While we appreciate the fauna and flora sound noises exclusive to the forest environment, the moments of relaxation spent in our motorized vehicles are also moments we can be connected to the rest of the world by mobile technologies when we feel the need. Whether for emergency situations or simply for increased entertainment, communication systems have been greatly improved in recent years and they really enhance our rides.
Like the audio systems which equip the latest cars and allow the driver to perform a multitude of hands-free tasks while keeping the eyes on the road and the hands on the steering wheel, communication systems are now available for off-road activities and they provide many new features for the users.
These systems can be rapidly and easily installed in the majority of the helmets available on the market today, and they offer obvious advantages. Here are a few:
Communicate with your fellow riders
Whether to have a sustained conversation with your companion in the same vehicle without having to raise the voice or with the members of another group, the system allows us to be connected and communicate via the intercom by Bluetooth technology. Possible danger, quick spontaneous stop, trail hazards or any other information can be disclosed quickly and accurately to all. This is a safety aspect that is not negligible during a ride with several participants.
I have a particular story to share with you, based on a personal experience with this system: in the long run, we become so familiar and comfortable with the system that we forget about it. During a stop for refueling, our conversations continued between all remote members. The user of the system inside the gas station was viewed in a strange way by the people around him: they just don’t seem to understand the nature of the discussion and it seems like a one-way discussion to their eyes, as if this guy was talking to himself. On occasions, they felt called without being called out and it created a very hilarious moment. So we must be careful not to be perceived as crazy. However, when we explain that we are talking through a headset communication system, people quickly understand that we are sane.
Make and receive calls
If you receive a large number of calls or you don’t want to miss important calls, a communication system will be your ally. By being connected with the Bluetooth function of your cellular phone, you have the possibility to receive and make calls with the hands-free function while continuing your ride.
Listen to music
Nothing is more enjoyable than listening to our favorite music when we ride. Whether it is from a radio station, recorded music from your cell phone, mp3 sources or your favorite playlist, this option will certainly enhance your rides and will be your perfect companion.
This is a very interesting feature that can be associated with a smartphone route planner app such as Google Maps. The app will provide the driving directions and indications by being connected to a GPS navigation system, and you will be able to receive audio navigation instructions from your GPS application to follow the pre-established route.
Among all the communication system manufacturers, we have to place UCLEAR DIGITAL at the top of the list. As a leader in communications equipment, its reputation is built on high-quality devices for motorsports vehicle enthusiasts. Its distribution network is widely spread and its technical support is ready to take care of its customers at all times.
UCLEAR DIGITAL designers work tirelessly to develop user-friendly, easy-to-use, and weather-proof communication systems. You are not familiar with this type of device? No problem, just download their application on your cell phone to access multiple explanations and tutorials to help you properly use your system and take full advantage of their potential. In addition, the UCLEAR CLEARLINK application provides wireless firmware updates.
UCLEAR offers communications systems that will fit everyone’s preference, usage, and budget. Here is a summary of each system and its specifications:
Can connect up to 4 users, this system is the most affordable of all UCLEAR systems. Its simplified and streamlined shape comprises three easy-to-use membrane-type buttons, although the user will have to remember the specific button sequences to memorize the different functions. Its range is limited to 300 meters per user, consequently, the group will have to ride in tight formation in order not to lose the communication between the users.
The main feature is that this communication system does not use a bulky boom microphone. UCLEAR uses a unique “Advanced Beam Forming” (ABF) microphone system that eliminates the need for a boom microphone. The first question that came to our mind is: how will the mic capture the sounds? Thanks to a noise-canceling system and a patented DSP algorithm that triangulates the voice, the microphone system is amazingly effective and is another little miracle of modern technology. The fact that there are only 3 buttons on an AMP-GO intercom may seem to limit its features, but in reality these 3 buttons do all that is necessary with a little memorization by the user. The way UClear has managed to make it all work with only three big buttons is almost magic.
Two aspects are essential to satisfy our requirements: ease of use and quick set-up. The UCLEAR AMP-GO meets these two criteria without a doubt. After a few minutes to become familiar with the system, learn the sequences and the function of each button, it was very easy to quickly proceed with the coupling of the devices, in a clear and reliable way, and most important no hassle and no frustration. For example, the pairing of two or more intercoms is very simple and almost immediate; same for the activation and deactivation of the intercom function. Listening and controlling music playback is just as easy, fast and intuitive … once you’ve learned the simple key sequence of course!
The batteries are permanent 3.7V lithium-ion batteries with a talk time of up to 12 hours and a standby time of 400 hours. Other specifications include a suggested operating temperature range of -30 ° C to +60 ° C, which should easily meet the requirements of any enthusiast, regardless of location or season.
Features of the UClear AMP Go audio package
- Small group intercom: Full duplex private intercom for 4 users with a maximum distance of 300 m between each user.
- Bluetooth® intercom with Multi-Hop technology: as users connect, the intercom range is extended to each user.
- ClearLink Application: free mobile application that allows users to wirelessly customize and update AMP-GO settings at any time using a Bluetooth® phone connection.
- AMP processor with reliable Bluetooth® 4.2: 10 times more data at speeds up to 2.5 times faster than the previous version.
- Bluetooth® Multipoint Connectivity: units connect to multiple Bluetooth® compatible devices simultaneously, such as smartphones, music players, or GPS.
