Solution for bike-to-bike communication?

graham

New Member
Hi folks,

My wife and I used to cycle together a lot 10+ years ago. With the discovery of ebikes, we are excited by the idea of getting back into it after a long lapse.

Back in the day, we used to carry a couple of walkie-talkies with ear pieces so we could communicate with each other while touring. Times and technology have changed - what is the best solution these days? A web search brings up Terrano-X (Cardo), but parts of it seem a little clunky. We were also considering just a bluetooth headset paired with our iPhones and a walkie-talkie app (or just a phone call) but couldn't find many reviews on that approach.

What other choices are out there? Would love some real-world advice as opposed to trial-and-error on these relatively expensive systems.

Thanks!
 

James Kohls

Active Member
For walkie-talkie-like apps, I've used Voxer for years: iPhone / Android. Basic functionality is free. I like that you can easily re-play messages if you need to hear them again. It also supports push-to-talk and push-to-activate/push-to-end talking styles, plus texting and photo sharing, etc.

The problem is going to be wind noise if you want to use it while riding your bike. Most microphones are terrible at canceling wind noise. Depending on your phone and the microphone's location, it could drown out any voice. Especially at e-bike speeds. I've used it while riding and on my iPhone 5S, most people tell me it is acceptable in terms of wind noise. But there are loud bursts of noise that can be annoying. Something you can do to mitigate the problem is cut the elastic top of an old sock off and place it over the part of your phone with the microphone.

Also, keep in mind, any app like this will likely use up data. So if you have a limited data plan, this probably isn't the best route.

You could certainly use a regular phone call as well. Look for bluetooth headsets with good noise canceling abilities. Even still, most bluetooth headsets noise reduction is for talking and walking or standing still. Add in 20+MPH and a headwind and most will fail. With a phone call, you will still probably have the background noise in your ear between speaking, which could be annoying. Especially if there is a lot of wind noise.
 

graham

New Member
Thanks! We will check out Voxer.

Most of our trips will happen within cell data coverage - although there will be times that we are not in cell range. I see that some walkie-talkie apps can operate just over bluetooth (or maybe a shared wifi?) Do you know if Voxer will? Or possibly other solutions?
 

James Kohls

Active Member
You need a headset with A2DP to hear sound other than phone calls via a bluetooth headset. I've never used it, but voxer does support PTT (Push-To-Talk) handsets that let you use it more like a handheld walki-talkie. But that requires their paid service.

You can use Voxer over Wifi, but I don't believe it will work like a peer-to-peer wifi system (no access point involved). It does not support messaging via bluetooth. Here is Voxer's guide to how much data is uses.
 

George S.

Well-Known Member
There are some low priced radios out there. You can use the FRS or GMRS, the latter requiring a license. You can get the most basic Amateur radio license with a simple written test. All these radios, from China basically, are under $100 for a pair. Since the distances are very short, any of these would work. The question is how to carry to radio, configure a speaker or earphone, and configure a microphone. There is a fair amount of stuff for ATV riders and for motorcycle riders. Midland makes a throat microphone and also a system for mounting little speakers and a microphone in a motorcycle helmet.

I've wondered if there was any way to do this. I don't like riding abreast and there is no great way to talk. A speaker inside a helmet and a throat mic, with a push to talk on the handlebar might be nice. A throat mic could lessen the wind noise, maybe.

I'm surprised there is no market, especially if they just built it into helmets.
 

MLB

Well-Known Member
Lots of options for motorcyclists, might want to check there. Those would be built to deal with wind noise I'm sure.
 

Cnugget

Active Member
I was looking for a solution for this as well with a phone and bluetooth. You would think that it would be possible..
 

drcollie

Member
I learned from motorcycle riding with my wife on the back, that I don't really WANT to have communications helmet-to-helmet. Bought a state-of-the-art system and it works great, the problem is she never shuts up! Constant babbling about this or that - WOMEN DO THAT - I finally would find excuses why the batteries were not charged in the headsets and it was much better to go back to the old way of not communicating much on 2 wheels. There's something to be said for peace and quiet and enjoying the ride....you'll find ways to talk when you need to. Unless of course, you enjoy constant chatter.....
 

Jeff Backes

Active Member
Hi folks,

My wife and I used to cycle together a lot 10+ years ago. With the discovery of ebikes, we are excited by the idea of getting back into it after a long lapse.

Back in the day, we used to carry a couple of walkie-talkies with ear pieces so we could communicate with each other while touring. Times and technology have changed - what is the best solution these days? A web search brings up Terrano-X (Cardo), but parts of it seem a little clunky. We were also considering just a bluetooth headset paired with our iPhones and a walkie-talkie app (or just a phone call) but couldn't find many reviews on that approach.

What other choices are out there? Would love some real-world advice as opposed to trial-and-error on these relatively expensive systems.

Thanks!
My wife and I love our Cardo headsets. We purchased them four years ago and use them whenever we are out on our Segways or e-bikes. They take a little while to pair up at the beginning of every ride. They also go into standby mode after a period of 30 seconds of quite. When I ride alone, i can listen to stereo from my iPhone.

