Remote-operated walkie-talkie provides riders with off-grid comms
If you're mountain biking, quading or otherwise wheelin' in the backcountry, then there's a good chance that cellular service may not be available. So, how do you keep in touch with your fellow riders? Well, the RidingToo RT1 sports walkie talkie looks like it could be a good way to go.
The RT1 consists of two parts: a main "host" unit that is mounted on the handlebars or carried on the rider's body, along with a bar-mounted Bluetooth remote. The host can be set to any of 99 short-wave radio channels, allowing it to communicate with other hosts that are set to the same channel – the system has a line-of-sight range of 3 to 5 km (1.8 to 3 miles).
Users hear incoming messages through a paired third-party Bluetooth earpiece/mic, and reply simply by pressing the Talk button on the remote. That earpiece can simultaneously be paired to a smartphone, allowing users to listen to music for most of the ride, but still hear RT1 messages as they come in.
Both the host and the remote are IP67 waterproof, meaning they can withstand being immersed to a depth of up to one meter (3.3 ft) for half an hour. The 14-gram remote is powered by a replaceable 240-mAh lithium-ion button cell battery, while the 64-gram host packs a rechargeable 900-mAh li-ion battery – the latter is reportedly good for eight hours of use per charge.
The RidingToo RT1 system is available now, priced at US$138 for a package that includes two hosts and remotes. It's demonstrated in the video below.
Riders needing off-grid communications might also look into getting a set of Bluetooth-intercom helmets, although they have a considerably shorter range.