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post #1 of 29 (permalink) Old 03-03-2000, 01:07 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2000
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I am looking into buying a bike to bike communication system like chatter box. I was wondering what anyone else is using and if you would recommend it?
Thanks Dave
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post #2 of 29 (permalink) Old 03-03-2000, 01:10 PM
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Location: Phoenix, AZ
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I have also been looking at them.

Anyone have them and any tips?

Robert Basil
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90 ZX7, 94 ZX9R, 97 ZX7R, 98 ZX9R.
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post #3 of 29 (permalink) Old 03-04-2000, 10:31 AM
Join Date: Nov 1999
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TJ and I have Chatterboxes and at this point, we'd be hard pressed to ride without them. They're great for several reasons. We have the HJC-FRS models and I believe they run about $200 each bike, not sure about that. Expensive, but worth every penny.

Here's how they install. You have two speakers (flat, round, about the size of a half dollar or a little larger) and a microphone that go in the helmet. You just take out your padding in the helmet, peel back the lining and stick them in with velcro that way if you need to, you can remove them. Then, you pull the fabric back over the foam and reinstall it in the helmet. You run the cords along the bottom of the helmet, under the padding. Then, you velcro the mic to the inside front of the helmet and the cord ends up coming out the bottom left side of the helmet.

Then, you have the receiver unit that is shaped like a small, hand held CB, a little bigger than a cigarette package. That clamps to the side of the helmet with an adapter that stays on the helmet all the time, even if you have the units off to charge them. I didn't like this idea at first, but it is very stable and has good rubber padding to protect the helmet.

Then, you plug the headset/mic wire into the main unit, turn it on, adjust the voice activation and the volume controls and you're set! Very light weight and they even look kinda cool. My helmet doesn't feel any different to me with the unit in place, except when I pull the helmet off my head, I have to grab it a bit differently. If you don't like that setup, I have heard of people buying an extension for the cord and running the unit clipped to their pants pocket, jacket or in a tank bag. That's what I planned to originally do with mine until I saw how securely they attached to the helmet with no damage incurred to the helmet. They come off, so if you lock the helmet to the bike, you can pull off the unit and carry it with you.

We have done some various tests with them and I'll list those for you here.
<LI>We have been 1-1/2 miles apart and still been able to hear fairly clearly without breaking up too much. The literature says 2 miles, but I think that is pushing it.

<LI>We can ride approximately 85 miles an hour and still hear/understand one another, but that is pushing it as well. I understand this varies with type of helmet, placement of speakers, etc. Also, we've heard putting a small cotton ball over the mic will help cut out wind noise, we just haven't tried it yet.

<LI>Every once in awhile, we'll have someone cut in on some sort of "personal family radios" and either we switch channels (there are 2 channels) or one guy we visit with regularly on the way home.

<LI>There is a push to talk button you can attach to your handlebars or you can use the voice activation feature. Takes a little getting used to the voice activation, but it's definitely easier than constantly pushing a button.

<LI>You can plug in a walkman/discman and still use the voice activation, which then disables the music while the other person is talking.

<LI>When it starts to rain, the units quit working until they're dried out, but then they work fine again.

<LI>They are rechargeable and hold an incredible charge. We have had them since right after Christmas and use them constantly and have only recharged them ONCE, but they're about ready for a second charge! I'd say you could get at least 30-40 hours of continuous use on a charge and that's only a guess. </UL>

They are sure nice to be able to warn each other of things in the road, an upcoming turn or any number of things that you feel like saying when you ride. Also, now, TJ doesn't feel he needs to stop if I miss a light or get behind for some reason (he usually leads). He can just ask me if I'm still back there and if I'm okay, etc. We also warn each other of drivers who aren't paying attention or driving erratically.

If you have further questions, feel free to ask and I'll try to help out with what I can. Either e-mail but better yet in here, so we can share the knowledge.

We both love them and at this point, we'd be really lost without them.

