SPECIALIST SPOTLIGHT: Cardo Systems

Cardo Systems pioneered the motorcycle communications market 15 years ago, when it launched the world’s first motorcycle Bluetooth headset – and since then, the company has been constantly innovating to achieve its mission of ‘making your ride exceptional’.

Originally founded in 2002 as a developer and manufacturer of Bluetooth earpieces for mobile phones, Cardo Systems entered the motorcycle market in 2004, with the very first Bluetooth unit, the ‘Scala Rider’. Since then, the company has achieved a number of World Firsts, including:

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  • 2004: World’s first motorcycle Bluetooth headset
  • 2005: World’s first built-in FM radio and automatic volume control
  • 2007: World’s first rider-to-ride intercom – with a range of 700m/0.45mi
  • 2009: World’s first long-range intercom and first to offer internet firmware upgrades
  • 2012: World’s first music sharing
  • 2015: World’s first ‘Mesh’ device – the first motorcycle communicator to go beyond Bluetooth and introduce Dynamic Mesh Communication (DMC)
  • 2018: World’s first Natural Voice Operation with direct access to ‘Hey Siri’ and ‘OK Google’

So, what next? Cardo’s latest innovation is partnering with JBL – who have been providing world class sound for concert halls, cinemas and home entertainment for more than 70 years and are the current supplier for the Hard Rock Hotel and the Grammy’s among others – to produce the World’s first embedded premium audio system.

Over months, acousticians, mechanical experts and software engineers collaborated closely to modify and optimise all audio elements of Cardo’s intercom systems, from software to electronics all the way down to the speakers, to create distinct sound profiles to match your ride.

The current device lineup can be controlled using the free Cardo Connect App, which allows full remote control of your Cardo device from your smartphone and even lets you configure it on the go.

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What is DMC?

You may have heard of mesh networking if you are a fan of smart home devices. DMC stands for ‘Dynamic Mesh Communication’ and is Cardo’s connectivity network for its PACKTALK lineup. It solves a number of the issues experience when using Bluetooth connectivity as it makes each rider’s unit a separate communications hub that’s always tracking and maintaining communication with each other rider’s hub. Meaning, it’s ‘set-and-forget’, so once connected, there’s no need to reconnect manually if someone leaves the group and rejoins or swaps positions. The dynamic protocol creates a stronger and more flexible network for every motorcyclist in your group.

It allows a communication network between up to 15 riders up to 1,600m in perfect conditions (about 1,000m in typical conditions).

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What does it cost?

The Freecom range is for riders who go solo or in small groups. The Freecom 1+ is priced from £129.99 for a single and £240.99 for a duo. This unit allows the rider to connect to their SatNav or Smartphone via Bluetooth and speak with a pillion. The Freecom 2+ retails from £159.99 (single) and £299.99 (duo) and allows two riders to communicate at up to 0.8km.  The Freecom 4+, from £243.99 (single) and £419.99 (duo), allows up to 4 riders to talk at ranges of up to 1.2km.  All the Freecom units use Bluetooth connection.

At the top of the range are the PACKTALK devices, with prices starting from £314.99 for the PACKTALK Bold and PACKTALK Slim single and £559.99 for duo kits, and £349 for the recently released, special edition PACKTALK Black – which has a sleek, blacked out outer, extended three year warranty and 45mm JBL speakers as standard.

Where are they?

Cardo Systems are based in Plano, Texas, USA.

How to get in touch

You can buy Cardo Systems from www.cardosystems.com or find your local stockist by visiting www.pama.com/cardo or calling 0161 494 4200.

Ross Mowbray
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