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  1. #1
    Oldie, just not here! Onegun's Avatar
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    Review - BlueAnt Interphone & other bicycle intercoms

    For any who are interested, I've just finished writing my review of the available intercom systems on the market including the BlueAnt InterPhone. It's fairly long, as it also includes a pictoral "how-to" on making your own neckband for the InterPhone, since it was originally designed for motorcycles. It's located on our personal tandem blog:

    http://billnmaggi.tandemrides.com

    Oh, and I suppose I should say that I am not employed by, paid by, nor have any interest whatsoever in this company. Just think they have a good product.
    BICYCLE - [bahy-si-kuhl] - Noun :> A medical device used to correct the common geriatric condition of OFS, (Old, Fat & Slow), in a manner that does not induce brain-decaying boredom like walking or running.

    2005 Trek T2000 Tandem, 2003 Burley Tosa Tandem, Pacific Dualie beater tandem, and 6 singles including 2 fixies.

    TampaBayCycling.com - A LOCAL Cycling Forum
    The Florida Panthers Tandem Club

  2. #2
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    Thanks for doing this. I have some ideas about a helmet attachment (instead of the neck strap). Did you pursue this at all?

  3. #3
    Oldie, just not here! Onegun's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jgg3 View Post
    Thanks for doing this. I have some ideas about a helmet attachment (instead of the neck strap). Did you pursue this at all?
    Only mentally! Universality and simplicity of manufacture were the goals. I and a couple others I talked with on the project had envisioned a "flip up" mount of sorts. However, since bicycle helmets are so varied, the problem was figuring out how to make an attachment that would be universal. I didn't think you could do a flip-up with just a velcro or an adhesive attachment, and couldn't come up with any other method that didn't include the phrase, "Simply screw this into the side of your $160 helmet"! So I kept coming back to a neckband.

    Which doesn't mean it can't be done! Just that I ran out of patience and ideas! If you make one and it works, please let us know!

    So for now, the neckband hits the universal target, but I missed my mark on number 2 when I had to resort to a Dremel tool. Wanted to use nothing but common household tools. Oh well.
    BICYCLE - [bahy-si-kuhl] - Noun :> A medical device used to correct the common geriatric condition of OFS, (Old, Fat & Slow), in a manner that does not induce brain-decaying boredom like walking or running.

    2005 Trek T2000 Tandem, 2003 Burley Tosa Tandem, Pacific Dualie beater tandem, and 6 singles including 2 fixies.

    TampaBayCycling.com - A LOCAL Cycling Forum
    The Florida Panthers Tandem Club

  4. #4
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    Bill (or Maggi)-
    I bought and combined the devices you describe here, and they worked superbly.
    I got the neckbands from Radio Shack, and they only had on of the model you used, so I got a Radio Shack version for the other, and it actually was easier to work on.
    The speaker well is deeper than on the Sony, so I filled the well with caulking (I was out of pourable epoxy or I would have used that), and smoothed it out. After mostly drying, I sunk the velcro backing into the caulk and assembled the two devices. I didn't need to grind out the well contents as with the other one.

    I agree that an included neckband blank made to fit would be the best option, and I sent Peter the recommended email.

    Thanks again for taking the time to write this up. I have looked for something like this for years.
    -Mike

  5. #5
    Oldie, just not here! Onegun's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BoilerMike View Post
    Thanks again for taking the time to write this up. I have looked for something like this for years.
    -Mike
    My pleasure. Countless others have freely given their knowledge to me over these 35+ years of cycling, so I was just trying to pay some back.
    BICYCLE - [bahy-si-kuhl] - Noun :> A medical device used to correct the common geriatric condition of OFS, (Old, Fat & Slow), in a manner that does not induce brain-decaying boredom like walking or running.

    2005 Trek T2000 Tandem, 2003 Burley Tosa Tandem, Pacific Dualie beater tandem, and 6 singles including 2 fixies.

    TampaBayCycling.com - A LOCAL Cycling Forum
    The Florida Panthers Tandem Club

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    Another Possibility...

