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Bluetooth headset allows voice-activated hands-free chat

Cardo Systems are well known for their wireless Bluetooth communication systems in the motorcycle world, and now they’ve launched a system aimed at cyclists.

Using the Bluetooth communication protocol, the new BK-1 allows for hands-free use of mobile phones and MP3 players and offers voice-activated, two-way, or three-way bike-to-bike communication capabilities. This means you can have a chat to a friend, also wearing a BK-1, while you’re riding along the road, with a range of up to 1,600ft (500m).

If you need to take a phone call when you’re riding - and who hasn’t had to pull over to the side of the road to answer the phone - you can do so without removing your hands from the bars. A simple ‘yes’ command answers the call. Or if you frequently ride in groups and would like clearer communication between each other rather than having to shout, it offers a unique solution.

The BK-1 is lightweight at just 50g with an earpiece that floats above the ear, and is fully waterproof. As it’s wireless, there are no cables to get tangled. The battery life is a generous seven hours. The BK-1 Single Communication System is compatible with iPhone and Android phones and costs £195. That includes everything you need to get started.

Paligap will be distributing Cardo into the UK. You can find out more at www.paligap.cc/Cardo

David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.

26 comments

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BigDummy [314 posts] 4 years ago
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I think we need a ban on Bluetooth headsets in training.

It makes for more exciting training because you have to rely on your own instincts and make decisions for yourself without someone constantly feeding you information through an earpiece.

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crazy-legs [811 posts] 4 years ago
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Does anyone remember the days when you could "just go out for a ride"? Now it seems you can't go out without GPS, smartphone (with Strava), camera, bluetooth comms...

Can see a helmet becoming less a protective device, more a convenient mounting point for cameras and bluetooth transceivers!

Having said that, it's actually not a bad idea for MTBing where groups can get split up although walkie talkies work over a longer range and do the same job for 1/10th the price...

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notfastenough [3715 posts] 4 years ago
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Going out on my bike is 'me time'. I carry my phone for a. strava, and b. emergencies. I don't take calls - actually I don't realise it's ringing back there in my pocket, but it amounts to the same thing...

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BigDummy [314 posts] 4 years ago
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Yep. Absolutely NO WAY I take calls when I'm out.

@crazy-legs - A group using walkie-talkies on an mtb ride is heading to Faffsville in my experience. I much prefer my riding companions to have a healthy fear of being left alone to fend for themselves 2 miles from civilisation.  3

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badback [302 posts] 4 years ago
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Bad idea. I've tried stopping and answering my phone whilst I've been out on my bike. I just end up sounding like an asthmatic making love to a pig as it always rings when I'm going up hill.

Plus I go out on my bike to get away from technology.

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Ghedebrav [1100 posts] 4 years ago
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£195 bluetooth headsets! When people mock 'Freds' for their spendthrift gullibility, this is exactly the kind of product they're thinking of.

Also, am I missing something or is this just a cut'n'pasted press release?

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carlosjenno [44 posts] 4 years ago
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Strava good. Telephone calls bad. I'm riding, I'm not interested in talking. I can't anyway, I can barely breathe...

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Gkam84 [9092 posts] 4 years ago
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I'm another one for the no call's when I'm out, but I think its a great thing for cycle clubs, one for the "pro wannabe's", one for the average riders and one for those who might drop back a bit.

But at that price, you are cheaper using airzound's to with beep's signalling things  3

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ragtag [218 posts] 4 years ago
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Good grief.. why don't they make it tweet too?

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mattsccm [340 posts] 4 years ago
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I don't even take a phone.
Those things are a sodding menace. I can just see them used in busy traffic just like headphones.

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kie7077 [884 posts] 4 years ago
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Are you f***ing serious, It's bad enough car users being on the phone, Phones are also a distraction for bicycle users, this device should not be advertised, it should be banned  14 .

Very bad idea.

Being hands free does not make phones in transit ok, the science says they are still a distraction, I've made the mistake of cycling whilst on the phone a couple of times and I can tell I'm paying less attention to the roads.

The guy in the photo: "yeah and then she said...." [Splat] gets killed by lorry.

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AlanD [12 posts] 4 years ago
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+1

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andyp [1473 posts] 4 years ago
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Crazy. I don't ever take a phone with me, let alone a bloody HD camera mounted on my head (why????)...headsets/walkie talkies? wtf? Just ride!

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Littlesox [78 posts] 4 years ago
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Ditto nearly all of the comments above.

