Go Back   ADVrider > Gear > Equipment
User Name
Register Inmates Photos Site Rules Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read

Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 08-16-2012, 12:56 PM   #1
TurkeyChicken OP
Gnarly Adventurer
TurkeyChicken's Avatar
Joined: Mar 2011
Location: Albuquerque, NM
Oddometer: 186
My Negative Cardo Scala Rider G9 Experience / Review

A buddy and I recently returned from a 17 day motorcycle tour and decided we'd review all of the equipment we took with us. Our reviews are simply our experiences with the product and how it handled during the ride. The full ride report for that trip can be found here:

UPDATE: (Aug 30, 2012) We received a new pair of G9's from Cardo and will start testing these new ones. We will update the review when necessary.

On to the review...

First things first let me just say that I really like the Scala Rider Q2 that I've been using since 2009. I had a couple issues with it over the years but nothing as bad as the utter failure of the G9. I started off with some really high hopes for this product and was excited that my buddy and I were going to have 17 days of riding around the western part of the country.

The first negative experience of the product came when we tried to pair our teamset. No matter what we did we seemingly couldn't get them to join together so we could talk. Finally after messing around for about a half hour, and we're still not sure what we did, the communication channels finally opened and we could talk to each other.

Next came figuring out how to re-establish this connection each time we turned the units on. Even after a couple days of use we still didn't know the exact method to get them to connect. It usually ended up with us pushing the A and B buttons over and over for about 5 minutes until we were able to hear each other again.

Aside from the extremely difficult times we had pairing and talking, my right speaker died after the first day of our trip and the left one started to get extremely static-filled for a couple of days before it too finally died. We were super pissed when this happened since we were only a few days into our trip and were left without any form of verbal communication while riding. I thought maybe some of the rain we had ridden through might have been the problem so I let the unit dry out in my tank bag for a few days and tried again with no luck.

For some reason out of frustration I smacked the side of my helmet and low and behold I was able to hear from the speakers again! What a feat of engineering... designing a product that needs to be smacked a few times for it to work! Anyway, this would work for a few minutes before the speakers would die and I'd need to smack it again. I was able to continue this method for another day or two before no matter how much smacking I did would help... both speakers were absolutely toast.

While I'm having issues with my headset, my buddy is starting to experience the shorting out and static issues I had the first day.

If that's still not enough to turn you away from purchasing this product, let me rattle off a couple other extreme negatives:

1. you CANNOT charge this unit and use it at the same time. WTF?! With the Q2's you could have them plugged in and still talk to your buddy and listen to music without any issues. Now with the G9 it completely shuts the unit off if it's plugged in.

2. You CANNOT listen to music and talk to a friend at the same time. With the Q2's you can listen to your mp3 player and if your buddy starts to talk, it disables the mp3 and you hear their voice. With the G9 it appears to be one or the other which is a shame.

Again, I really wanted to love this product but I'm simply shocked with how many issues we had with it. It's possible part of the issues were human error (like linking them together), but the utter failure of the speakers and not being able to charge and use the device at the same time is a huge shame.

I'm going back to my Cardo Scala Rider Q2 until I hear some extremely positive reviews from some other headset/intercom system.

I've got a full review and some photos posted here:

TurkeyChicken screwed with this post 08-30-2012 at 03:01 PM
TurkeyChicken is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-16-2012, 05:57 PM   #2
Joined: Mar 2011
Location: North Texas
Oddometer: 81
I've got the G4 and love it. We do sometimes have a problem getting the pair to connect the first time, but it's probably from forgetting which button to push to accomplish this. I wish the Scala had more independent buttons and switches rather than trying to accomplish multiple functions with just 5. My friend has the G9 and has had none of the problems you have.
Bonwit is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-18-2013, 10:04 PM   #3
Joined: Jun 2007
Location: Bay Area, CA
Oddometer: 1
Thumbs down A huge disappointment

I bought the G9 on the strength of the WebBikeWorld review, and I have to say I've been quite disappointed. I haven't used the intercom (yet to have any friends own one) so I'm using it for occasional phone calls and music.

First problem was the sound level - I wear earplugs (foams) and the sound is barely audible over my Vespa at 30mph, and completely inaudible on my Ducati. The speakers are directly over my ears, and the volume on my iPhone is at max.

