Over the past two years, I have had a number of long journeys on the bike. Most riders take comfort in the solace of taking a 2-wheeled journey. You are uncontactable. In the moment. Focussed on the task at hand. Selfish (it’s my life.. I want to keep it) and in control. I love it. But as the trips get longer, access to good technology becomes more and more important. I started with Tom Tom for my iPhone, and then spent months looking for a good iPhone Motorbike mount. Having solved that I was simply using in-ear headphones under my helmet. Useful, but arkward.
As some of the trips have been work related, pulling in every hour or so to check voicemail and mail was becoming more and more of a nuisance. So I began to do my homework on an in-helmet bluetooth system. This week, an Interfone F4 was purchased. It is a bluetooth in-helmet communications tool.
There are two parts to the helmet construction. Fitting the earphones and mic snugly in the helmet. Then fitting a mount piece for the Interfone on the side of the helmet. This takes some time to do right. With my Shoei Helmet, it also requires small incisions in the padding to get the cable neatly out of the helmet to the mount. My brilliant local stockists, Belfast Honda, fitted it for me, free of charge. After that part is done, the rest is geeky, and quite straightforward.
First charge of the interfone kit is overnight. After that you get approx 5-7 hours of usage. Subsequent charges are only three hours. I paired with my iPhone4 and immediately get call control, voice control, voice answer and volume control through my helmet. As the iPhone4 supports A2DP by default I also get stereo music and sat nav commands as I go. To make this work on earlier iPhones, you need to buy the bluetooth adapter.
Not only that, but this device can pair with multiple bluetooth devices concurrently. It can also do exactly what I needed. Pair with two phones simultaneously. My work phone (Blackberry) and my UK work phone/iPod/Sat Nav (iPhone) are both connected.
The sound quality is good on the device, and I can make/take calls up to 60mph (100kph) easily. After that, helmet noise gets in the way a bit, although I do think my Arai is a tad noisy. There are some limitations on the dual-device support though. It seems that when my blackberry gets a call, it takes over the A2DP status from the iPhone, so I lose music and Sat Nav instructions until I disconnect the berry. I need more time to play to find a workaround and play with all the other functions. After my next long run, I will give a verdict.
Let me know if you want images of the device fitted.