Best present of the season (other than my brother surviving a car accident on Christmas Eve – yes, God is good!) The Cardo Packtalk Slim – helmet communication device. Never having any type of communication device beyond a cell phone with wireless headphones that fell to the ground every time I took off my helmet, THIS feels completely surreal! I can finally listen to music, talk to fellow riders, communicate with Siri, and control the device-all with my voice!
(No more texting and riding! Safety first – New Year’s Resolution)
Let’s start with installation. I am not, nor will I ever be, no matter how hard I wish, study, and stand alongside someone wrenching on my bike, mechanically inclined AT ALL. Installing these pieces into the helmet was a BREEZE even for me! No tools required! As scared as I was to start pulling apart my new full face helmet, my Scorpion was designed with pockets for speakers, and the mic was even able to be adhered behind the lower part of my cheek pad as to not interfere with the helmet’s AirFit cheek inflation button. All the Scorpion liners easily slipped back into place securing all parts of the Cardo – speakers, battery and mic – comfortably into my helmet without affecting the fit. I didn’t even notice any additional weight as the pieces are all very small and lightweight, and the slim model is nearly flush with the helmet. See pictures for how both the Cardo device and battery pack fit against the helmet so perfectly, they nearly disappear.
Clayton and I took these out over the holiday on possibly the coldest ride of our lives, and they worked AMAZINGLY. The Cardo easily paired with my iPhone and I was able to have Siri play my riding playlist on Spotify (link coming soon if you care to share some of my most highly recommended songs) The music conveniently faded out anytime Clayton spoke to me. His mic only occasionally pick up his Ducati racing through the gears if his head was down low. Otherwise his voice clearly came through the enhanced JBL speakers. He also reported that I was clear on his end speaking at a normal volume even with my mic tucked behind my cheek pad.
We also tested Cardo’s capabilities while making a phone call. On the receiving end of the call, everything was clear with only slight engine noise. And hearing the call inside the helmet seemed tough at first but a simple “Hey Cardo, volume up” fixed that instantly. Being able to talk on the phone and ride a motorcycle – now that’s TOTALLY surreal! Granted I ride to “disconnect”, but I can’t deny the luxury of being able to communicate if/when you need to – especially with riding buddies – and listen to music. I probably won’t be making phone calls, since I hate talking on the phone anyway. But it will be helpful to fire off texts as necessary and tell my riding partners about road conditions, route changes, or when I need to make a pit stop.
Other amazing features include:
-that it's waterproof (CRITICAL for us in the northeast – or am I the only one that gets stuck in an unexpected downpour more often than I’d care to admit?)
-DMC capabilities – this communication system is actually superior to Bluetooth and allows better connectivity between riders with a greater range and faster communication. The range also increases as more riders use DMC – each member functioning as an autonomous radio point for communications and relay. And as per Cardo’s manual, if a rider drops out, the others do NOT lose connectivity to one another. Yet another feature setting Cardo apart from the competition.
-13 hours of talk time – hello road trips!!!! Although you are able to charge the unit while riding, with the battery life claimed by Cardo, that might not be necessary.
I can’t yet speak of distance or battery life though. As I mentioned, it was cold and we didn’t go far, nor did we get separated as these Hampton roads are a ghost town in the winter. We still need to experiment with the Cardo app to test the full capabilities of the Cardo Slimpack. But I had to write this blog as I couldn’t contain my excitement since this was the best present of the season – or quite possibly – of the decade. Yeah, it's THAT good.