I need to get a good rider-to-passenger communication system. Ideally, I'd like to get something that can also be used with bike-to-bike communication system. Also, I want to be able to give temporary bike-to-bike to another rider for quick install in their helmet so that people who ride with me can have some communication (i.e. lead to tail). Music playing capability a plus.
Up to what speed can you hear/speak?
What about communication between bikes and between driver and co-driver?
What about music?
What about mobile phone connections.?
There are thousands of Reviews all over the Web. This FAQ is just to let you know the Opinions of CG Messageboard Users, and to give a Cross-Section of what's available.
Air Rider Intercoms http://www.airrider.com
My wife and I both ride and mostly use bike to bike. In our four year quest for something that works and is portable we have found the Airrider Commcenter to be the best. J&M style headset that has great speakers and mounts well in flip up helmets (Schuberth and Nolan). The box runs on 12VDC or 4 AA's for over 100 hours and has two headset connectors, an input for a push to talk radio (FRS or CB), one input for a stereo music source and one mono input for a radar detector. We use them with both the bike radio on our RT's or mini disk or walkman radio on the GS. The radar interface overrides all and works perfectly with a Valentine 1. We prefer FRS/GMRS (much more clean and reliable) for bike to bike, but switch to CB when riding with other folks. We have tried Autocom, Chatterbox and Bob Wies's earphone headsets and the Chatterbox is the best for all around bike to bike with tunes. Bob's is second, but best for just bike to bike only since the mike is in the earplug and there is absolutely no road noise or helmet mods. Phil Space
Autocom is indeed the only way to go in this tech's book. There are other options but if they are more trouble than they are worth why bother. I have installed the different systems including BMW'S own BC1 and BC2 systems and Autocom wins hands down. I agree with Andy. Spendy but worth the cost. Stuportech
Autocom are very good but expensive. I run mine on an outfit with a car radio/CD and can have a normal conversation with excellent music at 80 mph. Above this speed the helmet type becomes the critical factor as you get false triggers and magnified wind noise due to the helmet ventilation. Bike to bike is subject to the usual vagaries of walkie talkies. I had a pair of walkie talkies with bike headsets and no booster. These were utterly unreliable even for rider to pillion and barely worked at 40 mph. Definitely a case of getting what you pay for. Andy#982
From my own experience Autocom is indeed the way to go. Stereo music at exceptional quality from the speakers mounted inside your helmet. High quality speech reproduction from the boom mic (several types of mics are available to suit the type of helmet you have - e.g. open face/full face). There are various packages on offer. If you buy the top of the range Pro-M1 it is expandable. It gives you rider to pillion immediately with the option to upgrade to rider to rider by buying a second Pro M1 and a set of walkie talkies. We started rider to pillion before I had passed my test and bought my own bike and it was a great success. We could clearly communicate at speeds way above the legal limit with no need to shout. The cable which plugs into the rider's helmet contains a wind sensor which controls the vox etc. to stop it cutting in when your speed is increased and the helmet noise would normally cause the mic to open thus stopping communication between rider and pillion. Since getting my F650 we have bought another Pro M1 and a set of Multicom jnr walkie talkies. Autocom recommend using Kenwood or Icom walkie talkies which retail at £200 EACH in the UK! Basically if you don't buy those then Autocom will not guarantee that rider to rider will be as successful. However, we bought the PAIR of walkie talkies for about half the price of ONE Kenwood/Icom at the Scottish Bike show and they work fantastically well. So well actually that you wouldn't believe that you were communicating via walkie talkie. There is a delay but we get round that by saying check to open the mic and everything you say after that is captured so the delay isn't too bad. The other thing is that it is always better to say over at the end of your communication to ensure that the person knows when you are finished. We can travel distances of around one and a half miles apart on the motorway at high speeds and still hear each other clearly. We have independent CD players in our tank bags for our music. The Autocom cuts the CD volume by half when either mic is opened and then when the mic closes it fades the music back to the normal level rather than switch it back to full volume immediately. For those who are interested you can also add your mobile phone to the set up. One thing that has pissed us off somewhat is that Autocom totally rip you off when it comes to buying leads. They charged us £36 for ONE lead to connect the walkie talkie to the Autocom unit! We thought that we could just knock a lead up ourselves but Autocom use special 5 pin din sockets that you cannot buy! Having said that the quality of the leads are outstanding. Totally enclosed rubber, waterproof etc. but £72 for two short leads left us smarting a bit!! OK I think I have bored you all to death now so I will close there. Basically I believe that Autocom is the only system that is guaranteed to work at speeds up to 150 mph (not that doing that speed is legal!!) and I will vouch that it works well at speeds up to 120 mph (tut tut tut). As the other guys have said .... you get what you pay for! I have several friends with Nady and BackChat and they all have something that they are not happy with .... the only thing I ain't happy with is paying £72 for two leads! Nicola #1061
In the UK and Europe the most highly praised 'Helmet Communication System' is made by Autocom. The volume increases automatically as your speed (and wind noise) increase. I've just looked at the website and they do have a distributor in the USA. Click on Autocom Helmet Communications. Trevor (UK) # 999.
After an "OK" $80 rider-passenger communication system by Nady, sounds like Autocom is the way to go on an upgrade. Big price tag....get what you pay for though. The demo video on their website is pretty impressive. If you have one, and mounted it on the bike, where did you put it ? Derek Maryland '99 Classic F
Can't help with mounting suggestions on your bike, but I do have an Autocom on my KLT, and I am not wild about it. The lack of any volume control is a problem. We sometimes end up yelling to be heard. In light winds with open-face helmets, it's fine. But in turbulent winds, or with the full-face helmets, we have trouble. (No, that is not backwards. The full-face lids make it harder to hear.) DakotaDakar.1198
It would fit in the tail of a classic. For what it is it's pretty good...but I got rid of mine. You do have to be disciplined in speaking loud to be heard if you have the system set up not to come on with wind noise. I got fed up with the speakers chaffing my ears and having to plug the thing in. For me it's an extra bit of crap that detracts from the ride, especially if you start getting into music & cell phone. Sold mine on second hand without loosing too much...you could go on a nice trip instead of buying one of these. Ah that's better. Ed Oxley #1262, Hebden Bridge, UK
I have the PRO-M1 (stuck in a section of old inner tube, sealed on one end) riding behind the tool kit, under the seat. I use a CD/AM-FM/WEATHER radio (SONY D-FJ401 ) that I put in the map pocket of my BMW tank bag, next to my NOKIA phone, with an inline Radio Shack volume control. I also have a Motorola Visar portable 4-watt UHF 2-way radio, with an external antenna, (this gives me GMRS as well as FRS frequencies) in the small compartment behind the seat. The FM radio, in the CD player, works great for me. I use rechargeable batteries in it and the inline volume is easy to control, except with the thickest gloves on. The 2-way radio operation and sound quality is fantastic, with the phone working almost as good. I have worked in communications for over 27 years, have 35 years on motorcycles and can't believe how well the Autocom system works for my needs. This system is on my 01 Dakar, that I ride everywhere, and all types terrain. I'll be glad to answer any questions you may have. I use the Autocom on my 01 Dakar, and like it a lot. The only bad thing that I have heard, is that my Nokia phone sounds a little tinnie when I talk. I use it with a Sony D-FJ401 TV/WEATHER/FM/AM/CD player and a Motorola Visar 2-way GMRS radio. Works GREAT. I picked up a Radio Shack inline volume control that I use between the Sony and the Autocom to give me easy control of the stereo volume level. The Pro-MI that I bought was sold without the radio and cell phone interface cables. I also got the handlebar PTT switch separately. I don't remember about the headset components. gwhis
Autocom is the best I've used. Mounting wise, on the classic the space in the tail is good as you can get a power feed off the tail light so its controlled. The alternative is to put the unit and your walkman/radio in a pocket (put elastic band round or put them in a bag) and get power off the aux socket. Andy Leeds UK #982
I'm thinking of getting an Autocom system for bike to bike communication and for handsfree use of my mobile phone at the same time. I think this system is a bit pricey but if what they claim is really true, it sounds worth it. Anyone with experience w/ this system? Or anyone in the gang use any sort of bike to bike intercom system? One of my friends got the Chatterbox system but he always complain that the sound get distorted a lot. jagged
Have the Autocom system and I have no complaints at all ( Ok so Maybe Price ) Don't worry about getting the Kenwood radios if you already have a radio, just get the correct cable to fit yours. Anyway good luck. Doug 99F GA #1206.
