What is the best Intercom System for the RT?

Barry P. Blank, Ph.D." <PsychB@Concentric.Net> was one of the first on the list to respond: "I, and many others on the IBMWR list, have an Autocom Pro - and I am very pleased with it. It is expensive, but still cheaper than going through a number of the less expensive units until you’re satisfied.

I keep it under the front of my seat and have it wired into a BEL radar detector which I keep in my tank bag window and a CD player which I keep in the tank bag’s top compartment. Been using it for over a year and the only fault I have with it is that the amplifier on the CD is too weak to put out decent sound ( with a Boostaroo and Maxx earplugs :^) ).

Overall, IMO it is <the> way to go.

Seth Miller <mailto:seth.miller@worldnet.att.net> agrees with Barry in that its best to just go for it and drop the big bucks the first time and get something that really works. "The Autocom unit (manufactured in England, but now available from several distributors in the US) is about the best thing going (great audio quality, excellent VOX operation, etc.), but it is a higher-end unit and priced accordingly. In the intercom field, many have found it less expensive in the long run to purchase a quality unit first off, rather than eventually after several cheaper units have been tried out and then tossed for one reason or another. I think you will find many who second this opinion.

The Autocom unit doesn’t have a built-in radio, but you can plug in a Walkman-type unit of your choice. It has a lot of nice features, such as automatic music cancellation when either the rider or passenger speak, individually adjustable music volume levels for rider and passenger, etc. There is also a nifty automatic volume control feature that raises or lowers the volume based on your speed (by sensing ambient wind noise). This is a mandatory feature if you don’t want to be endlessly playing with the volume control."

Robert T. Edmiston <edmiston@research.nj.nec.com> took the time to share the address for AutoCom and their US Distributor. He wrote: "Please find below the URL for the manufacturer of the AutoCom Product and directly below that the contact info for the primary US Distributor. There may also be a local distributor in your area. If you contact Top Gear they will be happy to assist you.

http://www.autocom.co.uk/

Top Gear Accessories

P.O. Box 1477

Slingerlands N.Y. 12159 U.S.A.

Tel: +1 518 449 8677

Fax: +1 518 449 8876

Email: topgear@worldnet.att.net

Harry G. Greenspun, M.D. <hgg@clinpath.com> is well traveled on his RT and wrote a product review for his personal web page. Harry says " Check out my Autocom write up: http://www.greenspun.com/harry/autocom.htm I have the Eurocom interfaced with a CD walkman and a CB radio. It’s a great system."

Sean Williams < sean@crushtot.demon.co.uk> Agrees: "I have the Autocom Pro and confirm everything the others have said -it’s top quality with top features but is expensive. You can also hook your mobile phone up to it and provided you have the right phone it will auto answer and you can chat as you ride!

Dave Harmacek, <daveh@shore.net> shared his experience with both NADY and AUTOCOM:

"NADY - We tried the one with the FM radio for two years. The fidelity was good only for the talk and news stations. I had to repair the wires many times. We couldn’t talk when traveling over 45 mph on my RT. Not recommended (want to buy mine?)

AUTOCOM - We installed the Eurocom model with the standard headsets. Very pricy but we missed an intercom and wanted one for our long trip from Boston to Missoula. I found the fidelity better than NADY, but tinny on music. This was resolved, later. Wife always complained that my voice was distorted. Her voice was fine to me, even with or without earplugs, and at any speed.

On our way to Missoula one of my speakers stopped working, and then my microphone stopped working.

In Missoula I found the booth of TopGear Accessories who I bought the unit from. They moved our helmet speakers lower (in our X-9s). This improved the fidelity, drastically. They replaced my entire headset and microphone under warranty. They shortened the lead to from the Eurocom for the front and put on a new connector. This fixed my speaker and microphone problems. Wife continues to have some problem understanding me at higher speed. Maybe I’m mumbling?"

