Friday, December 7, 2012

Fighting for my network

Yet another tirade has arrived from the company that makes Joe Rocket motorcycle gear.  Earlier this year, I got a direct message on Twitter saying, in effect, “We appreciate your disclosure (see my profile below) but you have to stop using this Twitter name.” I replied with my own direct message, calling them rude.

Here is what my profile page looks like.  How is it possible that anyone would be confused?

Joe Rocket 
I'm twisted (it's all in the wrist!) I AM NOT affiliated with the company that makes and sells Joe Rocket motorcycle gear. I own a ton of it though.

They don't like the fact that I have been tweeting for the past 4 or 5 years using the name @JoeRocket. I think what really pisses them off is that I have over 7 times the followers and I don't even really try to build my network.  If I had resources and a budget, perhaps some swag to give away or some contests, I think I could do a lot better than 181 followers!

Here are their latest offensive messages, in order:

"@JoeRocket character popped up on my radar yesterday. I am taking steps to have him taken off Twitter. Jumping through their hoops to get this done today."  

Yes, they sent that to ME.  That was late in October and then today I get this:

"Ahhhh now I see. Seeing your Sturgis link it's safe to assume you are the "character" I've been looking for behind @JoeRocket. What possibly (sic) benefit is there to assuming the name of a brand you have no affiliation with whatsoever?"   

Character?  Am I?  Maybe I am a fan, or at least I was.  Now, all that is soured.  I won't ever buy another piece of their gear and am giving thought to selling, discarding or donating anything with their brand name on it.  Sadly, ALL of my and my wife's gear is Joe Rocket brand.  Let's see, it's been three jackets and three pairs of over pants, plus a set of leathers.

I'm sure that their Marketing Director Steve Blakeney is thinking that all my Twitter friends and fans are following me mistakenly, thinking I am them, the company that owns that brand.  I disagree.  I have never pretended to be anything other than just another rider.  A regular guy who gets on his bike as often, and for as far as he can go. Steve, since you're monitoring my blog now, let me ask, do you even ride?

A dozen years ago, I made the mistake of investing a big chunk of money in riding gear, bags, etc. for my first trip to Nova Scotia.  All of it was festooned with the Joe Rocket name.  At the time, I was astride my Kawasaki Ninja and all it took was one look from a Harley rider for me to be christened "Joe Rocket".  Truth be told, it eventually got shortened to Rocket, for the ease of use.  Back in 2007 when Twitter was relatively new, I thought why not?  This is how my friends know me. Soon, I was writing this blog and reaching people everywhere who share a love of the open road with two wheels under them.

When I search Twitter, I see about 25-30 people using some variation of the Joe Rocket name.  Why?  Because we are/were fans.  We like the gear, we strap it on when we go out for a ride or on a tour.  And we advertise that company as we do it.  I have been brand loyal to Joe Rocket since that first set of leathers.  Does Sullivan's, Inc. want to shut down all of those accounts or just mine, so they can use it instead of the more descriptive @JoeRocketGear?  

The real issue here is my Twitter and blog network.  If I cave in and Sullivans, Inc (owners of the Joe Rocket and Power Trip brands) has my account closed, then I lose all of my faithful followers, the people I follow and my online connections.  It was a year ago that I corresponded with Mr. Blakeney TELLING HIM that I was tweeting as @JoeRocket.  I guess he had his head up his ass that day or, didn't bother to read my email or review my offer to assist them grow their social media presence.
At this point, I'm not sure of the resolution.  I won’t give up my contacts so that they can be cadged by the rude Marketing Director who is trying to breathe life into his social media campaign.  I’m sure you wouldn’t want me to either.

Do me a favor, if you agree that I’m being treated unfairly.  Retweet this blog link to your friends and ask them to read this and pass it along as well.  It’s a cautionary tale for any fan of any company or brand.  If you disagree, I welcome your opinion too, and would like to hear what you think is the best way to resolve this.

One last thing…Maybe the folks at Sullivans owe an explanation about the origin of the Joe Rocket name.  I wonder how they came up with that?

