Categories
News

Cardo Freecom 4x in the test [Motorcycle Helmet Bluetooth Intercom]

This review of heart Freecom 4x joins a long line of helmet bluetooth intercom reviews recently published here at Ultimate motorcycling. There is no bad in the bunch. All have their strengths and weaknesses, allowing buyers to choose their favorites by calculating the features, design, performance, and price.

You can buy a Bluetooth helmet intercom online for as little as $50 and there are many brands on offer. However, my time is valuable and my confidence level is low when looking at cheap devices. I need the support of a major manufacturer before I decide to use an intercom or any product in general – and I’m willing to pay for it.

Cardo Freecom 4x in the test: price

I want great speakers, reliable and easy operation and the latest technology. Bluetooth versions aren’t created equal, and that’s more important than you might think. The latest Bluetooth version is 5.2, introducing new audio quality with low power consumption, improved battery life and a higher data transfer rate.

Utilizing Bluetooth 5.2, the Freecom 4x is another solid motorcycle helmet intercom in a highly competitive space. I’ll try to be as granular as possible as I can relate to the struggle to make the right choice.

Cardo has been at the forefront of Bluetooth intercom for motorcycle helmets for almost 20 years and claims to be the world’s leading manufacturer. Cardo’s offering ranges in price from $100 to $390 per unit. The new Cardo Freecom 4x has an MSRP of $270, just above the Freecom 2x. You can save $60 if you’re okay with a two-rider intercom versus a four-rider intercom, with the rest of the features being the same.

Cardo Freecom 4x in the test: for sale

The installation of the Freecom 4x is typical for most call stations. It’s an easy 15 minute job and there were no surprises, especially when using a headlamp to illuminate the details inside the helmet. After pairing the device with my phone and the Cardo Connect app (iOS and Android), I registered and was offered a firmware update. One button and seven minutes later I was done. Easy. I could have updated the firmware through the computer, but I didn’t try.

The Cardo Connect app is well designed and offers many features. I can fine-tune various settings, and there’s one screen that gives me full control of the phone, audio, FM radio, and intercom all in one view. So if you don’t want to work with voice or keystroke commands, you can use this screen when your phone is mounted within range.

Cardo Freecom 4x in the test: iOS and Android app

With the app I can choose between Bass Boost, High Volume or Vocal Audio Profile. As I often write, I’m not an audiophile, but the sound from the JBL speakers is big, with great bass and rich tones. Most importantly, there’s more than enough volume at any speed and in any condition – no complaints of insufficient audio amplification with this unit.

With Natural Voice Operation, I can say “Hey Cardo” and then give 23 different commands that cover all operations, including accessing Siri or Google Assistant (see graphic). If I prefer, I can use the three buttons and the wheel to do chores around the house. Natural voice works well too. It’s responsive and mostly accurate, although I often don’t think about using it.

I like the way the control buttons are designed and work on the Cardo Freecom 4x. When I can mount my phone on the handlebars, I run the app controls. When the phone is in my pocket, I usually use the buttons on the device, and Cardo has made this layout particularly beautiful.

Cardo Freecom 4x in the test: RRP

The three buttons each have an edge molded into the button that’s hard to miss even with heavy gloves – you’ll have to hunt around with some other brands. Music playback is the front control and positioned to fall right under my fingers when grabbed. Then the control wheel makes the stepless volume control easy to operate. Pressing this button up pauses the music. Cardo gets top marks for three user interfaces and usability.

The JBL speakers fit perfectly in the nacelles of my Scorpion Exo-ST1400 carbon helmet. Incidentally, installation in the Scorpion helmet is effortless. The thin gap between the Scorpion’s shell and the inner foam is just right for clamp attachment rather than adhesive attachment. Both mounts are included with the 4x.

Earbud users rejoice – the speakers connect to the main unit with a standard 1/8-inch stereo plug, which I tucked under the cheek pad. Accordingly, this is one of the few devices I’ve seen that allows users who want to listen through their own wired earbuds to still retain all the features of the Freecom 4x. There is no need to mount the included speakers in the helmet, leaving more room for earplugs. I tested this and it works. However, I will not drive with earplugs as they may prevent me from hearing important sounds on the road – your choice.