However, not everyone is pleased with the Autocom system. Phil Space <Space@dina.com> says that he has tried others and likes Chatterbox best for bike to bike Communications: "If you want to do bike to bike comms and audio, highly recommend the the Chatterbox HJC-27A. After Chatterbox 90's and Autocom Eurocom's the HJC's have worked flawlessly, we listen to the CB for police etc. and talk bike to bike. We both have R1100RT's and used the BMWOGA http://home.sprintmail.com/~damian/ solution for mounting CB antennas on the bikes. Incredible range and has made back and forth for bike week this year with no problems."

"The only down side is tank bag. The radio comes in a very small Eclipse made tank bag. Mounts well, but is small. It worked very well, and protected the radio from some very heavy rains courtesy of alot of silicon spray, but the map area is very small."

Jerry Cook <jcook@capcity.com> echoes Phil’s comments on the HJC system: "I am just about to switch from Autocom to a unit from HJC (Chatterbox folks) They make the HJC-27A.

Retail for $300 US Dollars. Includes radio, headset , power lead , tank bag , Push to talk button ,antenna Optional Remote control unit for $49 This unit is a CB Radio. 40 channel. I think that with the remote control unit you get intercom features also. There is a jack for an audio input. (This needs to be connected properly to the bikes radioPre-amp levels??) The remote control unit gives you control of the volume and squelch and channel. Push to Talk to Key the transmitter.

Phil and Becky Space each have one mounted on their R11RT's and they seem to be happy with them. This is after lots of attempts with Autocom and Cobra 45 Handheld CB radios. Their units worked better than my Midland but it was tough to adjust volume etc. They also have the Firestick CB antenna that does NOT require a ground plane, but you get 17 feet of cable that has to be wound around the bike. I think i will start with the stock one! The HJC is a complete system and therefore I would expect everything to work. Wish it had the weather channels but I dont think it does We also looked at a C"B unit from Honda for the Valkyrie interstate. seemed nice but it cost more .

I have also seen a unit that is probably a $50 CB radio that has its front panel remoted into an aluminum box. the cigar box size main unit has to be hidden somewhere on the bike. Cost was about $500 seemed too expensive and looked bad. also very large but they work good."

"I will probably sell my Autocom stuff and buy the HJC-27A also. My Autocom Pro and my Midland have problems when I try to use 12volt power for the Midland 820 CB (handheld). Autocom says that the problem is with the Midland CB Radio. Midland has a different opinion!"

David Nelson <dnelson@jump.net> Installed the Eurocom on his GS and offered the following observations: "I went with the Euro-com setup. The main unit it velcroed behind the passanger on the left side. I run the wires along the frame using nylon tiestraps. The drivers headset and audio input are also tie strapped to one of the straps that fasten to the rear of the Rev-Pack to keep them tidy. I can also coil the leads and lay then on top of the air-box if I’m not using the intercom system and still use the tank bag. I’ve also put on shrink-tubing for the audio-in connector to help keep dust/moister from getting into the jack/plug."

"I use the Autocom headset that are supposed to be used for the Pro-Comm. Do NOT use the Autocom coiled lead that is designed for the Pro-Comm. The lead has a small microphone in it that provides a feedback signal for the Pro-Comm so that it can automagically adjust the volume in response to outside noise. Instead, I use a standard PC/AT keyboard cable available at any good computer store and usually cost about $5 (vs. $50 for the autocom lead). I’ve head that autocom now makes a coiled lead for use with the Euro-Comm but I have not seen/priced it."

I have finally gotten around to getting an Autocom Pro system and I am really pleased with it. The only time I have any problem is in strong cross-winds - they tend to key the mic. My favorit feature is the automatic volume control. I installed the system with velcro into the tail assembly of my bike. Here are a couple of pictures of how it all looks:

autocom1.jpg (60629 bytes)

autocom2.jpg (66704 bytes)

As of July 2000, <pthombs@gateway.net> reported that "A staff member @ TOPGEAR recently told me the Eurocoms are "back ordered". what that really seems to mean is that the old Eurocom is being replaced with an updated model, more robust case & leads. The price however is apparently going up to circa $260."

Will <bergamot56@aol.com> confirmed it: "Yes, the Eurocom has been superceded by the Eurocom M2. It's now $259.99. The folks at Topgear said there were no more Eurocom units available, so I bought the new unit. It's larger (4.5x2.5x1.25") and heavier than the old unit."