The second problem is the very low Vox sensitivity to commands. I have given up and use buttons 100% of the time. Occasionally a cough will trigger the Vox, but otherwise it is useless. Even yelling doesn't work.

The third issue is the baffling lack of voice prompts, as noted in the WBW review. This coupled with fairly cryptic requirements for holding a button down for some number of seconds, makes the user interface very hard to learn and operate.

Lastly, I have never been able to get the unit to sync up with my computer using the interface on the Cardo website. It just sits at "Reading from Device" and never completes. I have tried this on a Macbook Pro, with Chrome, Firefox and Safari, and on a PC using Chrome and Firefox, and I have never gotten past this point. So all the "social" features are pretty much no-op for me.

I have contacted Cardo support, and their response has been to suggest obvious remedies that I have already tried.

I have to say, if a friend asked me about buying a G9, I would tell him to avoid it and get something else.
mmoore is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-18-2013, 10:29 PM   #4
Tiger Rider
Joined: Aug 2012
Location: Brisvagas, Oztralia
Oddometer: 105
I have a G4 and most functions work most of the time.
Intercom is the biggest problem, you need a witch doctor and a Ouija board to use VOX, the open channel continuously is OK.
Volume could be louder and the speakers are a bit tinny for sound but its not hi-fi (though for the price it should be).
I am consdering hacking it up and replacing the output with 3.5mm stereo jack and use better speakers or earbuds.
See here:
Riot is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-19-2013, 07:33 AM   #5
Beastly Adventurer
74C5's Avatar
Joined: Aug 2008
Location: El Dorado Hills, CA
Oddometer: 1,011
Lastly, I have never been able to get the unit to sync up with my computer using the interface on the Cardo website. It just sits at "Reading from Device" and never completes.
First, I'm not a fan of anything Cardo. They stonewalled me on problems with a zumo 665 for over a year. Then said it wasn't compatible. Dicks.

I had the same problem. However, I had a teamset. I was able to get them both up on the computer with one of the two cables. They were a bit incredulous that a usb cable could be bad but, it was. They replaced it as they should.

Try another cable or send it back.....sooner than later.
R1200RT (R1100RT gone)
KLR650 - gone
Don't be the guy who needs to pee on the fence to figure out that it's electrified.
74C5 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-19-2013, 07:56 AM   #6
Beastly Adventurer
ram1000's Avatar
Joined: Feb 2004
Location: Tricities Washington
Oddometer: 1,837
After trying to make our own setup with hunting radios and other attempts we bought Cardio 2's and also and found them to work just a little bit better than our homemade efforts. As stated, getting them to pair up was always a problem especially with 3 of us. There is no way to remember all the variations of button holding with these things after a long winter of no riding. They are only good for a part of a day if used for much talking, or music, but I never could remember how to turn the music on or change channels anyway. They don't work unless we have line of sight either. I would love to find something that actually works as good as it should, but I simply can't afford such things if they exist. In the end if you can't afford something better don't purchase the Cardio 2's, we have given up on them.
A good adventure bike will get you to where you wish you had a good dirt bike! (and back)
:2014 XC800 :2012 WR450
ram1000 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-21-2013, 06:57 AM   #7
Joined: Nov 2011
Oddometer: 7
I had a pair of G4 and had problems from Day 1. Pairing with the other unit to talk has always been a hit and miss.

The only way the units could talk without issues is to force a permanent connection and leave it that way for the entire trip, not cutting the connection off or switching to music.

After one month, one unit would not turn on at all. I had to plug in the power before i csn turn it on. From there I could unplug the power and continue using for several hours - so it cant be a low battery issue. this happens also when its fully charged.

Finally I gave up and bought the Sena SMH10. I never turned back. it was simple and worked everytime. Yes, I lose the FM radio but I'd go for a stable and working product than one with all the bells and whistles but unstable.

Its also dangerous fiddling with the unit while riding. Performance of the communications is great. I did a 3 way conference with 2 friends on SMH10 and its so simple to get it done up. Rider A connect to Rider B, then Rider C connect to A. Done!

