dinsdag 1 mei 2012

Schuberth C3, SRC, Cardo Scala Rider Q2 Pro Wired review

While waiting for the VFR to arrive, I've treated myself to a new helmet, a shiny black Schuberth C3.
My previous helmet is a Shark Vision-R, which will go to the OH.

I also got myself an intercom/bluetooth system, in the C3 the (quite expensive) SRC kit (made by Cardo), and for the Shark a matching Q2 Pro.

Schuberth C3

First the helmet: I currently still ride my CBF600SA which has some wind protection but quite limited. Tbh I don't really find the C3 much quieter than my Vision-R, though it's marketed as a very quiet helmet. Anyway, it's quiet enough. I was also one of the people that said I'd never use a flip-up helmet. Well, I was wrong. The C3 looks good (for a flip up), and the flip-up is very practical, arriving somewhere you don't have to take your helmet off immediately, filling up the bike you can just flip it up to get some fresh air (I always keep my helmet on during fill-ups).
The sun visor works great, although it could have been a shade darker in my view (pun intended). I do have a pair of sunglasses that I can wear under the sunvisor, though it's a "face hugging" type so I highly doubt it'll work with every type of sunglasses.

Anyway, so far very happy with the helmet, the visor is easy to remove for cleaning (also on the shark), it's silent for a flip-up and the glass-smooth surface of the helmet makes for easy cleaning (the matte colours will be harder I guess).

Schuberth SRC on the C3

Well, the collar. I'm going to start off with the downsides.
  1. It's too expensive. It's basically a Cardo Scala rider they integrated in the collar and charge a 50% extra for that.
  2. Once fitted, the already "snug" collar becomes a lot "snugger", in the store I was in between buying a M or L C3, and ended up with the L as the M felt just a bit too small. I'm glad I did as the SRC makes the helmet feel even smaller (do note the SRC is the same for S M L sizes helmets). Putting the helmet on/off without flipping it up became impossible (possible without!).
  3. FM reception. Could be due to our FM transmitters, but FM reception seems particularly poor. This leads to poor quality sound, so I prefer using the MP3 player now.
  4. Fit,  this is point two but additional, the "boom" mic on the SRC is a bit in the way to close the flip up, when closing the flip-up, the mic will almost always touch your chin/lip. Not irritating but it's there. Also, after closing the flip-up, you'll have to get your hand inside to reposition the boom to a comfortable position. Easy with thin gloves, but I think I'll struggle with winter gloves. This can partly be solved by positioning the mic right before closing the flip-up
That's about it, if you could get over that (I can), it's all uphill from there. The featureset is great, pairing with my Android handset no problem, even voice dailing if you want. Like I said, FM reception is pretty crap but ok for some stations. Operation is easy enough, though the manual is deffo required at least for the initial pairing.

Schuberth SRC intercom with Cardo Rider Q2 Pro

Setup was easy enough, and once paired this works brilliantly. Minimal wind noise and on the naked we could understand eachother (rider & pillion) with ease at up to 100km/h. One small remark: initially we thought it didn't work that well, but when you start up either set the bluetooth-properties become apparent:
First it'll connect the mobile phone (can take a couple of seconds), then it'll connect the headsets with eachother. You even get a notification ("Intercom A connected", "Mobile Connected",...). So starting up both headsets, it can take about 20-30 seconds before the intercom really works. No biggie of course, but something to take in account.
The Q2 installation in the Shark Vision-R was very easy. Because the Shark has pretty thick removable ear cushions, I didn't want to remove them as that makes the helmet a lot noisier. So I kept them in and after some trying and testing I decided to put the speakers on top of the cushions, rather than behind them (as in the C3). If you can do this without them touching your ear, that's definitely the way to go. Placing them behing the cusions will give very low sound levels so not advisable. Removing the cushions will give you a lot more wind noise. Anyway, after that installation and doing about 100km two-up, the intercom really works pretty well, even on a bike with minimal wind protection.

Any way, it was some expensive kit (about 900 € for the helmet and two intercoms) but worth it imho. Riding trips could get boring for the pillion, and being able to talk to each other on trips is a bit of a requirement for us. The ability to connect a MP3 player and maybe even listen to FM is a very welcome extra. We hope to do a nice part of Germany later this year, and I'll deffo get back on how the intercom handled that.

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