Sharing experiences while riding motorcycles adds to the enjoyment, but only if the motorcycle intercoms work properly. Poor quality intercoms either only work when the riders are right next to each other, or have too much background noise to be functional for more than the most basic communication, or fail to activate when spoken into. The measure of good motorcycle intercoms include functional distance, voice quality and ease of use.
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Bluetooth communication devices work entirely without wires. A Bluetooth helmet has speakers to allow the wearer to hear other riders, and a voice-activated transmitter allowing the rider to speak to other riders. These systems typically also allow the rider to listen to the radio and to answer Bluetooth telephones as well as to receive audible clues from a Bluetooth GPS device. As the technology improves, so does the range. The early models only worked within a few 100 feet of each other, but newer models advertise ranges up to a mile.
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GMRS is an acronym that stands for General Mobile Radio Service. The downside to these systems lies in their use of public airwaves. In heavily populated areas conversations may not be entirely private, and users may also hear other people's conversations, and use of a GMRS requires a radio license. On the positive side, these radios have a range of several miles, regardless of obstructions. They can also communicate with inexpensive hand-held devices, which helps if riders have a support car or need to meet up with someone who does not own a full communication system. Some of the systems also allow a Bluetooth plug-in.
FRS communication systems have much in common with the GMRS systems, except that they do not require a special license for use, and do not have quite as a good range. They do allow use of add-on hand-held radios and as these systems usually cost less than the other types, may be a good option for someone on a budget. FRS stands for Family Radio Service, and uses the same airwaves as common walkie-talkies.
Chatterbox and StarCom both offer FRS motorcycle intercom systems, as do many other intercom companies.
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