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Thanks to continuous innovation, motorcycle intercoms received extreme popularity in the past few years, as the convenience and safety it offers improves greatly in each release of the latest model. They are popular for featuring enhanced driving focus that every motorcycle rider must have next to having the best safety gear and outer wear.
Meanwhile, some riders travel alone in order to get away from the stress brought by their personal schedules. Road adventure for them is one of those perfect times to unwind and detach from this crazy world we live in today. However, under today’s circumstances, communication, navigation, and even a bit of music along the way start to become a necessity for long-range travel.
Convincing a rider to get a motorcycle intercom is actually easy. The confusing part is in choosing the right model to buy, given the plenty of choices in the market today. To help you or your rider friend on which motorcycle intercom is worth your cold, hard cash, here is a quick guide that will surely inform you everything you need to know about this valuable and helpful gadget.
Wired Motorcycle Intercom
Wired intercoms are the basic type in motorcycles. These systems have wires that run from the rider and passenger into a central control box which houses the electronics and battery.
With a wired system you don’t need to worry about any external interference like you do with wireless technologies, unless you add a radio handheld communicator to get a bike-to-bike talking setup to your system. Some wired units let you plug in an FRS/GMRS radio, which must have voice activation for it to work.
One of the problems some people have to deal with wired intercoms is that the wiring can be a little bit of a pain. Every time you and a fellow passenger get on and off the bike, you have to remember to unplug the units. Wired intercoms could have two or three plugs max, depending on how you have it set up.
Wireless Intercom Technology
There are four types of radio technologies used in motorcycle intercoms: the GMRS and FRS, FM, and Bluetooth – the latter which may use other technologies to extend range.
Frequency Modulation (FM)
This is similar to the FM radio you listen to, but for motorcycle intercoms a narrower frequency is used often. Also, these systems can produce clear sound as long as the distance between them isn’t too far away from each other. FM intercoms works best when there are no obstructions such as hills between the transmitter and receiver.
Family Radio Service (FRS) and General Mobile Radio Service (GMRS)
These two types are the modern equivalents to the old walkie-talkies you may have had during your childhood days. FRS intercoms normally have a maximum range of two miles with few obstructions in between, while GRMS intercoms can communicate up to several miles. Like the FM type, these are public frequencies so other people can hear your conversations and vice versa.
One nice feature of the FRS and GMRS intercoms is that you can go to your local discount store and purchase a cheap handheld radio that will help you to communicate with these units. If someone is following you in a car, or they had a wired motorcycle intercom system that lets them plug in an FRS/GMRS handheld radio, they can communicate with you.
The downside of them is that there are millions of these radio satellites out there so in heavily populated areas, you have to pick up lots of other transmissions.
Bluetooth intercom systems are the latest technology improvement to hit motorcycle intercoms. Not only can these communicate totally wirelessly from rider to passenger, they can be used to communicate from bike to bike.
With these systems, however, the range is usually not in miles but in hundreds of feet. Since you are likely to ride close to your buddies, this is not usually a problem. The range is getting longer as manufacturers use other technologies to boost how far the signal carries.
Depending on your needs and the connectivity that you want, there are several types of motorcycle intercoms available on the market today. To get the best value for your money, it’s important to know, at least, the basics of motorcycle intercom technology.