In the Lab: Scala Rider G4 PowerSet by Cardo
A few of my friends who have motorcycles had told me about the Scala Rider, a Bluetooth communication device that mounts to the exterior of almost any helmet and allows you to converse with other riders, listen to music or answer phone calls while on the open road.
The idea sounded cool in theory but I didn't think much about it, until recently.
As I was preparing to head down to California, where I would be taking out a 2012 Honda CBR600RR on a day trip with a couple of friends, I thought the devices might come in handy.
Since I wasn't familiar with the roads, the idea of communicating with someone who did became more and more favourable.
I ended up taking the Scala Rider G4 PowerSet by Cardo out for a test drive and I'm not entirely sure how I lived my life without it up until now.
Being able to talk to someone when riding makes the experience just that much better. After all, it can get fairly monotonous if it's just the wind noise circulating through your helmet.
The best part of being able to communicate was to let each other know what kinds of hazards were ahead. For example, while ascending a mountainous road, after a couple of hairpins, there was a fair amount of debris on the road. Enough debris to take down a motorcycle had it been leaned over heavily in the corner.
The rider in front notified me of the hazard and how to avoid it. It saved us a couple of times, so that in itself was worth it. Installation takes a little bit of elbow grease. Mounting the headset clamp to the helmet required some force to push it in. But once it was in, it was there to stay, especially when tightening the screws.
The microphone fits comfortably in the chin portion of the helmet and isn't intrusive. Keep in mind that the closer your mouth is to the mouthpiece, the better the other rider will be able to hear you. The speakers are held on by Velcro and mount directly to the inside of your helmet, thus alleviating any need for ear bud type earphones.
This specific set of Scala Rider came with two in a box and they come factory paired to each other. Just turn them on and they'll sync up. After that, it's talking as per usual!
Additionally, you can easily pair the headset with your Bluetooth phone so you can answer it while you're riding or you listen to music.
When the headsets are ‘working', they're brilliant. At times throughout our ride, they did cut out from each other and took some button pushing to get back online. It was a little odd because the headsets were within the 1.6 km range so they really shouldn't have cut off. Nevertheless, they proved to be an exceptionally useful tool for safety and for entertainment.
Any riders who are considering a communication device system should consider the Scala Rider by Cardo. It's pretty darn good.
- An essential safety tool
- 10 hours of talk time
- Snow and rain resistant
- Automatic volume adjustment
- Takes some effort to get them mounted on the helmet
- Instruction manual can be a little confusing
- Devices occasionally cut off from each other even within range
- At higher speeds, it's hard to hear the other rider clearly