Thinking of getting a communication/music system. Any opinions regarding Chatterbox as opposed to Autocom would be appreciated. I understand that the Chatterbox systems now come with noise cancelling headsets. Thanks, docmatt
I am by no means an expert on communication devices, but it is my understanding Autocom is the way to go. As a matter of fact, I plan on buying an Autocom ProM1 system myself. Regards, Steve#1059 in MA
I have a Autocom Pro M-1 unit and a Kenwood FRS radio. My helmet speakers and mike connect to the Pro M-1 it works well. You can also run music and a radar through the system. BBowens
If you don't want the expense of the Autocom M1 system or don't need the other features of the M1, the Autocom bike-to-bike units work well. They are push-to-talk only, though. We also have the Kenwood XLS 1 watt GMRS/FRS radios and like them a lot. They are more powerful than the usual 1/2 watt FRS radios, but the same size. We have had bad luck with the durability/reliability of Chatterbox. Bonnie #1158 -- Northern Illinois -- '02 F650GLA.
Collet Electronics Communicator http://www.collett.mb.ca/
My wife and I have a 5 year old pair of Collet 900's. The trail riding performance has been poor, if you're winding through the trees, it's worthless if your not in a line of sight. The last time we used them, it was damp out, and got so much squealing and background noise we shut them off. I like the idea, but we hope our next pair have been improved so they actually can communicate as far as they claim. Iceman #975
The # one products was the Collett Communicator voice activated communication system. They are now on clear out prices as the new model with the cell phone line in is replacing the model 900.
I had/have the Nady system also. The head-sets were the first thing to crap out, cheap, cheap, cheap. Tossed the head-sets and checked out the Koss CS-15 and the Com-plug. The speaker-earplug sits inside the ear, and I can wear an ear-plug on the opposite ear. The sound is 100+ times better than the stupid speaker mounted inside the helmet, you don't have to blast the sound, and the mics really do a good job cutting down on wind noise. Around $24US each. Check out www.koss.com K604.
In the Intercom FAQ, under the heading of Collet Electronics Communicator, K604 writes about the Koss CS-15 headset being compatible with the Nady system. There are a couple of issues. First, I believe that this particular entry should be under the Nady section, but that's no big deal. Second, there is more than one Nady system and I think this may be what tripped me up. There's the PMC series and the MRC-11. I own an MRC-11. As indicated in this FAQ, the headset does indeed suck. Based on the information provided, I purchased 2 Koss CS-15's. After receiving them, I found out that the plug on these headsets is too small for the jack on the MRC-11. I can only assume that K604 was talking about the PMC units when he/she made this comment. I'll be looking for an adapter to remedy the situation. Thanks, Paul #1289. (Thanks to Paul for the feedback (ed.)
BackChat (Vixen Intercoms) - http://www.intercoms.co.uk/
The gal told me they worked well, kind of like using the old tubing headphones that the airlines gave out when you wanted to listen to a movie. Hopefully you will get a better answer from someone else. Andy
I believe that you have to be a close personal friend of your pillion ..... let's just say that I don't fancy exchanging bodily fluids with just anyone!! I'm sure that there must be some kind of filter or something but I just don't like the look of it in the flesh. Nicola #1061
Baehr GmbH (Helmets, Intercom, White Power)
D-35410 Vinningen /Pfalz
Tel.: +49 (0)6335 5004
Gidday Dean. I see you are in the land of the Long white windy uphill 2. The only reason they say Autocom is the unit is cause they have not tried a BAEHR unit. have a look at http://www.challengermotors.co.nz and you will see the BAEHR system fully explained. I have used it rider to pillion - bike to bike - and cell phone to bike and it is awesome at any speed. TJ will give you 28 days to return if ya not happy with it with full refund. KiwiRider tested it and were impressed. I have nothing to do with the company but am truly impressed with a product that finally delivers what its meant to. Cheers Steve in NZ
The best in the world is Baehr made in Germany. You might be able to check specs out at the following web site. http://www.challengermotors.co.nz/. Alan
There ya go David thatís two of us that say it is the best in the World, www.challengermotors.co.nz go to products then Baehr. Specs are contained on site. These units make everything but coffee and are nearly as good as sliced bread Steven in NZ
Baehr - German Dealer, http://www.motorrad-herden.de Harold
Feedback from customers on BAEHR Intercoms. (From KiwiDakar)
Hi Tony, The weather last Saturday could not have been better for an all-day bike ride North of Sydney, sunny all day, not too hot though which is great. There were 6 bikes in our group, 3 of which were 2-up. Both Gilbert & I had pillions, Gilbert with Anita, my wife Emma was on my bike. The intercom units were sensational and also allowed for a lot of humor between our bikes. Additionally, there was a lot less straying off-course by riders that were not familiar with the route we were taking. Gilbert & I were able to put them back on the right-track fairly quickly because of our dispersed positions amongst the group and of course clear communication between our 2 bikes via CB radios. Thanks again, safe riding, it has been a pleasure doing business with you. T Halvey. Sydney Australia.
Bike: Yamaha XJR1300SP Intercom: BASIC PLUS. (bike to bike) Hi Tony, Just dropping you a line to say my clients are amazed at how good the Baehr intercoms really are. They have had excellent results with music/audio hook-up and mobile phone as well. At last... an intercom that does what it should... It works, BMW K1200LT's, 1150 RT's and the list goes on. My soon to be wife thinks it is the best thing since sliced bread. This system has been and absolute asset to my business as a quality, reliable product. Thanks again. Regards, Detlev (Dennis) Zunk. Victoria, Australia.
Hi Tony, The intercom is installed & working. Very easy to install & only took 2 rides to adjust the system to the correct settings that suit us. The intercom works great and the quality of the voice reproduction is crystal clear even at 150km/hr. The stereo connection into the radio/cassette works terrific. I took 2 months looking into intercom systems & decided on the Baehr system. It was worth the effort & I am very happy with the product. Fabulous! I would recommend the Baehr intercom to anyone who wants to purchase a quality intercom. It changes the whole aspect of riding, being able to talk to your partner as if you were in a car. Thanks again for all your help. Malcolm Godde. Albury, Australia.
Bike: BMW R1150RT Intercom: Verso Hi Tony, Received the intercoms, they are fitted and we used them over the weekend and they worked like a treat. We have tried quite a few different systems but the Baehr system is the best we've come across. Thanks again for all of your help and we'll pass the good word about the Baehr system. Cheers, Shane Anderson Sydney Australia.