Stacia - '00 CBR F4
"Objects in mirror no longer matter!"

[This message has been edited by Luv2RideFast (edited March 04, 2000).]
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post #4 of 29 (permalink) Old 03-05-2000, 05:14 AM
Join Date: Jan 2000
Posts: 29

Very well said, Sta. One more thing, we just bought the radios that Chatterbox sells, very small, about the size of a small pager. They plug into the main unit and can attach either to your collar, tank bag or pocket. We will be trying them out in about 30 minutes. Ha, Ha, for all those of you up north. J/K.

'98 SuperHawk
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post #5 of 29 (permalink) Old 03-08-2000, 02:58 PM
Join Date: Mar 2000
Posts: 4

I have one question,how do you activate the radio to talk.I mean,in aviation radios,CB's etc. you have to press a button to transmit (usually called a PTT button).I don't see how you can do that while riding so how does it work??

Vasco (Suzuki) Santos
RF 900
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post #6 of 29 (permalink) Old 03-08-2000, 04:53 PM
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Vasco, reread Stacia's fourth bullet.

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post #7 of 29 (permalink) Old 03-09-2000, 02:17 AM
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Can I put my two cents in about chatterboxes? I do not mean to stick out here but my experience with them is that they...well....suck. And suck bad. The volume adjustment on them seems to be one of two positions. Un-hearable or super loud. A couple of buddies and I bought 3 of the most expensive versions with internal mikes and VOX. When we were close together we could understand each other. When we got more then half a mile apart there was most of the time too much static and break up to understand what was being said. Maybe they are acceptable for some people but for the price I expect things to work better then that. Also they have the HUGE speakers that have to fit inside your helmet somehow. After about 60-100 miles I found that these things were putting just enough pressure against my ears to make them hurt. I tried rearranging them but found the only way I could mount them to keep this from happening was to dig out some of the hard foam in the helmet and make a divit for them. There was not way I was going to do that.... To date we are looking at trying out the Motorola Talkabout walkie-talkies with the inner-ear speaker and VOX microphone. I will let you know how this works out when we get it set up.

post #8 of 29 (permalink) Old 03-09-2000, 03:12 AM
Join Date: Nov 1999
Posts: 2,517

I have a few of the Motorola talk-abouts and they work very well. I mainly use them from boat to boat though so thay might not work as well on land. I have never used the Chatterbox.

Kyle J.-
99 Yellow 900RR
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post #9 of 29 (permalink) Old 03-09-2000, 04:27 PM
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Location: Des Moines, IA, USA
Posts: 87

I have used two different Nadys with average results. Helmet wind noise makes conversion above 60 mph useless. The wires to the headsets fatigue within a few 1000 miles of use causing static and disfunction.
I installed the speaker under the lining and the mike behind the chinbar.
A battery lasts one day, so I have wired the 12v cord into the bike. FM reception is good in town but forget the open highway.
I expect these problems are pretty universal.
Surprisingly, if you wear earplugs, you can hear better, if the speaker is positioned properly in your helmet.

-Only safe riders become old riders-99 GSXR750

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post #10 of 29 (permalink) Old 03-09-2000, 07:38 PM
Join Date: Nov 1999
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Alpha, I'm curious as to how long ago you had the Chatterboxes.

We have the newest model and we adore them. I can't say enough good things about them. I have talked to many who tried them in the past and hated them but the new ones are supposed to be totally different. There are many settings for volume, the speakers are large in diameter, but pretty darn flat and I don't even feel them in my helmet. The VOX works great, although at high speeds I do set mine less sensitive because my pipe will turn it on a lot when I'm on the throttle hard. Our best friend who works at the Honda shop sells many of them and they have never had complaints or returns for any reason. I did lots of research and asking around for opinions (due to the high cost of the units) before we bought them and I talked to many who all said the same thing. They loved the new ones and the older models sucked.

Stacia - '00 CBR F4
"Objects in mirror no longer matter!"

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