During a ride, regardless of the number of participants, we always like to be in touch with our friends with clear and precise communication. Otherwise, a misunderstanding can cause tension among individuals. We certainly all have one or more past experiences to illustrate this type of event.
Good communication will greatly help to prevent imminent danger, communicate a change of route, share a sudden observation, inform of an unexpected stop, etc. In summary, communication allows us to share all kinds of more or less important information with our fellow riders. On top of that, as opposed to poor or bad communication, good and clear communication makes it possible to establish privileged relationships with all members of a rider group.
To help us communicate during a ride, several manufacturers offer communication systems and consumers are quite spoiled for choice. This abundance may leave some riders confused about which system will meet their needs.
We received CARDO’s PACKTALK BOLD Duo at our newsroom, and I went out of my way, I had to discuss and negotiate with my colleagues to be the one who would have the chance to take ownership and use it. At the same time, I remembered that I am probably the least tech-savvy of the team. Never mind, it’s time for me to get up to date with technology and get used to these communication systems.
At first glance, I observed that the packaging and the box are worthy of mention and give a good first impression of the high quality of the product. In addition, the box is perfect to store and protect the system and keep the accessories and spare parts altogether when not in use. The box contains a useful user guide to take full advantage of the system. It also has a very handy memory aid summary sheet that can be carried around with you to facilitate its use.
We also find:
• Noise reduction microphone
• Hybrid microphone
• Two speakers
• Release tab
• Corded microphone
• USB cable
• Replacement microphone foams
• Pre-moistened alcohol swabs
• Velcro pads
• Hybrid microphone clip
• Glue plate
There are two ways to install the PACKTALK BOLD. The first way is a metal clip that can be inserted between the helmet shell and padding, I consider this method good for occasional use. It makes it easy to remove and switch the headset from one helmet to another if you do not want to pay the additional cost to purchase multiple permanent mounts. The second way is to install an adhesive mounting bracket on the outer surface of the helmet, ideally on a flat area.
Then, simply remove the inner pads exactly as when you remove them for cleaning. In my case, only a few minutes were needed to install the speakers that way and conceal the wires that connect them. It is a good idea to take the time necessary to make a neat installation to ensure that no wire disturbs our comfort.
To operate the system using the Bluetooth function, it is essential to download the Cardo Connect application with a smartphone. The app makes it possible to change the language of use; the default is English.
Recharging the communication devices can be done with a computer or a wall adapter using the USB cable. PALKTALK units are equipped with excellent rechargeable batteries, as it is estimated that they can provide up to 13 hours of talk time and can also be charged during use. Their features can be enjoyed under all kinds of weather conditions – the Cardo units are waterproof and offer a 2-year warranty.
Mobile devices pairing
Pairing devices is relatively quick and easy. However, I had to refer to the pocket guide a few times mostly because of my somewhat limited memory … However, when we follow each step and press the right buttons, it is very easy for anybody.
What surprised me most about Cardo’s communication system, and which is a major breakthrough for the Packtalk system, is its hands-free function. It offers the same convenience and great usefulness offered by Siri, Alexa and other intelligent virtual assistants that consumers have adopted for their home, navigation and other features built into a smartphone. All you have to do is say “Hey Cardo” and you have access to all the essential features of communication and entertainment this system provides, while allowing you to keep your eyes on the track and both hands on the steering wheel or the handlebars. This is a significant safety aspect, especially when driving on more technical trails that would require all your attention and driving skills.
When the unit is turned on, voice commands can be used at any time to listen to music, access the radio, adjust the volume, or mute the sound. In addition, I was able to dial and redial phone numbers, answer and even ignore phone calls.
One very useful feature is the ability to check the system’s battery status. “Hey Cardo, battery status?”; this information was very handy to make sure I can take full advantage of the communication system or to organize a stop depending on the remaining charge.
Range and reception
Cardo mentions an interphone range up to 1600 meters in ideal conditions, and 1000 meters on average. The range is variable depending on the weather conditions and the surrounding environment where the system is being used. On a cloudy day, I could get a better range, on the other hand, it was reduced in the dense forest. As far as I’m concerned the reception has not been affected in any way while I was using it and it’s nice to take advantage of this communication system.
The Packtalk Bold works with a three-button system and a dial near the back of the unit. I had a bit of a problem learning the position of the buttons because I almost always used the voice command function. I appreciated the dial wheel that allows, among other things, adjusting the volume. However, I can imagine it will represent a challenge in the winter season depending on the gloves or mittens you use.
Given different configurations, I noticed that some helmets are more or less appropriate for this system. Some of them offer less protection against the wind and this could create background noise in the microphone. A more hermetic helmet, however, counteracts this inconvenience.
One last thing – I discovered during the test of this communication system that when we ride our vehicle on the trails, we are used to being alone with ourselves. Without realizing it, most of us frequently make all kinds of more or less elegant noises or comments, for example when we hit an obstacle. These noises and language gaps can no longer remain unnoticed now. In short, we must now pay attention to our language and the comments we make while driving with a communication system.
Apart from this constraint, if this is one, the communication system has become a must for my outings. I mentioned earlier that I am not a technology savvy guy, but as I master this system, I can now boast of being on par with my teammates!
CARBO’S PACKTALK BOLD features:
- Up to 15 riders, great from 2 upwards – stay connected whether you are riding in duo, a group of four or a pack of fifteen. Enjoy the highest quality, long distance reception a communication system can offer.
- Longest real range – up to 1600 meters (1Mi) in perfect condition, but will get you close to 1000 meters in real-life conditions, about twice as much as the competition
- Speakers – Cardo partnered with JBL for the ultimate listening experience
Connectivity – Bluetooth. Connect your unit to any Bluetooth headset of any substantial brand.
- Sound – listen and share your favorite music directly from your smartphone
- Explosive sound – powerful 40mm wide high-definition speakers and a specially tuned audio processor deliver a great sound experience
- Phone – answer calls, make calls and control your mobile devices with the touch of your finger or the sound of your voice
- FM radio – integrated FM radio with RDS for automatic selection of the strongest signal
Automatic volume – automatically adjusts your sound volume based on the outside ambient noise. Enjoy Vivaldi at full throttle. Don’t get deaf by AC/DC waiting for the lights turn.
- Smart Audio Mixing – sophisticated algorithms make sure that all your audio sources – FM radio, music, mobile calls, and intercom – work together in parallel.
Audio sharing – share your playlist or favorite radio station with your passenger. Enjoy the vibe together.
- One Killer Mobile App – get full control through one simple and intuitive app, but don’t take our word for it, just download Cardo Connect and find out for yourself.
Charge while you ride – forgot to charge your unit? Running out of battery? Just plug your unit to a battery pack or your 12V charger and turn your unit on. It will charge while you ride.
- Up to 13 hours Talk time – long-lasting battery ensures your unit is available when you need it
- Private chat – tired of the chatter? Choose just one member of the group and enjoy an intimate conversation.
For more information visit: www.cardosystems.com