Cardo PACKTALK BOLD Motorcycle Communication and Entertainment System
Motorcycle Communication and Entertainment System by Cardo, the PACKTALK BOLD uses Natural Voice Operation, Sound By JBL, and can Connect 2 to 15 Riders for reliable group communication while riding.
- Natural Voice – With our all-new, always-on, natural voice operation feature, you will never have to press a button, turn a wheel or move a slider again, because we have just empowered your voice.
- Sound By JBL – Music and motorcycling are both great passions. Cardo-JBL partnership delivers – for the very first time – an ultimate listening experience
- DMC – Dynamic Mesh Communication (DMC) solves all Bluetooth usual pains and turns PACKTALK BOLD into the most capable motorcycle communication system in the world.
- General Features – Waterproof and Dustproof, Bluetooth 4. 1, Up to 13 hours talk time and up to 1. 6 km bike to bike range, Interchangeable boom and corded microphone options, Self-adjusting volume, Built-in FM radio. *To use with Half Helmets please purchase the FREECOM Half helmet kit
The product works well and pretty much does everything it says it will do, but it has one troubling weak point. On a long and windy trip all three of our packtalks developed cracks in the antennae and one completely snapped with the antennae hanging on by wires. I called and Cardo does not sell replacement antennae, but will cover it under warranty. Given that all three are having the same problem, I’d have to say that this will be a real weakness if you intend to use this product extensively. The warranty coverage is good, but doesn’t help much when you’re traveling everyday and can’t get a replacement til you get home.
This unit has been awesome. The button controls are much more user friendly than other systems I tested prior to purchase. I’ve been using this unit regularly over this past 3 months, winter in the Northwest (rain, wind, cold, etc.) and no issues. Highlighting that with thick battery heated gloves I’ve used the system flawlessly.All that said, the owners manual is crap, nearly useless. The app for phone could use some help too but I pretty much used it once to get things initially setup and haven’t gone back to it sense… At least until spring gets here and I start doing some group rides where I’ll have to leverage the app to connect with other rides.But the manual and app don’t take away from the huge benefits of the system.Some pros:- Excellent operation with my android phone. Stream music, directions via map app, hands free answering of phone calls, etc.- Noise canceling. I’m running a 2017 Victory Octane with the equivalent of no mufflers (meaning loud) and am able to have great conversations via boom mic and speakers that come with the system.- Excellent battery life. In the last week I took off on a 450 mile (nearly 10 hour drive) and battery was still going on this unit. If only my phone was able to hold up as long!- No issues with the weather. Most of my riding has been in the rain over last 3 months and have had no issues thanks to tight seal over charging port.- Sound quality. While I’m unable to compare to other brands/units available, I can say that I have no issues with the sound quality. Again, I’m using this in combo with a very loud bike and with easy to use volume control and great fit into the helmets pre-designed positioning I listen to anything I want and enjoy for hours.- Support by the company was good. Didn’t have much of an interaction, and contacted via email, but I had a response within a day and instructions were pretty basic so easy to follow.Cons:- Owners manual sucks… which is an understatement at best.- App is not as intuitive as it should/could be, even more so when considering how horrid the manual also happens to be.I’ll add I’ve since purchased two more units for family and promoted this to friends, some of whom have also purchased and are pleased with the unit, too.
Willie in MN –
Purchased for use on a planned vacation trip to enable communication between driver and passenger. So far my impression is extremely negative. This may seem like a bit of a rant, but after paying nearly $500 for a set of communications gear, I expected more, a lot more, than the cheap knockoff brands.I have used the system a few times as just a phone Bluetooth music player and it is disappointingly lacking in volume, but that’s not as bad as the fact that the communications is not working.We have taken 3 trips to test the comms. First one, the units failed to connect and we couldn’t figure out why. Out of the box the Dual pack is supposed to be paired… so why didn’t they connect?On the second & third trips, we did get a connection and it seemed to work ok. However, once we started riding, the passenger could not understand anything I said. NOTHING. At any moving speed greater than maybe 20-30 MPH, intelligible communication was lost. Not sure if it is wind noise or air pressure… pillion cannot make out anything I say. This renders the entire purpose useless. This is with a full-face helmet with visor down.As I mentioned, the low overall volume is also a problem – I can hardly hear the passenger. Her voice is quiet and distant sounding. So to fix that, I tried to add the velcro pads in the helmet – the ones that would move the ear pieces closer to my ears. Unfortunately the ear piece foam shreds if you try to move them after installation, so now I have no foam on the right earpiece.This is a very frustrating piece of gear – after so easily tearing open the earpiece, I’d say the build quality of the speakers is no better than a $5 cheapo headphone set.Current situation is quite upsetting to say the least. The essential function – that of person-to-person communication – is non-functional.