Cardo Freecom 4x in the test: Bluetooth intercom system for motorcycle helmets

The Cardo Freecom 4x includes an FM radio with six presets and a scan function. The reception is excellent with strong radio signals and presets can be conveniently saved via the app by scanning or directly entering the frequency using a sliding scale – also in the app. I like that the app lets me switch between music, intercom, FM and phone from one screen.

The Live Intercom is Bluetooth powered, but not the latest mesh wireless technology. It performs well and meets the claimed 0.75-mile range, depending on the terrain. As with most intercoms, range varies and reception can be affected once a driver has disappeared around a canyon corner.

A Cardo insider told me that greater fault tolerance for these dropouts is built into the software, and this appears to be the case. Cardo calls it Live Intercom because the intercom is programmed to try for up to 10 minutes to re-establish a lost intercom session. With other Bluetooth intercoms I’ve tried, I’ve had to manually end the session after a dropout and then try to reconnect. This is fixed now. Connection with other headsets takes a few minutes to set up. However, once that’s achieved, it’s easy to use, allowing for music and phone call sharing with a two-second button press.

I have connected two Freecom 4x devices and the earliest Packtalk (circa 2016). Hookup was easy enough and voices were clear. Since the Packtalk offers both DMC (Cardo Mesh) and Bluetooth intercom protocols, I chose Bluetooth to match the Freecom 4x devices.

Claimed talk time is 13 hours from the battery, with two hours taking to fully charge. A 20-minute charge will give you 1.25 to 2 hours of use per cardo – that’s good for a lunch break. Also, the 4x allows charging while in use. A USB-C cable is included. The device is said to be waterproof — not just waterproof.

Two channels allow Bluetooth connections to two phones, a phone and a motorcycle dashboard or GPS. Universal pairing is also available, allowing connection to Bluetooth intercom units for other brands of motorcycles. I’m still waiting for manufacturers to settle on a common intercom protocol, although I’ve stopped holding my breath.

Cardo has an excellent manual for the Freecom 4x, as well as good online support.

The Cardo Freecom 4x is a favorite among favorites. No features are missing, and the implementations are best-in-class. If you can live without mesh radio functionality, it is an excellent Bluetooth intercom for motorcycle helmets.

Cardo Freecom 4x specifications

DIMENSIONS

  • Height: 1.9 inches
  • Width: 3.1 inches
  • Depth: 0.4 inch
  • Weight: 1.3 ounces
  • Speaker diameter: 1.6 inch
  • Speaker depth: 0.4 inch

POWER

  • Talk time: Up to 13 hours
  • Standby time: 10 days
  • Battery charge time: 2 hours (2 hours talk time after 20 minutes)
  • Working distance: 0.75 miles (Maximum 4 riders in one group)
  • Bluetooth: 5.2

PRICES

  • Cardo Freecom 4x Single: $270 MSRP
  • Cardo Freecom 4x Duo: $500
  • Half Helmet Kit: $45
  • Second set of helmets: $80
  • Second helmet kit with JBL speakers: $120

Cardo Freecom 4x photo and screenshot gallery

Categories
Uncategorized

The future of travel comfort? BMW is working on an electronically adjustable saddle

More often than not, new riding technologies help manufacturers see into the future, with innovations like blind spot indicators and adaptive cruise control designed to make bikes safer than ever.

But in recent years there has also been a look back and down, with the focus shifting to one of the most important parts of the body in motorcycling. That’s right, we’re talking about your butt.

We have heated rider and passenger seats and even a saddle that lowers when you stop. Another manufacturer is now throwing its hat into the ring, with a new design that increases seating pleasure even further.

BMW appears to be entering the world of tush technology with a newly uncovered patent application for an electronically adjustable saddle that’s being lined up for its fleet of adventure bikes.

Here’s what we know so far.

The electronically adjustable saddle from BMW

BMW electronically adjustable saddle

The concept is simple. We bikers are all built differently, but we’re expected to be content to sit on stock saddles, even though some of us might carry a little more in the trunk than others.

That’s the problem BMW is trying to solve with this new saddle design, pictured above. So how does it work?

It splits into three sections, a solid front section and two rear sections with a split down the middle to accommodate your buns. These rear pads sit on runners and can be spread outward to create a wider base for your butt.

It’s a fairly simple concept but could be a game changer when it comes to offering bespoke comfort as standard.