Thanks for listening and, as always…

A low, slow wave,

Joe Rocket

Tuesday, October 16, 2012


Why do we fear death so? I'm not going to get all religious or philosophical on you.  For me, it's because I enjoy life as much as I do.  Still, there comes a time when you stop feeling invincible and you become aware of the time you might have left.  We all know that there are no guarantees or implied warranties on our life spans, still, you always expect to have more than you get.

I've got an aging parent and an aunt with some serious health issues.  Both are in their 80's and I can say with conviction that they have both lived good lives.  What's left now is just the dirty business of "moving on". It's the painful and humiliating act of being helpless before the whole world.  I don't proclaim to be an expert on death and dying, I just know that getting old or being very sick can be a messy affair.  Thank goodness for the helpful caregivers, healthcare professionals and places like hospice.

We touched on this subject recently, my family and me, and I gave our only child my instructions.  I want to be "toes in the sand" someplace warm. Preferably poolside with scantily-clad females running about.  I doubt that there exists a hospice on a beach in Florida with a sexy "clothing optional" staff, but maybe it will seem that way after they put me on the morphine drip.

So, I've started to think about the stuff I want to do, places I want to see, etc.  Perhaps more important than this, is being to do some of this stuff with my loved ones at my side.  I need to get some of these down on paper (or bytes) so that we can plan, negotiate and finance the most important ones.  I'm blessed with a beautiful and exciting wife, who has a penchant for exploration. Over time, her desire to have "adventures" has rubbed off on me and now, I too want to fill my eyes with new vistas.  The key, of course, is to be able to do this while you are still young or healthy enough to get around.

Without any fanfare, here are just a few of the things that I want to accomplish, before the shepherd's crook yanks me offstage, from the wings:

  1. Tour the coastal USA. I think a great ride would be a counter-clockwise tour of the country, keeping the beach off your right handlebar as much as you can.  I'd blast across the top of the country, tip my hat to Canada, and bomb down the West Coast, after stocking up on supplies in Vancouver.
  2. I want to ride across the US, in mostly a direct route, riding Route 66, while it still exists.  I have family outside of San Francisco and, a ride from New Hampshire to there sounds like a good excuse for a family reunion.
  3. I want to own a small roadster, preferably a Porsche Boxster S, but I am willing to consider new Mazda Miata, Honda S2000 or Nissan 370Z convertible.  I want to drive it sparingly, wax and polish it with a soft cloth and keep it in mint condition to turn over to my son on his 40th birthday. This would be my vehicle for short weekend excursions, when we've given up riding.
  4. I want to experience Hawaii, Rome, Sicily and Naples, Italy.  I want to eat my way through the countryside like Andrew Zimmern sucking on a pig spleen.
  5. I want to run a few laps at my favorite racetrack, Lime Rock Park, in Connecticut.  It was there that we went as kids, so Dad could enjoy the racing. It would put a big smile on my face to drive around that circuit and to think of him watching me.
  6. Watch my son walk down the aisle. 
  7. Welcome a grandchild into the family (but NOT any time SOON).
  8. Do a Grand Tour.  No, not like a concert tour.  I mean to travel around to say hello (or goodbye) to all the people who've meant something to me, in my life.
  9. Sing with my brothers.  Yep, silly stuff but I think that it would be a memorable moment.
  10. Finally, have that beach view and lifestyle that I've always wished for.  
Well, it's a start.  Like my wife says, I want, I want, I want.  I know that the secret to happiness is to be content with what you have.  I am.  Still, I have goals and these are just a few of them.  Some I know will come naturally.  The rest I will have to work towards and plan for.  I know that a new @ $88,000 Boxster S is highly unlikely but, I left some wiggle room in there and hope to have the same outcome.  The rides, well. I'm ready today. 

As we face the onset of Winter (a dirty word in this house) I'm tempted to pack my bike and beat it down to a friend's house just outside of Orlando.  The weather would still be warm and the beers are always cold.  But, I can't pull the missus from her obligations and spending money foolishly now will come back and bite me on my ass.