Well to pay all that money and to receive a second hand item is not what I expected. Why do I say it is second hand… firstly the item was shipped with no spare microphone covers as listed. The self adhesive pad that secures the unit to the outside of the helmet was already installed, with no backing paper on, the adhesive foam scrunched up and the plastic marked with three pitted holes in the centre. Meaning I cannot use that option to fit it even if i wanted to. In addition when started the nickname for the unit that is announced by the voice was “bloody heap of junk”, I’m sure that’s not how it is shipped by Cardo! There should be minus star reviews available
I have made many motorcycle accessory purchases, and the Cardo PackTalk Bold is by far the worst experience I have ever had. If I could give it a negative star rating, I would. The product marketing promises to deliver a lot, but falls short on some of the basics. Its voice command recognition usability on normal highway conditions is very poor. The only command I could get it to respond to was an inquiry on “battery status”. Trying to get it it to recognize commands such as “radio on”, “music on”, “speed dial”, etc. were efforts in futility. The only good thing I can say about it it is that it does excellent battery life. The JBL speakers are good, but I am not sure that they enhance the sound quality that much. Their website which allows you to “personalize” your Cardo unit is very quirky. I can’t get it to recognize my unit half the time and its an exercise in frustration. But, by far and away, the worst thing about this product is its product support. I can’t even say it really has product support. They are totally, and I mean totally, non-responsive. When I initially used their email links on their website to inquire about some of the features I was having a hard time getting to work, I was immediately rewarded with an automated response email that said I was assigned a case number and told I could expect a response within 3 working days, or maybe just a little longer due to the “high volume” of support requests (that should have been a clue). Well, a couple of weeks went by and nothing. Then I got an email from Cardo Support! And guess what? They asked me to fill out a survey on their customer support when they had never responded to my inquiry. I was dumbfounded. How could customer service be this bad? But it didn’t end there. I figured maybe this was an isolated screw-up and that I should give Customer Support another chance. So I wrote to them again. A week goes by. Then an email from Cardo Support! And this time they inform me: “The community is down at this time. We have a new platform coming soon but I do not have an exact ETA as of this time.BestCardo Support “Well, that was 3 weeks ago and I have heard nothing since. I would categorically say this has been the worst motorcycle accessory purchase I have ever made. These folks obviously do not give a hoot about customer service after the sale. To me, no customer service means defective product. I wish I could find something good to say about this product that might encourage others to make such a purchase. But I honestly cannot. My final words to potential buyers out there is to stay away from this product. Otherwise you will have the same regrets I have.
Conny P. –
I’ve been using in-ear for many years which has been like a wind reduction while still keeping the best sound even at top speed.Read about the jbl speakers during a packtalk review and they claimed they delivered the best sound yet.I’ve always wanted an intercom for the hassleless wireless.So I thought “what the heck” after getting a new helmet.The sound really is good, without earplugs. But my new helmet is much quieter than my old do I don’t need them as much. But if you’re using ear plugs, the sound can be a little drained out at higher speeds.Voice command is a hit or miss. As others already pointed out, it seems very picky on which accent you’re using. I’m Scandinavian and not so good at accents. I’ve figured out command like radio on/off, intercom and volume up/down.Once it works, it works really great.I mostly use “ok Google” instead for the other commands like next song/calling etcIf you are riding less than 4 people, I’d go with something else that supports jbl speakers (simple 3.5mm jacket). I can’t stress enough of how good they are compared to stock.But what sticks out with the packtalk is the famous “dmc” which supports seamless drop-in/drop-out conversation between up to 15 riders.
