Cardo Scala Rider G9

Feb 13, 2013 View Comments by

Cardo Scala RiderOver the last few years, we have seen a flood of Bluetooth-based helmet communications systems hit the market. In order for one to truly stand out, it must offer something unique along with first-class functionality. Cardo’s Scala Rider G9 certainly has that covered. Instead of using a strictly software-based application to sync with your computer, change settings, etc., the G9 uses a web-based system. This online “Cardo Community” performs all the functions of a PC interface while also serving as a social network with fellow G9 owners. Once you set up your profile, you can invite friends, plan tours, and pre-pair your G9 with up to eight other users.

But how well does it work once your computer is happily a hundred miles behind you? Out on the road, the Scala Rider’s ease of use and consistency were impressive. Having never used the system before, and without directions, it took us less than two minutes to get our units on and connected (they were pre-paired). It was similarly easy to pair the G9 with an iPhone, which made quite a satisfactory GPS when used with voice directions from Google Maps. During our time with the Scala Rider, we never experienced any dropouts or need to re-pair the communicators. The only quasi-glitch we had was when the G9 mistook part of our conversation for a voice command to turn on the integrated FM radio. Otherwise, the VOX feature worked admirably, and it can be deactivated if you so desire. Sound quality is good, though without sufficient wind protection, you do have to speak quite loudly to be understood. Cardo claims a one-mile range, which isn’t too far off. The only real gripe I have with the system comes from its mounting. Though installing the system in my helmet (a Scorpion EXO-400) was simple enough, I was surprised to find that having the Scala Rider attached to the left side of the helmet’s chin made turning my head and looking over my left shoulder a little difficult as the unit would catch on my shoulder. This problem may be unique to my helmet and height combination. Aside from this minor quibble, the Cardo Scala Rider G9 is a hassle-free, intuitive, and well-made device, and with a claimed 10,000 members in its online community, it offers a social aspect no other communicator can.

Cardo Scala Rider G9: $289.95
Cardo Scala Rider G9 Powerset (two pre-paired G9s): $499.95
www.cardosystems.com

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