I recently tested Cardo’s new BK-1 DUO, a communication and entertainment system for bicycle helmets. The package contained two Bluetooth units that sync with up to two additional units, allowing cyclists to talk while they ride at distances of up to 1,640 feet apart. They also sync with various cell phones and MP3 players.
Assembly was fairly easy except for the cradle’s spoiler piece. It was impossible to snap the Bluetooth unit into the cradle while the spoiler was attached.
The Bluetooth-only communication worked well and the sound was very clear. The microphone and speakers fit comfortably inside my helmet, and the off-ear design made it easy to hear without blocking out the world around me.
I also synced the BK-1 DUO with my iPhone and made a call. The call went through successfully, but wind distortion was a problem. Despite the plush microphone cover, even moderate wind made it hard to hear my partner while riding.
Because the BK-1 DUO straps on top of the helmet, it will take time to figure out which button adjusts volume and which starts or ends a call. Overall, it’s a nice product that makes cycling with others easier, even if they aren’t within earshot.
$479.95 at cardosystems.comTJ Prochaska is a road and mountain cyclist and an avid bike commuter. He work as a copy writer at Cleveland-based advertising agency Marcus Thomas LLC.