A very very bad idea.

Whatever next ?

I dispair

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Philx [37 posts] 4 years ago
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I really can't think of any redeeming features for this product. Inventing a solution for a problem that doesn't exist. Rubbish.

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Philx [37 posts] 4 years ago
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I also like to imagine the people from their marketing department reading the comments section of this article and fretting  1

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CraigS [129 posts] 4 years ago
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Listening to music through headphones is a bad idea. Engaging in a phone conversation takes away some of your concentration too so it can only ever make you less safe on the road.

Unless everyone in a group is using it then you'll have to resort to shouting anyway. I enjoy going out and focussing on nothing but the road for a few hours, can't see any reason to waste £200 on one of these.

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Karbon Kev [688 posts] 4 years ago
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Should be banned and you should be done if you are caught using one whilst riding imo. Disgusting idea.

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herohirst [73 posts] 4 years ago
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Hear Hear!

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sorebones [139 posts] 4 years ago
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badback wrote:

Bad idea. I've tried stopping and answering my phone whilst I've been out on my bike. I just end up sounding like an asthmatic making love to a pig as it always rings when I'm going up hill.

Plus I go out on my bike to get away from technology.

Thanks for that mental image  21 Totally agree though!

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mingmong [265 posts] 4 years ago
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Agree with all albove. I want to hear the wind, that's all.

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The Rumpo Kid [589 posts] 4 years ago
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For once, I seem to agree with everyone else. (I hope this doesn't set a precedent).

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Farky [183 posts] 4 years ago
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Theres so much bad about this concept.

Amplified sound in your ear - dangerous in any circumstances on a bike, an absolute no.

Use of a mobile whilst riding - catch a grip - NO.

Devices attached to the top of your helmet - who is going to be the first to sue a company for injuries sustained, greater than without such device.

Im sadened by the amount of devices beign designed to strap onto the the surface of a safety product, non of which seem thought out from a safety aspect.

I can see the benefit of such a communication system in large group riding situations though, but there are many other ways around it than just adapting an existing system and straping it on. Collar speakers mounted comes to mind.

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Lordfun [19 posts] 4 years ago
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As an avid fan of the Cardo Bluetooth BK-1, reading the posts above this clearly puts me in the minority!

The focus of comments appears to be on making / receiving phone calls, which is actually missing one the main benefits to me - communication with a fellow cyclist.

The device does not need to be paired with a smartphone, but can be used as pair of headsets to talk to one-another. The ear piece does not go in or even near to the ear, but is suspended from the helmet, so hearing traffic etc. is not impeded. The ear piece is on a flexible arm that can be moved at a touch should the heavy breathing get too much...

My wife and I often go on cycling trips together and using this kit enables us to chat, without the need to shout over wind/traffic noise, but at a normal conversational level. It is useful to give directions and pointing out things of interest things when cycling along a busy road in-line

A negative is that it is very line-of-sight and if one of you goes around a corner, signal drops out quickly

The battery life is good, it automatically goes into stand by when not in use and it is voice activated to talk...my wife’s battery runs out an hour before mine which gives me a bre...  3

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tbyrne [13 posts] 4 years ago
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http://www.velominati.com/the-rules/#62

earphones / bluetooth....whats the bloody difference.
give yourself and others the best opportunity for safe riding.

If you need to make/receive a phone call during a ride it will only be to promote your self importance.
Remember....The Ride is always the most important.

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sim1515 [141 posts] 4 years ago
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I think I like the idea of these, mainly for group riding, it would be nice to be able to communicate from the back to the front easier, it can be hard to direct a group of 20 cyclists from the back or wherever you happen to be in the group, plus it means guys can break from the pack to sprint for a sign or gain KOM points (which we do as a bit of fun on our club runs) whilst still being in contact with the group.

The phone thing is questionable, I wouldn't want to regularly chat on the phone while cycling but can see the benefit of getting urgent calls now, 2 months ago I came home to a very flustered and slightly annoyed wife who asked why I didn't pick up my phone (I was on a club run so wouldn't dream of it normally), she was feeling unwell but it turns out she was pregnant and found out whilst I was out cycling. I know that things like that are very rare but I can see that there may be a value to it.

As Lordfun says, the earpiece isn't the 'in ear' type so shouldn't drown out the traffic or countryside noise.

As I said, I like the idea but I don't like it enough to spend £195 on it!

As for the guys wanting it banned, seems a bit extreme to ban it because you don't like the idea, as it seems there are people that do.