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BT Intercom Headset- Pics, Test, Review

Old 05-21-2013, 09:08 PM
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BT Intercom Headset- Pics, Test, Review

Hey guys, by now some of you should know my affinity for Chinese-made knockoffs and my pursuit to expose the good (rip-off levers) to the bad (adjustable foot pegs) in whatever I buy.

This time around I've been eying a bluetooth headset. Not only do I desire to listen to my music unencumbered by wires and fumbling at red-lights, but I also want to know what my GF means when she STARTS SLAPPING MY SHOULDER! Stop? Pee? LOOK?! At what? where? GOD almighty! LOL

So I did some research and basically decided that either the Sena SHM5 or 10, or a wired (I know, w/e) Autocom system would be the ticket. Both were way out of my tight-wad budget. So I saw these "BT Intercom" things all over fleabay China...at first I was skeptical, being burnt over the foot pegs. But I found some really good reviews from Amazon UK, oddly enough, so I took the plunge.

Out of the package:

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And into the box:

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Not bad! Looks oddly similar to how my aux bicycle lights came LOL
Size comparison. Thats a AAA battery:

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Mounted on my helmet (bell star) different angles:

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Sorry about the pic sizes...anyone familiar with photobucket knows what a crap-hole site it turned into after their 'upgrade' LOL But heres some more, showing speakers installed inside:

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So there it is. Actually, the form and feel are nice. Kind of rubbery feeling without being actual rubber. Button wheel thing functions and clicks as expected, beeps (not to loud) to let you know something happened. Pretty strait-forward operation too. Worked well with my Android HTC something-or-other phone. Garmin Nuvi 1690 not so much: it would not pair
Music clarity was ...normal. Definitely not Bose quality, more like cheapy headphone quality. But it works. Phone rings with a subtle pinging-dinging sound, you click the phone button, it works. Dude said I sounded alright (speed @30mph) but he came in garbled at times...keep hearing myself say "what? huh?" a little too much. But who rides to yak on the phone?!

Music volume control works. Turns up and down pretty loud, but at 60+mph there's to much ambient wind noise in the helmet so I just deal with it...I'm not for cranking up the volume to compensate, although it could.

So the initial taste in my mouth is 'decent'. This thing only cost about $98 (for a pair) shipped from China, and arrived here amazingly fast in only a weeks time, from this guy- DGBAY found HERE
MUCH further testing to come this weekend, I have a 600+ mile trip around the Catskill region planned with a few riding buddies to really put this gizmo to the test. Battery life, com distance, clarity, anything and everything.
So check back next week!

Last edited by Bandit400man; 05-21-2013 at 09:12 PM.
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Old 05-22-2013, 07:29 PM
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Looking forward to the follow up Bman. I'd like an A-B comparo to the good stuff if I were to take the plung. I'm a little picky with sound quality. Is it the cheap speakers that are limiting or the unit itself?
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Old 05-23-2013, 11:53 AM
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Hey wolverine...Haven't yet been able to figure that out at this point. Like I say after the weekend I'll be a lot closer, but still, without actually installing 'better' speakers for a back-to-back comparison, maybe there's no way to really know? Any suggestions on how to compare? Then theres always the helmet ambient noise factor (which changes with each helmet AND head shape) to throw off the results further...
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Old 05-24-2013, 05:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Bandit400man View Post
Any suggestions on how to compare?
Can you plug earbuds into the unit?
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Old 05-24-2013, 06:09 PM
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If it works for you, thats all that matters..

After trying different styles, brands...
I'm loving my new Scala rider G9's
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Old 05-24-2013, 10:06 PM
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Originally Posted by E.Marquez View Post
Scala rider G9's
Which costs?
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Old 05-25-2013, 02:07 AM
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i have scala riders as well and they are pretty awesome i'd recommend them
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Old 05-25-2013, 10:12 AM
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I have the Sena 10 bluetooth. It works pretty well. I wear ear plugs and a full face Scorpion EXO700 or Arai Quantum II helmet all the time. At full volume, I can hear the music pretty well. At 70 mph it is a bit limited. It is easy to change between helmets if needed. The mic cover can be removed and washed easily. Controls work well and are glove friendly.