So, what goals have you set for yourself, before you shuffle off?  I'd like to know.  Maybe our goals overlap and we can find a way to help one another.  Or maybe you have a Boxster you want to loan me for a weekend???  Ride safe!

A low, slow wave,

Joe Rocket

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

SENA SMH5 Bluetooth Headset & Intercom product review

Hello everyone!  I'm excited to tell you about a new product I'm reviewing, the SENA ( SMH5 Bluetooth Headset and Intercom.  These retail for $129.00 for the single unit and $249.00 for the pair.  I did see the dual set on sale at an online retailer, for less than $190.00.  These are sold through local m/c shops and SENA has a full list of retailers on their web site.  Find one near you and support your local retailer.

Here's howdescribes the product:

"The SMH5 is a Bluetooth 3.0 stereo headset with Bluetooth intercom designed specifically for motorcycles. With the SMH5, you can call handsfree on your Bluetooth mobile phone, listen to stereo music or voice instructions of GPS navigations by Bluetooth wirelessly, and have two-way intercom conversations in full duplex with a passenger or other motorcycle riders.

Thanks to the latest Bluetooth 3.0 and the advanced digital signal processing technology, the SMH5 offers the best sound quality for both incoming and outgoing sound in its class. Also, the easy-to-access and intuitive button operations make the SMH5 a perfect companion for motorcycles."

First, let me say that my neighbors really must think we're a couple of kooks.  First, there's the whole biker thing.  They probably don't get it but, that's okay, because YOU do get it.  But when they see me out riding the lawn tractor with my full-face helmet on, it must seem a little weird.  And when they stop and ask me what I'm doing and I tell them to "Hang on a second, I'm in the middle of a phone call." well, that REALLY perplexes them.

These headsets are great.  My wife and I are doing a lot more riding together lately, each on our own bike, and having these intercoms is a great way to share the experience.  When I'm riding solo, I have no one to worry about but myself. Sure, in a group ride, I keep an eye on my fellow riders but, when I'm out with the love of my life, well, that's a bit different.  In that situation, there is a whole other level of concern.  It's great to have a means for instantaneous communication.  ME:  Is your bike running alright?  Do you want to take a break? What do you mean I don't need more ice cream???

We've been enjoying the ability to chat (or not) as much as possible.  The SMH5 provides a very clear stereo sound for voice, mobile or music.  And, if you have a Bluetooth-enabled GPS, it will connect to that too, negating the need for additional ear buds or speakers.

Installation was simple and SENA provides all the parts you need (and then some).  I had lots of extra Velcro pieces to use later.  We ride with full-face ARAI helmets, so the set we got has a mic that sticks in place, right in front of your mouth.

The units themselves are compact, with self-contained antenna, unlike other models I've seen.  There are only two buttons to control the until, the round jog dial, reminiscent of a rotary phone (Yes, I am THAT old) and the red on/off button.  Simple! One minor complaint was the length of the mic wire.  I suppose I could relocate the mic to the far side of my chin bar but, I wanted it right in front.  As a result, as you can see in the photo to the right, I had extra wire that I looped around the unit.

The quick-start guide was enough to get me out on my first ride but, I definitely recommend downloading the full User's Guide from SENA's web site.  You will thank me later!

The units pair easily and will also find other bluetooth devices (cell phone) to pair with quite easily.   One of the many benefits with the SENA product is that it allows you to pair with more than one rider.  The SMH5 can connect with up to two other units for intercom but, for clarity, can only be in duplex mode with one unit at a time.  SENA's SMH10 can connect with with up to 4 people via intercom at the same time.  So, if everyone one in your "gang" wants to stay in touch, on a long ride, now you can. Just choose which device suits your group. Perfect for those long rides to Sturgis, the Saddlesore 1000 and more!  SENA also offers a product called the SR10, which allows you to connect via Bluetooth to two way radios/short range "walkie-talkies".

Each headset came with a USB charging cable.  I have lots of ports on my PC so I was able to charge both units at once.  Still, I would like a converter or connector so I could charge these from a wall socket.  I see that SENA offers that as an accessory, on their site:   I'd pay a few bucks more just to get that as part of the set.

