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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
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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I have also been looking at them.

Anyone have them and any tips?


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Robert Basil
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90 ZX7, 94 ZX9R, 97 ZX7R, 98 ZX9R.
It ain't easy being green, but it sure is fun!
 

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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.
<UL TYPE=SQUARE>
<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. :D

<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.

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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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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. :p Ha, Ha, for all those of you up north. J/K.

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TJ
'98 SuperHawk
 

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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??

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Vasco (Suzuki) Santos
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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.

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The
AlphaWolf
 

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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.

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Kyle J.-
99 Yellow 900RR
email:[email protected]
 

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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.

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-Only safe riders become old riders-99 GSXR750
 

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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. :cool:

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Stacia - '00 CBR F4
"Objects in mirror no longer matter!"
 
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We bought the boxes about 4 months ago. I also asked around and most people seem to say it was the way to go. It may be that we bought older models but I dont think so. It is interesting that you have such good results with yours. The one I have is just really really bad. So perhapse you are right. Do you have a model number on yours that I can cross check with mine>?

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The
AlphaWolf
 

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Hey, Alpha. I'm at Daytona, so I can't check the paperwork on the Chatterboxes, but I can tell you what it says on the side of the actual units. It says: Chatterbox HJC-FRS Multi-Sport. Is that the unit you have? Interesting.

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

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a couple of years ago, we had the chatterbox system (stacia, remember the e-mails we exchanged on this?). it was a great step up from not having anything at all, but we ended up not liking them. they were okay for about 1/4 of a mile, but through the twisties, you'd lose them real quick. and any speeds above 65 were just horrible. so, we took the chatterbox headsets, and kept them in our helmets. but then, we rigged up C.B.'s on the bikes. they're cheaper than the chatterboxes, and you can get a heck of a lot farther with them. plus, if you have to super-slab it, you can jump down to 19 and check for any smoky bears. also, quite a few c.b.'s come with weather channels, so that always helps a motorcyclist out!! it takes a total of about an hour to rig the c.b. up, then to put it on the bike, and get the antennae on the bike, takes a little bit of time. i tell ya, it's like a cell phone. once you've had one, you wonder how you could live without them! if anyone's interested, we've got the paper write ups, and the supplies needed. we made them for some friends, and total (cost of c.b., parts, coax cable, and antennae + a little bit of labour charged), it came up to $125!! cheaper than the chatterboxes, and cheaper than most c.b.'s you find in the J&M catalogues. that's my 1/2 cent on that! happy riding!

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Amy
"Aren't you a little old to be wearing out the knees of your pants?"
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
My wife and I bought a pair of chatter boxes about a month ago. They work pretty good and it is nice to be able to communicate back and forth. The main problem that we have had is that when on voice active one of our mikes would sometimes stay open which would cause us not to be able to talk back and forth. Also at 50 mph or above when we would turn our head the mike would come open. This became very irritating so we finally hooked up the push button and this fixed just about everything. Now I can sing or talk to myself inside my helmet again without the mike coming on and bothering my wife.
The only other problem is sometimes we have to repeat ourselves but that is to be expected when wearing a helmet and having some wind noice.
We just got back from riding for a week in the N.C. mountains and the chatter boxes work great. I do not know how we lived this long without them.

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Dave
Too many curves...so little time
 

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I am looking into buying a Chatterbox next month. The question that I have is if there are 14 channels, which one does everyone talk on? Does it just roam until the radio picks up a signal so that you can talk to other riders that you come up on or do you have to switch channels and find them and then go back to your channel to continue talking to your buds?
I have looked at the Nady equipment and it doesn't look like it has changed in the past 10 years. They just don't look like they were made to be worn inside a full face helmet, much less a baseball cap.
The CB radio thing sounds interesting, but I want to talk to other sport riders and not Goldwings and cages. Nothing against Goldwings and come to think about it, that is what you will most likely run into on any road trip.

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Todd Hoffmaster
'00 Katana 600
38 speeding tickets and still counting
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
On the chatter box there are only 2 channels and you have to move between the 2 manually.

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Dave
Too many curves...so little time
 

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Todd---
None of us are Goldwingers!! We've got Superhawks, VFR's, RF6's, etc. running CB's! I don't have a CB in my car. We all ride either sportbikes, or sport touring bikes. If you want any more info, lemme know!! :D

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Amy
"Smiling from gear to gear."
 

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Dave, try turning the sensitivity on the VOX down so it doesn't activate the mic and then turn it up when you need to talk. TJ can leave his on, but my pipe is just the tone to have mine come open all the time, so I just reach up and adjust it when we're on the highway.

Todd, to clarify a bit, the Chatterboxes are really for couples who ride or buddies in the same riding group. If you pass someone with one of them, they will be out of range soon, so not much use in trying to talk to different groups. As Dave pointed out, there are 2 channels, so if you have several in a group, you can pick one or the other. We have this really friendly guy we talk to sometime on our way home, but we can only hear one another for about a mile and a half in a certain area. He has some sort of home radio that uses one of the Chatterbox channels.

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Stacia
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'00 Honda CBR600F4
"Objects in mirror no longer matter!"
 

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I thought that the chatterbox was like those Motorola Talkabouts with 14 channels. Are they both on the same frequencies? I thought about buying a Talkabout and plugging in the headset and using them. They only run $100.00 or less.
The CB style sounds pretty good, too, until someone walks on you or has those ******* noise makers and it blows your eardrums out. With a CB you have more options of power, style, antenna location & type, but do they have vox, or just ptt?

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Todd Hoffmaster
'00 Katana 600
38 speeding tickets and still counting
 
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