    Disclaimer: I have no interest in this company, nor any firsthand experience with the product. I just happened across it on my travels down the superhighway, and thought it might be of interest.

    Does anyone have any experience / information / thoughts on the Callpod Dragon? It's claimed to be a noise-cancelling Bluetooth earphone / headset intended for use with cell phones, computers, etc. But it has the additional feature that two of them will 'pair' to one another, allowing them to work in walkie-talkie / intercom mode, without the use of a phone or other device.

    Reviews on the electronic sites seem to swing between 'terrific' and 'lousy,' which is always interesting to try to figure out. If they managed wind noise, it might be something. That you could also use them with phones, etc when not on the bike would be an added plus.

    They seem to be $60-80 ish per, which doesn't seem out of line (if they worked.)

    That said, I've not yet found need on the tandem for an intercom. Could be useful on the singles, though.

  7. #7
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    I saw this a couple of months ago and I contacted the company. The response was:

    I'm sure that's a possible use for the Phoenix multi- conferencing device.

    For frequently asked questions and specs please visit www.callpod.com/products/phoenix for further details.

    Please feel free to contact us if you have any additional questions.

    I wasn't convinced, and I never pursued it.

  8. #8
    Oldie, just not here! Onegun's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dangit View Post
    Does anyone have any experience / information / thoughts on the Callpod Dragon?
    Ain't it always the way? Lots of neat features and accessories, (like the Callpod Phoenix that's battery powered, small enough to carry along, and will connect 5 Dragons together!), but unfortunately, it doesn't work for cyclists!

    The consensus is that ANY of these bluetooth devices that are originally designed to be just "hands-free" cell phone accessories won't work in a motion sports environment because of:

    A. Moisture, (both sweat and getting caught in the occasional shower), and
    B. Noise cancellation. They all have it, but at the level of a light breeze while you're walking around chatting on your cell outside Starbucks. The units that have been successful at 12 to 15 mph+ all have directional boom mikes.

    That having been said, if you rarely ride above a jogging pace they may work for you anyway. Let us know.

    Personally, I'm not getting off my BluAnt setup until someone shows up with a throat-mike setup off an F-22 Raptor that's waterproof and bluetooth capable!

    How about it TG? Can you tighten me up there?
    BICYCLE - [bahy-si-kuhl] - Noun :> A medical device used to correct the common geriatric condition of OFS, (Old, Fat & Slow), in a manner that does not induce brain-decaying boredom like walking or running.

    2005 Trek T2000 Tandem, 2003 Burley Tosa Tandem, Pacific Dualie beater tandem, and 6 singles including 2 fixies.

    TampaBayCycling.com - A LOCAL Cycling Forum
    The Florida Panthers Tandem Club

  9. #9
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    Dragon

    We bought a pair of the Dragon headsets at Fry's, paired them up, and they are great under 10mph or so. They just don't have the volume. Returned them and got the Tandem.com, which is great if you like messing with wires. Still much better than the yelling/less safety. Having good communication is much safer for us. I would like to try the BlueAnt as long as they have the volume at +20mph.
    I used to talk to myself, but I cannot do that anymore...

  10. #10
    Oldie, just not here! Onegun's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BikeForums.net View Post
    I would like to try the BlueAnt as long as they have the volume at +20mph.
    They do. With the Blueant's you don't even start to hear any significant wind noise until about 25-30mph. Keep in mind they were designed for motorcycles, and *claim* to be good up to 80mph. I doubt that, but I know we can still communicate in excess of 40mph.
    BICYCLE - [bahy-si-kuhl] - Noun :> A medical device used to correct the common geriatric condition of OFS, (Old, Fat & Slow), in a manner that does not induce brain-decaying boredom like walking or running.