The original patent refers to manual operation, ie the rider removes the saddle, adjusts it and then adjusts it again himself. However, the application also includes the addition of “an electric motor and/or a mechanical mechanism that allows the two pivoting sections to pivot”.

In other words, we could see an electronically adjustable saddle in the near future, potentially controlled from your switchgear as you ride along. How’s that for supreme touring comfort?

The patent application sees the design adapted to the BMW F 850 ​​GS, but we’d also expect it to be offered as an option across BMW’s entire Adventure and Touring range when it’s developed.

Is that something you want to see on your bike?

So what do you think of the plans for an electronically adjustable saddle? A simple and elegant solution to a problem you’re facing, or an example of technology going too far?

Let us know in the comments.

Categories
News

Stark Varg: 1,000 units sold in just 24 hours

Stark Future, the company responsible for launching Stark Varg, intends to revolutionize the electric motorcycle market, especially motocross bikes. With the start of Varg, a new era begins for Stark, which according to the numbers could hardly have started better.

According to the reports, the Barcelona-based brand managed to sell around 1,000 units in the first 24 hours, raking in around 8 million euros. The proposal is ambitious and the investment has been large, so Stark seeks returns from several years of research while attempting to change the reality of off-road motorcycles.

While no other news has been presented by Stark Future, it seems that the company has no intention of stopping there. Will we see an enduro bike in the future? Or will the company just focus on motocross?

Categories
News

Stark Varg: 1,000 units sold in just 24 hours

Stark Future, the company responsible for launching Stark Varg, intends to revolutionize the electric motorcycle market, especially motocross bikes. With the start of Varg, a new era begins for Stark, which according to the numbers could hardly have started better.

According to the reports, the Barcelona-based brand managed to sell around 1,000 units in the first 24 hours, raking in around 8 million euros. The proposal is ambitious and the investment has been large, so Stark seeks returns from several years of research while attempting to change the reality of off-road motorcycles.

While no other news has been presented by Stark Future, it seems that the company has no intention of stopping there. Will we see an enduro bike in the future? Or will the company just focus on motocross?

Categories
Uncategorized

The future of travel comfort? BMW is working on an electronically adjustable saddle

More often than not, new riding technologies help manufacturers see into the future, with innovations like blind spot indicators and adaptive cruise control designed to make bikes safer than ever.

But in recent years there has also been a look back and down, with the focus shifting to one of the most important parts of the body in motorcycling. That’s right, we’re talking about your butt.

We have heated rider and passenger seats and even a saddle that lowers when you stop. Another manufacturer is now throwing its hat into the ring, with a new design that increases seating pleasure even further.

BMW appears to be entering the world of tush technology with a newly uncovered patent application for an electronically adjustable saddle that’s being lined up for its fleet of adventure bikes.

Here’s what we know so far.

The electronically adjustable saddle from BMW

BMW electronically adjustable saddle

The concept is simple. We bikers are all built differently, but we’re expected to be content to sit on stock saddles, even though some of us might carry a little more in the trunk than others.

That’s the problem BMW is trying to solve with this new saddle design, pictured above. So how does it work?

It splits into three sections, a solid front section and two rear sections with a split down the middle to accommodate your buns. These rear pads sit on runners and can be spread outward to create a wider base for your butt.

It’s a fairly simple concept but could be a game changer when it comes to offering bespoke comfort as standard.

The original patent refers to manual operation, ie the rider removes the saddle, adjusts it and then adjusts it again himself. However, the application also includes the addition of “an electric motor and/or a mechanical mechanism that allows the two pivoting sections to pivot”.

In other words, we could see an electronically adjustable saddle in the near future, potentially controlled from your switchgear as you ride along. How’s that for supreme touring comfort?

The patent application sees the design adapted to the BMW F 850 ​​GS, but we’d also expect it to be offered as an option across BMW’s entire Adventure and Touring range when it’s developed.

Is that something you want to see on your bike?

So what do you think of the plans for an electronically adjustable saddle? A simple and elegant solution to a problem you’re facing, or an example of technology going too far?

Let us know in the comments.

