By Don Williams & Kelly Callan
We have long been fans of the Cardo Scala Rider inter-bike communications devices and always eagerly anticipate updates to the system. As good as the Scala Rider devices have been, there was still room for improvement in matching, as well as ease and flexibility of use.
Flash Pairing is one of the new features in the G9, and we love it. Rather than pushing a sequence of buttons until the units recognize each other, they can now be simply bumped together. It works flawlessly and simplifies start-up.
Next on the list of new features that caught our attention is the Click-to-Link system. It makes it easy to create an ad hoc network with passing riders with a G9 or G4 unit attached to their helmets. We have a G4 unit, and it hooks right up.
To initiate Click-to-Link, you double-tap a button on the unit and it will look for nearby G9 or G4 units. If one is available, and the owner has the feature activated (default is off), you can speak with that rider, even if you have never met him. It‚Äôs social networking on the go.
More complex is the ability to build a nine-rider network (hence G9). You can communicate with any of your group’s riders by name using voice controls.
In a two-rider set-up, linking G9s on the go is easy. Simply use the “Call Intercom” voice prompt and usually you are hooked up in a few seconds (making it instant should definitely be on Cardo’s to-do list).
When riding at speed, the voice prompt was sometimes misinterpreted – probably due to wind noise confusing the voice recognition – giving the rider a blast of the built-in FM radio unexpectedly. Stating “Radio Off” in a strong clear voice reverses that.
Everyone has his own favorite features on the G9. You can make and receive phone calls via Bluetooth, and music can be streamed wirelessly or via an A2DP cable, depending on your equipment.
Sound is good with stereo speakers that sit inside your helmet padding with Velcro, though some helmets make this easier than others. On the outside, either a clamp or a glued-on plate attaches the main unit to the side of your helmet.
Having run earlier Cardo Scala Rider systems in tricky situations in multiple countries, there is no question that the units are fun to use, as well as an outstanding safety enhancement. The G9 improves connectivity, and has made an outstanding system even better.
For additional information on the Cardo Scala Rider G9, which retails for around $299 each unit, click here.