We have been fans of the Cardo Scala series of inter-motorcycle communications devices for a while now.
Whether out testing motorcycles for business or simply enjoying a Sunday ride, the ability to easily and clearly communicate with your friends as you ride enhances enjoyment and safety.Cardo’s new Scala Rider G4 is a natural evolution of the species, offering a plethora of upgrades, as well as a number of new features compared to the Q2, Scala’s previous flagship model. Like the Q2, the G4 is Bluetooth-equipped, allowing you to connect it wirelessly to your mobile phone and GPS, and the G4 adds wireless MP3 player capabilities (each can be done via wire if the external units don’t offer Bluetooth). Installation ease is improved and setup is relatively straightforward, as long as you are willing to sit down for an hour or so with the manual and some patience. Once learned, the G4 controls are easy to use, but they aren’t intuitive, so a devotion of time is required to get up to speed.For us, the most important improvement the G4 offers is its increased range between riders. On the Q2, if traffic gets heavy and the bikes separated, it is not difficult to exceed the one-third-mile maximum range. With the G4, we can now stay connected up to a mile away. We didn’t measure the exact maximum distance, which is always subject to specific conditions, but there is no doubt the G4’s range far exceeds the Q2’s capability. Next up is the battery life of the G4. With a built-in rechargeable power supply, you cannot simply slip in a new battery when the power runs out. On longer day rides, we have run the Q2 dead; we have not managed to do that with the G4, which has a claimed 25-percent increase in talk time to 10 hours. Like the connectivity range, specific measurements can’t reflect real-world usage-suffice to say, both are superb.The FM radio gets an upgrade, as it now sports a retractable antenna, six-presets (perfect for local riding) and the ability to tune into the strongest local frequency (ideal for travel). Muting on the FM radio and MP3 player is automatic when there is an incoming phone call, though we found that we had to increase the volume before switching to the phone to maintain a consistent sound level.The Cardo Scala Rider series is one of our favorite accessories. The G4 ups the communications ante, making it either a worthwhile upgrade or an excellent reason for new users to take the plunge.