Updated Spirit & Freecom Cardo Communicators – TMW Reports!

Updated Cardo Communicators

Updated Cardo Communicators

You’ve probably seen the sexy new Updated Spirit & Freecom Cardo communicators in your local motorcycle shop, tuxedo black boxes with bold splash graphics. Spirit, Spirit HD, Freecom 2X, and Freecom 4X are the latest iterations, replacing the 1+, 2+, and 4+ in Cardo’s line. Total Motorcycle sat down for an interview with a product manager over at Cardo to get the scoop.

When you are finished reading our latest Updated Spirit & Freecom Cardo Communicators review and interview, read all our Cardo Reviews right here at Total Motorcycle! 


Updated Spirit & Freecom Cardo Communicator Line Overview


“…the units actively attempt to reconnect with each other if any unit loses signal.”


First, let’s orient ourselves within the Cardosphere. In terms of level of features, Cardo offers essentially three product lines – Spirit, Freecom, and PackTalk. This round of updates applies to the Spirit and Freecom lines, so that’s our focus for this article. Cardo is keeping quiet about PackTalk for now, but we’ll make some guesses later on. For now let’s introduce the Updated Spirit & Freecom Cardo Communicators lines.



The Spirit is the successor of the Freecom 1+. This is Cardo’s most basic headset, and they designed it to be used for a solo rider or just two people. It comes with 32mm helmet speakers, and the unit boasts four simple buttons for control. Cardo states the range for the Spirit is 400m (1/4 mile) under optimal conditions.


Spirit HD

Identical to the Spirit in form factor, the Spirit HD gets larger 40mm speakers and adds FM radio to its list of functions. It also provides up to 600m (.37 miles) of range.


Freecom 2X

This is where things start to get exciting. The 2X connects just two riders, like the Spirit, but it comes with Cardo’s sleek jog wheel for control. The real upgrade over the Spirit, though, is the JBL 40mm speaker kit. Cardo partnered with JBL a few years ago to build speakers and sound profiles purpose-built for the unique environment of a motorcycle helmet. It’s not an exaggeration to call the JBL partnership the most important thing to happen in helmet comms in the last five years.

Cardo claims a functional range of 800m (1/2 mile) for the 2X. Also, the 2X features what Cardo calls LIVEIntercom. As our rep explained it, this means the units actively attempt to reconnect with each other if any unit loses signal.


Freecom 4X

If you’re paying attention, you’ve guessed that the 4X provides communication for up to four connected riders. Like the 2X, the 4X boasts the jog wheel and the JBL speakers in addition to it’s larger group capabilities and LIVEIntercom. Range goes up to 1200m (3/4 mile).


Universal Updates

Now that we’ve got our apples in one box and our oranges in the other, let’s juice some of them. Cardo rolled out some big changes to these units, and the following features apply to the Spirit and the Freecom lines.


Over-the-Air Software Updates


“Our Cardo rep was keen to point out that this is the first true wireless software update capability in the helmet comms arena.”


If you’ve ever tried to update the software in your various electronics, you’ll know how exciting this feature is. No more fumbling with SD cards or package installers or downloading third-party software to get your updates installed. Just install the Cardo app on your smartphone, and the whole process goes wireless and seamless. The app downloads software updates and pushes them to the headsets without you ever having to connect to a PC or get any wires involved. This will make sure you’re always running the most current updates, and you wont ever have to change your routine to get them installed.

Our Cardo rep was keen to point out that this is the first true wireless software update capability in the helmet comms arena. Other units have offered something similar, but there’s always been a wired dongle or third-party software required to get it done.

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You will still need a wire to charge your Cardo though, and now you can use the same USB-C cable you’re likely already using for everything else. Now that USB-C has become the de-facto norm, you wont have to hunt around or hang on to old outdated cables to charge your headsets.


Fast Charging

With the robustness of the USB-C connection,  you also get lighting-fast charging times. Spirit and Freecom both can charge from flat to full in 1.5 to 2 hours, and you can get two hours of talk time out of a 20 minute charge. That means that even if you’ve ran them flat during your ride, one gas stop can get you charged up enough to make it to your next stop. Also, we asked the Cardo rep if it was safe to charge the unit with the kind of variable voltage most bikes output. I don’t know if you know, but you can damage a lot of sensitive electronic devices if you try to charge them on a variable 12V charging system. Our rep was not aware of any concerns on that front.


Battery Life

Arguably the most exciting new feature of the Spirit and Freecom lines is the improved battery life. Those two hours of charging time to full will get you a whopping 13 hours of continuous talk or music time. and a stunning 240 hours of standby. Cardo says ten days standby, but we can reed, right, and rithmatik here at TMW like anyone else can. Given 13 hours of talk time and a full charge in 1.5 hours, I can’t imagine any day of riding that could even start to tax the battery of these new units.


“…a whopping 13 hours of continuous talk or music time…”


Bluetooth 5.2 Architecture

If you ever feel the need to take yourself down a notch, go read an article about what makes BT 5.2 different from BT 5.0. Most of it jargon so thick you’ll find yourself repeating works like “isochronous” in a sing-song Joker voice while you fold origami cranes with tweezers. But if you’re sharp, you’ll find little nuggets that help you visualize what they’re talking about like a topographic map. You may not know the actual elevation of a city, but you’ll know what cities it’s higher and lower than.

For instance, in extremely simplified terms, two devices communicating with BT 5.2 can tell each other to vary their signal strength based on how well either is receiving that signal. I can’t even pretend to know how they do that or how they measure that strength. But I can easily understand how being able to do that might save battery life on one end or improve range on the other.

Bluetooth 5.2 is the first evolution of the Bluetooth chip since 2016. That’s an eternity in terms of electronics, so it’s easy to see how it’s a c-change in this technology. Our Cardo rep told us that a new Bluetooth chip may not seem very exciting, but in terms of function it’s literally the most important update to the Cardo lineup. Given all the gobbledy-gook in the Bluetooth articles this writer read, I imagine that’s true.

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To summarize:

UNIT OTA  USB-C Fast Charging 13HR Talk BT 5.2 Intercom BT Audio FM  JBL Riders Range
Spirit X X X X X X X 2 400M
Spirit HD X X X X X X X X 2 600M
Freecom 2X X X X X X X X X X 2 800M
Freecom 4X X X X X X X X X X 4 1200M

But How Do the Updated Spirit & Freecom Cardo Communicators Perform?

Well, we don’t know yet. We’ve got two handsome Freecom 4x’s here on our project desk to review, but there was two inches of snow on the ground last week here in Utah. Also, guilty pleasures, we’ve just purchased a new Arai Quantum-X and a Bell Star DLX MIPS to install them in. Anything worth doing, right? Keep an eye on the front page here at TMW and make sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel, so you’ll know right away when the official review starts. Also feel free to join us over on Facebook, and leave a comment if there’s anything in particular you want to know about these updated Cardo units. We’ll test whatever you want us to test.



Cardo Website

About Eric Leaverton 41 Articles
Eric Leaverton is a management and labor relations specialist from the city of Harrisville, Utah, United States. He is an avid reader of fiction and non-fiction, and in his spare time enjoys riding motorcycles with his wife and raising their three children. Eric is also a product reviewer and field correspondent for Total Motorcycle Web. For more pictures, stories, and background, you can read his blog in the Total Motorcycle forums here: To Ride An Iron Horse (link opens in new tab)