I would purchase them again.

jeff
 

MLB

Well-Known Member
I learned from motorcycle riding with my wife on the back, that I don't really WANT to have communications helmet-to-helmet. Bought a state-of-the-art system and it works great, the problem is she never shuts up! Constant babbling about this or that - WOMEN DO THAT - I finally would find excuses why the batteries were not charged in the headsets and it was much better to go back to the old way of not communicating much on 2 wheels. There's something to be said for peace and quiet and enjoying the ride....you'll find ways to talk when you need to. Unless of course, you enjoy constant chatter.....

LOL, walking a fine line there bud, but you're absolutely right. One of the wonderful things about biking or other self propelled devices is the quiet and solitude you frequently get. I think that's one of the unrecognized fringe benefits of riding that always results in my feeling better after the ride than I did before.
 

Philiptan

New Member
Communications is useful when you need it and I agree that some may never want it. For me, I discover the joy (just like we need our smart phones all the time now) when I can share and also warn without having to shout or cycle alongside which can be dangerous in some road situations. For cycling, there is the Terrano and also Vertix. You should find them on Amazon if you search velo intercom. I like the Vertix as it is newer, more stylish, fits nicely behind the helmet instead of at the top (for GoPro) and includes a remote control! We also hear each other crystal clear and also hear everything outside with the floating speakers! Good luck on your choice should you decide to buy them and enjoy! :)
 

rmasa

Member
I believe sena has an integrated open face helmet system.

Search sena cavalry
 
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Polycarp

New Member
I realize this is a old thread that seems to have been revived lately, but I wanted to add a product which I did not see mentioned. I have never tried it, nor am I affiliated with the company, however it seems to meet the needs of the original poster.

The LINX Smart Cycling Helmet by Coros

Seems to be a few videos on YouTube as well.
 

LugNet

New Member
I also wanted bicycle-to-bicycle communications for my wife and I. As few wires as possible. Not push-to-talk. She much prefers keeping her hands on the handlebars.
I looked at the smart bicycle helmets and helmet add-ons like Vertix Velo and Terrano-X.
What I've ended up with so far: smartphones, Intercom app, Aftershokz Trekz Titanium headsets, and Cat-Ears AirStreamz (wind blockers) on helmets.
The Intercom app supports bluetooth headsets, VOX, and interconnect over bluetooth or wifi. We find the range and response better using wifi to link the smartphones. We could just call each other when there is cell service but the VOX feature helps with not hearing all the background noise the other rider is hearing.
The Aftershokz Trekz Titanium headsets are bone conducting: nothing blocking our ears so it is easy to hear the environment while still clearly hearing each other (or music/podcasts). No wires, these pair with the phones using bluetooth.
The Cat-Ears AirStreamz block the wind. Without them the Trekz microphones pick up wind noise instead of voice.

The smartphone-to-smartphone wifi ranges varies greatly. If my Galaxy S4 is the wifi hotspot, range is ~40 feet. If my wife's Galaxy S5 Active is the hotspot, line of sight range is over 150 feet (we have tested further)

Nothing is perfect and that goes for this solution. Trekz battery life is 6 hours. The phones would go dead sooner but we have ebikes and plug into them to keep the phones going. I wish the range was much better. Using VOX with Intercom adds a big delay between when a person starts talking after a break and hearing what was said.

Advantages over the dedicated solutions including using without wearing helmets. Yes, I mean only when off the bikes! Cost for the two pairs of Trekz and AirStreamz was less than $250. We like the comfort and enjoy the audio of the Trekz so they get used for other things all the time (which makes the 6 hour life a problem when, ahem, someone forgets to plug hers in).
 

Alphbetadog

Active Member
An emtb riding buddy and I have tried many communication devices including trying to adapt our motorcycle Sena Bluetooth headsets to our bike helmets. The solution that works well for us is a pair of programmable amateur radios with the FRS & GMRS frequencies and using a speaker microphone (like what the cops use) clipped high up on our Camelbak straps. We do have to take our hand off the handlebars to operate the PTT (VOX doesn't work because of heavy breathing), but it hasn't been a problem. It is very nice for the lead rider to be able to communicate warnings such as other trail users approaching, and when making turns onto different trails.
 
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James Lau

New Member
Hi folks,

My wife and I used to cycle together a lot 10+ years ago. With the discovery of ebikes, we are excited by the idea of getting back into it after a long lapse.

Back in the day, we used to carry a couple of walkie-talkies with ear pieces so we could communicate with each other while touring. Times and technology have changed - what is the best solution these days? A web search brings up Terrano-X (Cardo), but parts of it seem a little clunky. We were also considering just a bluetooth headset paired with our iPhones and a walkie-talkie app (or just a phone call) but couldn't find many reviews on that approach.

What other choices are out there? Would love some real-world advice as opposed to trial-and-error on these relatively expensive systems.

Thanks!
Check this out , the Youtube link below


I guess it might be what you want , a solution offers handy and wearable Push to Talk .

Best Regards
Happy new year
 

LugNet

New Member
The Ridingtoo RT1 web page doesn't talk about microphone, wind noise, noise cancellation, or being able to monitor your environment (car approaching). The users in the video were using various Bluetooth earpieces. I didn't see how the RT1 avoids interference in the FRS channel.

Looks like the RT1 could replace the smartphones and Intercom app in what I'm using. Pros for RT1: longer range, simpler. Cons: no voice activation if wanted, still have smartphone for tracking and guidance (Strava or Komoot) or music or taking/making calls.