Nicky Zarras | Managing Editor
One of the key needs of a rider, especially in a group ride, is communications. Riders give updates to directions, state hazards, handle accidents or motorcycle problems in the group by hand signals. But that is not as accurate or timely as the spoken voice. If someone in the back of the “line” has a problem it could be a while until the leader can address that problem. That is why group leaders have a “chase” position rider with a communication headset so the leader can keep track of the group. On a normal ride it is a great way to handle normal communications like points of interest, needed rest stops, or hey there is an outlet store I want to check out. Yes I am married.
In the past communication sets had limited range. Midland has come out with the Midland BT NeXt Multi Rider Intercom System (MRIS) which has a reported 1 mile range. For those of us who used CB radios in the past know that range can be affected by many factors like terrain, weather, amount of users on a frequency, but reported range is a great gage of which unit to purchase. This range is excellent in this arena. The Midland BT NeXt Multi Rider Intercom System comes as a package deal with two intercom systems. It will support up to 6 rider Multi-pair intercom, FM Radio (stereo +RDS) connection to your cell phone, GPS (Garmin and Tom Tom), stereo MP3 player or GMRS transceiver (CB) radio. The package has two kits with stereo speakers. The microphones are interchangeable, wired and flexible arms with associated cables and mounting kits to mount it to the helmets. Included is a wall/USB charger with double USB jacks so can charge both MRIS units at the same time. The MRIS is water resistant. To charge just plug it into the dual charge unit, the red light will flash unit charged then it goes steady. Expect an 8 hour initial charge time. The unit has up to 10 hours of operational time.
Let’s look at the operation of the MRIS. The side of the MRIS has five buttons. The left arrow, middle circular and right arrow, plus two upper small buttons. The larger buttons are multifunction. The top two are left volume up and right volume down. On the bottom are two ports. The left port is for the USB charger male lead. The right port is to hook up the audio kit pack. On top is a folding antenna. Extend it for normal use. The audio kits comes with stereo headsets and two types of mics. One mike is a boom mike for open face and flip up helmets. The wired mike is for full face helmets. The installation bracket mounts the MRIS to your helmet either with adhesive or mounting screws. To turn the unit on just hit the center round button for three seconds. To shut it off you need to hit the center and aft buttons. The MRIS now can operate in one of three modes: Intercom, Phone, and FM Radio. Intercom mode allows links to other riders. When you pair Bluetooth devices you use the Volume + or Volume – buttons. The + is for Phone and has priority over intercom, FM and Music. The – button is for lower priority like GPS or any devices you want to keep in the background.
The three multifunction buttons can switch between modes by pressing the middle button for three seconds. The MRIS will then tell you which mode you are in. In phone mode you can take or make calls or listen to stereo music. To redial, accept or reject a call you just hit the left button. You can accept a call by just talking. If in phone music mode the buttons allow you to (L-R buttons) forward, pause or go back a song. In FM radio mode you can seek stations and store up to six favorites. L/R buttons select u/d scan and the middle is the on/off switch. The unit will default to its last pairing priority being intercom. If no pairing exists default is FM mode. To pair two units just hit the middle button on one of the units. It will beep signifying you are paired. If you are pairing to multiple units, first hold the middle button for 7 seconds, then press one of the three buttons to pair to the other unit. You will get a Blue and Red light. Since this generation MRIS will talk to only one unit at a time you may get a double beep busy signal. The nice thing is the person called will get a 1, 2 or 3 number on who called. There are a lot more features and instruction in the manual. This MRIS (six biker intercom) is available as a single unit for a $249.99 MRSP and the twin MRIS has a $449.99 MSRP. All units will link to previous generation Midland rider intercom systems.
Midland also has a BTREMOTE Handlebar Remote Control (HRC) which allows you to control your MRIS from your handlebars. It is waterproof, has five buttons to control all functions. They mirror the buttons on your MRIS. It is compatible with BTNext, BTX2 and BTX1 systems. It comes with a standard USB recharging cable. It mounts on your left handle grip. To pair the HRC with the MRIS just press the middle round button on the HRC then the middle round button on the MRIS, then any button on the HRC. You will get a double blue flash light on the HRC to show you are connected. The only consideration is the unit takes away about an inch from your left handle grip, so for large hands you lose some room, and you need to reach abit farther for left switch array. This HRC is a must have as it allows you to keep your left hand on the handle bar grip vs. using the MRIS helmet controls on your helmet. This unit has a $99.00 MSRP.
The Midland BT NeXt Multi Rider Intercom System and BTREMOTE Handlebar Remote Control units are top quality and provide high quality stereo communication and music listening to the rider. Having the communication capability can greatly enhance the rider’s enjoyment and safety in the ride.