I saw the interesting Cardo BK-1 intercom system at Sea Otter this past year, and was highly intrigued to test and review one here in the mountains of Colorado. Cardo Systems are best known for their wireless Bluetooth communication systems for motorcycles, such as the scala rider, and they recently released the cardo BK-1, which is a communication and entertainment product specifically designed for bicyclists. The BK-1 offers communication between other BK-1 equipped cyclists, and it gives the user hands-free use of Bluetooth-enabled mobile phones, MP3 players, or GPS devices.
The BK-1 is a multi-purpose system, and is an intercom which allows 2 0r 3-way bike-to-bike conferences at a range of up to 500 m/1,640 feet, and/or it can be connected to any Bluetooth enabled mobile phone, GPS and MP3 player. The latter functions as both a music player and phone interface. It connects or pairs to the devices on two different channels, which are designated “A” and “B”. The basic portions of the BK-1 are the headset (i.e., the brains) and a pair of speakers with a microphone.
The BK-1 is lightweight, waterproof and dustproof, and has a seven-hour battery life from its internal rechargeable Li- Polymer battery. It takes three hours to charge through its multi-functional USB, which also allows a hard wire MP3 player to be attached, and is an interface when new firmware updates are available. For audio, it uses two hovering speakers with flexible booms, and the right speaker has an Omnidirectional microphone. It has advanced hardware and software features, including Voice-control (VOX) for receiving or rejecting incoming mobile or intercom calls, Packet Loss Concealment (PCL) for compensating audio packet losses, Digital Signal Processing (DSP), Advanced Gain Control (AGC) that automatically adjusts the volume, and echo cancellation.
The Bk-1 can be purchased singularly for $274.95 or the DUO (as tested), which has two full BK-1 kits, and retails for $479.95. Visit the Cardo BK-1 website for further information.
The DUO kit comes with two full BK-1 systems, a user manual in three languages (English, French and Spanish) and a padded case. The systems are comprised of the headset, right and left speaker (right has the microphone), a stub out (if only using the right speaker/microphone), a cradle with an optional spoiler, multiple Velcro pads (small, medium, large), USB wall charger, USB adapter cable, short and long attachment straps, MP3 cable and additional microphone sponge.
- BK-1 – 41 grams
- Cradle w/ short strap (i.e., the mount) – 11 grams
- Speakers – 65 grams
- Total BK-1 system weight – 117 grams