Range is good.  SENA says that you can expect a quarter of a mile. We did some testing just this past weekend and found that the sound quality did not diminish greatly at 1/10th of a mile.  Bear in mind that these units work best in line-of-sight.  I topped a hill and the unit cut out on me.  Once wifey had passed the same point, we were back in contact.

One feature I like is the ability to turn the intercoms on or off and use just the Push-to-Talk (PTT) feature.  I know that this will save my batteries and we never had an issue of running out of juice,  on an all day ride.  Of course, you can keep the mics open and listen to your partner breathe, if you're into that.  I found the wind noise from the helmet a bit annoying so I quickly got into the habit of tapping the jog dial once and waiting for the units to connect.  It did so quickly.  PTT is the way to go, if you have a long day of riding.

The sound quality is amazing.  The speakers sit deep in the helmet, attached with Velcro and I was thrilled by the sound quality upon streaming music from my smart phone.  Now I can stream  Pandora to my helmet as I burble down the road.  It's amazing what the right tune will do to augment your mood, while riding.

Sound quality is equally good with the phone.  You can voice dial (the default setting), if your phone is capable, or you can dial from your phone and toss it back into your pocket and ride on.

Overall, I think this product is probably the value leader in this category.  At the entry price, everyone in your club can afford to buy one and make your rides safer and more fun.  The units work as advertised and are not overly complex (see my earlier review of a competing product). I do wish the range was better but, the SENA SMH10 offers a better range AND can connect to these units.  So, you have lots of options.  

Here are the headsets for open face helmets, for my cruiser buddies.  These have a boom mic, which you can move about as needed.

For the price, the SENA SMH5 can't be beat.  Let me know if you have any questions or comments.  I love hearing from you and will respond here or on Twitter.  You can find me there as @JoeRocket.  Until then...

A low, slow wave,

Joe Rocket

Friday, August 24, 2012

When the music's over...

So much has happened since I last wrote, that this post feels like one of those annoying annual holiday letters, written and sent en masse, by the long lost relatives you hardly know.  "Johnny lost a tooth and has chlamydia!"  Seriously, who gives a crap?  But, I'll try to make this somewhat interesting or, at the very least,  profane.

My last post centered on the test results of the Interphone bike-to-bike communication system.  I have to say that I really liked its capabilities, but was perhaps a bit overwhelmed by the complexity and  underwhelmed by its range and battery power. Well, I just got my hands on a Sena communication system and, as soon as I can get these added to our lids and get out for a ride, I'll start my testing.  I'll post a full review here, in the near future.

My summer has been given over to kick-starting my brain.  I took a 12-week course on Project Management, and plan to take the test (eventually) so I can be a Certified Project Management Professional, or PMP.  Yes, I've been making pimp jokes for some time now.  My PMP hand, etc.  You get the idea. The  other challenge has been Mrs. Rocket's work.  She's in Defense, working for a large contractor here and is engaged in a sufficiently important and onerous project. So, her time has not been her own either and there has been little riding to write about.

Last month though, I was treated to a special day of riding with some new friends.  I have followed Bryan on Twitter for years (@Faceyman) and on his blog ( Each and every time I even remotely mention Canada or a desire to ride to a destination therein, he implores to come visit.  Well, he beat me to it.  Last month, he and fellow moto-enthusiast best bud Luc (both living in Fredericton, NB, Canada) made an epic ride through ALL of the New England states.  He pinged me in advance for ride ideas and routes and I was rewarded with a day in the White Mountains riding with two of the nicest riders you'd ever want to meet. As riders, we found that we three all had a lot in common.  Luc and I ride the same bike (well, Luc has 3 bikes), the Honda VTX 1300 and Bryan was on his cruiser, as well.  Both enjoy sport bikes, as I have in the past, and they alternate their scooters, depending on the type of ride they're in the mood for.

Anyway, after a long day of riding, I hated to see them go.  They continued on their adventure, which you can read at Bryan's blog, and found great roads and interesting people along the way.  It was a great vacation for the two of them, nothing planned but a general idea of which direction to head next.  I envied them and the time off but I surely will relish that first ride together, most likely not the last that we'll share.  More on that later.