    2005 Trek T2000 Tandem, 2003 Burley Tosa Tandem, Pacific Dualie beater tandem, and 6 singles including 2 fixies.

    TampaBayCycling.com - A LOCAL Cycling Forum
    The Florida Panthers Tandem Club

  11. #11
    Senior Member Skipper's Avatar
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    We use the Interphone setup as described by Onegun. We notice a bit of wind noise from air moving around the earphone and helmet straps. It is not enough to be a problem. It is just something we can hear in our right ear that is not heard in the left ear. We have not had any issue with the microphone picking up and transmitting wind noise.

  12. #12
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    Anyone done this with the new Interphone F4

    It's 2 years since these posts, anyone tried buying/building tandem bike intercoms?

    The interphone has been updated to the stereo interphone F4. Looks much the same, with a removable 2nd ear piece.

    I have the Sony headphones ready, they fit me fine but my wife finds them uncomfortable over the ear. We found the Altec Lansing UHP303 which are more comfortable but I'm not sure I'll be able to take them apart.

    thoughts, tips, tales of success, or just encouraging comments appreciated

  13. #13
    Senior Member rdtompki's Avatar
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    Paul, there is a recent thread in this forum (http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...tooth-Intercom) where I brought up my need to purchase a replacement headset for my T1 version. I'm sure the F4's work at least as well, but when I spoke to Blueant technical support they indicated the that the second earpiece could not be removed.

    Bill (Onegun) was going to try and get in touch with a contact at BlueAnt in Australia and get a more detailed explanation regarding converting the stereo to mono. The stereo issue aside my wife and I have been using the T1 for 15+ months for our 15-100 mile rides and we really don't notice that we're wearing the headset. Might take a bit of getting used to.

    My only concern about the F4 is that stereo is technically illegal in California, but I don't find the headset blocks sound completely - I'm not certain you're in any different a situation than a driver with a wind noise, exhaust noise and a loud stereo.
    Rick T
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  14. #14
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    Paul-
    I used the SuperTooth 3 and Sony neckbands and they work great. I also placed a velcro circle inside my helmet and my wife's, and that works well also. We use the helmet version when we ride together and the neck bands if one of us rides with someone else. They're not just for tandems - we get a range of about 1/4 mile, and it sure beats yelling for cars,gravel, etc. I don't know about version 4 at all, so I'll be interested in hearing how it works.

  15. #15
    Senior Member rdtompki's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BoilerMike View Post
    Paul-
    I used the SuperTooth 3 and Sony neckbands and they work great. I also placed a velcro circle inside my helmet and my wife's, and that works well also. We use the helmet version when we ride together and the neck bands if one of us rides with someone else. They're not just for tandems - we get a range of about 1/4 mile, and it sure beats yelling for cars,gravel, etc. I don't know about version 4 at all, so I'll be interested in hearing how it works.
    Can you post a picture of how you mount the T1 version with the velcro circle? It doesn't look to me as though there is enough room in a bicycle helmet on the inside. Now you may be talking about motorcycle helmets!
    Rick T
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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by rdtompki View Post
    Can you post a picture of how you mount the T1 version with the velcro circle? It doesn't look to me as though there is enough room in a bicycle helmet on the inside. Now you may be talking about motorcycle helmets!
    Cycling season is back in Ohio, so I'm catching up. Here are photos of the red velcro circle in the speaker well of the neckband, and also how I clamped it to the device module to make the whole unit portable. When it's my wife riding with me, there are device mounting brackets on our helmets, but it's not always she and i (shh!!). There's another velcro circle glued inside the helmet for that circumstance.


    Now, I have read about the new multi-user intercom device shown here http://www.senabluetooth.com/product..._menu=overview , but it looks quite expensive. Has anyone had experience with it? It sure would enhance our group rides.

    Mike

    100_1819.JPG100_1818.jpg100_1820.JPG100_1822.JPG
    Last edited by BoilerMike; 05-01-11 at 08:05 PM.

  17. #17
    Rod & Judy gracehowler's Avatar
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    Thanks for your pics, we are following this thread also.
    R&J

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by BoilerMike View Post
    ... When it's my wife riding with me, there are device mounting brackets on our helmets, but it's not always she and i (shh!!). There's another velcro circle glued inside the helmet for that circumstance.


