Just in time for the start of the unofficial U.S. motorcycle riding season, Cardo Systems announced its Packtalk natural voice-command communicators. The Packtalk Bold and Packtalk Slim models both use Cardo’s Dynamic Mesh Communications network technology, designed for friends who ride.
The Packtalk Bold is a single-component model that fits all motorcycle helmet brands and styles except half-helmets out of the box, according to Cardo. Half-helmets require a separate boom microphone cradle.
The Packtalk Slim‘s 6.5mm super-sport profile has two components: A slim control unit that mounts on the left side of the helmet and a concealed rear-mounted module with everything else including the battery. HJC helmets recommend the Packtalk Slim, which also fits high-end helmets from Shoei, Arai, Shark, AGV, and more. The full list of Packtalk Slim-compatible helmets is on the Cardo website.
Natural voice operation and Dynamic Mesh Communications are the Packtalk models’ most compelling features.Natural voice operation means you never have to take your hands off the bars to tap, click, or scroll through command menus. Just say “Hey, Cardo” and the always-on system reacts immediately, whether you want to change a configuration, listen to music, or talk with other riders.
If the activation command sounds familiar, you may not be surprised that the PackTalk models integrate with the Apple iOS Siri and Android voice-command platforms.
Cardo’s second differentiating feature is its proprietary Dynamic Mesh Communication technology. A one-time set-and-forget configuration process called Cardo Connect sets and controls Cardo’s Packtalk and Freecom communicator models and manages the group members for your ride.
Once you identify the members of your mesh network group, riders can join, leave, and change position in the group with no reconfiguration required. The mesh network has a five-mile communications range and supports up to 15 riders.
Want to talk with riders who don’t have Cardo communicators? PackTalk models can also connect via Bluetooth 4.1 with smartphones, GPS units, and other Bluetooth communicators from Cardo and other manufacturers. Note that Bluetooth communicators experience significant degradation with more than two users in a group, according to Cardo.
Helmet-based motorcycle communicators must be rugged and impervious to withstand dust, dirt, wind, and rain while traveling for long hours at high speeds in all weather conditions. Packtalk’s waterproof units are IP67 certified so you can stay connected regardless of the weather.
Poor audio quality can ruin a ride if bike-to-bike conversation is garbled and music through the system is flat and nasty. Packtlalk’s new models sport high-definition speakers and a specially tuned audio processor for clear voices and music the way it’s supposed to sound, Cardo says. Packtalk Bold and Packtalk Slim each list for $330 each, or $580 for a Duo set.