So, some of you know my wife has gotten sick of the way I ride or somethin' and has moved from the back of my bike to the front of a 2011 Honda. We have a wired intercom we used and kinda like being able to talk back and forth. Who needs hand signals or a jab in the side when you can just say "I'm gettin' kinda hungry what do you think about stopping?"
So we wanted to be able to do this bike to bike. Plan A was to get some handheld FRS radios and plug our helmet headset into them, along with PTT switches. But, we had some Amazon.com giftcards leftover from the wedding and noticed Shark makes a $100 stereo bluetooth headset PAIR that is SUPPOSED to work up to 1500 feet. It's not as long range as an FRS setup but it has the advantage of eliminating wires, and being constant both-direction communication (like a telephone), and no need for a push to talk switch. We ordered them, came in last week.
I expected cheap chinese knock off stuff. I mean, it kinda IS a chinese knock off (the instruction manual is hilarious. "Press this button for the is talking"). But I was genuinely impressed with these things. Most Bluetooth sets (as in two), run in the $400+ range.
Disclaimer: I do NOT have any experience with the more expensive units, only this "Shark Interphone", but I DO have experience with a Nady wired headset, a trusty beast we've been using for a year.
So for $100, you get two chargers (units charge with mini USB ports), two bluetooth units, a bag full of various mounts (all of which allow the unit itself to be quickly and easily released for charging) and two stereo headset/mic combinations (wired with a very short pigtail that hangs out of the side of the helmet to plug into the units). The headset and mounts are compatible with 3/4 or better helmets. Though, I'm not sure there are ANY bluetooth units that would work with a 1/2 helmet.
I am impressed. They play music through stereo and are pretty loud. First time using them I was riding up to meet my wife for lunch, bluetoothed to my phone just to try it out (I've got a stereo, but I figured I'd use that), and my wife called me. I was doing about 65, and for grins, went ahead and let it answer (you can either cancel a call, or it'll answer by itself). She had no idea I was on the bike, she said she could hear a little bit of wind noise but thought I was just sitting outside. I could hear her just fine. We were able to carry on a conversation while I was doing 65, not bad! Normally I wouldn't advocate a phone call on a motorcycle, but I was anxious to try it out.
Two up, it does great! We can hear each other clear up to 80 miles an hour. Now, at higher speeds we have to speak up, but it's actually LOUDER than our old Nady headset. The units are supposed to be completely waterproof (but, in this drought, I haven't tested it)
Have not yet field-tested the range. She isn't riding on the street yet (MSF this weekend!), so we haven't been able to try that out. I'll let ya all know when that happens if it works as we want it to, for bike to bike.
Here's a pic of what comes in the box (minus some of the mounts, this only shows the 'clamp' mounts that clamp to the outer shell of your helmet, not the stick-on or spring-clip ones that are also included):
Instructions are fairly useless but can be muddled through. But I was able to figure it out.
The mounts are kinda big, I could switch to the stick-on outside mount, but I like the security of the clamped on mount. The result though is it kind of gets in the way, putting your helmet on.
There is no way to play music through bluetooth AND communicate with the other unit.
The button configurations are kind of confusing and it's not terribly easy to use. It's unclear how to hang up phone calls, refuse them, not allow it to answer automatically (if possible), etc. Most of it is trial and error.
The chargers come with very short cords, and if I was to be picky, I would say that a low draw USB based charger could easily have two 'jacks' for the short included USB cables, there isn't a need to occupy two outlets to charge these things (but that's just nit-picking).
I'll comment on the range later. Their claim of being able to do 85 and still talk is holding true (behind a tall windshield, anyway, might be different for you shield-less folks), the once-and-done pairing system so far is true, have never had to re-pair the devices. If they are on, they are paired. BUT, I have my suspicions about ANYTHING based on BlueTooth technology with a 1,500 foot range.