I’ve never really been one to listen to music on my bike. Never really felt the need to talk to my buddies or listen to my passenger with the exception of a signal to stop. Given all that I wasn’t too particularly excited about reviewing bike to bike communicators like the Cardo Scala Rider G4, Sena SMH10 and Chatterbox XBi. I mean I can appreciate that they make things convenient, but beyond that I didn’t really need one.
You’re probably getting used to this by now but boy was I wrong. Being able to listen to music is cool, but what really gets me is the ability to warn my riding mates about the road ahead (or just as good be warned) and the simple shared appreciation of a beautiful day. I’m not saying we jabber back and forth but it made a 3 hour ride to Pittsburgh feel like 20 minutes.
The one I’m going to talk about today is the Cardo Scala G4. The Powerset comes with everything you need for two set-ups. The retail cost is $489.95 but you can get some great deals on it if you shop around. Yeah I know the G9 is out, and it looks amazing with its ability to add up to 8 riders and a range of 1 mile, but the G4 is a brilliant piece of engineering all by itself, even if it pairs up with fewer communicators. (Check out the Cardo video at the bottom of this post)
The G4 was extremely easy to set-up, and connected to my helmet very easily as well. The sound quality was excellent and it even has a built-in FM transmitter. I was able to listen to the radio as long as I wanted to and then switched over to my iPhone when I got sick of what was playing. The G4 also connects to GPS (I want one!!!) and you can supposedly hear the directions over the speakers, which I’m sure you can since it delivered on everything else.
The most important feature, as I mentioned, is the intercom. With the G4 you have the ability to pair up a few different ways. For me the best would be 3 riders, but you can also do 2 riders and 2 passengers. Good news is you can also set it up so that the passengers can just talk to each other, which is great if you just want to enjoy the ride a bit and let them do the planning. They say the range is a mile – I got a little over a mile on a beautiful day and no interference, but somewhat less in the hills. I think even half the range would be enough – if you get lost you can just pull over and switch to cell phone and find your buddies. The sound quality was excellent as well – these things have come a VERY long way. I remember the early ones that were functional but sounded like the NYC subway system. Customer service is also excellent – they really stand by their product. I had some questions during install and set-up and they were fast, helpful and genuinely concerned.
I definitely recommend this unit – you can order a set or two at the local Harley shop www.hderie.com, ask for John since he already looked everything up to make sure.
Thanks for reading and ride safe.