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Okay, here's what I use with pretty darned good results: A Motorola T6400 FRS/GMRS radio and a motorcycle headset from http://soundradio.safeserver.com/ and between the twop I get up to a 2 mile range and it works great. Just make sure you get the half helmet boom mike even with your full face, it works much better then the full face button mike.

first post! Yippee!
 

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I'm still struggling with the notion of giving a woman a microphone. Sure in the beginning things will be ok, "Honey, look at that deer!" but your just one long road trip from, "Do these riding pants make my butt look fat?" and then motorcycling as you know it has ended.



Stick to hand signals bro.
 

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Sorry no advice on what to purchase but I have to comment. Riding with communicators is a blast. I had a bud that I used to ride with that ran his own radio business. He had a few on bike radios that he would lend out to people that rode with him. It added a lot of fun, saftey and awareness to our rides.



"COP COP COP" would be blasted over the airwaves as the first rider would ride point...



Then on those long interstates it was something like, "So I asked her where she learned that trick ..." Kept the ride interesting.
 

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I tap Morse code on my horn and when I want to show my displeasure to an auto I reflect the sun with my mirror into the driver's eyes. Just joking but it seems that automobiles are designed to reflect the sun into my eyes off their back windows. Minivans seem to be the worst "glaring" examples but most cars are almost as bad.
 

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AMEN! Hand signals don't break down.

Read this guys report of his IBA 100 CCC on a Hayabusa! He has a great story about M/C communicators and happily ripping them out of his helmet and resorting to hand signals. For those who don't know the 100 CCC is one of the IBAs extreme rides that has you traveling coast to coast to coast in under 100 hours. He did it riding two up!

http://www.bsu.edu/web/00amleduc/mtf/50cc/reports/glass03.htm
 

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OK, my experience is limited, so here is my 1 1/2 cents worth.

A good riding buddy of mine and I have the Chatterbox FRS X2 commuinicators. They have shown mixed results. The VOX is easily fooled by wind noise; his just takes over when he hits 100mph. It seems that ambient noise makes all the differnece. We tried using the push to talk buttons last time with some success but his unit was having difficulty and would cut out when he spoke too loud. Very annoying but he is suppose to be talking with Chatterbox about that. Other than that not too bad. Range has been pretty good and I love having my stereo plugged into it as it automatically cuts-out for incoming transmissions.

To finish, riding with communication is very cool as opposed to without, much more color to the ride and things to see and when to pull over turn effortless. I really like the shouts of "DEER" or "COP". I will be getting a second headset so I can intercom with the wife when I ride two up. What's that dear? Bathr..what? My battery must be going dead, well stop in a while and see what you want....



Price is a bit much and I gotta believe someone has built a better moustrap, but who?



Paul from Minnestoa and his 2002 Vmax "hold on honey!" not the bikes name, just a discouragement for the wife......
 

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Autocom is the UK's market leader by a long way. F1 car race teams use it for the pit crews - or so the manufacturers used to claim... Not cheap, though, and I don't know about frequencies for the US, 'cos it's all different on your side of the Atlantic.
 

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I've had Collet Communicators for the past few years and I've had great success with them. They work as advertised at all speeds in my full faced helmet and the sound vs noise ratio is all I could hope for. Since they attach to your helmet you dont need to unplug when you leave the bike and they are very ruggedly designed, seemingly designed for combat use and they have some good deals on older clearence models. A three year no questions warrantee is nice too.

I've tried Chatterboxes several times over the years but never had one that lasted more than a month. I hear that they are more reliable now but I think I'm through with them.

AutoCom is an expensive modular system that I hear is very nice. It does require you to plug in to the bike (I hate that) .
 

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I have an AutoCom 3000 Pro, which was their top of the line model when I bought it several years ago. As noted by others, it is a modular system that can include a two-way radio. Can't speak for the two-way radio, but the intercom is unbelievable! The VOX is always spot on at any speed and any background level. No annoying delay, and the "noise-canceling" microphones are amazing at canceling out background noise. I have it "semi-permanently" installed in the tailcone of my Beemer, but it can easily be taken out and run on a 9-volt battery when we rent or borrow another bike. I have an input for a CD or tape deck and the fidelity is excellent. My passport radar detector is also connected for audible alerts, so the detector unit can be completely concealed in a fairing pocket. The volume can be adjusted for use when wearing earplugs, and there is a selectable feature that automatically mutes the CD/Tape Deck audio when you are talking.



