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Offline Zerc

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Oxford Bike Mike 3 - Any good?
« on: June 18, 2008, 07:46:05 am »
I am looking to buy a rider/pillion communication set and came across the Oxford Bike Mike 3 for less than R900. To me the pros and cons would be 
Pros
Runs off bikes 12v so no worries about battery life and recharging - a big plus for longer trips
Cheaper than bluetooth alternatives
Cons
Wires to worry about when getting off the bike
Can't be used between bikes because of the wires

I have no idea how useful it will be in practice and because I've become used to earplugs when riding I am concerned that wind noise will be an irritation again unless I can use my iPod earphones with it.

Anybody have experience with it or can suggest alternatives with their price?
 

Offline Oetie

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Re: Oxford Bike Mike 3 - Any good?
« Reply #1 on: June 18, 2008, 08:27:46 am »
I am using the Autocom and it works fine. You get use to the wiring and can be used with earplugs. Only downfall is that it is about 4x the price of the one you are currently looking at.

When I bought mine Nov last year, the Autocom were the best priced.

I have heard the baehr product is also good, but is more expensive than the Autocom.

Adventurer use(d) the Starcom??, and they are about evenly priced as the Autocom.
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Offline MrBig

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Re: Oxford Bike Mike 3 - Any good?
« Reply #2 on: June 18, 2008, 08:46:21 am »
Unfortunately I have not used this particular unit but allow me to offer some advice.
Most of the cheaper com systems are exactly that - cheap.
Inevitably the inferior sound and poor quality wiring will slowly drive you insane.
This is called paying school fees..

So do yourself a favour and get something like an Autocom or Starcom - it will be well worth it.
See it as long term kit - it will stay with you no matter which bike you have.
It's scalable and can accommodate additional inputs.

I've been using the Autocom Active Plus Due for over 2 years now and haven't had a single problem or regret.
Bike powered is a must!
It has a very efficient VOX system (which most cheap units do not have) and a very impressive noise canceling system.
Independent rider and passenger volume control
4 additional aux inputs to accommodate music, gps, cell and an optional bike to bike radio

The quality of helmet speakers and connectors is VERY important as you will be putting some strain on these components.
(A better unit would also offer spares in case you need to replace parts)

Dont be put off by the cable connectivity. It really is no big deal.
My system is set up with a plugin point for me right at the seat front and one for the pillion at the rear of the seat. Each person has a short lead which plugs into this point and again into the helmet.
It changes things a bit when you have to keep the unit 'in your pocket' - frikken cables everywhere! Dont go there.

The Autocom speakers stays in my helmet permanently and all that is evident is a short lead sticking out at the back which you get used to very quickly.
(When not touring I unclip the boom mike)
I have added a input on my dash in which mp3 can be plugged or gps if required. Can also be used to plug a videocam into to record voice when filming.


Lastly the sound quality - no comparison to cheap units. When the vox is set correctly clear speech is possible at top speeds without any difference in quality.
I prefer to ride with earplugs as well and find that the sound is actually BETTER with the earplugs that without. Simply because the windnoise isn't a factor anymore.
Same applies to music - just plugt mp3 into aux and with earplugs in the sounds is great.

Forget about bluetooth - the batteries will drive you mad on long trips.







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Offline Adventurer

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Re: Oxford Bike Mike 3 - Any good?
« Reply #3 on: June 18, 2008, 08:54:20 am »
I use Starcom, pricey but very good, can run iPod, GPS and phone.
I've heard the Oxford sound is not that good above 120km/h.
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Offline Obi -Wan

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Re: Oxford Bike Mike 3 - Any good?
« Reply #4 on: June 18, 2008, 10:00:31 am »
I think Mr. Big has probably written the definitive article on intercomm systems and their practical application. My personal experience was very similar  in that I purchased two French made "Supertooth " units  for my wife and I.  I discovered that they were not easy to " pair " (connect to each other ) , worked well when testing before the trip and totally useless in terms of volume above 60 kmh. My solution was to incorporate a small amplifier (about the size of a 30 's cigarette box ) which boosted the volume inside the helmet so it became audible at any speed . The problem then is that you need to charge the bluetooth units on both helmets every night when you stop and the amps ( despite having an on /off switch) require new batteries every 3 rd day or so. Possible to do but tiresome.

The biggest problem is that it is very difficuilt to purchase a hemet to amplifier connector or wiring that is robust enough to take the elements  encountered in the motorcycling environment - connectors break, wiring snaps etc. Eventually I did the research , checked the budget and opted for the Autocom which is hard wired into the bike for power and expandable for GPS , mp3. Cellphone etc.  I cannot comment on other systems eg Baehr but the Autocom has thusfar been perfect . The noise cancellation and VOX activation take a little getting used to but once set up you can talk perfectly up to any speed . The sockets for passenger and rider are set up by simply sitting on the bike until your connecting cable is in the right place for either passenger or rider - mine are routed under the seats and because Autocom have cleverly included a raised lip on the connectors you can feel where to connect them. Again - and I stress this - the proffessionally made systems are serious quality and robust in terms of wiring quality , connectors , insulation etc.

I have used some Oxford equipment and found it to be OK quality wise - Can't comment on their intercomm systems but for the money I doubt that it will be compatible to even the baseline Autocom which starts at about R2500.

I think the easiest and cheapest bike to bike communication will still be the bluetooth units but the two bikes cannot then get seperated by more than about 40 metres. I have been told that even the top of the range  Baehr systems do not always do bike to bike perfectly but perhaps there is someone on the forum with real world experience?
   
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Offline Aicorner

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Re: Oxford Bike Mike 3 - Any good?
« Reply #5 on: June 18, 2008, 12:01:11 pm »
Agree w Mr Big

I've had Baehr for 2 years. 

Pros - Simple, robust, works properly. I'm half deaf & can hear the pillion properly (which I couldn't with an el cheapo we tried before). Plays ipod. I suspect there's newer technology, but the old stuff has been properly tested.

Cons - The earphone & mike joins are prone to pull apart so soldered them. Parts (jacks/connectors) not always available.  Cords are not a big issue, although cordless would be no issue. 

Haven't tried bike to bike but believe it depends on which radio one uses.
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Offline Doggone

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Re: Oxford Bike Mike 3 - Any good?
« Reply #6 on: June 18, 2008, 05:35:44 pm »
I use a Starcom system . Works very well and clear even with ear plugs.
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Offline Zerc

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Re: Oxford Bike Mike 3 - Any good?
« Reply #7 on: June 19, 2008, 10:04:30 am »
Thanks for all the info. I downloaded the Autocom brochure and it looks the Kit 200 - Active Duo would suit my needs. Does anybody on the forum sell them?
 

Offline MrBig

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Re: Oxford Bike Mike 3 - Any good?
« Reply #8 on: June 19, 2008, 10:08:46 am »
Thanks for all the info. I downloaded the Autocom brochure and it looks the Kit 200 - Active Duo would suit my needs. Does anybody on the forum sell them?

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