Riding motorcycles for the most part is a solitary endeavor. But more and more, riders are breaking the silence with new technologies available. While communications systems are not necessarily new to the market, the technology behind them is continuing to evolve and dealers who want to sell these products need to stay on top of the changes if they want to increase sales.
Selling communications systems is not like selling a replacement part or even a quart of oil. There are many different systems available from several manufacturers who specialize in these products. Some of the manufacturers we spoke to started out making products for the military, but engineers are oftentimes motorcycle enthusiasts, so one thing leads to another and next thing you know there’s a new product on the market.
That was the case with NUVIZ, which manufacturers a unique heads-up display (HUD) system that also integrates with a rider’s smartphone and Bluetooth features. According to the company’s product manager, Brandon Holzworth, NUVIZ founders started out at a company that made heads-up display units for fighter pilots. Engineers got together on the side and made a helmet for motorcycle riders because that is what they loved to do in their spare time.
Now headquartered in San Diego, California, with a research and development facility in Salo, Finland, NUVIZ’s international team of specialists in the motorcycle, optics and mobile device industries has taken its passion and knowledge to deliver the company’s flagship product. NUVIZ is the first connected motorcycle HUD that offers a seamless and intuitive experience for riders to navigate, communicate, listen to music, and capture videos or photos – all while keeping their eyes on the road ahead.
Holzworth says that they are somewhat ahead of the curve in terms of rider acceptance and demand for a true HUD, but there is a market for early adopters and techno junkies who will want to try this futuristic product. And for all of the challenges that other companies have had coming up with a system for production, NUVIZ is ahead of the pack. The system is very robust and, according to Motorcycle.com, “The visual display of information is something we miss when not riding with the unit.”
The HUD displays customizable information in the rider’s natural line of sight and features an intuitive eyes-on-the-road handlebar controller and built-in HD action camera. NUVIZ is intended to be used in all conditions, including inclement weather.
The unit brings together all of the important functions for riders including navigation, communication and media devices into a single device, allowing riders to stay connected, but not distracted. NUVIZ includes an HD camera that shoots stills and video, and can be updated as new features become available in the future.
Another new technology for the motorcycle communication market is Cardo Systems’ Dynamic Meshwork Communications (DMC). When Cardo launched its latest creation in 2016, it was considered to be a “game-changing” technology. But what they didn’t expect was how challenging it would be to educate not only enthusiasts about what it was but also the dealers who were selling them.
While Cardo is still a believer in Bluetooth as a viable technology for its more budget-friendly applications, they felt it had limitations for group riding. Jamie Cheek, VP of sales for Cardo Systems, says that DMC’s mesh overlay basically self-heals the network immediately. There are no disruptions when you peel off or join back up.
Cardo’s scala rider SMARTPACK, PACKTALK and latest SMARTH systems all run DMC. The network hovers around the group like a virtual cloud and seamlessly overcomes interruptions in a way that traditional Bluetooth connectivity cannot.
For Sena, Bluetooth is the heart of its product line and the company offers several systems for motorcyclists. Since the release of its flagship product, the SMH10 motorcycle headset and intercom system, Sena has created some of the most innovative motorcycle communication devices. The company recently introduced a new line of smart helmets that blends its Bluetooth systems with an exclusive advanced noise-control technology that it developed.
The Cavalry is a motorcycle half-helmet with Bluetooth technology integrated into a low-profile style. Full disclosure: We tested the Sena Cavalry and found that it is really one of our favorite helmets and the comm system is a bonus. For those customers who are not so technically inclined but still want style and functionality, this will be a great choice.
Our resident tech-geek who works on a sister publication tried out the second Cavalry helmet and we monkeyed around the office with them. The sound was crystal clear and hands free, but how would it work at speed? We didn’t connect to each other on the road but did use the integrated FM radio.
With the downloaded Sena App, we were able to make calls or receive them easily. And we loved the radio function. Hearing at lower speeds was not a problem but at speeds over 35-40 mph, the wind noise made it difficult at a normal volume without turning it up too loud for lower speeds. Sena includes ear covers that help deflect wind noise and this seemed to make a difference.
Overall, your customers will go for this helmet because it looks like a regular helmet. You can barely detect the controls on the side, which are easy to use once riders get used to the position and the sequence they need to operate the various functions. Sena is moving more into integrated helmets, having just released the Momentum, a full-face helmet with their 4.1 Bluetooth technology.
So riders can rock out to their favorite music, answer phone calls, listen to GPS navigation and use the built-in half-helmet Bluetooth intercom to talk with four of your buddies up to 900 meters (½ mile) away without sacrificing style.
In conclusion, dealers should be ready and able to walk customers through the features and benefits of each type of system, and offer to help set up the system on their helmets or teach how to connect with other riders. Make it easy for the customer and you will sell more.