I’ve tried many in helmet speaker systems and my biggest challenge has been that the speakers are not powerful enough to have the volume full up.the Packtalk Bold JBL seems thus far to be hitting the mark, great music quality even at full volume.microphone when used with mobile phone works excellentvoice recognition commands are a challenge though, it seems to be English US that it requires, but I can live without the voice recognition.
Think before you make the investment.Are you riding alone or in a group?How noisy is your helmet?Will bluetooth in ear headphones be a simpler solution?I bought this to pair up with a friend on a European ride but different firmware on two identical devices caused an incompatibility issue. Hard to update if you don’t have a laptop.I tried to use it just for music but found my existing noise isolating in-ear headphones did a much better job. I sure it is a great solution for some. Just not everyone.
I really was hoping to love this headset but I found it to be seriously flawed.1 – I installed it on my HJC IS MAX -2 helmet last night and this morning took it for a test ride. Cardo boosts about being in partnership with JBL and on the box, it says, “Now with the powerful, immersive sound of JBL” so I expected a quality sound. The sound is very low and w/o bass. I read quite a few reviews about the inferior sound quality but had to experience it for myself. At highway speeds (75 MPH), with my full face helmet and the volume at max, the sound was barely noticeable. I made a stop to adjust the speakers but still had the same issue.2 – I just bought the unit. This was my first time using it and its out of the box new. The sound boom works fine in my house but does not work at highway speeds. Cardo makes the bold claim of “Natural Voice Operation.” but what’s the point if the unit doesn’t work when I need it to. Cardo provides a list of the voice commands but today, none of them worked (while I was riding).3 – The Cardo app is able to connect to local FM radio. Come on, this is 2019, not many people still listen to FM anymore. And, the sound was full of static.4 – The app does not connect to the music on my android phone.I rode to Cycle Gear to have one of their techs look at the unit. The gentleman confirmed that all was connected properly but said there must be an issue with my particular unit. At CycleGear, I bought a Sena 10S unit. On the way home, I had a smile on my face.I don’t recommend this unit. For the price, there are better options. Perhaps someone who doesn’t care about a quality sound will like this unit. For those who do, stay away.
I’ve wanted this for ages for the DMC and voice activation, the system works faultlessly via voice controls while on the bike, sound is more defined and generally a pleasure to have in my lid. I have a Shuberth C3 Pro, which means I had to use the sticky mount……. Easy! Clean mounting point with the alcohol wipe and slap it on! I did leave it overnight before attaching the unit and trying out on the bike. A 2nd sticky mount would have been handy as I had to mount quite far back to clear the internal sun visor mechanism, but wants on you never have to touch the unit, the voice activation is that good! 👍Have it paired via Bluetooth with an older G4 for the missis lid, pairing was easy and intuitive.All in all a great of kit for music, satnav and the intercom
Kuchi Kopi –
I bought this to put on my helmet, I gotta say it sure is better than my Sena. Some adventages that it has over the Sena:- Waterproof- Sound Louder- Easier to control- App on the phone was straight forward, very easy to use- Better noise block? Maybe, I use earplug all the time, so the louder volume definite help with noise block.Two weeks after I bought this headset on Amazon, Cardo has a sale for 2 pack of PACKTALK SCALA for the SAME PRICE as this 1 pack of PACKTALK BOLD here on Amazon as well, so I ordered it and tested both of them. I gotta say, the Scala felt the same, except for three things:- Less Bass on Scala, still has the same loudness.- Scala has a smaller speaker driver, therefore it fits my helmet much better. The Bold is kinda bulky, so over a long period of usage my ears start to get hurt (I uses earplug all the time, this problem might not exist if you don’t use earplug).- Scala’s clip-on and screw piece is smaller, it doesn’t push against your helmet when it is inside. I actually can feel the plastic piece pushing against my head when using the Bold during my one-hour commute, not so much on short trips.In the end, I returned the BOLD. So if you need more BASS, also your helmet can fit a larger bulky driver, go with the Bold. If your head and helmet is small like mine, Bold might not be a good option for you.