The new Cardo Spirit HD intercom system recently landed at Cassons, check out what Zane thought of the awesome and compact Bluetooth intercom... Words & Photos: Zane Dobie.
It has been a good few years since I’ve had an intercom system in my lid. Even then, the last one I had was a hand-me-down probably 10 or so years old… I was pretty keen when the Cardo Spirit HD system arrived in my letterbox, and surprised how far the technology has come.
I’m not going to sit here and bore you with the details on how to install one of these systems, there’s thousands of tutorials that all say the same thing and honestly, the instructions were comprehensive enough to have the system up and running within half an hour. Our other Cardo reviews have fitment guides in them, so use the link below to navigate to those for the tutorials.
Check out our Cardo reviews here…
I’m pretty tech savvy, however, the Cardo system is easy enough to connect to your phone with a basic knowledge of how to connect a Bluetooth speaker. So if you struggle with electronics, you won’t need to call your children or grand-children over to help you connect it!
I got pretty lucky with my 6D ATS-1R lid that there are already cut outs for the two speakers to sit right on my ears, you might not be as lucky so if you’re in need of a new lid, I reckon add that to the list. You’ll find that a lot of the big brands will have them in their lids already.
Check out our review of the 6D ATS-1R here…
First ride and the actual pod that sits on the side of the helmet came off. Great, not sure if the double sided tape is good enough, the helmet is too rounded or I didn’t push it on hard enough but after stopping and pushing it down a bit harder, it seemed to stay in place before coming off again. After getting annoyed with it I decided to glue it down, hasn’t moved since. [We have had one other Cardo get lost, when Kyoko’s came away during a ride and she lost the pod permanently – Ed].
Since I’m in my early 20s, I can’t think of anything I dread more than talking on the phone, so most of my time spent with the system is listening to music. The odd times I have to answer the phone while riding, the sound is nice and clear for the person on the other end, well I assume it is as they don’t ask me to repeat myself all. The microphone is also so clear that I end up using it to record my voice for videos while riding for my video reviews.
The hardware is easy to use, Even with my winter gloves on and I have no issue finding and pressing the tactile buttons to skip songs, turn the sound up or down and activate Siri on my iPhone. Siri is painful at the best of times but the Cardo seems to transfer the info for her easily, it doesn’t get any of my song requests wrong!
I will say that years of playing gigs, going to gigs and straight piped cars/bikes has left me with the hearing of a 70 year old. The awesome JBL speakers are clear all the way up until about 100km/h when I have to turn the sound up. Cardo reckon it does it automatically, it is either so good that I don’t notice it going up and down or it just isn’t working… either way the sound quality is awesome!
One thing I wish Cardo included in the pack is more stickies. These would probably only cost a few cents to add in and would help if you wanted to transfer everything over onto a new lid, except they only include enough for one lid. Having a look and Cardo sell a “refreshment kit” including all the bits you need to move the system over to a new lid and it’s $18USD. Far out!
Battery life is bloody awesome, 10 hours doesn’t sound like a long time but I have at times gone weeks in-between charging it. I think Cardo are being modest when they give the estimate as it felt like a lot longer than that. When it comes time to charge, its as easy as unclipping the intercom from its holder and plugging it into the included USB-C cable for a super-fast charge!
I honestly can’t see myself without an intercom on my lids now, I had a two hour ride the other day with one of my other helmets that didn’t have the Cardo hooked up and I couldn’t wait to get off the bike to put my earphones in. Besides the unsticky-stickies on the intercom the only other downside to the Spirit was that I had to listen to myself sing along to the music I had playing… no one wants to hear that.
$259.95 for the HD version is a steal, considering you pay more than that for a decent pair of headphones and probably triple that for a good sound-system in your car now, there’s no reason not to buy it if you’re a daily rider. Well worth the investment!
The Spirit has been created for riders looking for a great intercom system without breaking the bank. Being waterproof, the Spirit system will take a beating from rain, mud, dust or even snow without breaking on you.
Continuing the great features, it has an automatic volume adjustment that turns the sound up or down based on outside ambient noise. Meaning you don’t have to keep turning the sound up and down while stationary at the lights!
The Cardo Spirit will connect with other Bluetooth headsets of any brand! Helpful when riding with a mate as the Spirit has a 400m range with its 2-way bluetooth system. Cardo claim you’ll get ten hours of talk time off just a two hour charge with their fast charging system.
For riders looking for a bit more out of their Intercom system, Cardo offer the Spirit HD. The HD version has all the great features seen on the standard system, but adds powerful 40mm speakers. The HD speakers are controlled through an advanced processor with three sound profiles for a completely dynamic listening experience.
Other bonus features on the Spirit HD see the range boosted to 600m, 200m more than the standard Spirit, and a built-in FM radio with RDS for automatic selection of the strongest signal available!
The Cardo Spirit headsets are available now through Cassons or your local motorcycle store for an RRP of $179.95 for the standard and $259.95 for the HD. Check out the 2022 Cardo Catalogue here.
Find the right Cardo system for you!
Product Review: Cardo Spirit HD Intercom