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PRODUCT: The HBC100 Plus helmet communication system is a small group intercom designed for up to four people with a useful range of up to 1 mile. Bluetooth technology allows you to communicate with other riders, listen to music, and make and receive phone calls—all with your helmet on. Each unit has a range of approximately 1500 feet. With four separate riders, the Multi-Hop technology extends the range to over one mile. UCLEAR uses a boom-less microphone with patented beam-forming technology that isolates the voice and eliminates background noise. UCLEAR’s system is compatible with other Bluetooth helmet communication systems. The dual system includes two control units, four high-fidelity speakers with embedded microphones, four permanent helmet mounts, four Velcro speaker mounts, two USB charging cables and a wall charger. UCLEAR offers a temporary helmet mount, which allows a friend to share your system. Free firmware upgrades keep your unit up to date with the latest features.
POSITIVE: The HBC100 worked better than other systems costing twice as much, offering clearer vocals through the boom-less microphone and clean-sounding speakers with no distortion or crackling. The boom-less microphone has a forward-facing pickup on the front edge of each ear speaker. We were a little concerned about the voice quality of the system after mounting it inside our Shoei Multitec helmet, but the first time we used it we were shocked by the clarity and lack of wind noise picked up by the microphone. The programing in the control unit uses a voice activation system, which means it shuts down until it detects you talking. This type of system will often cut off the first syllable of a word when you begin to talk. This isn’t a flaw in the UCLEAR system; it’s just the nature of this particular technology. With the face shield on our helmet open, there was a little background noise for the receiving rider, but it wasn’t enough to cause problems understanding what was being said. Connecting our smartphone allowed us to listen to music and receive phone calls. The HBC100’s boom-less mic worked so well that the person on the other end of a phone call said it wasn’t much different from using the phone in a car at highway speeds. The unit automatically mutes music if it detects voice communication from a linked unit. UCLEAR lists the usable range as 1500 feet for two riders. We were still able to communicate at a range of 1/2 mile on an open stretch of highway. Battery life was surprisingly good. On our Idaho Backcountry Discovery Route trip (December of 2015), we were getting two full days of use out of each unit. We simply plugged them into a 12-volt outlet on our bikes when we stopped for the day, and they were fully charged before we went to bed.
NEGATIVE: This is a mid-line communication system, so it doesn’t include a radio in the control unit. The size of the speakers required the plastic liner and some of the styrofoam in the helmet’s ear pockets to be cut out to prevent excess pressure on the ears.
BOTTOM LINE: The UCLEAR HBC100 Plus exceeded our expectations, providing days worth of clear conversation and making a multi-day adventure a whole lot more enjoyable. We picked up our UCLEAR from Riders Choice in Lancaster, California, right before the start of our adventure. They highly recommend this system, saying it has received more positive reviews from customers than any of the other brands they sell. o
PRICE: $299.95, dual system
CONTACT: www.uclear-digital.com/product-cat/power-sports/. We got ours from Riders Choice: (661) 942-1211

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