Bike: Ducati 750 SS & M600 Intercom: BASIC PLUS ( bike to bike.) Thanks Tony, The speakers are fine, the set up is great, the wife (pillion) is happy and no GST or customs charges were applied. I went for a test ride yesterday through some very windy high country and sitting on 120klm/hr the reception is very clear. I would thoroughly recommend the product. Rod, Queensland Australia
Have you checked out the Garmin Rino 120? From what I can tell, it not only has radio communications from 2 to 5 miles, plus it is a GPS ! Cost is $287.00 US I haven't researched it at length yet, but you might want to. Colorado Bob # 208. Member # 1297. BMW-MOA, 1999 BMW F650-SE.
I HAVE CHATTER BOX HJC-50 AND WORKS PERFECT ME AND MY GIRLFRIEND CAN TALK OR LISTEN MUSIC OVER 75 MPH. Or use the cell phone. The only thing I don't like is that we have to choose between music and intercom (not both at same time). I paid $175 with ext cords, headsets, battery power cable to bike batt. works very good. Guz
I use a HJC Chatterbox 50 for an intercom between two helmets, and to plug in my cellphone. It isn't the greatest but does give me handsfree use of the cellphone, enough to know whether or not I need to pull over and talk to the office. Best part of it is that AT&T Wireless bought it for me as part our promotion of 'hands free' cellphone kits for managers. Northwet #1101
My wife and I have two Chatterbox FRSX2. We have used them on a 27-day 9600km cross Canada trek. I think that I have almost debugged them for reliable use. Here is my personal opinion
1- The headset wiring is very low quality. I have rewired both headsets - that is soldered stock speakers and microphone to new wiring. Required continuity test to ensure wire to correct pin. The headsets use the same 6-pin mini din plug as your keyboard and mouse.
2- The stock microphone is useless at hiway speed. The wind noise overloads the system. This was effectively corrected with noise cancelling microphone donated from a quality cell phone headset. Chatterbox sells a premium headset for additional coin. I cannot comment, as I have not used it.
3- Stock NiMH battery gives two good days of use. The stock charger is a 120vAC transformer that drops to 12vDC. I would invest in the wiring that allows running off the bike battery. Or purchase multiple batteries for the radio. The chatterbox uses the same battery style as many cordless phones (i.e. found at any Radio Shack).
4- With the noise cancelling mic the VOX is reliable. Otherwise requires use of the PTT. The stock PTT is ergonomically uncomfortable. Any momentary switch can be rewired for good effect. Even the BMW hi-beam flasher could be used!
5- The range for FRS is good. Guaranteed reception if the bikes are within eyesight. The GMRS radios will give you further reception. The two bands have overlapping frequencies for compatibility. GMRS will require license with the FCC in the US or Industry Canada in Canada. I do not how they are enforced? Also with the popularity of FRS I am finding more and more use of the frequencies. Read kids/adults having conversations. This is not usually a problem as we are out of range within minutes.
6- The radio fits well into the front pocket of our First Gear Kilimanjaro jackets. A coiled keyboard extension cord makes this possible.
7- We tend to use the radios for important conversation. That is substitutes for standard biker hand signals. More in-depth conversation that requires dialog takes place while we are stopped like rest/gas breaks or traffic lights. Since we both wear earplugs we do not have yell at each other or remove helmets. Saves a lot of time, improves safety and increases satisfaction of the ride. This is a great devise for spouses on two bikes.
BTW - mini din plugs, dc power jacks, momentary switches, noise cancelling microphones can all be purchased at www.digi-key.com for under $20 Canadian. Adrian#668
Based on 1 1/2 years of experience with the chatterbox and 3-4 returns for warranty service, I cannot recommend the chatterbox. the people in the business are all quite pleasant and helpful, but the units do not perform well. I have had problems with each of the peripherals, switches, microphones, speakers, as well as the performance of the main units themselves. over 100 yards away while moving, speech has been quite difficult to understand unless the unit is helmet mounted. if you want the unit mounted elsewhere, reception degrades rapidly. carrying the units on the outside of our tank bags, we can only understand each other while stopped next to each other, while underway we have a series of clicks we use for basic communication?. Our dealer feels they are cheap units made to sell for a price, and one gets what one pays for. Josh.
Rider-Passenger Intercom/ I was wondering if anyone has experience with this
unit from Chatterbox. The 2mile and 5mile radios are too expensive for right
now, and it is seldom that I ride with a lot of other bikes. I'm looking for a
simple (cheap/quality) solution for rider/passenger communication. This looks
like the way to go, but I am learning quickly it is much better to check with
The GANG first. Best price I've found so far is $67.99 delivered and then $35.99
each for the headsets
Opinions/experiences/advice most appreciated. RideFast
I had a Chatterbox a few years ago but I don't remember the model number. It worked good up to around 40MPH, after that it was harder to hear because of the wind noise that the mic picked up. What I liked about is was that I could plug a CD player into it. Charlie #070 From PA
When I was looking for a solution to interface MiniDisc, Radar Detector, Radio, a Valkyrie riding buddy who had tried them all recommended J&M Corp but they might be over your budget as well, they were mine. David #476, '99 F650.
I use the HJC-50
with two full-face helmets. Works okay for intercom use for up to four hours on
the battery. I'm now going to transfer it to a HJC flip-up helmet.
Yes, you get some wind noise through the microphone but I put a piece of duct tape across the foam and reduced it a bit. I also use it with a Nokia cellphone but found that I needed to pull over to carry on a conversation. Not the greatest unit, but satisfied my basic intercom needs for not too much money, especially when the company purchased it as part of a hands-free campaign for managers. North"wet" Seattle.
I have used this setup for 3 years, and it works great. For the price, nothing else compares. I run a cd player and i also run this unit off of the accessory outlet so I don't have a battery issue. The only problem i have, is on interstate where speed is around 70 plus, then it gets a little difficult to hear with two riders using the unit. By far, the best bang for the buck if you are looking for music, phone, and intercom! KEM
I also use their products with great success. Try these guys for a little lower pricing... Motorcycle Accessory Warehouse. Yep, David -- San Rafael, CA -- '02 650GSLA
Bought a Chatterbox intercom system in 1999. First one failed within a week; it's replacement worked intermittently due to black goop inside one of the jacks. Got my money back. We sometimes use our cell phones; the earbud and mike inside full face helmet and the phone in the tank bag under the map pocket clear plastic. Gotta use one-button speed dial for obvious reasons. Works OK up to about 55 mph when wind noise get too much. Teddco
I have the NEW
CHATTERBOX GMRSX1. works perfect, for music, intercom and bike to bike, all in
one piece!. I made a handle bar mounting to keep it there, it can be used in
your tank bag if you want. People don't like it because the advertising shows it
helmet mounted but you can put it every where you want. Also is powered from the
motorcycle. I have less problems and more range that guys using Autocom with a
freetalk Kenwood hooked up. Noise reduction headsets work same as Autocom's.
VOX system is now as Autocom (need to learn how to use it well)
chatter box is all in one piece.
Chatter box cuts complete the music out when talking (Autocom changes volume to half)
For bike to bike, Autocom need some more accessories.
Chatter box is not compatible with all cellular phones.
Chatter box have only 1 audio, and 1 auxiliary input (Autocom is expandable)
Chatterbox intercom isolate you completely from other bikes, (Autocom still can hear the others while talking private to your passenger).
Depending of your music source Chatterbox can have better quality for music.
