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Farkle Purchasing System
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Discussion Starter #1
Girlfriend and I have been riding more and more. We need a way to talk on the go. Also she wants a way to listen to music. That isn't as important for me - but wouldn't hurt on longer trips.

Obviously, this means some sort of in-helmet headset.

Do any of the cheap Chinesium ones (Fodsports, Freedconn, etc.) have voice-activated intercom? I've looked at a couple, but they invariably seem to require pressing a button on the unit itself to switch between music and intercom mode. We don't want that. I don't want to have to take my hands off the controls to talk to her, and she doesn't want to have to constantly switch between music and intercom modes.

We're not interested in any earbud-type solution. They don't provide enough hearing protection from wind noise, and neither of us wants to deal with wires.

We're also not interested in shelling out for the more expensive devices (Sena et al) at this point. It would be best if we could stick to the models that are <$100 to $150 for two.
 

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Farkle Purchasing System
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Discussion Starter #3
Do any offer a mode-switching button that can be put on the handlebars?

I don't want to have to fiddle with something on my helmet to talk to her. Rather keep my hands on the controls.
 

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Farkle Purchasing System
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Discussion Starter #4
Also, we are not really expecting this to work at interstate speeds (>75 mph). It's just too noisy in that case. I can barely hear my Cardo Q-Solo at that speed.

At the same time, it would be nice to hear each other clearly without taking our helmets off or having to stop.
 

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So far, I'd say you can't have what you want without paying for the expensive units. Cardo is, I think, the only voice activated system, but it is quite good. Send may have a handle bar thingy, but I don't think they do the voice activated commands. I have a backtalk bold and I only touch the unit to turn it on or off, and occasionally adjust volume, but that is also voice command accessible. Money solves the problem.
 

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While I haven't yet used the intercom function I can back up @Umbrianissimo
The VOX works perfectly at speeds up to and over 75 mph (120 kph). When calling friends (hands free using voice commands) my friends didn't even know I was on the bike riding. (A client also called when I was riding and he didn't know either.)

Over the years my hearing has gone down the tubes. Combination of aging, flying airplanes, riding and mainly Black Sabbath now means I have tinnitus. I wear hearing aids at work and at social events and earplugs when riding and have no problem hearing and more importantly understanding people on the phone. I'm sure communicating with passengers or other riders will be just as clear.

..Tom
 

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Farkle Purchasing System
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Discussion Starter #7
We assume listening through earplugs, which is one area where the cheaper units have previously fallen short.

Interoperability amongst brands is nonexistent to spotty, last I checked. Thus the idea to buy a 2-pack of whatever unit we decide on.
 

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For several years, I used this, for pretty much the things you're looking for:



The brand name is irrelevant; this same unit has been imported from China under multiple brand names. I paid about $90.00 for a set of two of them, probably six years ago at least. They worked fine for communication with my passenger, to listen to music, and to use the phone. I never tried to pair more than two of them together, so I can't comment on how well that worked. They did use bluetooth, but no mesh of course. The one area I found a little lacking was in the helmet speakers; at highway speeds they got a little hard to hear, but we also had some fairly cheap AFX helmets which were pretty loud. They would have probably sounded better if we'd had better helmets. We used earbuds instead of the speakers.

Eventually I upgraded to a set of Sena SMH10's, but honestly, these units worked pretty well at that price point. I even hung onto them in case I ever had to press them back into service.

Obviously, a Cardo is better; it better be, when they want 500 bucks for a set of them. You don't need a stratospherically expensive set of comm units if all you want to do is talk to someone sitting 4" behind you. If you upgrade to a better set at a later date you'll definitely notice how much better they are, but for just a cheap way to be able to talk to each other and play some music, units like this were a good way to get your feet wet.

Edit: Yes, they do have VOX; just talk, and the other person hears you. No buttons to push.
 

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Farkle Purchasing System
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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks, just what I was looking for!

That one apparently can be charged while in use. That's a selling point. Headset battery lives are typically quoted at "middle" volume. Turn it up enough to hear it through earplugs, on the highway, and you get a lot less run time.
 

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That's one thing I can't recall for sure; whether or not it could be charged while being used. It's been a long time since I've used them, and I don't remember.
 

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Farkle Purchasing System
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Discussion Starter #11
That one has separate ports for charging and attachment of helmet speakers, so I'm guessing it can be charged while in use. At least one user says this is the case, in the product Q&A on Amazon.

Some of the very cheapest headsets can't be charged while in use. For example the (Yideng, Fodsports, many other brand names) BT-S2 orange and black headset. It uses the same USB mini connector for both charging and connecting the helmet speakers, so there's no way to charge while using.
 

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Farkle Purchasing System
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Discussion Starter #12
I am going to give a slightly newer Lexin model a try: the LX-B4FM.

They're waterproof, but to me the real selling point is that it has fewer and larger buttons than the LX-R6. Just looking at the photos of the LX-R6 I can tell the controls would be unusable when wearing gloves. I would need to mash the pad for a dialing wand.
 

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You don't want to talk in VOX mode, simply stay in open COMM mode......that's what all my riding buds do with our Sena headsets.
 

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Farkle Purchasing System
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Discussion Starter #15
Took a chance & ordered a pair of the LX-B4FM.

We're planning a slightly longer (~300 miles round trip) ride this weekend. I'll let you all know how we like the headsets.

I don't expect miracles. If we can simply talk to each other without having to pull over and take our helmets off, that'll do the job.
 

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I have a single LX-B4FM. Can't say how the vox works, but the buttons are pretty easy to use with gloves on. After a year of use, with some rain exposure, no problems. Sound quality on the mic is good, when I'm talking to someone on the phone they can't believe I'm doing 65mph on a bike. I'll be interested to hear how it works for you.
 

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Farkle Purchasing System
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Discussion Starter #17
Units should be here Wednesday. Weather is supposed to be nice this week, so should have opportunity for test ride(s) before our big trip.

The LX-B4FM's buttons remind me of those on my Cardo Q-Solo. They work well on that device.
 

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When I was using a cheap set (BT Interphone) I did not bother to charge them on the run, I had a second set & would change them if required.

The first set would then be put on charge in my top box.

I'm now using Uclear and still have a back up with me but have never had the need to use it.
 

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Farkle Purchasing System
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Discussion Starter #19
Headsets are arriving today. Should have a chance to install & test ride this evening, or possibly tomorrow.
 

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Do any offer a mode-switching button that can be put on the handlebars?

I don't want to have to fiddle with something on my helmet to talk to her. Rather keep my hands on the controls.
There is at least one brand I have seen over time that offered a wireless remote. I can't remember the name or have any specifics exactly what you could control. Just do some Googling I'm sure you'll find it.
 
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