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AKE Motorcycle Communication Center

12
July
2007
  Posted at 02:46:29 PM
  File under  Bluetooth Gadgets
  Author: Mike Werner
  Location: Normandy, France

Read the special articles on Bluetooth and motorcycles:

Many of us ride motorcycle with a pillion, or at the least want some music or other "entertainment" when riding. Talking to your pillion, or another motorcycle rider, or just listening to your iPod, or heaven forbid, talking on your mobile phone, has become a standard practice.

There are many ways of accomplishing this, with wires, or without, with a central hub, or stand-alone. For the devices that consist of a central communication hub that connects to all sorts of devices and then "pipes" the sound to your helmet there are several on the market.

One of the more famous brands is UK made Autocom Open link in a new window. Though they have a good product, they steadfastly refuse to use new technology, like Bluetooth, in their product line-up (apart from a GSM phone interface).

The other UK based motorcycle communication hub, Intaride Open link in a new window, do have a wireless interface between their hub and helmet coming, but it's not Bluetooth.

One company that has made the transition successfully is German communications manufacturer, AKE Open link in a new window. They have been producing motorcycle communication devices for 25 years, and have complemented their product range with an interesting Bluetooth offering.

AKE Powercom central hub
But first let's have a look at their main hub. Called the Powercom, the device is powered by your motorcycle's electrical system. The Powercom accepts many different connections:
  • Phone
  • Music (MP3/iPod/CD)
  • GPS
  • Bike-to-Bike Walkie-talkie
  • Intercom


As standard, the unit connects to your helmet using wires. One wire set goes between your helmet at the Powercom, the other goes from your pillion's helmet to the central hub.

You can both listen to music, talk to each other, and listen to navigation instructions from your GPS. Every audio input has an interrupt priority, so, for example, while you're talking to your pillion, if the GPS has instructions, you will be interrupted by the GPS.

AKE Bluetooth

AKE Bluetooth Helmset 101
As an additional option, AKE now offer a full Bluetooth product. Called Bluetooth Helmset 101, you are no longer wired to the central hub, nor is your pillion. No longer forgetting to unhook yourself when leaving your motorcycle, no wires hanging from your helmet.

You continue using the Powercom as you would with wires, ie, you can listen to stereo music, hear your GPS (either wired or via Bluetooth) tell where to go, or listen to your pillion complain talk.

This is the big difference between stand-alone Bluetooth communication devices like the Scala Rider {link}, CellularLine/BlueAnt/SuperMoto Interphone {link}, Hello-Biker {link} or others. These may (and do) communicate well with your pillion and/or mobile phone, and may at different degrees pipe in GPS instructions, but they are limited in scope (but also price).

The AKE Powercom gives you everything, and it gives it to you properly. No compromise!

AKE Bluetooth Helmset 101
The AKE Bluetooth (they use Bluetooth version 2.0) has an unusual design compared to other Bluetooth devices. You can see it's an original setup. The device comes with 2 loudspeaker (since you can listen to stereo music). The Bluetooth connector has a battery life of 4 hours if you use music continuously, 8 hours if you use a GPS for voice instructions, and 150 hours standby.

There's even an optional 12V charger so you can charge the unit directly from the motorcycle. Handy if you're stopping somewhere for lunch.

The unit itself adds 21 grams to your helmet, and since the unit is small, it should not create any aerodynamic drag.

The device is fitted with a sound booster, so you should be able to hear at high speeds. AKE claim speeds of up to 200 kph.

AKE Bluetooth Dongle
If you already have a Bluetooth headset, but want to use a central hub like the AKE Powercom, you can.
You need to purchase the Powercom Bluetooth Helmet Connector HB-HC1, which will interface your existing Bluetooth headset with the Powercom. Your Bluetooth headset must support the headset protocol (they all do).

Prices

Here are some of the prices of the units mentioned (there are many more options at the site, like iPod remote control, GSM phone connectors, etc)

Powercom PARTNER: €199
Powercom ALL-IN-One: €564
Bluetooth Helmset 101: €194

It's an interesting product range. It's not cheap, but neither is Autocom (Intaride is the cheapest). The Bluetooth looks like a natural extension. What I really like, is that they don't force you to use their Bluetooth helmet headset, but allow you to use another.

Click here to visit the AKE website Open link in a new window.





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