Many bikers love riding a motorcycle for the reason that they are alone, not bothered by any noise other than the rumbling of their motorcycle engine, and the sound of rushing winds. Riding the twisting roads, unencumbered by your normal day-to-day life, is a bliss for many.
But on the other hand there are also many bikers who ride with their pillion passenger, and who want to be able to communicate with each other. Particularly on long trips, talking to your pillion can have enormous advantages. No longer are you expected to make all the decisions on you own. “Do we stop here for a bite to eat”, or “shall we go there?” can be asked and answered while riding.
For many years, bikers who wanted to talk with their pillion had either very expensive electronic communication gadgets installed on their motorcycle, usually wired to their helmet, or used simple air tube systems that worked fine until you reached a particular speed that stopped all communication.
But things have changed over the recent years. Wireless technology, particularly Bluetooth, made it more interesting for bikers to use communication facilities on their motorcycles. The equipment is sufficiently small to be installed on your helmet, not on your bike, meaning that you can take the equipment with you no matter which motorcycle you ride. It also means you are not attached to your ride.
But these wireless communication gizmos also offer added advantages over talking with your pillion, like the ability to receive navigation instructions from a GPS equipped with Bluetooth, or to listen to music. Some units even connect with Bluetooth equipped walkie-talkies, allowing you to talk to your riding buddies. The latest wireless communication devices now offer the ability to talk to another biker, also equipped with the same gizmo. It doesn’t really replace a walkie-talkie since the range is very limited, and only allows you to talk to one other rider, but for those that ride in pairs, it is a good and cheap alternative.
Another advantage, or for many a disadvantage, is the ability to use the mobile phone while riding. We all know about the dangers of using a mobile phone while driving a car, and the same danger exists on a motorcycle. Even if you are not taking your hands of the handlebar to talk to someone over the mobile phone, your attention is greatly diminished. But it does give you the opportunity to remain in contact. You can answer a call, and then pull over and talk to the other person.
But one of the biggest advantages of the new generation of wireless equipment is cost. Miniaturization and greatly reduced prices make these gadgets less of a gadget and more a useful add-on for any biker. Take for example one of the most popular brands in wireless communication devices, Scala. The Scala Rider Q2 allows you to communicate for 8 hours non-stop, has a built-in FM radio and a communication range of some 1600 ft (but the other device must be the same brand).
You don’t need to talk to a pillion, and you don’t need to enable the mobile phone, but all the features are there, and it’s up to you to decide which ones you want to use. It beats using hand signals. Bluetooth technology has greatly simplified our lives on the motorcycle.