Only gripe is the speakers are softer than those on the G4. Hopefully would be solved with future firmware updates which is again easy to perform. (updated twice)
peterang is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-22-2013, 02:00 PM   #8
Gnarly Adventurer
Joined: Jul 2011
Location: Sunny Surrey, UK
Oddometer: 251
Wow, all the issues!

In my little riding group we have 5x G4s and a G9 and have had so few problems with them - they have been a revelation. We even run all 6 together for comms across 5 bikes and it just works. On longer trips we find the batteries will last about 7-8hrs of continual intercom with open channel (the vox is a little 'clippy').
My only problem is that I run an Android phone and Co-Pilot Sat Nav which is sent to the G4 as A2DP sound, not GPS, and therefore the turn announcements do not over-ride the intercom (which they would if I had a TomTom for example). This isn't a Cardo issue though but an Android/Bluetooth/Co-Pilot problem.

We never ride in a group now without comms - they have totally changed the group riding dynamic for us.
My bike anthology: Another KTM 690 Enduro R, BMW G450X, BMW R1200GSA LC, KTM 690 Enduro R, Yamaha WR250R, Yamaha XT600E, KTM 990 SM-T, Ducati Diavel, Kawasaki Z1000, Suzuki SV1000, Kawasaki Zx7-R, Honda VFR800, Honda CBR600F, Yamaha RD350, Yamaha DT175, Honda CM125, Kawasaki AR125, Kawasaki AE50 - wow I have owned a lot of bikes
Scutty is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-25-2013, 03:05 PM   #9
White Tenere
Look a moose
White Tenere's Avatar
Joined: Jan 2007
Location: SoCal
Oddometer: 742
I'm a new G9 owner and have to say my experience has been 100% positive/ happy with the product. Zero set up issues, sounds great with the provided speakers. I get calls all the time and answer using the VOX feature and people trip out when I tell them I'm riding 75mph down the freeway. They say it sounds like I'm sitting at home, I did find if I just crack the visor people on the other end say it sounds best/better that way.

I listen to music all the time and find if the volume is turned all the way up on my iPhone I can run the G9 at about half volume and hear it just fine, does it sound like my $800 custom Fit-Ear stereo plugs-well no but I didn't expect it to and I'm fine with the sound quality it does provide. I also like how it auto adjusts the volume as I slow down or speed up.

Now I have to think, but I'm almost positive when listening to music and get a cell call or intercom "call" the music fades then fades back in when I'm done talking.

The biggest help for me even before I opened the box was going to there website and reading all the info they have there.

For me it was a double thumbs up buy!!
White Tenere is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-01-2013, 12:33 PM   #10
Studly Adventurer
ztrab's Avatar
Joined: Jan 2006
Location: Tucson, Az
Oddometer: 702
Pissed G9

Hummmm, I have been using the Autocom on two bikes, have it set up for intercom when my wife rides - have kenwood radios and all the cords, VOX & PTT buttons, etc. Having on cord to my helmet doesn't bother me, all the other junk is under my seat of tucked in my tank bag. I power the unit off my bike, can hear my GPS, MP3, Radar, phone, all cabled of course. For solo or two up, it is relatively simple, the external radios for duplex communication makes it a tad less desirable. However, it always works, flawlessly.

I was offered some G4s to demo for a ride I was doing in Europe. I paired and matched Bluetooth devices before we left. On the eve of leaving one of the unit took a crap and wouldn't work. The other quit mid-ride. They were used demos and the rep said the G9 was coming out, I'd really like them.....

So I spent good deal of time trying to update and assign rider names, read the manual, watch the videos, etc so I could operate the units - way before I left on a two up trip. Had to call Cardio and got one obscure issue resolved. First thing I noticed was it kept dropping the blue tooth connection with my Ipod - the second unit did the same. Over 1700 miles, each day was a new event with the intercom - I finally turned it off - Never could figure out why it randomly greets me by name, turns on the FM radio - shades of Hal??? Went for a solo ride the other day, as long as I never paused by music it stayed connected, though I still got some random greetings and the radio switched on a few times. I even got a call from my Iphone, but then I never got my music back. Reading through the thread, sounds like I am not alone.

