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Tested: Interphone Tour four-way intercom

The Interphone Tour ticks all the touring boxes

MODERN DAY technology affords motorcyclists a host of options when it comes to navigation and connectivity. Intercom systems combine the best of both, with a little voice in your ear there to tell you which road to take next, or that Mum is calling.

The Interphone Tour by Cellularline was new for 2017. It’s the premium option in Interphone’s flagship three-product range, sitting above the low-spec Urban and the intermediate Sport. 

It’s slightly smaller than a bar of soap, and features include four-way rider connectivity with a range of up to a mile; voice activation and calling with up to 20 hours of talk time and GPS and music playback.  All of this can be activated or adjusted using the eight large buttons.

There’s a handy mobile-phone app through which you can adjust and personalise the settings, and the device helpfully informs you of the battery level when you turn it on and off.

The waterproof model is priced in line with its competitors – a single unit retails at £229.99, while a twin pack will set you back around £399.99.

Before getting the Tour, I was actually extremely anti-intercom. I wanted to be able to enjoy my noisy sportsbike, without straining to hear directions.

And plus, the technology seemed daunting, with so many options on the market I didn’t know where to start.

However, a solo tour from Portsmouth to Scotland at the end of 2016 called for a navigation aid, and when I discovered that my Satnav’s universal mount ironically didn’t fit on the bike I was riding, I had to invest in an intercom.

Since Scotland, I have covered thousands of miles with the Interphone in my ear. My primary use for it is navigation – without it I would almost certainly be lost 90 per cent of the time – but it also comes in useful if I’m riding in a group.  

So, what’s right with it?

Unlike many of its competitors – for example the Scala Rider – the buttons on the Interphone Tour are large and distinguishable – even with gloves on. Combined with the fact that each has its own individual function, operating the Tour while on the move is a breeze. However, this does come at the expense of size, and means that unit-to-unit, the Interphone is larger than other models in its class.

Another great feature of the Tour is its ‘infinity’ battery, meaning that when you turn it off it remembers its last configuration – saving you from setting it up every time you ride.  While the battery life itself may not last forever, it’s pretty impressive. As I mentioned earlier, you get 20 hours of talk time – five of which is provided by a portable battery pack, included in the box – and 1,000 hours of standby.

The Bluetooth intercom range of a mile is 25 per cent more than that of the Scala Rider, and the clever Automatic Reconnection feature ensures that communication is restored as soon as possible in the event of lost signal.

What’s wrong with it?

Remember I mentioned some devices were difficult to hear on a sportsbike? The Tour is no exception.  While it is loud and clear on any touring motorcycle, I struggle to hear it over the engine noise and wind roar on my CBR. In fact, I frequently have to declutch in order to hear the next direction. 

One minor gripe for riders splashing out on the top-spec Tour is that it shares the same two small Velcro speakers and microphone with the Urban (rrp £109.99) and the Sport (£169.99) models.

While adequate for the Urban, the hardware could really have been uprated to represent the £110 price hike to the Tour. In my opinion, the sound quality and in particular the bass doesn’t reflect the premium price tag.

Finally for the set-up. While relatively simple, thanks to the velcro pads - be prepared to disembowel your helmet to install this intercom, and find creative ways of hiding all the extra wire. Be careful not to place the device too low on your chin bar as the protruding micro-USB could be damaged when you set it down. 

Verdict

At more than £200, the Interphone Tour isn’t a toy, despite its simple appearance and ease of use.

However, this is what endears it to me. It ticks all the touring boxes, thanks in part to Interphone having surveyed 700 motorcyclists to find out what functions they desired – and despite the slightly questionable sound quality, you can tell that it really is a premium model.

Comments

Comfysofa's picture

is what ive got....dont get me wrong....its great but, the distance quoted is something like a mile or something like that...no where near....id say more like 2 - 300 yards....yes...the speakers are total crap so had to shell out on the upgraded speaker system (much better). Battery doesnt last anywhere near as long also (but still ok for the riding i do). So, while not perfect i do actually like it and its my first comms system (bought a 2 pack with my mate) and its awesome especially at large gatherings (TT, BSB etc etc) where you can get separated very easily. Wouldnt be without it now.

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