I wanted a Autocom but for what I wanted to do needed around $1000. (with grmrs radio). Now I do it for around $400 including passenger, and power cord. Four friends use Autocom and they are impressed with the 5 mile Chatterbox GMRSX1 I have. We can talk at 80 mph 1 or 2 miles away and works like a clearly as a phone (off course 2 way style). Same with passenger when I ride with my girlfriend with music. If you don't want bike to bike, go for Autocom but soon or later your friends will like to communicate with you. GUZ
We have had bad luck with the durability/reliability of Chatterbox. Bonnie #1158 -- Northern Illinois -- '02 F650GLA.
One you might try is http://www.jmcorp.com Art in Teaneck, NJ
From my research, what Phil said. I have yet to buy but several GW and Valkyrie owners I know really like J&M. It's the company that makes the BMW branded stuff, BTW. David #476
Bike to Bike Communications set up. In our 3 year
search for adequate bike to bike intercom with a 2 mile range we finally settled
on the Kenwood Free Talk XL units with the fancy cable mike, in helmet speaker
and push to talk (PTT) accessory package. All in all about $750.00 worth of
stuff. This should work beautifully under the tried and true American way of
"throw more money at it" to get a better product, right?
Challenge no.1: We have Schuberth concept helmets, which we dearly love, that have nothing in their manuals showing cable mike attachment.
Challenge no.2: the fancy aforementioned accessory packages are in an (unknown to this person) Asian language with no manual at all, just some cheesy pictures on the box about set up and a gazillion little aluminum tabs and zip ties for attachment.
Challenge no. 3 The actual transceiver is a heavy little bugger about 2.5"wide,1.5"thick and 5" high less antenna and knobs. Looks like it should be handlebar mounted.
We think this technology will work fine, but we need help in the set up. Any and all advice will be cheerfully accepted. John Stock
I saw a couple with BMW System I flip-up helmets who had adapted them for microphones by using the hardware for the latches on each side as contacts. He ran one wire around the back of the helmet to the latch on the other side and installed the microphone in the middle of the chin bar. With some patience, solder and epoxy, you'll be able to do it too. Just be sure to take it slow and easy with the styrofoam. Good luck. Flash#412
We also have the Kenwood XLS 1 watt GMRS/FRS radios and like them a lot. They are more powerful than the usual 1/2 watt FRS radios, but the same size. We have had bad luck with the durability/reliability of Chatterbox. Bonnie #1158 -- Northern Illinois -- '02 F650GLA.
My boyfriend and I use the Motorola Talkabout 289 radios to talk while we ride different bikes. We have velcroed the microphone to the inside of the chin of our helmets and put the earpiece in (this is an optional accessory). We reach up and push the button with our left thumb to talk. Seems to work very well, have travelled extensively using this system. We also used it with me in the car and him on the bike. Hope this helps. Anon
I was planning on getting this one: http://www.calamander.co.uk/intercoms/motorola/btbtalk.htm
My wife and I use full-face helmets, Motorola Talkabout 250s, and mic/speaker/PTT handlebar switch setups from Motocomm (Dennis Kirk - $56/set). They work pretty well. A MSF website may have lists and graphics of universal hand signals for group riding. teddco, Augusta, GA 97 F650ST, 1998 ST1100, 2001 Hayabusa
See http://bobscb.com/helmet_headsets/mc_headset_illustrations.htm alow. '03 F650CSA, Cincinnati, Ohio.
We got a set of NADY MRC-11 [I think that's the right model] of FRS with headsets and they work pretty well for us. We can talk when riding up to 75 mph if it isn't too windy, and even then, it's just a matter of shouting loud enough. The Autocom would have been great I'm sure, but it was around $300 for one set. We got three sets of these for $270 or so. [About $72 a set] It has both VOX and PTT, we prefer PTT. You can plug in a stereo, radio, or CD player that will auto-mute when you talk or someone talks to you. We may make some adjustments on the earpieces so they are in a 'cup' and we can hear better. Also can take them off the headset and use as radios only. Headsets are easy to put in and take out of the helmet and works with our flip-ups [Nolan and Schuberth]. We got ours through www.hififorless.com. Good service, great prices. NancyK#764
The GWers I know say Nady's are almost unusable over 25 MPH due to wind noise. http://www.nadywireless.com/mrc11.html David#476.
Nady MRC-11 update. Someone emailed me directly last fall about our NADY MRC-11 bike to bike radio sets [FRS system] and I realized I hadn't updated from our first uses of the sets. They continued to work well for us for four more trips, then we didn't use them for about two months. We got them out and put in fresh batteries and attached the speakers and mikes inside our helmets, as we headed out on our first day of a two-week family vacation on our bikes. They weren't working, one of us could hear and not talk, one of us could hear and talk and one of us couldn't hear or talk. After trying to adjust stuff, and re-checking batteries, we packed them in the topcase and took off, figuring we could debug them at our stop that night. After testing and more testing, we found that two of the three headsets didn't work completely [earpiece or mike or both were out..] Being out on the road, getting them replaced was going to be impossible. So we just packed them at the bottom of the bags and grumbled. Then we got home, unpacked them and I told myself to find our sales receipt and return them. Then forgot about it 'til I got the email from a Chain Gang member. I couldn't find the receipt, so I emailed the distributor we got them from, who said that THEIR warranty period was out, but Nady's probably wasn't, and emailed me a copy of their invoice from our purchase. So I emailed Nady, and heard back within an hour. Spoke on the phone with the customer service manager, who said, send 'em back and we'll replace them, and the warranty date starts over on them. So I did. And they did -- quickly. They sent us two radios and three headsets. The radios themselves also had headsets in the package.... So now we have five working headsets and four working radios. When I called and said, "You sent us too much stuff," they said "keep it so you have a back-up if you have another problem...." So their customer service has been outstanding so far, but I still don't know about the product. We'll handle the headsets more carefully from here on out and see if they last better. If we could replace them with a different kind of headset, we would, but it appears the jack doesn't fit any other kind of headset we've found in retail stores.....As i said before, we could communicate fine [not great, but fine] at speed, but we have full-face helmets and maybe that blocks some of the wind noise another lister mentioned? I'd agree that the headsets are not great. We didn't seem to have the same problem with hiss that you did, though.. hmmm. And you're right the FRS concept IS nice. We did use the two radios that worked as handhelds while we were on vacation and that was nifty. Please let me know how the CS15's work. We tried buying of different headsets with mikes at Radio Shack, but the jack and outlet didn't match and there wasn't an adapter that worked, either. Thanks. NancyK764.
Here's my take on the MRC-11: 1) The headsets are crap. One is a boom mike and the other is a separate ear-piece and microphone. Anything over 40 km/h produces an unbearable, deafening hiss (we also use full face helmets). 2) the unit itself just feels cheap. The antennas are loose on both my friend's and my unit. Besides this, I really like the idea behind these communicators - rider to passenger, rider to rider, rider1 to passenger2. You can plug in external devices. Also the fact that they are FRS makes them compatible with other brands. I have ordered a pair of Koss CS15's (as mentioned in the FAQ's). We'll see if that improves things. Paul #1289.
In the Intercom FAQ, under the heading of Collet Electronics Communicator, K604 writes about the Koss CS-15 headset being compatible with the Nady system. There is more than one Nady system and I think this may be what tripped me up. There's the PMC series and the MRC-11. I own an MRC-11. As indicated in this FAQ, the headset does indeed suck. Based on the information provided, I purchased 2 Koss CS-15's. After receiving them, I found out that the plug on these headsets is too small for the jack on the MRC-11. I can only assume that K604 was talking about the PMC units when he/she made this comment. I'll be looking for an adapter to remedy the situation. The plug on the Koss CS-15's isn't the right size - too small. I'll be looking for an adapter to make them work, but it's not the best solution. Thanks, Paul #1289. (Thanks to Paul for the feedback (ed.)