Categories
News

Cardo Freecom 4x in the test [Motorcycle Helmet Bluetooth Intercom]

This review of heart Freecom 4x joins a long line of helmet bluetooth intercom reviews recently published here at Ultimate motorcycling. There is no bad in the bunch. All have their strengths and weaknesses, allowing buyers to choose their favorites by calculating the features, design, performance, and price.

You can buy a Bluetooth helmet intercom online for as little as $50 and there are many brands on offer. However, my time is valuable and my confidence level is low when looking at cheap devices. I need the support of a major manufacturer before I decide to use an intercom or any product in general – and I’m willing to pay for it.

Cardo Freecom 4x in the test: price

I want great speakers, reliable and easy operation and the latest technology. Bluetooth versions aren’t created equal, and that’s more important than you might think. The latest Bluetooth version is 5.2, introducing new audio quality with low power consumption, improved battery life and a higher data transfer rate.

Utilizing Bluetooth 5.2, the Freecom 4x is another solid motorcycle helmet intercom in a highly competitive space. I’ll try to be as granular as possible as I can relate to the struggle to make the right choice.

Cardo has been at the forefront of Bluetooth intercom for motorcycle helmets for almost 20 years and claims to be the world’s leading manufacturer. Cardo’s offering ranges in price from $100 to $390 per unit. The new Cardo Freecom 4x has an MSRP of $270, just above the Freecom 2x. You can save $60 if you’re okay with a two-rider intercom versus a four-rider intercom, with the rest of the features being the same.

Cardo Freecom 4x in the test: for sale

The installation of the Freecom 4x is typical for most call stations. It’s an easy 15 minute job and there were no surprises, especially when using a headlamp to illuminate the details inside the helmet. After pairing the device with my phone and the Cardo Connect app (iOS and Android), I registered and was offered a firmware update. One button and seven minutes later I was done. Easy. I could have updated the firmware through the computer, but I didn’t try.

The Cardo Connect app is well designed and offers many features. I can fine-tune various settings, and there’s one screen that gives me full control of the phone, audio, FM radio, and intercom all in one view. So if you don’t want to work with voice or keystroke commands, you can use this screen when your phone is mounted within range.

Cardo Freecom 4x in the test: iOS and Android app

With the app I can choose between Bass Boost, High Volume or Vocal Audio Profile. As I often write, I’m not an audiophile, but the sound from the JBL speakers is big, with great bass and rich tones. Most importantly, there’s more than enough volume at any speed and in any condition – no complaints of insufficient audio amplification with this unit.

With Natural Voice Operation, I can say “Hey Cardo” and then give 23 different commands that cover all operations, including accessing Siri or Google Assistant (see graphic). If I prefer, I can use the three buttons and the wheel to do chores around the house. Natural voice works well too. It’s responsive and mostly accurate, although I often don’t think about using it.

I like the way the control buttons are designed and work on the Cardo Freecom 4x. When I can mount my phone on the handlebars, I run the app controls. When the phone is in my pocket, I usually use the buttons on the device, and Cardo has made this layout particularly beautiful.

Cardo Freecom 4x in the test: RRP

The three buttons each have an edge molded into the button that’s hard to miss even with heavy gloves – you’ll have to hunt around with some other brands. Music playback is the front control and positioned to fall right under my fingers when grabbed. Then the control wheel makes the stepless volume control easy to operate. Pressing this button up pauses the music. Cardo gets top marks for three user interfaces and usability.

The JBL speakers fit perfectly in the nacelles of my Scorpion Exo-ST1400 carbon helmet. Incidentally, installation in the Scorpion helmet is effortless. The thin gap between the Scorpion’s shell and the inner foam is just right for clamp attachment rather than adhesive attachment. Both mounts are included with the 4x.

Earbud users rejoice – the speakers connect to the main unit with a standard 1/8-inch stereo plug, which I tucked under the cheek pad. Accordingly, this is one of the few devices I’ve seen that allows users who want to listen through their own wired earbuds to still retain all the features of the Freecom 4x. There is no need to mount the included speakers in the helmet, leaving more room for earplugs. I tested this and it works. However, I will not drive with earplugs as they may prevent me from hearing important sounds on the road – your choice.

Cardo Freecom 4x in the test: Bluetooth intercom system for motorcycle helmets

The Cardo Freecom 4x includes an FM radio with six presets and a scan function. The reception is excellent with strong radio signals and presets can be conveniently saved via the app by scanning or directly entering the frequency using a sliding scale – also in the app. I like that the app lets me switch between music, intercom, FM and phone from one screen.

