Can you hear me?
Blue Tooth Adaptor $49.99
Most conversations between me and my motorcycle passengers go like this:
Me: Look at that old DC10 next to the barn.
Me: (pointing) Over there. The plane.
Passenger: (agitated) Huh?
Me: Never mind.
And so it has been for decades, until the Scala-Rider TeamSet Intercom arrived at my door. It combines the features of driver-to-passenger communication with the convenience of Bluetooth cell phone use for the driver. Motorcycle communications have gone wireless.
The equipment consists of a driver unit, identified by a yellow control button, and a passenger unit identified by a green control button. Each unit comes with left and right speakers, a boom microphone and a sliding plate for mounting. A compact dual charging unit is included for charging both units at the same time.
We’re going to assume you know you need to wear a helmet to use this. It can be a full-face or a three-quarter helmet and the helmet won’t be damaged in any way by the TeamSet hardware. The sliding plate hardware slides over the helmet shell and is secured by two small set screws on the inside, leaving no marks or damage to the outside of the shell when tightened with the Allen wrench provided. The units mounted to my HJC full-face helmet and H-D three-quarter helmet with no problem at all. Both helmets have removable liners, which facilitates the mounting.
My primary interest was simple communication with my passengers and a system that functions very easily. After charging both batteries overnight, I slid the units onto the slider plates and pushed the “Control” buttons to turn them on. The Control buttons each have status lights in their centers which indicate “on,” “off,” “pairing,” “standby,” “low battery,” “call in progress,” or “charging,” by color and the number of times the light blinks. This is a little confusing until you learn the indicators and the placement of the light was directly beneath my fingertip when I pushed the button. It’s no big deal once you learn the drill. I would like the assurance of a “charged” light too; the unit doesn’t light at all when it reaches full charge.
The TeamSet features voice-controlled intercoms, which work perfectly when you’re on the road. Don’t judge them by how they sound when you’re wearing your helmets at the kitchen table. On the road with no windshield and face shields up, we could hear each other well at city speeds and just as well at highway speed with shields down. I for one would have bet against it. This is due to AGC Technology. The speaker volume self-adjusts to ambient noise level and driving speed and it really works well.
The TeamSet’s small, flat speakers mount in your helmet liner via hook and loop fabric and can be repositioned to suit the location of your ears. You must adjust the boom mic to be right in front of your lips with the yellow arrow pointing at your mouth. Other buttons include “Volume Up,” “Volume Down” and an intercom button that enables and disables the intercom function.
Now for you phone freaks. “Pay at the pump” was the last technology that I truly embraced, so I am not Bluetooth-enabled. Not to fear, Scala-Rider offers a BTAII adapter so I too can use my standard mobile phone while riding. You have to “pair” the BTAII to your non-Bluetooth phone to make it ready for use after charging the BTAII’s battery. That process is a little tedious, but once it’s done you’re ready to go. If you plan to use different phones with the TeamSet it’s no problem. The unit will accept multiple pairings. After pairing is complete just plug the BTAII into the 2.5mm headset jack on your phone and you’re ready to go. My particular phone is not advanced enough to support hands-free use, but I can talk easily enough. I just use the phone’s standard keypad functions. Only one of the TeamSet units is capable of using or hearing the phone function, so if you have a crummy phone like me, I suggest having your passenger wear the phone-enabled unit. Then they can safely and easily send and receive calls and relay the information to you. The TeamSet can be paired with up to eight separate phones.
Here are a couple of things I didn’t expect. Early in my use, I continued to turn my head sideways when speaking to my passenger. Years of doing that to be heard without benefit of the TeamSet had made it a habit, and it feels odd at first to talk and be understood while keeping your eyes on the road. My passengers all had a converse experience, wanting to lean forward to talk more directly into my ear, until they realized it wasn’t necessary. I will insert the obligatory check your local laws comment here, as to whether or not you are allowed speakers in your helmet.
On a full charge you can talk for about six to seven hours. The batteries charge in three hours, so when you stop for the night, just plug them in and you’re ready to go the next day. The hardware is sturdy, easy to use, weatherproof and unobtrusive.
Technologically advanced riders with Bluetooth will probably find a half dozen more things to use with the TeamSet, including FM radio, which is now available.