Found this posting on a another site and this describes exactly what I'm looking for. Wondering if anyone knows if this type of earplug/microphone system is out there. "I have tried an inexpensive intercom (Nady) and found that while the sound quality was bad the wind noise issue was the biggest problem, since the speakers just sit on the ear. Don't Chatterbox and other intercoms do this, too, just rest on the ear? I want something that provides both a high degree of outside noise suppression (like good ear plugs do when they are jammed waaaaay down in the ear) and clear voice transmission. On the other hand that doesn't address the microphone and how it would be incorporated into such a system. Any ideas about combining a mike and serious earplug/speakers into a simple intercom, folks?" Derek
Nady MRC-11 update. Someone emailed me directly last fall about our NADY MRC-11 bike to bike radio sets [FRS system] and I realized I hadn't updated from our first uses of the sets. They continued to work well for us for four more trips, then we didn't use them for about two months. We got them out and put in fresh batteries and attached the speakers and mikes inside our helmets, as we headed out on our first day of a two-week family vacation on our bikes. They weren't working, one of us could hear and not talk, one of us could hear and talk and one of us couldn't hear or talk. After trying to adjust stuff, and re-checking batteries, we packed them in the topcase and took off, figuring we could debug them at our stop that night. After testing and more testing, we found that two of the three headsets didn't work completely [earpiece or mike or both were out..] Being out on the road, getting them replaced was going to be impossible. So we just packed them at the bottom of the bags and grumbled. Then we got home, unpacked them and I told myself to find our sales receipt and return them. Then forgot about it 'til I got the email from a Chain Gang member. I couldn't find the receipt, so I emailed the distributor we got them from, who said that THEIR warranty period was out, but Nady's probably wasn't, and emailed me a copy of their invoice from our purchase. So I emailed Nady, and heard back within an hour. Spoke on the phone with the customer service manager, who said, send 'em back and we'll replace them, and the warranty date starts over on them. So I did. And they did -- quickly. They sent us two radios and three headsets. The radios themselves also had headsets in the package.... So now we have five working headsets and four working radios. When I called and said, "You sent us too much stuff," they said "keep it so you have a back-up if you have another problem...." So their customer service has been outstanding so far, but I still don't know about the product. We'll handle the headsets more carefully from here on out and see if they last better. If we could replace them with a different kind of headset, we would, but it appears the jack doesn't fit any other kind of headset we've found in retail stores.....As I said before, we could communicate fine [not great, but fine] at speed, but we have full-face helmets and maybe that blocks some of the wind noise another lister mentioned. I'd agree that the headsets are not great. We didn't seem to have the same problem with hiss that you did, though.. hmmm. And you're right the FRS concept IS nice. We did use the two radios that worked as handhelds while we were on vacation and that was nifty. Please let me know how the CS15's work. We tried buying of different headsets with mikes at Radio Shack, but the jack and outlet didn't match and there wasn't an adapter that worked, either.... Thanks. NancyK764, 01 Titan Blue, Illinois .
Here's my take on the
1) the headsets are crap. One is a boom mike and the other is a separate ear-piece and microphone. Anything over 40 km/h produces an unbearable, deafening hiss (we also use full face helmets).
2) the unit itself just feels cheap. The antennas are loose on both my friend's and my unit.
Besides this, I really like the idea behind these communicators - rider to passenger, rider to rider, rider1 to passenger2. You can plug in external devices. Also the fact that they are FRS makes them compatible with other brands.
I have ordered a pair of Koss CS15's (as mentioned in the FAQ's). We'll see if that improves things. Paul #1289. Red '99 F650ST
Resistor Plugs. I've been getting a lot of interference on my helmet comm. lately and one manufacturers website said the cure is to use "R" type plugs. I picked up the "R" version of the D8EA for my classic and have been reluctant to install it as the length of the plug seems to be different from the stock D8EA. Anyone used the NGK DR8EA. Better yet, anyone used on and found it actually cut down on the RF interference? Sean #1015 Ottawa Canada
I may be way off base, but I thought the resistor in the stock plug caps performed the same function as an "R" type plug. True? If so, adding an "R" plug would simply be adding more resistance to the spark circuit. It probably wouldn't make much difference in how the bike runs if the resistance isn't too high (for a while I used a 5kohm NGK resistor in one of my plug caps when the stock resistor went bad -- and my '99 ran just fine). Bob#550 (Olympia WA)
What Bob said. On my old Airhead, the mechanics kept replacing my R-plugs with Bosch plugs "to make it run right". Do my own work now, no more arguments...:-) But they were probably right. Consider putting a filter in the 12V power line (s) to the intercom system (assuming it's not strictly dry cell powered). See Radio Shack for options. Marty #436-Chicago-97 F650F.
Does anyone ride with headphones for music, news, etc? If so any recommendations as the most suitable type. At the moment i use soft foam ear-plugs (without sound) but am considering buying Sony's in-ear MDREX70LP's. These seem to actually fit in the ear canal rather than the more usual "in-ear" type which sit outside the canal. However, understandably, you cannot try before buying, it wouldn't be hygienic, this type and so its hard to judge if they would be of use on a motorcycle. I don't see the difference between ear-plugs that block out the majority of outside, especially wind, noise and the same effect with a bit of music or radio. Wearing earplugs is a safety device with respect to the long term protection of my hearing. All I want is the same protection from the loudest noises whilst having a little bit of entertainment played at a level that will not add to the general noise in the helmet, as speakers would, but at a level that still protects my hearing. Thus the music or whatever will not be at such a level as to obliterate outside noise merely to control it. The Sony h'phones seems a good compromise with easy connection to existing audio kit while providing noise reduction. The Sony site describes them as a "closed earphone structure" which suggests they also block external noise. However personal recommendation is usually the most reliable and it's that which I am seeking. Andy80F
Just tried my Radio-Shack/Koss headphones for $ 20 and they're just awesome!! Don Carnage
I had a set of custom molded earplugs made with "monitors" built in. 28-30 dB noise reduction, plus the music gets piped inside the plugs, so a standard CD player is loud enough (as opposed to external speakers trying to pump past a set of regular foam earplugs). One could get carried away and crank them up to damage hearing and drown out external sounds. They are expensive ($160), and I have yet to find a non-skip MP3 player (CD-based) to go on the other end (the standard radio works fine as long as there is a station nearby). There is also inexpensive "hearing aid lubricant" available from any hearing aid shop that will make wearing custom fitted ear plugs much more comfortable for long trips. Marty #436-Chicago-97 F650F
Are these the soft rubber kind that fit in your ear canal like an ear plug? if so, I would recommend that you do not use them for riding. they work so well that they block out almost all outside noise, great for listening to music but could be a bit dangerous on the road. I've tried the headphones you're considering and i think you'd barely be able to hear a loud noise such as a car horn. they're that effective. I'd caution you to try them beforehand. hk_rider
You really need a proper intercom like Autocom. These give fill control over volume etc. Basic rule with these is you get what you pay for. Andy Leeds UK #982