    Mike

    100_1819.JPG100_1818.jpg100_1820.JPG100_1822.JPG
    Those pictures help! Could you take one of the setup using the velcro inside the helmet? I'm not understanding that one. Have you been able to rig it without a neck band? That would be the ideal for us, as my wife is concerned with the comfort of stuff over her ears (she complains about her sunglasses all the time :-)

    thanks,
    Paul

  19. #19
    Senior Member rdtompki's Avatar
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    Paul,
    I don't think it would be difficult to attach a small bracket to the helmet and velcro the earpiece/mic assembly to the bracket. The new units are plenty loud enough and you could shape the bracket to place the earpiece quite close to the ear. Actually, this might be a very attractive solution. The earpiece/mic assembly does not weigh much so you wouldn't need much of a bracket.
    Rick
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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul.m.gerlach View Post
    Those pictures help! Could you take one of the setup using the velcro inside the helmet? I'm not understanding that one. Have you been able to rig it without a neck band? That would be the ideal for us, as my wife is concerned with the comfort of stuff over her ears (she complains about her sunglasses all the time :-)

    thanks,
    Paul
    Here you go Paul. A view inside the helmet with only the velcro, a view of the complete helmet unit sans neckband, and a view of the fully portable neckband unit. Honestly, the only reason for the neckband is to make it portable, in case you're not riding with my wife either. Hope that helps.
    100_1823.jpg100_1824.JPG100_1825.JPG

  21. #21
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    I'll give it a shot - prices just dropped on my web search so I ordered 2. (Is it against policy to post prices & vendors on this forum? Regardless, a web search shows a drop of $10 from the cheapest I've seen)

  22. #22
    Rod & Judy gracehowler's Avatar
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    Let us know how successful you are!
    R&J

  23. #23
    Senior Member rdtompki's Avatar
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    Interesting. With my hearing I really need the earpiece next to my ear, but the F4 Interphones are much loader than the old version so the mounting shown may work for many folks. As I mentioned on another thread the F4 mic is much more sensitive than the T1 so I'm getting a great deal more stoker breathing and even drive train noise. I find it best to turn the volume down somewhat and ask the stoker to speak up a bit.
    Rick T
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  24. #24
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    Update on F4 project

    I've been playing with some F4 interphones, thought I'd give you a status update.

    Nothing has been ride tested yet!

    But here's some thoughts:
    • Perhaps BlueAnt hasn't renewed their OEM license. They don't seem to be pushing the F4
    • The F4 is made by Cellular Italia
    • I found it at a couple places, and there's a long story about one that didn't work so I had to buy more, and one that I though I was getting a 2 radio set but only got one. So be careful!
    • I've fiddled with the Sony neckband, that went pretty easily but I found that the neckband plus eyeglasses plus helmet and straps... Ugh
    • My wife found the sony to be uncomfortable before we started, so I attempted to use an Altec Lansing UHP303 (google it!). I managed to get it in there, but it's a really tight fit in the small over-ear box. But doable. Haven't tried in action yet...
    • Thought all my radios were garbage, but found the noise cancelling circuit often was muting us in testing - need to test in separate rooms!
    • First test ride will be with two in-helmet setups:
    • For my wife, attempting similar to shown in this thread, mounted inside the helmet ABOVE the ear
    • For myself, I did the same, but then fiddled with the stereo speaker and dangled it in front of my ear. I've stuck it on velcro right on my helmet strap. (Helmet strap has been rethreaded to have a twist right in front of the ear)


    I'll let you know how it all works out and which setup is loud enough. My two speaker system was so loud that when testing with iPhone music I had to set the F4 to MINIMUM volume. That's impressive.

    I don't know how to upload an image, or I'd show you a very poor photo of my on-strap speaker.photo.JPG
    Maybe that did it...

    -P

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