- Boost 2.0 Speaker / Microphone Array: AMP Go includes high-definition speakers with built-in microphones.
- Patented Boom-free Dual microphone: exclusive concealed dual microphone array provides exceptional voice clarity.
- Hands-Free Voice Activated Call Pick-Up: uses the smartphone in hands-free mode to answer calls with simple voice commands.
- ABF® Technology: patented Advanced Beamforming® technology allows the discrete dual microphone to capture and extract specific sounds, virtually eliminating all background noise.
- Most portable system in the industry: the units easily transfers from one headset or helmet to another, so you can use your UCLEAR for each activity (wide range of accessories available).
- Weatherproof: ride with confidence regardless of temperature; wet or dry, warm or cold.
- Upgradeable System (Investment Protection): take advantage of simple and easy wireless firmware upgrades as new software becomes available.
UCLEAR MOTION 6 and MOTION INFINITY
These 2 systems offered by UCLEAR are the best for group conversation. We have gathered these 2 systems into a single review because they are similar except for the number of users that can be connected. As the name suggests, MOTION 6 system allows 6 users while the MOTION INFINITY has unlimited users.
Another technological difference between these two communication systems is that the MOTION INFINITY features U-Safe hard impact detector. This revolutionary technology uses an advanced accelerometer to detect and measure violent shocks. In a situation of hard impact, if you are unable to respond, U-Safe can alert emergency services and your contacts, indicating your status and your GPS position.
These systems are the most versatile offered by UCLEAR and their installation is possible on all types of helmets available on the market. For our part, we followed the manufacturer’s recommendations by installing the permanent fixture on the left side of the helmet. You must take special care of installing the fixture on a flat surface to maximize the adhesion. Since there is only one permanent mounting bracket per system supplied by the manufacturer, we have tried to detach it with a heat gun to affix it on another helmet. This operation was successful although it is not recommended for optimal adhesion.
We purchased the system in the winter, so it was the perfect time to install it in our CKX Titan helmets. That was a nice surprise to find that the Titan’s designers had provisioned a location to fit the speakers. All that was needed was to affix the velcro stickers to hold them firmly in place. After that, it was only necessary to remove the inner liner for the passage of the wires and to install the micro-microphones in place. When this was completed, we only had to connect the jack provided for this purpose to each system previously installed on the permanent fixtures.
The MOTION series is the latest and most advanced system from UCLEAR. True to their reputation, this system offers exceptional sound quality and intercom performance. One of the exceptional features, and an industry first, is the use of the Bluetooth 5.0 feature. With its speed twice as fast, its ability to send eight times more data at the same time and its four times greater range compared to Bluetooth 4.2, Bluetooth 5.0 should be particularly interesting for the users.
Unlike the AMP-GO version which has an oval shape, the MOTION is very distinctive. A large Power button dominates most of the interface for easy access without confusion. The other buttons are also easy to access by their position and shape. However, wearing mittens during the winter season makes it a little harder to operate.
These UCLEAR high-end intercoms have a slightly different design from the Advanced Beam Forming (ABF) technology; they have two incredibly tiny dual MEMS audio sensors (microphones) attached to the Hi-Fi Pulse Pro 2.0 speakers.
These tiny microphones should be placed so that they are outside the helmet’s cheek pads. In this way, the boomless concealed dual microphone unit extracts the sound of your voice while eliminating the surrounding noises, thanks to the noise canceling system.
UClear Motion 6 and Motion Infinity audio package features
- Industry first Mesh intercom mesh with Multi-Hop: up to 1.2 km (0.75 miles) per person.
- Automatic drivers reorganization optimizes the strength of the connection while maximizing communication distance.
- “EZ Button” Pairing: simple one-touch group intercom pairing
- Gesture Control: buttonless control of most common commands with simple hand movements near the unit. Thick gloves? No problem!
- Easy operation with voice or buttons: U-Prompt & U-Command
- Voice prompts and commands. Tactile button feel even with gloves.
- Ruggedized and totally weatherproof.
- Audiophile? Incredible Hi-Definition communication and music: ultra premium Pulse Pro 2.0 speakers with dual BOOMLESS MEM gain-adjustable microphones, graphic equalizer and incredible ABF noise cancellation.
- CLEARLink Advanced Mobile App: configuration, wireless firmware updates, adjustable preference settings.
- Advanced communication features: Siri / Google Voice control, multimedia content sharing, conference call, music / intercom overlay, voice call pick-up, and MORE!
- Multipoint Compatibility: connect multiple devices at once: smartphones, smart watches, GPS, action cameras, OEM infotainment systems, and other compatible devices.
- Only universal-use helmet communicator: any Powersports helmet, any outdoor sports helmet, any workplace hardhat or helmet. Go from motorcycle to work, to skydiving, or skiing!
- Need more? How about an integrated motion sensor on / off, battery life up to 18 hours, and industry-leading warranty? And we could continue …
Our global appreciation of a communication system is as follows: as long as you have not tested them, you will not be able to enjoy their exceptional features. Can we ride without one? Probably, but in addition to livening up the rides, they offer great security features that you, your friends and your relatives can benefit whenever you go for a ride. It is a huge convenience that all regular riders should consider.
For our part, the installation and synchronization of our communication devices are part of our rider routines. We now understand the craze of so many users for these devices that facilitate communication between them.
These systems are available at retailers through KIMPEX distribution, please visit www.ucleardigital.com for more details.