A Brief History of Motorcycle Communication Systems

A brief history of communication systems

Imagine a time BEFORE the invention of the iPhone.

  • Your cell signal could range from great to “not a bar to be found” depending on where you were and which provider you were using.
  • Texting meant pressing the number multiple times to get the desired letter.
  • Navigation meant clumsy maps, lots of hand signals, and yelling – because you didn’t have GPS right there in the palm of your hand.

Given what we have going for us today, that all sounds like living in the stone ages.

And back in the day, the first motorcycle communication systems were hard wired to the bike, which meant you couldn’t communicate bike to bike, and you were basically hog-tied to the bike if something happened.

Which led to…

Wireless Communication over Radio Frequencies.

Brands like Chatterbox lead the way to wireless, which allowed you to communicate bike to bike, rider to passenger, over distances up to 5 miles.

I know that sounds great but using radio frequencies also meant that anyone who had a compatible device, could connect to your frequency and listen in on your conversations.

Definitely NOT a good thing – and that’s why we now have….

Bluetooth Communication Systems

The first Bluetooth systems offered private communications between devices to a distance of about 30 feet.

That was a great improvement when you had two riders on the same bike. It also was a slight improvement for bikers trying to communicate bike to bike.

Unfortunately, with that limited a range, your group would have to ride close together and keep in the same positions – because if you didn’t, the Bluetooth signal chain would break, and you’d have to reset everyone at the next stop.
Fortunately, Bluetooth tech got updated to allow you to pair to your phone. That solved the problem of the 30-foot distance limitation and now when you placing a call, you could communicate as long as the signal didn’t drop.

But you still had to choose between keeping your conversations private or communicating across longer distances.

The Next Evolution of Bluetooth

Bluetooth communication systems kept getting better, allowing the pairing up to 4 devices, over a full quarter mile in range. This generally meant pairing to your phone, a passenger, and two other riders.

This advance gave a significant boost to the safety of riding in groups, because you didn’t have to ride so closely together. In theory, you could communicate up to 1 mile as the message was relayed from rider to rider. (In the real world, however, several factors reduced this range like buildings, landscaping, and terrain.)

These advancements in Bluetooth technology definitely made communication easier, but the improvements still left something to be desired. Yes, it increased the number of riders and distance over which you could communicate, but most people didn’t consider these represented a NEW generation of communication systems.

Then came…

Dynamic Mesh Communication (DMC).

In the past if one rider needed to stop for gas, the whole group would have to stop or risk having to re-pair once the rider who stopped returned.

(DMC) Dynamic Mesh Communication changed all that:

  • It allows for more riders to be connected.
  • Riders can now change positions in the group and remain connected.
  • Riders can leave or return without interrupting the communication within the group.

DMC also supplies built-in multiple networks, so you could be on a public or private mesh or a private Bluetooth network.

DMC is the New Generation of communications systems and it’s legitimately so good, it’s hard to imagine what the next evolution may bring.

But I still can’t wait!

Did we miss anything? Have a comment, or a memory you'd like to share?  Comment Below.

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