Although this article is about motorcycle intercoms, this technology actually has a long, interesting history. Contrary to what a lot of people think, intercom technology didn’t start with telephones. They started with speaking tubes.
With a design very similar to the “two cans joined by a string” trope you see in children’s cartoons, speaking tubes were commonplace in commercial spaces. A lot of office buildings had them installed by engineers by the late 1800s. You could connect up to 25 different offices with the most advanced of these.
Speaking tubes were followed by telephones to answer phone calls as intercom technology progressed. Following more versatile usage of the technology, from the 1950s to 1980s many apartments installed what is now the prototype of modern smart locks. Especially commonplace in cities like New York (particularly in Brooklyn), you’d press a button on the main door to buzz the person whose apartment you wanted to visit, and they’d push a button that unlocked the door.
Nowadays, the usage of communication systems is so widespread that we often take it for granted. But there are some people who need intercom features in particular.
And motorcyclists are one of them.
We’ve done a myriad of articles on intercoms, part of the reason being how underestimated it is by so many bikers within the community. A lot of people don’t buy intercoms because of the price, but as we’ve shown before, you don’t have to burn your pockets to buy one.
For this article, we’re assuming that you bought one already (and if you haven’t, you really should), and we’re going to help you install an intercom in your motorcycle helmet.
Guide To Installing An Intercom In Your Helmet
An intercom is comprised of a speaker (placed near your ears), microphone (on your chin) and the cables/lines joining them (these go underneath the lining of the helmet). Very similar to that of a Bluetooth headset, you need to keep this in mind before you install one.
Because different helmets have different sizes, shapes, crevices, and padding, you need to thoroughly inspect the inside of your helmet beforehand.
Find the area in the helmet where your ears rest. This is where you want to place your speaker. That being said, most modern helmets come with a predefined space near the ear area to keep speakers- so this won’t be too hard to find.
Remove both cheek pads inside the helmet. After this, uncover the pads remaining-this is to place an adhesive with the right fit to accommodate the intercom speakers.
Insert Adhesive, Followed By Speaker
The bindings used in helmet Bluetooth intercoms come in two kinds- adhesive and velcro. Both are placed inside the ‘ear pocket’ in the same way. Peel back the binding and place it carefully inside the pocket. But make sure the binding fits exactly into the circumference.
Having issues with the velcro falling off? Try using a strong adhesive:
If the binding is bigger than the pocket, measure it against the circumference of the pocket and trim out the edges with specialist scissors.
Attach the speaker to the adhesive in the same way.
Note The Position Required To Insert The Microphone
Now that you know where the speaker is placed, you need to allocate the position of the microphone position accordingly. The microphone needs to be placed near your chin, with ample space for handling it. Using a marker/ pen/ pencil, determine the length of the microphone, how the helmet fits on your head, and how they correspond to the position of the speaker- so you know where to install the microphone.
Make Sure The Microphone Fits Well Within The Helmet Before Installation
Drill appropriately-placed holes inside the helmet so you can insert panel/retainer screws later to secure the position of the microphone. You need to be extra careful during this step.
Installation Of Microphone
Install the microphone inside the helmet, along with the screws mentioned above. Following this, you need to insert the amplifier.
Hide The Wires Underneath The Padding/ Lining
You’re almost there!
Using an appropriate tool, remove the inner lining of the helmet so you can insert the wiring in between. This is very important, you cannot leave any wiring in the helmet because this will be a problem once you start using it.
So Why Do I Need An Intercom?
Helmet intercoms are widely revered- and for good reason.
Listening to music, hands-free calling, GPS directions to your location without having to pull your phone out to check where you are- all these and many more advantages make your life much more convenient.
But even more important- as much fun as it is to ride motorcycles, in quiet moments we all have to admit to ourselves how dangerous riding motorcycles is. The US Department of Transportation reported that motorcycle accidents comprised up to 37 times as many number of fatalities per vehicle mile as compared to cars.
Of course, no life is worth living where one doesn’t take enough risks- but you can mitigate these risks by taking the right amount of precaution. Helmets, jackets, gloves, and boots provide physical safety. But intercoms, GPS systems, and dash cameras make the need for such physical safety much lower.
If you don’t know what product to start with, we’ve got your back.
Because the following articles we’ve done before will help you out:
The Cardo Freecom 4+ and Sena 20S EVO, two of the most widely revered and popular intercoms currently on the market.
The Cardo Packtalk Bold vs Sena 30K– the best alternatives to the FC4+ and 20S EVO.
Hopefully, you now know how to install an intercom in your helmet. That being said, this is not the be-all-end-all guide to installation- there also many videos online that would give you a wider perspective with a visual aid.