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Tandem Cycling A bicycle built for two. Want to find out more about this wonderful world of tandems? Check out this forum to talk with other tandem enthusiasts. Captains and stokers welcome!

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Old 04-11-10, 06:31 PM   #1
Arrowman's Capt
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Headsets

As you may have seen, my husband posted that we've ordered our first tandem. We're very excited to have been able to find a bike that will let us continue riding together.

I'm interested in what others use for communication. I'm thinking wireless headsets are the way to go, but I've found few options. Comments please! Thanks in advance.

Barb
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Old 04-11-10, 07:32 PM   #2
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I'm interested in what others use for communication. I'm thinking wireless headsets are the way to go, but I've found few options. Comments please! Thanks in advance.

Barb
We try to stick to quiet enough roads that reasonably normal voice tones work. There was a thread within the last year or so on headsets, for those who find they need electronic assistance.
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Old 04-11-10, 08:24 PM   #3
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Check out http://billnmaggi.tandemrides.com/, good info on blue ant
R&J
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Old 04-11-10, 08:26 PM   #4
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Stoker finds it easier to hear Captain if he turns his head when speaking and riding at speed. Starting and stopping communication is easy in normal voice without turning head. And it doesn't hurt for other bikes to be aware of what we're doing or are about to do.
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Old 04-12-10, 08:54 PM   #5
Arrowman's Capt
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Thanks for some rather interesting replies.

Unfortunately, there are few roads in our immediate area that we wouldn't have to worry about traffic, so the traffic noise is a constant factor and had been when we were riding separately.
On our test rides, I have turned my head to speak, but alas, my words don't reach his ears with the same volume as they have in the past. I guess it was too much skeet shooting without earplugs. lol

The Blue Ant headsets look to be what I had in mind. Though the sets on their website don't match the older article. Would you have more info?

Thanks all!
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Old 04-12-10, 09:00 PM   #6
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We don't have one ...yet, but with ears going away, it will come, so no experience here, but as an audio guy, one tends to get what you pay for., a poorly designed mic will pick up lots of wind noise
R
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Old 04-12-10, 09:48 PM   #7
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The louder the traffic, the louder the captain has to talk.
After 35+ years of tandeming and being older (77/75) we have no need (yet) for tandem headsets.
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Old 04-13-10, 08:06 AM   #8
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The Blue Ant headsets look to be what I had in mind. Though the sets on their website don't match the older article. Would you have more info?
We used a set of wired tandem.com intercoms for about 18 months. It gave up the ghost after getting good and wet in an unexpected rain storm and we've done without since. We had planned to buy a Blue Ant and modify it as described in the above article, but like you, found that they had changed models and discontinued the old one.

Based on that, we went ahead and ordered the tandem.com wireless version available from Mark at www.precisiontandems.com. They arrived last week, and both times we've ridden since have been with friends, so we didn't take it.

We're looking forward to using them later this week, but we'll keep these in plastic bags!
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Old 04-13-10, 11:14 AM   #9
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Arrowman and Capt'n, where-abouts in DE are you? May 1st, there's a ride in Cambridge, MD (on the Eastern Shore). Not tandem specific, but last year I recall seeing at least three or four and I started way late in the morning. My stoker and me are going to ride it this year. There's 12, 37, 50-something miles and a century. Well supported and thought out routes through the Blackwater Wildlife Santuary. Flat as a pancake, it is. Great scenery. Good food and such at the start/finish in Great Marsh Park. Here's a link if you're interested: http://www.6pillarscentury.org/