The Live Intercom is Bluetooth powered, but not the latest mesh wireless technology. It performs well and meets the claimed 0.75-mile range, depending on the terrain. As with most intercoms, range varies and reception can be affected once a driver has disappeared around a canyon corner.

A Cardo insider told me that greater fault tolerance for these dropouts is built into the software, and this appears to be the case. Cardo calls it Live Intercom because the intercom is programmed to try for up to 10 minutes to re-establish a lost intercom session. With other Bluetooth intercoms I’ve tried, I’ve had to manually end the session after a dropout and then try to reconnect. This is fixed now. Connection with other headsets takes a few minutes to set up. However, once that’s achieved, it’s easy to use, allowing for music and phone call sharing with a two-second button press.

I have connected two Freecom 4x devices and the earliest Packtalk (circa 2016). Hookup was easy enough and voices were clear. Since the Packtalk offers both DMC (Cardo Mesh) and Bluetooth intercom protocols, I chose Bluetooth to match the Freecom 4x devices.

Claimed talk time is 13 hours from the battery, with two hours taking to fully charge. A 20-minute charge will give you 1.25 to 2 hours of use per cardo – that’s good for a lunch break. Also, the 4x allows charging while in use. A USB-C cable is included. The device is said to be waterproof — not just waterproof.

Two channels allow Bluetooth connections to two phones, a phone and a motorcycle dashboard or GPS. Universal pairing is also available, allowing connection to Bluetooth intercom units for other brands of motorcycles. I’m still waiting for manufacturers to settle on a common intercom protocol, although I’ve stopped holding my breath.

Cardo has an excellent manual for the Freecom 4x, as well as good online support.

The Cardo Freecom 4x is a favorite among favorites. No features are missing, and the implementations are best-in-class. If you can live without mesh radio functionality, it is an excellent Bluetooth intercom for motorcycle helmets.

Cardo Freecom 4x specifications

DIMENSIONS

  • Height: 1.9 inches
  • Width: 3.1 inches
  • Depth: 0.4 inch
  • Weight: 1.3 ounces
  • Speaker diameter: 1.6 inch
  • Speaker depth: 0.4 inch

POWER

  • Talk time: Up to 13 hours
  • Standby time: 10 days
  • Battery charge time: 2 hours (2 hours talk time after 20 minutes)
  • Working distance: 0.75 miles (Maximum 4 riders in one group)
  • Bluetooth: 5.2

PRICES

  • Cardo Freecom 4x Single: $270 MSRP
  • Cardo Freecom 4x Duo: $500
  • Half Helmet Kit: $45
  • Second set of helmets: $80
  • Second helmet kit with JBL speakers: $120

Cardo Freecom 4x photo and screenshot gallery

Categories
Uncategorized

The future of travel comfort? BMW is working on an electronically adjustable saddle

More often than not, new riding technologies help manufacturers see into the future, with innovations like blind spot indicators and adaptive cruise control designed to make bikes safer than ever.

But in recent years there has also been a look back and down, with the focus shifting to one of the most important parts of the body in motorcycling. That’s right, we’re talking about your butt.

We have heated rider and passenger seats and even a saddle that lowers when you stop. Another manufacturer is now throwing its hat into the ring, with a new design that increases seating pleasure even further.

BMW appears to be entering the world of tush technology with a newly uncovered patent application for an electronically adjustable saddle that’s being lined up for its fleet of adventure bikes.

Here’s what we know so far.

The electronically adjustable saddle from BMW

BMW electronically adjustable saddle

The concept is simple. We bikers are all built differently, but we’re expected to be content to sit on stock saddles, even though some of us might carry a little more in the trunk than others.

That’s the problem BMW is trying to solve with this new saddle design, pictured above. So how does it work?

It splits into three sections, a solid front section and two rear sections with a split down the middle to accommodate your buns. These rear pads sit on runners and can be spread outward to create a wider base for your butt.

It’s a fairly simple concept but could be a game changer when it comes to offering bespoke comfort as standard.

The original patent refers to manual operation, ie the rider removes the saddle, adjusts it and then adjusts it again himself. However, the application also includes the addition of “an electric motor and/or a mechanical mechanism that allows the two pivoting sections to pivot”.

