CARDO SPIRIT HELMET COMMUNICATORS
WHAT IT IS: CARDO SPIRIT HELMET COMMUNICATORS
The best thing about riding side by side in a UTV is being able to share the day with someone; however, yelling at your passenger through a helmet over engine and wind noise is not that enjoyable. Since day one, companies like Rugged Radios and PCI have been building communication systems aimed at UTV owners, but most of their products can be expensive and a hassle to install. Another option is Bluetooth communicators.
WHAT IS IT?
Bluetooth communicators were designed for street bike riders wanting to talk to their riding partners and passengers. Well, it turns out that they also work well for talking with the person sitting next to you in a UTV. The unit itself is a small, matchbox-sized, waterproof module that attaches to the side of any helmet. From there, a small set of 40mm speakers and a microphone get positioned where they need to be—near the user’s mouth and in the ear pockets of most helmets.
This is Cardo’s budget-friendly Spirit HD system, but it still has the basic features two people need to communicate with each other. With this unit, you can connect via Bluetooth to any other Bluetooth helmet communicator. In addition, you can pair each device via Bluetooth to one phone to make calls or listen to a podcast/FM radio or music on the trail. You can control the unit with soft-touch buttons on the module or through Cardo’s app on your smartphone. Thankfully, you don’t have to use the app for basic functions.
We tested the Spirit HD comms in a pair of Solid-brand helmets. The full-face helmet has a removable center liner and cheek pads to help with installation. Furthermore, there are recessed ear pockets to mount the speakers in, and we used one of the airflow channels to hide the 3.5mm jack so there was zero discomfort with the system installed in either helmet. We used the supplied adhesive-backed, hook-and-loop pads to attach the speakers, and we used hot glue to position the boom microphone.
To get the units up and running is a breeze. To turn them on, press the front and rear buttons at the same time; release and wait a few seconds. To connect, you have to press and hold that rear button for two seconds and start talking. Volume is controlled with “hi” and “low” buttons on the module. To shut them down, push those front and rear buttons again. A new feature during shutdown is that a voice prompt will let you know your battery level. Cardo claims the Spirit will work up to a distance of about 600 meters. So, for car-to-car communications, you are limited to close riding or else you will drop the connection too often. In our testing, they actually dropped out in about half that distance. Cardo does have an antenna-equipped unit with more range, but still, we suggest one of those hardwired PCI or Rugged systems for car-to-car conversations.
The Cardo Spirit HD Bluetooth communicators are the least expensive way to talk to your passenger using helmets. The sound quality is above average, and the range is perfect for communicating to your passengers. You can actually get out of the car and walk away from it for 100 yards, and you will stay connected. So, if you need a spotter for a tough section of trail, these comms will work great for that. As long as you can see the other person, you can hear them, too. But, when you are shoulder to shoulder or in the back seat of a four-seater, the Spirit HD gives you that instant ability to talk to each other. The audio is crystal clear with zero static, wind noise or engine noise coming through. The key to any relationship is good communication, so with the Cargo Spirit HD, you and your riding partner will enjoy the day without a steep investment. If that’s what you are looking for, Bluetooth communicators are for you.
PRICE: $149 each
See UTV Action’s evaluation on another Cardo communicator here: CARDO PACKTALK BOLD WIRELESS HELMET COMMS – UTV Action Magazine