It pairs easily with Iphone. Phone calls are easy and clear. Distance is about 1/2 mile. It will lose contact in twisties if the hills are in the way.

It last all day on a charge and recharges quickly. You can plug in an MP3 player that isnt bluetooth.

Given the challenges that these units deal with, wind noise, head shape, speaker placement, waterproofing, recharging, helmet attachment, pairing, etc. It think the Sena unit is very good. You can update firmware as changes are made by the manufacturer and you can pair with 3 other units on group rides.

Last edited by superbeater; 05-25-2013 at 10:28 AM. Reason: add and delete info
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Old 05-25-2013, 11:53 AM
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I would love to modernize to bluetooth, but so far, have not seen one that outperforms my old archaic chatterbox 50. (indestructable and like $70)

I can speak to my wife without the voice activation, its just open communication. And an ipod plugs right in and sounds good and stereo well over 100mph.

A huge thing I found is how you install the speakers. I have learned to put soft foam behind them to press them to your ear. Then put spandex material over them to hold them in place.

The only caveat is you have to wear spandex binis to hold your ears flat when you put the hemet on but its a giant difference with this setup.

I would never distract myself with a phone call while risking life and limb on a sportbike. But thats a personal choice.

Bandit, let us know how it works out.
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Old 05-29-2013, 06:52 PM
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OK guys...

After a long, WET, really freakin cold ride (it was sleeting in Catskill area Saturday night) Here's what I discovered.

Battery: it lasts about 5+ hrs, with just music playing. It did not conk out on me unless I hadn't given it a full charge, which takes about 1-1/2hrs. After hitting rain for the first time (I'm guessing?) there was this blinking red light that would not shut off after the unit was turned off...dont know what its for or why, but it would blink itself to death overnight, then I'd charge it the next morning-same thing.
Sound quality: like stated before, at 50mph or below it sounds..'aight'. Rock music came in better that ANY raps I heard because of little to no bass response. The volume would turn up un-healthy loud though to compensate for wind, but I didn't wanna blow my ear drums.
Bluetooth pairing function: At first, it aint bad. You hold down the button, it beeps, it pairs, your done. BUT...an this is a big butt...say you take a break, smoke a butt an rest. Call your GF to let her know your still alive, but will be home late. The damn phone goes right to the helmet, so you gotta change it over. Not bad. Problem is when your done, you have to re-pair it manually (thru your phone), it won't do it itself.
Distance: Now this one I couldn't test reliably because my friends cheap-*** helmets didn't have removable foam, and I wanted it in there good for proper testing. It fit into my GF's HJC CL-SP alright, but thank god she didn't ride with me...more on that later. So we tested it standing. Her in the living room, me walking up the driveway. I made it about 50 yards or so before it started getting static-y. Obstructions? Yup. But a 1000 yards? Give me a break LOL
Other notes: The large call, pause, play button...it is sensitive. Sometime my jacket sleeve would hit it while opening or closing a vent on my helmet and turn it off un-expectantly...like, wtf happened LOL. Also the button had little tactile feel...was hard to know if pushed with gloves on, other than a slightly delayed beep. The volume/fast forward/backward twisting action worked fine though- no complaints.

Now on the way home it started to pour rain about a half hour out...we [email protected] 150 more miles to go. So after we left @10am and arrived in NJ around 4pm we were soaked to say the least- rain gear held out for a couple hours, then started to seep and didnt stop. The unit has started acting funky...once it wouldnt turn off...just stayed on with a blue blinking light. Right now its off(?), no blinking red light, but I swear I hear that ominous 'beep' pairing sound now and again...weird.

