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Cardo Systems brings communication into helmets

Liz Hochstedler
October 31, 2011
Filed under Features

In-helmet communication systems have been a benefit to riders for years, but the ages of bulky sets that plug into motorcycles are long gone, and Cardo Systems’ Scala Rider systems are at the forefront of in-helmet Bluetooth technology.

Cardo Systems has been involved with Bluetooth technology for a decade, with Scala systems launching in 2006. Cardo’s in-helmet systems were born from an idea the company’s owner had after seeing a need for scooter riders in Europe to communicate with each other. A year later, those systems were brought to the United States.

Since then, the technology has only improved. Cardo only makes in-helmet communication systems. Its Scala Rider brand boasts three models that are available in five packaging configurations. The systems range from the simplest, which allows the rider to communicate with the passenger, to the more complex and best-selling G4 Powerset.

“It has all the components to do up to four people on two bikes, with bike-to-bike communication up to a mile. It gives you the USB port for the software management. It also is a wireless speaker for an A2DP Bluetooth stereo,” said Jamie Cheek, director of sales in North America.

The wireless intercom is the most sought-after feature in a modern helmet communication system. Customers also enjoy the Bluetooth stereo capabilities and the one-mile bike-to-bike range that Scala offers. Popular on the G4 is the USB port, which allows customers to manage their own software updates as Scala upgrades its systems to work with newer mobile phones and music devices.

“Consumers get into our website and download the new software with it again and again, so it stays forever live,” Cheek explained.

Each system meets IP67 standards, so they’re dustproof and water resistant, and each comes with a full two-year warranty.

Cheek says the Scala Rider systems have gained popularity as riders seek to improve their safety and communication.

“One of the neat things about Bluetooth in our systems is you can do voice dialing, so if you have an emergency down the highway, you can voice dial 911,” he said.

Scala Rider systems are distributed by Tucker Rocky, Biker’s Choice and Western Power Sports in the United States and by Parts Canada and Motovan in Canada. Cheek says that in addition to the popularity of the systems and the low retail price-point offered, dealers should carry the systems because they’re feature-rich, and the return rates are low. He recommends that dealers attempt to sell a communication system with each helmet sold.

“In my opinion, when you buy a new motorcycle and accessories and your helmet, it’s good that you get hooked up with a communication system as well,” he said.

Some dealers even use the Scala Rider systems themselves to monitor test rides and demonstrate the technology during the demos.

For dealers who currently carry Scala Rider systems and those looking into them, Cheek says Cardo has big plans in the works for next year.

“I think that consumers have seen from our trends that we’re a cutting-edge company,” he said. “I can’t go into what we’re coming out with in 2012, but it’s really high quality, and it’s really raising the bar.”

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