That said, I am am going to try an sort it out since they are great when they work, but not enough to warrant having to pull over, take my gloves off and reset my blue tooth or pound the side of my helmet. I will try to master the thing or give it back before I pass final judgment. I'll probably go back to my autocom for solo riding, way better volume, don't have to scrounge for outlets every night to charge and I am used to the one helmet wire. Really though, this technology isn't that complicated that a manufacturer could come up with a better unit - F'ing technology........
09 1200 SGA
07 1200 GS SOLD
06 HP2 (damn it Cartwright) Sold
05 ZX 10 Track bike - (see above)
06 GSXR 600 Track Bike -ditto above :-)
06 525 EXC
06 525 EXC motard
07 12 GS for Jr. with a brand new motor12/09!
06 525 EXC for Jr., new motor, ugh
09 690 Enduro R... I know, I know
ztrab is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-01-2013, 05:44 PM   #11
Plane Dr
Studly Adventurer
Plane Dr's Avatar
Joined: Sep 2005
Location: North TX Metromess
Oddometer: 888
I've had a G9 for6-7 months now. It is a royal pita to get it to sync on the computer. I also had issues syncing to my iPhone 5.

However an email to tech support straightened it out and it has been good so far. I haven't used the intercom as my ring buddy moved just after getting these.

The VOX sucks.

However decent music volume, never had an issue once synced. Call quality is superb. I commute virtually every day on the bike and the phone function alone has paid for it.

I don't have experience with other units but other than being fiddly I am happy
01/09 DRZ470SSW more bits than necesary
2005 R1200 GS AKA The Mothership
2003 Z1000 Nuclear Pumpkin (gone)
86 RG500WW (gone)

Bikes are like women. What you think you want, and what you want, change after the first ride.
Plane Dr is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-04-2013, 09:07 PM   #12
drisschoufa's Avatar
Joined: Feb 2010
Location: beautiful San Diego
Oddometer: 52
I have had a G4 for over three years and it works flawlessly 70% of the time if I am by myself. I get my phone synced to my zumo 550 which then feeds me my music and phone calls, I can talk even at at 80mph without the caller knowing where I am then goes back to music again 70% of the time.
Now add a rider to the equation and it becomes you worst nightmare if you force it to intercom and turn off the Bluetooth on the Zumo it improves to 50% of the time working it's a piece a shxxt product at $500 for the pair.
Oh I might stress out the quality of the speakers they are crap and the volume is not loud enaugh on a stock BMW forget using on my DRZ with a yoshi pipe.
2009 BMW R1200GSA Adv stuff
2006 SUZUKI DRZ400S Light Adv/tech
2004 HONDA TRX250 wife
2007 YAMAHA WR250 son
2006 YAMAHA TTR125 daughter
drisschoufa is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-05-2013, 04:09 AM   #13
STILL Jim Williams
levain's Avatar
Joined: Oct 2005
Location: Providence, RI
Oddometer: 7,562
Sena smh10 for 3 years. Works beautifully with no issues whatsoever. Time for an upgrade!
2015 KTM 690 Enduro R, 2008 Yamaha WR250R, 1971 Lambretta DL
levain is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-05-2013, 10:52 AM   #14
StuartV's Avatar
Joined: Oct 2004
Location: Bristow, VA
Oddometer: 1,563
I've had my Senas for 1 year now. Also, no problems at all.
'05 GSX-R1000
Iron Butt # 4999, (former) WERA/CCS EX # 666, AMA Life Member, Drummer, Bassist
StuartV is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-06-2013, 11:30 AM   #15
Joined: Jul 2008
Oddometer: 15
Received my G9 last week and rode this weekend with intercom to other bikes.

We did have some trouble linking the G9s initially, but once we got them to pair they didn't seem to have any issues re-syncing up when we were off and on the bikes. The intercom is fantastic. No issues syncing on computer or syncing up to my phone.

The only issue I have had really is I changed my buddy name online and synced and it's still calling me "scala rider", but I hope another sync will do the trick.
nathank is offline   Reply With Quote


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On

Forum Jump

Times are GMT -7.   It's 05:24 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.5
Copyright ©2000 - 2015, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Copyright ADVrider 2011-2015