I use a pair of those compact headphones that fit into your ear. They fit very well when I wear my helmet (System 4 EVO - it has large cavities for a communication system), and seem reasonably comfortable. The particular headphones I have (I just cannot remember the brand now - aaargh!) has a volume control slide on the cord. It allows me to hear some traffic noise, and control the volume for quieter roads. But, my CD player tends to skip a beat when I ride on anything with a surface rougher than glass...I didn't have a helmet with me when I shopped around for the headphones, and think I might have been able to get more suitable headphones if I tried the whole range on in the store... It's a bit of a hit and miss affair, i think. I'd try out several types if possible. But as Andy Leeds pointed out, you'd really want to go with an integrated communications system. Bernard
I've used Koss earphones called "the plug" and found it pretty effective, and entertaining. I only used them when I was on fairly remote roads with little traffic. I modified the Koss plugs, using my favourite EAR soft neon plugs, which have a high NRR rating (33). After a few hours my ears became a little sore so I would switch back to regular earplugs, but someone with bigger ear canals might not find that a problem. I enjoyed having music on long stretches of lonely road and will do it again under the right circumstances (would never use it in the city for example). (I hope my links work ... you may have to search for the Plug on the Koss site.) The Plug http://www.koss.com/koss/kossweb.nsf/HomeCatalog. Cathy983 Halifax
I use Bass Monsters, from an outfit in Canada. With a bit of carving in my Arai, they are unnoticeable when mounted. I use the soft foam earplugs as well. I use the speakers for my radar detector, but a buddy uses them with a CD player and is satisfied with their fidelity. Harl #380
There are some relatively cheap Koss earphones in the Aerostich catalog with the same kind of structure. I think they run about 20 bucks. If you're interested, you might give the cheapies a try first to see if you like them. Robin #790 Chicago '01 GSD
I have been using the Koss earphones/plugs that Robin referred to. (Radio Shack sells them for $15-$20 as their brand. They say Koss on the cord) The "plugs" themselves are quite flimsy compared to good old fashioned earplugs, but they pipe the music in your ear canal great. I never thought I would ever listen to music while riding. I just felt early on that I couldn't safely "manage" the distraction . I've apparently gotten more stupid or more comfortable on the bike and have been listening to tunes for a few months now. I'm certainly not real proud of the fact that I'm likely damaging my hearing by making it "louder" inside that helmet with that music. The temptation of listening to your favorite music while riding those 2 wheels on the most perfect day you can imagine played right into my weakness. Fortunately, there are worse things I could be doing. Derek (Maryland, USA)
Power the MP3 (better than CD on a bike) off the tail light. If the music gets distracting, kill the light and the power goes off. Radio Shack should be able to sell you the kit (plugs, wire, 12v-3.3v transformer whatever) to rig this. Plus, you can't flatten the battery by leaving the music on. Andy Leeds UK #982
I bough decent regular Sony headphones ($3.00 on EBay) and took them apart. Installed the flat headphones inside my helmet, Nolan N100 with room for speakers. Then I added a Boostaro, http://www.boostaroo.com/ ($10 on EBay) which makes a great difference and prolong batteries life. You can listen to the music as well as road noises with this system. I also bought Radio Shacks 'own in-ear headphones ($20) for longer rides. Haven't tried them yet. I commute 70miles/day on my bike and enjoy having music onboard. I use my old walkman for now but I am planning to pickup an MP3/CD/FM player like Riovolt SP250 or IPAQ which should give more options. Don Carnage
I'm now on my second
pair of the Sony headphones you mentioned. They're bloody great, I couldn't
imagine a long trip without them. Music or not, they act as great earplugs and
sit more firmly in the ear than any (affordable) earplug I've tried. On the
other end of the headphones I am using a Sony MiniDisc Player. This little
beaut gives me 60hrs of play time from one charge (the battery is
rechargeable, and recharges in the player itself). It holds over 5hrs of music
(Sony lets you select what quality to record your music at, less quality =
less space = more music, the difference in quality is noticeable, but not on
the bike). The thing is smaller than a pack of cigarettes and has yet to skip,
once. All you need is a PC (or stereo) to record your favourite music (MP3 or
other). I would recommend a MDLP (MiniDisc Long Play) capable MD player with
the gasket headphones to anyone who enjoys a little groove on the bike! One
last thing. The MD player comes with a remote control (wired) which clips
anywhere. This give you the ability to stop the music while driving, control
the volume or any other basic functions you would have with both hands. It
operates easily with one hand.
Andre Whistler, BC #1119
Anyone tried noise cancelling headphones on a bike? I have a friend who tried one on a plane and he said he could not hear the hum from the engines. Wonder if this would cancel out the wind noise. I also have to wonder if the noise cancellation is really louder noise but not noticeable by tricking the ears and might cause long term problems? Don - Rochester, NY
Without the ability to try the Sony's I took the risk and bought a pair. Those who have used them seem to be giving a positive message, whilst those against are mainly warning against the dangers. Understanding the dangers will of course allow me to ride within the margins of safety. Any significant problems will be reported. Andy80F
I asked a pilot friend of mine, who is also a radio engineer, about noise cancelling headphones. He told me that it wouldn't work for motorcycles, because of the wide range of noises that we are subject to when riding and the need to hear certain types of sounds, such as sirens and cops yelling at you to pull over, or else. Richard #230, Pacifica, CA.
Like Marty, I have a set of custom made ear plugs with hearing aid transducers mounted inside. I don't have the package, but any audiologist can make molds, you send to company in Boulder, CO. and they mount the transducers. Yes they are expensive, but they block the most harmful frequencies of the wind noise, allow you to hear normal conversations even with the helmet on as well as sirens and horns. And they add enormously to riding pleasure, especially on long trips. After getting frustrated with my skipping CD player, I bought Sony MD player like Andre's and can pack about 30 hours' of music (5 MD's) in the space of a cigarette pack. l also think I'm actually more attentive when I'm listening to music, and when I stop the tunes, the custom plugs are great earplugs as well. The biggest drawback is that I often forget to put them back in after I've had my helmet off, and have to take it off again to put them in! David476LasVegas'99
I've got a set of the speaker/earplugs that Art speaks of. $160/set. You may want to be sure you are comfortable with "regular" earplugs before you spring for the custom ones, but they work much better than helmet speakers + earplugs IMHO. If you're going to the BMWMOA rally in Trentin, expect to see at least one person making them there. Another problem is finding a set of helmet speaker loud enough to hear through the earplugs without turning "crispy" real soon, and finding a CD unit that has enough volume to power them to that level (modern liability limits the power output). A Boosteroo can increase the power at the cost of more plugs/wires/batteries. Marty #436-Chicago-97 F650F
I purchased a box of 100 pair Howard Leight Max-Lite plugs for about $20. The Max-Lite are a softer foam and lower pressure, which makes them a bit more comfortable for all day wear. http://220.127.116.11/cgi-bin/WebObjects/HLSite.woa/wa/page?key=disposable. If you click on "attenuation" you will get a little chart which shows each plugs performance vs. different types of sound. There is also a more detailed technical discussion here: http://18.104.22.168/Industrial/education/Attenuation.html. Mason #631 - 97ST in PA.
Man I have never found a pair of ear plugs that work well and easily. They either fall out or just don't work well Bryan #1157, 02' GS, Lawrenceville, GA.