We're new to tandems as well and this will be our first organized ride. More is merrier! I'll keep an eye out for a DiVinci.
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Old 04-13-10, 08:54 PM   #10
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Zona, I can't believe you still hear that well!!
R&J
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Old 04-13-10, 09:38 PM   #11
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I think I would prefer to hear that car sneaking up on us before it squashes us like a couple of bugs.
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Old 04-14-10, 12:31 PM   #12
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The headsets are monaural. We use the Blue Ant headsets on our right ear(s) and have no problem hearing traffic. The headsets will also pair with a cell phone if one is so inclined. We get about 5 hours of talk time which is fine for us for a 100K, but won't do a century. While these may not be for everyone we've found the performance to be excellent. At high speeds the headset works great, but emergency communication requires no headset
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Old 04-14-10, 03:18 PM   #13
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We're new to tandems as well and this will be our first organized ride. More is merrier! I'll keep an eye out for a DiVinci.
Thanks for the invite, but we're not expecting our bike to arrive until later in May. We're located in Bear.
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Old 04-14-10, 03:19 PM   #14
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Zona, I can't believe you still hear that well!!
R&J
LOL, I was thinking the same thing, but haven't been here long enough to say it in writing!
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Old 04-14-10, 03:20 PM   #15
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Rick T,

Thanks for the feedback! Your experience is the information I was looking for. Once the refund check arrives, I'll be putting our order in!

Barb
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Old 04-14-10, 05:31 PM   #16
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Why do you feel the need to go wireless? My wife and I have gone the wired route and have had few problems. The only problem we have had is that the wires do eventually give up after a year or two of constant flexing, but the wireless units still need wires for the headset. The advantages of wired are many: Months of riding on a single battery charge; one small lightweight unit; less chance of picking up extraneous signals (noise); less expensive. We have friends that tried the wireless units and did not like the short battery life or the size and weight of the units. I guess the newer units are smaller and lighter. We started with the tandem talk, but upgraded to the (wired) tandem com which is smaller and techically superior in several ways. We have been using the tandem com for about 5 years with good results. YMMV.
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Old 04-15-10, 12:47 PM   #17
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Why do you feel the need to go wireless? My wife and I have gone the wired route and have had few problems. The only problem we have had is that the wires do eventually give up after a year or two of constant flexing, but the wireless units still need wires for the headset. The advantages of wired are many: Months of riding on a single battery charge; one small lightweight unit; less chance of picking up extraneous signals (noise); less expensive. We have friends that tried the wireless units and did not like the short battery life or the size and weight of the units. I guess the newer units are smaller and lighter. We started with the tandem talk, but upgraded to the (wired) tandem com which is smaller and techically superior in several ways. We have been using the tandem com for about 5 years with good results. YMMV.
From the captain's perspective, for us there was really no driving reason, although I admit we did have several cases where she wouldn't get us unplugged before one or both of us dismounted. But....everything was behind me. The unit was in my jersey pocket and the headset wire ran up my back.

For the stoker, however, her headset wire was dangling in front of her the entire time. Not a real big deal, but something that was there. When we decided to get a new one, there was no doubt it had to be the wireless model from her perspective.
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Old 04-19-10, 10:44 AM   #18
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Why go wireless? After much searching, and little finding, the wired sets just don't seem to be durable enough. For the money, I don't think it's too much to expect the units to be water resistant, let alone waterproof.
I have wired headsets on my motorcycle, IMO it's annoying to have to situate the wires, plug in, etc.
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Old 04-20-10, 08:21 AM   #19
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... the wired sets just don't seem to be durable enough...
Really? Have you heard that the wireless sets are more durable than the wired? News to me. We have dropped our 5 year old unit on concrete several times and it hasn't shown any signs of breaking and it keeps on ticking.

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...IMO it's annoying to have to situate the wires, plug in, etc.
Yes, it is a little more effort to remember to plug in and then unplug before dismounting the bike. However the on/off and volume controls are right there in front of the stoker, so they are easy to manipulate as opposed to being in a rear jersey pocket. Also, my friends found it more annoying to have to charge the batteries after every ride. With 5 hours/charge, you might need to change batteries before you finish a long ride. My rechargeable AAA batteries last a couple of months of riding ~6-8 hours/week. My wife (stoker) can easily change the batteries, when necessary, without even getting off the bike.

Not to mention that the wired setup costs $200 less than the wireless.

Different strokes for different folks.
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