Review: Cardo BK1-DUOBy Inge Mares | Published Jan 8, 2015
We were impressed during our first test run with the Cardo. We took the system to one of our most notoriously windy and traffic laden locales and were surprised at how easily we could hear each other. The range of the BK-1 DUO held it's own as we frequently stayed long distances apart to detect the range. Rarely did the BK-1 system start to break up, and when it did, it was usually due to a tall building or other structure that the lead person had moved behind.
- able to hear clearly even though the speakers and mic are not directly up against the mouth or ears
- can still hear the ambient noise/traffic while wearing the device
- flexible arms on both the earpiece allow for personal comfort adjustment . flexible mic boom places mic exactly where you want it
- noise cancelation - no white noise as with other devices
- easily removable so that the rider can be race compliant
- can use one or two earpieces for flexibility in your jurisdiction (eg. where illegal to have both ears with headphones)
- can voice dial the phone
- easily cuts over to incoming call/intercom
- great rides with your training buddy
- great for coaches that are riding with or monitoring their athletes; can provide course simulation instruction or correction to techniques being taught
- great for group ride leaders that are monitoring the group
- great for race preparation when pre-riding the course
We Didn't Like
With the additional boom microphone and earpiece attachments installed in your helmet, be forewarned that the circumference of the helmet will fit a bit snugger. If your helmet is tight to begin with, installation will make it even tighter as it takes up room on the back sides of the helmet. If you have a helmet with an internal adjustable retention system, this may not be a big issue unless you are at the end of the adjustment span. If you are shopping for helmets and plan on using this system, consider going up a size for comfort, especially if you plan on wearing a skull cap or balaclava with the DUO installed. One of our reviewers also noted that the top velcro mounting mechanism also takes up helmet volume. We recommend experimenting with mounting methods to find out which one works best for you
Another thing we quickly learned is that it is very easy to forget that you have the device turned on. Unless you are looking in the mirror and see the intermittent blue flashing lights on the top of your helmet, you can easily forget that the device is active, and before you know it, you can hear your partner in the restroom, talking to themselves or other conversations that they are around. Fortunately, Cardo Systems has included a "Mute" option for just these instances!
The Final Say
Do you have a buddy, partner or athlete that you need or want to communicate with when you are riding, training or teaching? This is a really helpful and useful tool. Basically, with this system you don't have to yell anymore to be heard. You don't have to turn your head to hear and you don't have to be right on their wheel to communicate with them. The coaching application to this is awesome! You can now ride behind your athlete and calmly talk them through the steps to ride the course the correct way. Tell them about what is coming up and how to prep for it. Are you at a different level than your buddy? You cant loose each other and you can tell him about the horseback rider that is on the way up the trail before they see it. Very useful, high quality tool for jsut about anyone that likes to ride with friends and teach.
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- Cardo Systems Inc.
- Cardo BK-1 DUO
- Cardo BK-1 DUO
- The BK-1 Duo comes in dark grey, with silver or red accents, or white with dark grey accents
The user manual that comes with the BK-1 Duo is detailed and includes many illustrations on how to install the BK-1 unit on your helmet. In addition to the manual, I highly recommend viewing the BK-1 installation animation before instaling the product. The BK-1 unit docks into a cradle that is mounted on the helmet with velcro straps. To accommodate helmets with center or off-center venting, the installation kit comes with two different velcro strap lengths. Visible centering gray marks on the smooth side of the velcro to help quickly center the cradle on the velcro. My helmet had center vents, so I needed to use the long velcro strap provided. If you have off-center venting, be sure to use the shorter strap.
Next up, installing the microphone boom and earpiece was a breeze. After removing all stickers from the rear left and ride insides of the helmet and a quick swipe of the alcohol pad to clean , it was time to install the velcro strips that hold the microphone and earpieces in place. Cardo Systems was kind to provide extra velcro pads to secure cabling or to install the system on additional helmets.
With The BK-1 Duo, the Bluetooth units are factory paired, which requires less setup time. If you ever need to re-pair the devices, instructions are also available. Getting the device to pair with my iPhone was seamless, and before I knew it we were ready to ride.
The Cardo BK-1 Duo comes in black soft hardshell case that neatly has all the components, cables, and instructions tucked away. The case is attractive from the retail perspective and also works well for travelling with the Duo. The material is waterproof.