I use "sonic" shooter's plugs available at gun shops; the ones with the hole through the center. They stay in and best part is you can hear. Art 884
AOSafety. Been using the same pair for a while... about a year, actually. Yeah- that's kinda gross, but I'm going with what works. My favorite feature, besides the fit and the fact they never fall out, is that you can unplug one ear and let it dangle and you don't have to search around for it when you want to put it back in. Cost was ~$6. The yellow stuff is really flexible and I've never knocked one out while putting on the old Shoe(i). I have used the foam ones but they always fall out on me- mostly while putting on or taking off the helmet. Earplug log, Supplemental: I bought another pair of a different brand to use as shooting plugs because I couldn't find my yellows as I was headed out the door (only wear them for 30 min+ trips but my studs are really noisy so I'm trying to wear them more) but they were uncomfortable and a PITA to keep in my ear. Except for the custom ones, earplugs are cheap, try as many as you can until you find something you like. 2001 F650GS, Aurora, CO. chppdlvvr
I'm sure you have tried the basic expanding foam plug and probably put it in the category of hard to use. I've tried Hero's, the rubber ones with the little rubber bit in the middle. They seem to last a long time but slip out pretty easily and seem to shrink over time. For me, the good ol foam plug is hard to beat once you get the hang of putting them in. I used to wash them to get a few more rides out of them but the water seems to ruin the coating and they become difficult to use. Some people swear by the custom plugs you get at the m/c show. I'm to cheap to spend $45 on ear plugs I can't return in case I don't like them. With my Arai helmet a flush fit is required to prevent interference with the liner (mostly when putting it on). I guess chppdlvvr doesn't. I don't think the AOS ones would stay in my ear when putting the helmet on. Brad, N. CA., 2001 F650GS - Inmate #1002 --- Check the FAQs --- bg's stuff - unique solutions for the F650.
Earplugs take practice to apply! I have been using them for many years now at work and have tried both the plastic reusable type and the foam type. With proper technique and practice the foam one's work really good, the best for me. I believe they also provide the best protection. It's interesting, if I'm getting a cold I can tell because installing the foam plugs in the ear becomes more difficult and sometimes I can't get them in all the way. With practice though they install very easy and do a very good job and if installed properly it is doubtful they will fall out putting even the tightest helmet on. They may take some getting used to when properly installed because they do apply some pressure but I have gotten used to them. To install: First roll the foam plug to a firm smaller diameter and at the same time pulling it longer. Roll it tight. This is important they will not go into the ear properly if you donít. For the right ear reach over the top of your head with the left hand and pull gently up and back on the top of your ear this opens the ear where the plug goes. With the rolled earplug in the right hand insert it gently. This must all be done in a timely manner because the foam will start to expand immediately after rolling. For the left ear reach over the top of your head with the right hand pull gently up and back on the top of your ear and install with your left hand. To give you an idea of how much time you have to install them roll and pull one and watch it expand. The orange and slightly more firm form ones someone gave me in Death Valley last year have been very good. I have been able to reuse them many times and because they are firmer they are easier to get in. Will in CA
I agree with most comments. In my case, the most comfortable disposable earplugs I have found are the EAR yellow foam (Classic)...the ones with the open cell foam (not the coated film type). In my case, I found that the bit that stuck out past my ear rubbed on the helmet, creating a distracting noise. I finally discovered (that for me), you can just snip off a bit of the foam that sticks out, leaving just enough to extract them when you need to, without harming their sound reducing properties much (occupational safety officers like brightly colored ones with handles & strings, as they are easier to spot "compliance" in the workplace setting). I found that they worked so well, I could barely hear my helmet speakers, without cranking them up to the level that they distorted badly. So I got a set of the custom fit "monitors"...custom fit earplugs with the built in speakers (like NASCAR drivers use). Great sound (keep it low, you could hurt your hearing or awareness of what is around you). They were a bit uncomfortable because of how snugly they fit. A trip to the local hearing aid shop at Sears produced a bottle of "ear lube" (what people that wear hearing aids all day use). One drop of the lube on the earplugs (spread around) made them easier to go in and out, sealed them slightly better, and made them MUCH more comfortable than before. Not cheap...but what bike accessory is? HINT: the major earplug manufacturers have "trial packs" that include one of each type of earplug they make. You might want to request a pack for your trial at work . I've found that Lab Safety Supply carries a lot of different types, once you figure out which ones you like (and they take Visa/MC). Marty #436-Chicago-97 F650F
One of the safety item catalogs at work sells a sampler pack of ear plugs. I seem to remember that for around 10 bucks you get a package of around 8 or 9 different styles of ear plugs. It would be a fairly cheap way to find out which style and size of ear plugs work for an individual. I will try to find which safety supply house had these next week at work. Tom McCallum -- Salem Or. -- 88 K100RT/w uni-go -- 03 F650CS BBG#5
I will admit to spending the $45 for the custom plugs. They were fitted by an audiologist and they feel great, and work even better. Yes $45 bucks is a little expensive, but with care they will last forever instead of spending $2 or $3 every month for a new pair. Also, they do not stick out past your ear (flush fit) and I have had no problems with them fitting under my helmet. Whenever I used the foam plugs I had a real b*tch of a time trying to get my helmet on/off. F650CS, Kansas City. interp
I use the disposable foam type - soft rubber ones on string hurt my ears a lot. I have seen do it yourself molded ear plugs, similar to those made by audiologists, at Honda Hoot and BMW rallies. They seemed expensive compared to what audiologists charge, plus the potential effects of a screw-up with the DIY setup could make the cost rise dramatically. It would be interesting to have hearing tests run with the different types of plugs installed. I lost my right side hearing in 94 and needed surgery and a prosthesis to restore it. Deafness sucks, so find something comfortable and wear them all the time when riding. Even the wind and road noise can damage your hearing. 97 F650ST, 1998 ST1100, 2001 Hayabusa. teddco
I have two sets of custom ear plugs, and they are well worth the money in my opinion. They fit well, are comfortable under the helmet, and work much better at blocking the sound than the foam plugs. I found that the foam plugs make my ears ache after a while, and the custom ear plugs are always comfortable. I keep a set with me all the time. I usually need to put them in at the movies when they crank the sound up. Guess the young people now are hard of hearing and it doesn't bother them. My sensitive ears really appreciate the custom ear plugs. 2002 F650 GSA., GRITS
I'm with interp and GRITS on the plusses of custom fitted ear plugs. The up front cost is more, but the fit, performance, and down the road no-hassle benefit makes it worth while. And they clean up well with a bit of soap and warm water. Rick in AL.
