There’s something about the connection between man, machine, and the elements. Hand on the throttle, rubber on the asphalt, warm sun and cool wind on face. It’s part of the beautiful connection of riding. When we were looking to expand our connection to include others, we bought a Cardo Scala Rider Multiset Q2.
Motorcycle Intercom / Communication System
The Q2 is a straightforward Bluetooth device which mounts to the helmet, features a microphone (one of two designed either for full face or open face helmets), allowing communication between rider and passenger, multiple riders with Q2s, or rider and his or her cell phone.
The girlfriend and I thought in order to really share our riding experience together it would be great if we could speak to one another. When she began riding her own bike the Scala Rider Q2s doubled as an extra security measure: “Sweetie, kindly get out of my blindspot before you get us killed. Thanks dear.” There is also the possibility of having three riders with Scalas paired up, with two people talking while the other is “on hold”.
The Scala can also be paired with your cell phone, enabling calling while on the road. Call quality at city speeds was excellent and often the person on the other line didn’t believe that I was riding through traffic except for those who picked up on the sound of the engine. Personally, neither of us pair our Scalas to our phones. There’s a time for us to ride our motorcycles, and a time for everyone else to have access to us. We don’t need the extra distraction while on two wheels.
The quality outside of town and at highway speeds is equally good. There is some background noise around 80 km/hr and up. We wear ear plugs when out on longer rides, so we’ve found that wearing ear plugs and pumping the Scala to full volume lets us hear each other clearly, without any of the wind noise. Static doesn’t develop until riders are far and wide apart or split over a steep hill, telling us the Scala would be great for communication between ride leaders and tail gunners of group rides of 10 or so motorcycles.
The MultiSet or TeamSet comes in a stylish and rich box and the finish on the product and its packaging are excellent, giving the Scala a polished, rugged feel. We have yet to have the battery die on us mid-ride and the Scala will cut in and out in between conversations rather than constantly broadcasting to save battery life.
The Scala Q2 Rider MultiSet isn’t perfect. Despite two Velcro-in speakers sound quality for MP3 playback leaves something to be desired and requires a wired connection as the Q2 does not have Bluetooth A2DP for audio. The new Scala G4 features improved quality and features. See the next page for a Cardo Scala Q2 vs. G4 Comparison. Other systems by IMC, Midland, ChatterBox and more exist as well. For us, the Scala Q2 MultiSet is more than sufficient and we won’t be upgrading any time soon.
Would you ride with a motorcycle intercom system? Would you use it for speaking with your passenger or another rider, or paired to your phone as well? If you currently have a motorcycle intercom system, which one is it and how do you find it? Please leave your comments!
Battle of the Motorcycle Intercom Systems
Scala Rider Q2
Scala Rider G4
|Bluetooth wireless bike-to-bike and rider-passenger intercom?||Yes, 450 meters||Yes, 1.6 km (with antenna extended)|
|Connect to mobile phone/GPS via Bluetooth||Yes||Yes|
|Fits virtually any helmet?||Yes||Full face and three quarter helmets|
|Automatic volume control?||Yes||Yes|
|FM Radio?||Yes, 6 station memory manual frequency||Yes, with scan/seek and 6 station memory|
|Jack for MP3 players?||Yes||Yes|
|Stereo Music?||FM and MP3||FM, MP3 and Bluetooth (A2DP)|
|Talk time/Standby time?||8 hours, 10 days||10 hours, 7 days|
|Battery type?||Internal, rechargeable||Internal, rechargeable|
|Max. paired units?||3||4|
|Backward compatible with older units?||Yes||Yes|
|Wet weather?||Fully weather protected||Weather resistant|
|Firmware upgradable by user?||No||Yes|
|Status announcements for easy operation?||No||Yes|