AutoCom service is excellent as well. They’ve got a shop in upstate New York, and you can call and talk to the technician that will actually be doing the work. They made some custom cables for the installation on the Beemer and made some recommendations that actually saved me money. And they also made a custom plug that connects my radar detector directly to my helmet headset (no intercom) when I’m riding solo on my VTR1000. Excellent product, excellent service, premium price.
 

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i have to say that shucking out $300 for a chatterbox really pisses me off. it's way too much money for a simple two way radio, although my riding buddies constantly push me to get one. quite handy to have though for reasons already mentioned.

question: why does my motorcycle habit cost me so much money!? i think it'd be cheaper smoking crack!
 

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I've used the entry-level Chatterbox FRS system...



They worked well, but only after we took some time to get everyone in my riding group "dialed in." Some had the mic too close, some to far. Unfaired bikes trip the VOX very easily, and there's nothing worse than hearing someone else's wind noise in addition to your own. Plus that "takes over" the channel so you can't communicate anymore.



Also, we had to learn to activate the VOX with something like "uhhh.." before speaking, or it would cut off the first spoken word or syllable.



We tried push-to-talk and preferred it, but another button on the bars and more wires makes this less convenient than VOX.



However, I cannot recommend the Chatterbox due to poor quality. My group of 4 has gone through 8+ units. They stop working, knobs break, etc. This, and the amount of adjustment describe above required to get them to work well, has caused us to abandon them altogether.



I *do* however like their rider-to-passenger unit. It's wired full duplex, not VOX, so it sounds like you're talking on a telephone....
 

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go to autocomamerica.com. The ratings that these systems get make them appear to be second to none. I've done buisness with top gear accessories before and have nothing but good things to say about them.
 

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I guess there are times when radios/intercoms/smoke signals/drums are desirable. I just don't like them when I'm riding. I've done the family thing for years, and I highly recommend it for those so inclined, but motorcycles just seem to be a good place to find relief from oral communication. I remember once in the dark ages, before cellular phones, interviewing with a law firm that had phones in the bathroom stalls. Didn't take me long to figure out that particular firm wouldn't be a good fit. These days, time on the bike is about the only "time away." BTW, I figured out a long time ago that bikes were great for marriage, largely because riding two-up necessitated close physical contact with no oral communication. If she needs something, she squeezes me. Cool.
 

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I never, ever thought I'd be able to tolerate having electronics on my bike. Then, I married someone I liked talking to and she learned to like traveling on bikes. The downside was that after an unfortunate demo ride, she insisted on getting a Gold Wing for when we were two-up. The big shock was how much I came to like the intercom. I have long since decided it's a huge convenience and an important safety factor. In an emergency, I am able to let the passenger know something's up for some advance warning.

She won't go on the back of my ZX1100, but if she did, I'd get a (high-priced) J&M Audiopak, as I once had. Our group uses CB radios, and despite the PTT annoyance, it does seem to offer the best overall usefulness. The Audiopak integrated the CB and everything else almost perfectly.
 

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Oh jeeeez. A Harley guy recommending hand signals.



I thought you only knew one hand signal. Admittedly, it has a variety of uses. But your wife might take the wrong meaning. Or the right one. It's hard to tell.
 

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Some friends and I did 4 days in CO; all with a different radio setup. Mine the Chatterbox FRS-X2 with noise reducing mike. The VOX works ok up to about 65, then the wind makes it impractical with a low sport windshield. Used the PTT with good success with it velcro'd on the handlebar. Sound quality is good for speech, sucks for music. Don't know if this is a speaker issue or what. Also wired my radar to it as well. These things are limited on a sport bike with a low windshield; too much competing wind noise.
 
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