Cardo Systems recently added another model to its motorcycle Bluetooth Scala headset lineup, the first of which was tested in Rider, May 2006. The new Scala Teamset works similarly and adds a passenger module to create a VOX wireless intercom. Each Teamset module installs easily on your helmet with a clamp and has a boom mic and speakers with hook and loop for attachment. The two modules are “paired” at the factory so they find one another via Bluetooth the first time you turn them on. Pairing the Garmin Zumo 550 Navigator and your phone (if desired) with the rider’s Teamset module is simple, too. Although the passenger can be conferenced-in on phone calls, he or she can’t make them, and a timing delay in the VOX makes conferencing on spoken GPS directions difficult (not that it’s necessary anyway).
Voice quality in the Teamset is a bit tinny, but VOX performance and volume are good enough that my wife Genie and I could still talk at autobahn speeds in Europe last summer. When it’s time to announce a turn or some such, the Zumo 550 cuts off other sounds and chimes in clearly, but only on the rider’s headset. Your passenger won’t hear you or the spoken directions while they’re on, so you may have to explain why you didn’t respond immediately (“Does this rainsuit make me look fat?”). The freedom from wires more than makes up for any shortcomings in the Teamset as far as we’re concerned, though. The water-resistant modules charge quickly and easily on a single charger and will last more than two full days of riding if you remember to turn them off when not in use–Cardo claims seven hours of talk time and a week of standby.
According to Garmin, to listen to the Zumo’s XM radio you need a wired headset connection. And while you can hear music from its MP3 player, neither the Zumo nor Scala headset support the A2DP standard, which is required of both to get high-quality stereo sound. For the smallest, simplest Bluetooth intercom and GPS/phone interface, though, the Scala Rider Teamset is the way to go.
For more information contact Cardo Systems, 100 High Tower Boulevard, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15205; (412) 788-4533; www.cardosystems.com