In other words, we could see an electronically adjustable saddle in the near future, potentially controlled from your switchgear as you ride along. How’s that for supreme touring comfort?

The patent application sees the design adapted to the BMW F 850 ​​GS, but we’d also expect it to be offered as an option across BMW’s entire Adventure and Touring range when it’s developed.

Is that something you want to see on your bike?

So what do you think of the plans for an electronically adjustable saddle? A simple and elegant solution to a problem you’re facing, or an example of technology going too far?

Let us know in the comments.

Categories
News

RUMOR, GOSPEL & UNBASED TRUTH: LET’S MAKE ROOM FOR A BRAND NEW TOP THREE THIS WEEK

Rumors, Gossip and Unfounded Truths: LET’S MAKE ROOM FOR AN ALL NEW TOP THREE THIS WEEK – Motocross Action Magazine

Categories
News

RUMOR, GOSPEL & UNBASED TRUTH: LET’S MAKE ROOM FOR A BRAND NEW TOP THREE THIS WEEK

Rumors, Gossip and Unfounded Truths: LET’S MAKE ROOM FOR AN ALL NEW TOP THREE THIS WEEK – Motocross Action Magazine

Categories
News

Cardo Freecom 4x in the test [Motorcycle Helmet Bluetooth Intercom]

This review of heart Freecom 4x joins a long line of helmet bluetooth intercom reviews recently published here at Ultimate motorcycling. There is no bad in the bunch. All have their strengths and weaknesses, allowing buyers to choose their favorites by calculating the features, design, performance, and price.

You can buy a Bluetooth helmet intercom online for as little as $50 and there are many brands on offer. However, my time is valuable and my confidence level is low when looking at cheap devices. I need the support of a major manufacturer before I decide to use an intercom or any product in general – and I’m willing to pay for it.

Cardo Freecom 4x in the test: price

I want great speakers, reliable and easy operation and the latest technology. Bluetooth versions aren’t created equal, and that’s more important than you might think. The latest Bluetooth version is 5.2, introducing new audio quality with low power consumption, improved battery life and a higher data transfer rate.

Utilizing Bluetooth 5.2, the Freecom 4x is another solid motorcycle helmet intercom in a highly competitive space. I’ll try to be as granular as possible as I can relate to the struggle to make the right choice.

Cardo has been at the forefront of Bluetooth intercom for motorcycle helmets for almost 20 years and claims to be the world’s leading manufacturer. Cardo’s offering ranges in price from $100 to $390 per unit. The new Cardo Freecom 4x has an MSRP of $270, just above the Freecom 2x. You can save $60 if you’re okay with a two-rider intercom versus a four-rider intercom, with the rest of the features being the same.

Cardo Freecom 4x in the test: for sale

The installation of the Freecom 4x is typical for most call stations. It’s an easy 15 minute job and there were no surprises, especially when using a headlamp to illuminate the details inside the helmet. After pairing the device with my phone and the Cardo Connect app (iOS and Android), I registered and was offered a firmware update. One button and seven minutes later I was done. Easy. I could have updated the firmware through the computer, but I didn’t try.

The Cardo Connect app is well designed and offers many features. I can fine-tune various settings, and there’s one screen that gives me full control of the phone, audio, FM radio, and intercom all in one view. So if you don’t want to work with voice or keystroke commands, you can use this screen when your phone is mounted within range.

Cardo Freecom 4x in the test: iOS and Android app

With the app I can choose between Bass Boost, High Volume or Vocal Audio Profile. As I often write, I’m not an audiophile, but the sound from the JBL speakers is big, with great bass and rich tones. Most importantly, there’s more than enough volume at any speed and in any condition – no complaints of insufficient audio amplification with this unit.

With Natural Voice Operation, I can say “Hey Cardo” and then give 23 different commands that cover all operations, including accessing Siri or Google Assistant (see graphic). If I prefer, I can use the three buttons and the wheel to do chores around the house. Natural voice works well too. It’s responsive and mostly accurate, although I often don’t think about using it.

I like the way the control buttons are designed and work on the Cardo Freecom 4x. When I can mount my phone on the handlebars, I run the app controls. When the phone is in my pocket, I usually use the buttons on the device, and Cardo has made this layout particularly beautiful.