I have had a pair of WesTone custom plugs, and they are great, but my favorite is the Howard Leight disposables - lime yellow/hot pink. I have never had them fall out, and they feel good, and aren't that expensive (the WesTones were $65 when I bought them in '92. And, at 3 score and 6, my hearing loss is becoming more noticeable, so I wear plugs ALL the time when riding. Take care of yourself while you are young, just in case you live to be my age. Different Strokes. Hal #15
For installing any earplugs, first give yourself a "wet willy", that's wet pinky finger in ear, ear plugs will slide in very easy. jrsue
I always had a
problem getting foam plugs to seal in my right ear, a problem compounded by
the fact that it was hard to discern until I had my helmet on and was back
underway. I had a couple custom sets made by EAR (now advertising in MOA-ON)
one with speakers, one without, and the problem is solved. IMHO, well worth
That said, I always had the best luck with Howard Leights as well, not the hard foam cylinders. David #476
I have been using the EAR Classic foam plugs for about 20 years and have been very happy with them. I buy them from Harbor Freight Tools for $25 for a box of 100 pairs. I can keep them in my ear for up to 12 hours without discomfort. I find that after removing the foam plugs, if I lay them in the sun or on my hot engine, they will expand back to full size and do a better job of sealing my ear on the ride back home. Richard #230
Ear plug performance is totally dependent on the seal that they make in your ear. If you have problems with compressible foam plugs falling out when you put your helmet on, they have not been properly installed in your ears (and consequently the hearing protection they provide is considerably less than what they are capable of). I have several pairs of the rubber-corded type plugs, very similar to the AOSafety plugs pictured in chppdlvr's post. I find they do not provide as much protection as a properly installed EAR classic, but they're much more convenient. (perhaps enough protection for motorcycling, just not as much as I'd like for drums.) But, I've found that the convenient handles get in the way when putting my helmet on, which ruins the seal, resulting in poor hearing protection (still some, but not as much as I think I should have). Northeastern University Department of Hearing and Speech custom fits people for musician's ear plugs. These plugs are around $100/pair but can be made with several different attenuation levels. They are designed to have a much flatter response across the audio frequency spectrum than standard plugs. For now I'm sticking with the cheapies. I can probably make the rubber-corded plugs work pretty well if I'm more careful putting them in, and more careful putting my helmet on. wicked94pgt
post got me wondering if we were talking about the same company. Indeed we
are. The same company EAR that markets one version of the yellow foam
cylinders markets the product called "Insta-Mold" plugs that are available
with or without transducers. One more point I left out of my previous post is
that I find the custom plugs attenuate "noise" much more and speech much less,
thereby reducing the number of times I need to take them and my helmet off in
the first place.
More info on their site: Insta-Mold Earplugs if anyone is interested. http://www.earinc.com/p2-music-competition.php David #476
I got my custom molded earplugs (monitors) at the Chicago Bike Show. Several booths were dispensing them, but I picked the booth where the lady's card said she was an MS, CCC/A audiologist. Marty #436-Chicago-97 F650F
Since I have severe hearing loss in the mid and high frequencies (too much skeet shooting, woodworking, motorcycling, and other noisy activities when I was young and stupid, I guess), I now have a pair of small in-the-ear digital hearing aids. When I got my gs a couple of years ago and began riding much more, I wasn't sure if I should wear the aids or remove them. I worried that they would amplify the wind and exhaust sounds. Surprisingly, it is quieter to ride with the hearings aids fitted than without. Apparently, when they reach a certain threshold (which is totally adjustable with digital aids) they go into a "compression" mode and don't amplify at all---becoming, in effect, ear plugs. Digital hearing aids do not have manual volume controls like older analog devices, but continually sample the sounds in the environment and make constant adjustments up and down and in a number of frequencies. Now, I'm not recommending $5000 digital hearing aids as the ultimate ear plug, but it is another way for some of us to enjoy our bikes without doing further damage. The bottom line: take care of your hearing; no hearing aid will replace the sounds that you now enjoy. No, I'm not an audiologist, but I've asked mine a million questions the past few years. Larry #754 Ann Arbor, MI
Scary amount of
answers you get there to your little innocent question, therefore this might
have been posted already. I found the technical descriptions helpful...
http://www.sonicshop.de/En/index.htm '00 f650dakar, Switzerland. misdt
I read somewhere that the high pitched wind noise that can be caused by biking (being both speed- and helmet-dependent) can lead to tinnitus and, ultimately, deafness if not caught early enough. After many years' use of the yellow foamy ear plugs, I took a chance and got fitted for custom plugs by Eryri Audiological Supplies (?) at the International M/C Show at the Birmingham NEC in 2001. I've never looked back. The plugs (obviously) fit well, do not pop out when fitting my helmet, and above all stop the wind noise like no other plug before (in my experience). They cost me about £45 (if I remember correctly). They are comfortable, do not totally deafen me, allow a shouted conversation to take place (when stationary), and are easily washable. Available in a wide range of garish colours, they are also harder to lose. I'd recommend them without hesitation. The bit about not totally deafening me is important, IMO. There's nothing worse than feeling as though you're under water, hearing every swallow, gulp and tooth chatter as if it's somehow amplified by the plugs. Someone once told me that it is vital that your ear plug is not totally airtight to allow pressure equalisation . This makes some sense to me and, fortunately, I don't experience this with my plugs. As an aside, riding my CS doesn't seem to cause the wind noise that my previous bike (K1100LT) caused - I guess that the turbulence caused by the electric screen was to blame. Hampshire, UK -- '02 F650CS -- '71 Moto Guzzi Nuovo Falcone -- BBG#17, CG#1310
http://www.tympro.com/uk/index.html They make custom fit earplugs and one of the accessories is a gadget that you can plug in a walkman or something like that to use in connection. They are a European outfit though Joost, '01 F650CS, The Hague, Netherlands.
Check under communication at Aerostich Riderwearhouse. I think many are available from different sources. Will in CA
http://www.earinc.com/p2-music-competition.php has 'em, too, and may well be the SOURCE for where Rider Wearhouse gets them. Flash 412 (CO)
Check these out. pretty pricey, but they are sweet. very comfortable and sound incredible. http://www.shure.com/earphones/store/products.asp jonmclemore '02 F650GS, Flowery Branch, GA.
YIKES !!! $499 FOR A SET OF EARPHONES !!!! Yea, I'm sure there's no mark-up on that......;>) I have a absolutely no evidence to support this, but I've got to believe that they AREN'T 33 times better than my $15 Koss earphones. I've been wrong before................... ;>) Derek, Maryland, USA, '99 Classic F650.
Got mine (EAR) at the Winter Bike Show a year ago...several vendors were making them up...price was about US$160 or so. My "in ear monitors" were made up by Marilyn Navia (M.S, CCC/A, Audiologist - Miami, FL - 305-477-2333 - email@example.com). $163.50 in Feb, 2002. YMMV. Marty #436-Chicago-97 F650F
BMW rider Bob Weis make excellent custom plugs. Take a look at www.earplugco.com for more. Rob Nye, '02 GSD, Director, BMWMOA, Yankee Beemers, Sled Dog Touring Team.
<...several vendors were making them up...price was about US$160 or so> If I'm not mistaken, those are the same thing EAR makes (flash's link). A vendor makes a mold, send 'em to EAR and they make the plugs and install the transducers. Any audiologist can do the same. I use them and like them a lot, for music. For just plain earplugs, I've found Howard Leichts to provide the best isolation. FWIW, I use the Shure products at work and although they DO sound great, I don't think they would be the best MC option for a couple of reasons. The shape would make it hard to keep them in place getting your helmet on and off, and wind noise on the external bits would be amplified in your ear canal. That's why the EAR models fill the ear canal and sit flush with the ear. If you really want to go HOG WILD, EAR will fit E2s or E5s in their molds. We had to do this on "Lion King" for the percussionists who are in the house (in front of the PA) because the stock E2s didn't isolate them from the speakers enough. (Another reason I don't think as ear "plugs" they are a good MC option. David #476, '99 F650, Las Vegas, NV.
I just had a set of custom earplugs made for the range. Since I plan on using them on the bike as well, they made them flat on the outside so they don't get moved around when putting the helmet on. They also offer to put little earphones inside these plugs, but the noise reduction is reduced quite a bit if you do this. They cost me $40 and a company named www.EARInc.com makes them. '03 black GS, Colorado. Razz
I bought excellent headphones/earplugs combo at Radio Shack for $ 22.00 and I like them a lot. Radioshack. I also bought the IRIVER SlimX 400 and now I have CD/Radio and MP3 capabilities. I am really enjoying this music setup. Don Carnage, Inmate # 1243, 1997 F650 - Red. Southbury, CT. Never ride faster than your guardian angel can fly!