We’ve tested a lot of helmet headsets over the years, most of which allow rider-to-passenger or rider-to-rider communication. But what if you ride alone?
Most of my riding is done solo, and when I am with a group we rarely use communicators. I enjoy being alone with my thoughts on the bike—that’s one of the last private sanctuaries left in our always-connected world—but I also enjoy listening to music to set the mood.
Cardo’s Q-solo Bluetooth headset is designed with solo riders in mind, as well as those on a budget. Removing the intercom and FM radio functions makes the Q-solo an affordable option at just $99.
The Q-solo offers Bluetooth connectivity to a mobile phone, GPS or MP3 player, A2DP Bluetooth stereo music streaming with automatic volume adjustment (based on ambient noise), the ability to make/receive/reject phone calls hands-free or via control buttons and a rechargeable battery good for 10 hours of active use or one week of stand-by.
The Q-solo comes with a waterproof control unit, a helmet-mounted cradle, a mounting kit, a pair of 32mm speakers, a noise-canceling boom microphone, a USB charge cable and an illustrated pocket guide.
Installation is straightforward and takes only about 10 minutes, but you’ll need to remove the helmet’s comfort liner to do so. Make sure to connect the control unit to your computer to get the latest firmware via Cardo’s website, where you’ll also find a full user’s manual.
Learning how to use the Q-solo is easy, and two large buttons on the unit’s face and two small volume adjustment buttons on the back make operation a simple affair, especially with the assistance of spoken status announcements.
Out on the bike, the Q-solo allowed me to customize the soundtrack to my ride, whether it was bathing in the warm sunshine of Pandora’s yacht rock channel or jamming to my favorite amped-up playlist.
Audio quality and volume are good (make sure to turn up the volume on your smartphone!), allowing me to clearly hear music, GPS instructions and a caller on the line. Recharging the Q-solo nightly, I’ve used it all day, day after day, and never run out of juice.
If you ride alone and enjoy listening to tunes, the Q-solo is the way to go.
For more information, see your dealer or visit cardosystems.com.