Cardo Scala Rider TeamSet PRO Review
By Bruce Ross, Reviewer, Total Motorcycle.com
The Cardo Team Set PRO promises to “make sharing a ride more entertaining”, and TMW recently got the opportunity to find out if the system lives up to its hype. The mid-range communication system is geared towards rider to passenger communication, and therefore cannot be linked to any external rider communicators. Extensive features however make the system quite effective for its intended purpose.
Installation is straight forward and we managed to set up both units in under 10 minutes. To be honest, one of my reservations about using these devices was my memories of older units and their requirement to use an adhesive to mount them to the helmet. With the TeamSet PRO, two small allen-head screws tighten a clamp to the lower shell of the left hand side of the helmet, tucked neatly behind the helmet liner (for those with helmets where the mounting clamp will not work adhesive mounting plates are included). The ultra thin helmet speakers Velcro backing stuck nicely to the helmet liners of both the Shark and KBC helmets that were used for this test. We took a couple of extra minutes to tidy up the speaker wiring by tucking it behind the liner but within moments we were set up and ready to go.
Prior to heading out on the road using the TeamSet PRO it is best to thoroughly read the excellent user guide to avoid frustration with controlling the units. As with most guys I like the challenge of trying to figure out any new electronic device through intuition as “manuals are for the weak”! However, in this case the controls are not immediately intuitive when out of the line of sight and when being manipulated by a gloved hand. This can easily be avoided by taking a few moments with the user guide running through the functions prior to putting on your helmet. Once you have an understanding of the functionality of controls the units are very easy and convenient to use.
The TeamSet PRO has a variety of features beyond basic intercom such as MP3 connectivity, Blue-tooth phone and GPS Voice instruction. The system operates in full duplex (meaning you have the ability to talk and listen at the same time), and the clarity of the communication audio is really quite stunning. As I am not personally someone who normally rides with a passenger we actually tested the units with great results on two separate bikes. Even though Cardo claims that the units are meant to be utilized for biker-to-passenger communication (as opposed to bike-to-bike) we can say that good solid reception is available in most situations at up to a very workable 150 m. For the intended purpose as a rider – passenger unit you should anticipate no reception issues whatsoever.
On the slightly less positive side the MP3 audio performance is the least impressive function of the TeamSet PRO. We had difficulty achieving quality MP3 audio performance at highway speeds despite careful experimentation with speaker location and output levels from our I-Pod Nano audio device. The volume of the MP3 audio can only be manipulated from the audio device itself which makes it difficult to vary volume levels while riding. This can lead to either blasting the volume in your ears at low speeds or not being loud enough to hear at higher speeds. As anyone who has ever tried to manipulate the volume on an I-Pod or similar audio device with a gloved hand can attest, it is a difficult and distracting task. If only the MP3 volume could be varied using the very convenient volume buttons on the side of the headset the functionality of the MP3 audio would be much more convenient. The lacklustre performance of the MP3 audio function comes as somewhat surprising given the high quality audio performance of the communicator itself.
A very clever and convenient feature is audio source prioritization. Phone and GPS navigation are the highest priority, followed by intercom, and finally MP3 audio source and it all works exactly as advertised. Phone calling with a voice dialling enabled cell phone was as easy as tapping the control button on the side of the unit, and placing your call by stating “call“ followed by the name of someone in your address book. The one anomaly that we discovered with the unit was when attempting to make a call by stating the number. The number that was read back to us was never the same number that we stated when trying to make the call. The Blackberry that was used for this test was the same one that I use for hands-free use in my truck (parked, of course) and I have never had an issue with this feature. As I typically have all the numbers that I need programmed in to my address book this was not a big hindrance, but it is notable just the same.
And finally of interest to touring riders who are the most likely to purchase the system: the on-board rechargeable batteries are estimated to last up to 10 hours, which is significantly longer than some competitive systems and even other units offered from Cardo. We never had the opportunity to test the full battery life due to a bombardment of early season snow-storms, however after 5 hours the communicators were still working strong. Recharging time is estimated at 4 hours.
Overall we were very impressed with the quality and functionality of the TeamSet PRO. We can`t say enough just how clear the communication is, even when used in a bike to bike application. If we were to purchase one of these systems personally, we would seriously consider the more expensive Cardo G4 Powerset which enables linking up with other units and longer battery life; however at $489.00 it nearly doubles the $249.00 MSRP of the TeamSet PRO. For the intended purpose however it is difficult to imagine a system that could work more effectively for such a reasonable price.
Cardo Scala Rider TeamSet PRO Key Features:
Cardo’s Motorcycle intercom set – paired up and ready to go
The scala rider TeamSet PRO Bluetooth headset is a great Motorcycle intercom solution to a real need: Now motorcyclists and their passengers too can benefit from wireless handsfree communication without compromising security or comfort, thus opening a whole new realm fcommunication and entertainment on the go.
The scala rider TeamSet PRO for motorcycle intercom offers Bluetooth handsfree wireless communication both via intercom with your Passenger and your mobile phone.
The scala rider TeamSet PRO automatically adjusts its sound level as your riding conditions change.
Both Bluetooth Motorcycle intercom headsets can recieve GPS navigation instructions from a GPS device. Each headset has the ability to independently initiate, accept or reject incoming calls by voice control.
The scala rider TeamSet offers excellent Motorcycle intercom features between rider and passenger, paired up and set for the trip ahead.
Each Motorcycle Intercom headset includes an MP3 jack so that Driver and Passenger can listen to their favorite tunes from their own MP3 player by just plugging it into the unit.
– VOX Technology – each headset can independently receive, initiate, and reject mobile calls by voice control
– Motorcycle Intercom in Full Duplex – driver and passenger can talk and listen to each other simultaneously
– GPS – transmit navigation instructions from your GPS
– Listen to your MP3 player (cable included)
– Weather protected headset fits virtually all full-faced and ¾ helmets
– Easy installation within minutes
– AGC Technology automatically self adjusts speakers’ volume according to speed and ambient noise
– Dual Ultra-slim Speakers for superb audio
– Up to 10 hrs. Talk-time / 1 Week standby
Cardo Scala Rider TeamSet PRO Specifications:
Talk time: up to 10 hours
Standby time: one week
Weight: 1.18 oz (33.5 gr)
Battery type: rechargeable Li-Po
Charging time: 3 hours
Rugged Design: Waterproff & Dustproof
Certificates: FCC, IC,CE, Bluetooth
Bluetooth® version 2.0 class 2 Chip
manufacturer: Cambridge Silicone Radio (CSR)
AGC technology: Automatic Volume Control according to speed and ambient noise
VOX technology: Accept or Reject calls by voice commands
Functions and Profiles
Connect your MP3 player with the provided cable
Fits all full-face and 3/4 Helmets
Quick-release mechanism for headset
Two ultra-slim speakers – 4.7 mm / 0.18 in.
4 large control buttons
Rider-to-Passenger Motorcycle Intercom communication
Transmit navigation instructions from your Bluetooth enabled GPS device
Connect your MP3 player with the provided cable
Headset and HandsFree Profiles support