Cardo Freecom 4x in the test: RRP

The three buttons each have an edge molded into the button that’s hard to miss even with heavy gloves – you’ll have to hunt around with some other brands. Music playback is the front control and positioned to fall right under my fingers when grabbed. Then the control wheel makes the stepless volume control easy to operate. Pressing this button up pauses the music. Cardo gets top marks for three user interfaces and usability.

The JBL speakers fit perfectly in the nacelles of my Scorpion Exo-ST1400 carbon helmet. Incidentally, installation in the Scorpion helmet is effortless. The thin gap between the Scorpion’s shell and the inner foam is just right for clamp attachment rather than adhesive attachment. Both mounts are included with the 4x.

Earbud users rejoice – the speakers connect to the main unit with a standard 1/8-inch stereo plug, which I tucked under the cheek pad. Accordingly, this is one of the few devices I’ve seen that allows users who want to listen through their own wired earbuds to still retain all the features of the Freecom 4x. There is no need to mount the included speakers in the helmet, leaving more room for earplugs. I tested this and it works. However, I will not drive with earplugs as they may prevent me from hearing important sounds on the road – your choice.

Cardo Freecom 4x in the test: Bluetooth intercom system for motorcycle helmets

The Cardo Freecom 4x includes an FM radio with six presets and a scan function. The reception is excellent with strong radio signals and presets can be conveniently saved via the app by scanning or directly entering the frequency using a sliding scale – also in the app. I like that the app lets me switch between music, intercom, FM and phone from one screen.

The Live Intercom is Bluetooth powered, but not the latest mesh wireless technology. It performs well and meets the claimed 0.75-mile range, depending on the terrain. As with most intercoms, range varies and reception can be affected once a driver has disappeared around a canyon corner.

A Cardo insider told me that greater fault tolerance for these dropouts is built into the software, and this appears to be the case. Cardo calls it Live Intercom because the intercom is programmed to try for up to 10 minutes to re-establish a lost intercom session. With other Bluetooth intercoms I’ve tried, I’ve had to manually end the session after a dropout and then try to reconnect. This is fixed now. Connection with other headsets takes a few minutes to set up. However, once that’s achieved, it’s easy to use, allowing for music and phone call sharing with a two-second button press.

I have connected two Freecom 4x devices and the earliest Packtalk (circa 2016). Hookup was easy enough and voices were clear. Since the Packtalk offers both DMC (Cardo Mesh) and Bluetooth intercom protocols, I chose Bluetooth to match the Freecom 4x devices.

Claimed talk time is 13 hours from the battery, with two hours taking to fully charge. A 20-minute charge will give you 1.25 to 2 hours of use per cardo – that’s good for a lunch break. Also, the 4x allows charging while in use. A USB-C cable is included. The device is said to be waterproof — not just waterproof.

Two channels allow Bluetooth connections to two phones, a phone and a motorcycle dashboard or GPS. Universal pairing is also available, allowing connection to Bluetooth intercom units for other brands of motorcycles. I’m still waiting for manufacturers to settle on a common intercom protocol, although I’ve stopped holding my breath.

Cardo has an excellent manual for the Freecom 4x, as well as good online support.

The Cardo Freecom 4x is a favorite among favorites. No features are missing, and the implementations are best-in-class. If you can live without mesh radio functionality, it is an excellent Bluetooth intercom for motorcycle helmets.

Cardo Freecom 4x specifications

DIMENSIONS

  • Height: 1.9 inches
  • Width: 3.1 inches
  • Depth: 0.4 inch
  • Weight: 1.3 ounces
  • Speaker diameter: 1.6 inch
  • Speaker depth: 0.4 inch

POWER

  • Talk time: Up to 13 hours
  • Standby time: 10 days
  • Battery charge time: 2 hours (2 hours talk time after 20 minutes)
  • Working distance: 0.75 miles (Maximum 4 riders in one group)
  • Bluetooth: 5.2

PRICES

  • Cardo Freecom 4x Single: $270 MSRP
  • Cardo Freecom 4x Duo: $500
  • Half Helmet Kit: $45
  • Second set of helmets: $80
  • Second helmet kit with JBL speakers: $120

Cardo Freecom 4x photo and screenshot gallery