issue. Cardo's support for our connection issues was almost non existent.

Then i moved on to Sena, got 2 20s units, one for me and one for her. My buddy also had his SRC die and he also got a 20s. No real issues with those units at all but i also never used them paired to more than one other unit which i hear is problematic. Overall i have very few complaints with these units, i always thought they worked well. I'm a big fan of the audio multitasking too. My biggest complaint is audio volume levels, sometimes the intercom is way too loud and i cant seem to change them independently of the other source. Noise control on these is worlds better than the Cardo's we had no issues there at all.

From there my girlfriend and i both ended up getting new Neotech 2 helmets with the new SRL system that is based off the Sena 20s. These also work pretty well together with very little drama. I really like how cleanly it integrates with the helmet. The drama comes in when i try to wear my Arai with my 20s or connect to my buddy's 20s, despite these being the same brand and are said to be of the same "20 family" they don't work together well at all. What ends up happening is both helmets the audio cuts in and out on the second source so if you are listening to music or using gps directions its useless. The audio is so chopped up that its unlistenable. I have updated the firmware multiple times no no avail and contacted Sena support which is worse than Cardo's. These unit also cannot be charged while in use unlike the 20s, that's a real bummer since the battery life is not great especially compared to the 20s. They also cant sit for more than a week powered off without the battery going flat.

At this point we are doing one of two things, either we are ditching the SRL's on our new helmets and putting 20s mounts on them and going back to using those or i'm trying packtalks to see if those work any better.
 

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A few years ago, I used to mount my FRS radio on the handlebars. I had a mike that I would wear under my helmet and the wife had the same setup behind me....except that she didn't have handlebars, she just kept it in her pocket.
If I had something to say, I would reach up and key the radio with my left hand and talk into the mike.

Worked fine between the two of us....
 
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