The only actually nice day of testing (Monday), a super-hot bimbo pulled out in front of me, only to put on her brakes almost immediately afterwards to turn...without a signal. I honked, applied brakes, and when I saw HER brakes it was too late...I locked the rear wheel and proceeded to slide @ 20' into her rear bumper goin I'd guess @5-10mph upon impact...put a little dent in her bumper but my poor hawk is gonna need some body work...whole faring stay is bent to the left, and the rear brake bent and jammed. Not to mention multiple scratches and who knows what else...I put the front tire against a tree to re-align the front forks... Had it towed offsite for free, then road home th next day in the rain, with no rear brake...
So, sadly, I wish I could test this further with a passenger (that was the whole point!) but I'm afraid my focus has shifted temporarily.
I have till I think June 29th truly to return...and I don't think my review is whole without an intercom test with my GF on the back. I'll follow up in time...still got the bandit! LOL

Oh an BTW anyone that has a headlight, faring stay, left and right fairing for sale or rear brake pedal is encouraged to contact me! Thanks!!

Last edited by Bandit400man; 05-29-2013 at 07:03 PM.
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Old 05-29-2013, 07:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Wolverine View Post
Which costs?
$400 or so for a two unit set.

We rode 800 miles this past weekend, rain, sun, WIND,,, did I mention WIND

Clean, crisp voice at speed (70-95), music sounded great, and I actually had to turn it down one step,, it was too loud. That is a first for me..

Accepts two bluetooth connections with priority to the cell phone one.

I use my iphone, so had cell, mapping GPS and music in one connection.
Units lasted 9 plus hours,,,, per day.. may have lasted longer, but thats all we rode.
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Old 05-29-2013, 07:18 PM
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Bandit, were you on the phone during the broadsiding-the-broad incident?

Sorry to hear about the hit, but where & for how much was the thing? (sorry I missed it if you already posted it.)

In long downpours I rubberband a ziplock over mine, regular rain doesnt bother it.
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Old 05-29-2013, 08:11 PM
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LOL no, no radio either, just open road and v-twin music...
I got it off amazon only because they have a strong return policy...but fleabay got em too. under $100 dollars shipped
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Old 05-29-2013, 08:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Bandit400man View Post
LOL no, no radio either, just open road and v-twin music...
I got it off amazon only because they have a strong return policy...but fleabay got em too. under $100 dollars shipped
And a boatload less $$$ than the Scala G9s so if it works for what a user wants... Get it.

Nothing wrong with that at all.

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Old 05-29-2013, 09:19 PM
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So wait, you werent listening to music at all with it? You were just jabberjawing with you BFFs?

But just to ask more dumb questions, does it come with the speakers and everything? Did you mount them right up against you ears? Does it just communicate automaticly with another one for your girl? No voice activating (saying a junk work just so it hears you?)
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Old 05-30-2013, 05:14 AM
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LOL I listened to music all the way there on Fri-Sat, and some of the way back on Tuesday in the pouring rain before it started getting pair-weird because of phone calls and I didnt wanna futz with it in the rain.
It comes with everything you need. Just charge, read the directions and go. there was no voice activation, it seemed to be connected the whole time. BUT like I say I STILL haven't been able to test it with her on the back, at speed. That should happen by the end of the month though.

My best recommendation is if you never ride in the rain, grab it. Its a steal at $100. But rain is the only thing thats screwed it up so far (I think) otherwise its a decent unit for the cost, at least as a stepping stone to a better unit like the scala or sena
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Old 05-30-2013, 08:43 AM
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Ok thanks, that was a refreshing complete set of answers compared to what I usually get on here (maybe 10% of what I ask is ave).

I do like the idea of this thing and in all reality, those other brands are way overpriced and will soon be undercut by these things. I would bet you could waterproof it by opening it up and silicone caulking/ epoxy(ing) the insides.

Thanks for the write-up. Say hi to your BFFs.

Oh and fix your bike.
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Old 05-30-2013, 09:13 AM
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LOL workin on that man...people want ridiculous prices for headlights and stuff on fleabay...gonna get spendy quick...then paint matching? damn LOL

An I didnt think of that...just opening it up an a simple conformal coat to the electronics...I'll check that out tonight, if you can actually get to it without breaking it...cause your right, stuff is way too expensive for what it is, its all made in some Asian nation anyways LOL
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Old 05-30-2013, 09:35 AM
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Be sure to check out bikes being parted out on here.

I rearended a NYC cab years ago in the dead of winter. Front end locked up so easily in 25*. I just endo'ed a bit, no damage to cab or bike. Cabby just kinda looked at his bumper, waved his hand and left, which was fine with me.
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