I took a long solo ride through Vermont and Massachusetts and, running late allowed my TomTom Rider GPS unit to take me via the "shortest route". Yeah, you may have guessed that it deposited me onto unpaved roads, and it did.  What I wasn't prepared for was 20 miles of that!  The conditions were good so I just plugged along, too stubborn to try a faster route.  Men are like that, you know.  I wouldn't ask directions if I were lost in Transylvania, hence the GPS unit.  The following weekend, the missus and I took a similar route, stopping along the way to look at some old cars I found the prior weekend.

I have a fondness for 60's and 70's era cars and, for the past few years been fixated on a late 60's Ford Galaxie 500 convertible.  But, so far, the funds and the perfect car have eluded me. The building with the dusty early 60's Galaxie was chock-a-block with old T-birds and other goodies.  I'll go look again.

With our son splitting his time between Boston and home, we didn't have any plans for vacation this summer.  We made plans to see family members in Maine and planned a short stay on Campobello Island, off the coast of Maine.  I quickly conspired to make a slight side-trip, to Fredericton, seeing how it was "practically" on our way...We had a GREAT night out with our new friends and got to meet the wives who support/tolerate their riding habits.  Neither of them rode and, there was an awkward moment when I verbally stubbed my toe by asking.  The humorous response and evil eye was directed back at both men, "Well, if they ASKED us..." Oops!  Sorry guys!  In any event, it sounded like the ladies knew how to have fun on their own.  We had an enjoyable visit in their city, sharing our time and a great meal.  I know we'll be back.

Our final destination in Canada was Campobello Island.  Bryan suggested a great route, which circumvented extra miles and border crossings.  We finally landed on the island, a quiet and beautiful destination with few amenities (like WiFi).  I was forced to relax, read and rest.

The only disappointment in the whole trip is that we didn't ride the bikes.  We covered over 1,000 miles and the weather was perfect.  With such a short week planned, I was concerned that any poor weather would severely impact our ability to make all of our destinations.

As you can see, it was beautiful there and I have plans to return.  On the bike.

Okay, I've caught you up some.  I'm off like a herd of turtles.  More stuff to do.  It's Friday and the "boy" announced he's dropping in on us this weekend.  Off to prepare for that, stocking up on pizzas and other stuff he likes.

I'll get out and ride this weekend and, with any luck, be using my new headsets.  And that means that the missus has to listen to my subliminal messages in her ears the whole way...

Summer is winding down.  Make the remaining weekends count.  Get out and ride your tuchas off.  That means "ass", in case you don't know Yiddish slang.  Have fun and report to me on Twitter.  I'm there as @JoeRocket.  See you out there!

A low, slow wave,

Joe Rocket

Sunday, April 29, 2012

PRODUCT REVIEW: Interphone F5 Motorcycle Communications System

I had some updates to this review that I wanted to append.  I did a few more tests and had some new insights to share.

The Intercom range - Hmm.  On my initial ride,  Mrs. Rocket was close behind me on her own scooter the whole time so, I didn't get a good test on the range of the intercoms. A new test showed the intercom to have about a quarter of a mile of range in line of sight.  When I turned a corner and disappeared around some trees, that range fell to about one-tenth of a mile. You might find that a bit distressing if you ride in canyons on in heavily wooded areas like we do.

Revised phone test - I tested the unit at home, dialing into the unit from my home phone.  The voice-activated answer settings were no longer active and I could not answer a call.  My phone paired easily and I was able to make calls using the phone without removing my helmet, which is a benefit.
Revised radio test - the RDS no longer announced the station every few moments.  Again, I think the settings changed from one use to the next.

Conclusion - This is a great unit, with a boatload of features.  Is it complex?  Yes.  Would I eventually learn how to use all of these features?  Yes, in time.  I think that the initial ownership period would be frustrating and I would prefer something with better range and more ease of use.  I wonder if Apple has thought about getting into this market???

