Communication Tools for Motorbike Road Trips
Date Posted:22 May 2012
Hitting the open road ain’t what it used to be. Motorcyclists now have access to an impressive range of communication accessories that can turn any road trip into a smooth ride.
The latest Bluetooth motorcycle headsets allow riders to make and take phone calls hands-free on their mobile phones, listen to their favourite music, talk to their pillion passenger or their fellow riding companions and receive voice instructions direct from their GPS navigation system.
If your mobile phone and Bluetooth headset are voice-activation (VOX) enabled, you can dial a number simply by naming a call recipient (i.e., ‘Call Fred’). You can also take calls while listening to music and have the music mute automatically while you are talking on the phone.
Bluetooth helmets also allow you to listen to your favourite music selections from MP3, iPod or radio in crystal clear stereo sound. Many headsets have noise-reduction features and automatic volume adjustment of the speakers and microphone in order to compensate for fluctuations in road, wind and engine noise.
In the old days, the only way to communicate with your pillion passenger was by screaming louder than the engine or by talking through a primitive rubber speaking tube, much like the captain of a ship yelling for more steam from the engine room. The new wireless headsets now feature voice-activated intercom systems that let you hold a normal conversation with your pillion passenger.
Those that are Bluetooth compatible have a range of hundreds of metres, so you can talk to your fellow bike riders as well, providing they are within range and have headsets that have been paired to yours.
This is very useful for communicating that you want to stop at the next servo, that they’ve left their indicator on, or that the turnoff they need to take is right up ahead. You can communicate with up to four other riders on most systems, or you have the option of connecting a two-way radio, which would allow you to communicate with an unlimited number of riders all on the same frequency.
By purchasing a motorcycle GPS system, which are built tough for bikes these days (shock-resistant, vibration-resistant and waterproof), you can have voice navigation commands delivered directly to your headset. No more doubling back to check road signs or missing the last freeway exit; you can just settle back and enjoy the ride.
Obviously, as with a motor car, all this added technology adds to the danger of a motorcycle rider being distracted from the task at hand, but as long as it is operated correctly and your eyes are on the road at all times, it is a minor distraction for the ears alone.
Riding a motorcycle used to mean sacrificing all the comforts of a motor car in return for that unique open road feel. Now, thanks to the latest technology, you can chat to your mates, phone ahead to book a motel room and be guided to your destination, all with the theme from Easy Rider playing in your ears; surely the best of both worlds on two wheels.