A low, slow wave,

Joe Rocket

I was eager to test and review this new product for as I am a bit of a technology geek and a rider who likes long rides, either in a group or in the company of one other rider.  For most riders, a bike-to-bike system like the Interphone F5 would be just the ticket.

My first impression, upon opening the box was that there’s SO MUCH STUFF!  The list of included parts is extensive and the manufacturer of this device has thought of every possible option that you could want, in a bike-to-bike communications system.  This is a complete audio system that allows for rider communications, phone, GPS and music (built-in radio receiver, streaming bluetooth and MP3 inputs).  They thought of everything! 

After I laid out all of the components, I was a bit worried about the complexity but, all of the parts are clearly described in the owner’s manual and I quickly identified the ones that I needed for the full-face helmets we wear.  The set even included several replacement parts, for wear items like mic covers and additional adhesive strips.

As this is a 2 rider system, there are two of each component, with the exception of a tube of waterproofing silicone grease. The set contains two different types of microphones; a universal boom mic for open face helmets and a helmet-mounted mic for full face helmets.  Additionally, there are two ways to mount the bracket that holds the rechargeable Bluetooth module, which is the heart of this audio system.  There is an adhesive-backed mounting plate and a clamp-style mounting bracket, with an extension piece, to fit any type of helmet.  I chose the latter.

Mounting the bracket on our helmets was the first and perhaps most challenging task.  I chose the clamp mount, so I could easily remove these at the end of our test.  The challenge came from the need to use the extension piece but, Interphone wisely supplied the longer mounting screws, to make the job as easy as possible.  It was a bit “fiddly” but, the hardest part of the install was now done!  Next, I positioned the stereo speakers into each helmet, each backed with velcro-like material to make positioning and re-positioning a snap.

I then concentrated on the actual Bluetooth module.  It clearly is of quality design and construction.  It has a rubberized, waterproof exterior with large raised buttons.  Its low-profile design is compact and does not sport an ungainly antenna, like some other systems.

The multi-headed charger allows you to charge both modules at once, using only one plug.  Within three hours, the headsets were fully charged and ready to use.  They mounted easily with a positive “CLICK” and the system was ready for a test.

The owner’s manual comes in 13 different languages (!) so you know that this truly is a global product which is appreciated worldwide.  The primary control is the large round button in the center, which the manual refers to as the Multi-Function Button (MFB).  It controls all of the inputs and allows you to switch between menu functions with a toggle up or down.  Volume is controlled by the + and – buttons.  All four are raised and easy to control, while riding and with gloves on.

Test #1- Intercom

A group of five took a slow ride to the seacoast, avoiding highways and getting a good tour of small New England towns.  My wife was using the second headset and we set the system to Intercom for this first test.  We were both impressed by the clarity and ease of communication between us, no matter how far behind me she was at any point.  If the group was momentarily separated, I was able to provide clear instructions as to where I planned to stop to wait for the others.  It quickly became apparent who was the extrovert in our pair!  I enjoyed being able to share directions (“Turning right in one mile”) to let her know what to expect on these unfamiliar roads.  For this ride, I did not pair the Interphone to my GPS device (more on that later).

On the return trip, we chose a more direct highway route.  It became apparent that our headset volumes were not properly set and, no matter how much I tried to increase it, we couldn’t hear one another.  I now believe this to be user error, having later learned that the headsets have an Automatic Volume setting, which I think would have compensated for the ambient noise at highway speeds.  Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed being able to communicate with another rider, out on the road.

Test #2- Radio, GPS and Mobile Phone

A second test was conducted a few days after the first.  I turned on the Bluetooth Module and was told I had “medium battery” available.  For the one hour ride, I presumed this was sufficient.  I paired the unit to my cell phone on the first try.  The two devices sought one another out and I was out the door in just a moment.   As I waited for another rider to join me, I tested the phone system.  I pushed the MFB and selected phone using a voice prompt to place a call.  It connected perfectly and the audio was loud and clear on the in-helmet speakers.

I then programmed a local radio station, into one of the 5 presets.  The station has a strong signal that I assumed would serve me on this shorter ride.  Once on the road, I fired up the radio and was pleased that the first song was “Born to Be Wild”, by Steppenwolf.  Perfect.  I cracked the throttle wide open and roared down the highway.  And then it got a little weird.  The Interphone F5 identified the radio station.  And then a minute later it did it again.  Hmm.  I hit the scan button to something other than my 1 preset and was soon listening to another station.  Once again, the station call letters got popped into the middle of the music.   It turns out that I had the RDS (Radio Data System) turned on.  I scanned a couple of other stations and was listening for a total of twenty minutes when the system shut itself down.  It appears that I ran out of juice!  Note to self:  Make sure RDS is set to OFF and your headset is fully charged before each ride.

For the GPS test, I tried to pair the Interphone F5 Bluetooth Module with my TomTom Rider.  It failed to pair.  The TomTom is an older unit, about 4 years old, and while it has Bluetooth connectivity, it delivers the audio to a small receiver that plugs into a helmet speaker.  The problem here was the age and design of the GPS unit, not the Interphone F5.  On a newer GPS device, I have no doubt that this would have paired as easily as it did to my mobile phone.

So, from my previous ride, when I used the system for about 4 ½ hours total, and I got maybe another 30 minutes on it when the system told me that I had approximately half-power.  Needless to say, I was disappointed.  I suspect that the short phone call and all the radio scanning had an effect on the battery life.  The test I did not get to make was how long the system would work, continuously.  Interphone says the units have 700 hours of stand-by time and 11 hours of talk time.  If I planned to use a system like this, I would want it to last all day long, perhaps as much as 12 hours on one charge.

Test #3

Initially I was not thrilled with the audio quality of the radio test.  The sizes of the stereo speakers are small, by necessity, and they are easily overloaded by a poor radio signal.  Where this system shines is when it streams music from a Bluetooth phone or with the addition of an iPod or MP3 player.  My Android phone streamed music perfectly when paired to the Interphone F5. If you use a service like Pandora or Spotify, or just pair this with your iPhone, you will have an endless supply of music while touring.

Another source of music is through attaching external audio devices, such as an iPod or an MP3 player.  I attached my iPod Mini to the Aux input, using the supplied coiled cord and found that my iPod didn’t have enough power to drive these speakers.  Fortunately, I have a small, pocket-sized amplifier called a Boostaroo.  Once that was jacked in between the iPod and the Aux input, I had all the volume that I wanted (and MORE).  The speakers have a much better sound with this type of music input, providing a full, rich sound.   You might want to save the radio functions for times when you have a strong signal or, need local weather information, when riding.


This is a premium system, designed for the rider who wants it all.  You can make and take phone calls, communicate effortlessly with other riders or listen to music, all at the same time.  The system automatically mutes other inputs at incoming phone calls or intercom messages.  Additionally, the system is able to link multiple modules, allowing multiple riders (6+) to communicate and greatly extending the range of the units.  This would be very beneficial to all but especially to riders who like to spread out on the road.

The quality of these units is very high, well-designed and with an attractive low-profile.  You needn’t feel like My Favorite Martian, with antennae sticking out of your head.  These units do it all, in a stylish manner, at a very favorable price. 

The most important benefit, beyond all the personal ones, is safety.  Imagine being able to point out road hazards, distracted drivers, etc., as they are spotted and communicating it effortlessly and immediately to others in your group.  No more need for confusing hand signals or missed turns.  Whether you ride two-up, solo or in a group, the Interphone F5 Bluetooth Audio system will make it easier to communicate and will add a new level of ease to your ride.  No more missed calls or missed turns.  Don’t get left behind! 

MSRP is $499.00.

Product Description
INTERPHONE F5 is designed for motorcyclists who like to travel in pairs or groups, and provides conference-type communication 6 or more users - even on different motorcycles INTERPHONE F5 is equipped with multimedia capabilities, thanks to its FM radio with RDS and wired connections with MP3 players (iPod)/Bluetooth® with A2DP profile. INTERPHONE F5 is equipped with TTS (Text To Speech), which provides status messages and ensures maximum comfort and total safety during use. INTERPHONE F5 is available in single and paired versions, and is easily installed on any type of helmet.