Happy New Year all! I hope 2017 treats you well.
Last week, I picked up a cheap Bluetooth motorcycle headset/intercom from my local Aldi store. It cost me all of AU$49.95.
For those not familiar with Aldi, they’re an independent supermarket chain that also stocks a lot of other random items, including electronics and motorcycle gear. Their motorcycle gear has always served me very well for the price.
As it happens, both the helmet and the headset were from Aldi, although bought from different stores at different times. I’ve used both models before, but never together.
The last headset was no longer waterproof after a couple of years of heavy use, and the last helmet was dropped onto concrete. No matter what you spend on a helmet, it’s essentially useless if it gets dropped onto a hard surface from any height or suffers any hard knocks!
As this headset will primarily be for voice navigation and playing music from my phone, my prior experience with this model told me that it is more than adequate for my needs.
The headset was branded “Cocoon” on the box but is only sold at Aldi stores (under this branding, at least). Here’s what came in the box, with the helmet for scale.
The first step was to remove the left cheek pad.
Under the cheek pad, there was a small foam insert next to the chin strap.
Removing it revealed a suitable mounting point for the left ear speaker and boom mic.
The mounting hardware supplied is very basic – a plastic mounting bracket and a couple of Velcro loop self-adhesive discs. There were four of the discs included included but only two were needed.
The mounting bracket screws were loosened and it was placed into its tentative position.
So far, so good. Now to fit the left speaker and boom mic.
The position seemed to work, so the Velcro disc was fitted underneath.
On to removing the right cheek pad.
Again, there was a small foam insert that revealed a suitable recess for the right ear speaker when removed.
Next, I needed to run the cable and right ear speaker under the top lining of the helmet.
Velcro disc ready to apply. The little screwdriver was also supplied in the box for adjusting the screws on the mounting clip.
In place and ready for the speaker.
I tucked the cable under the lining and push the right ear speaker in snugly.
Reattaching the right cheek pad was relatively simple. I also replaced the foam insert over the right ear speaker.
The left cheek pad required a small modification to the plastic insert to allow it to be refitted.
As the helmet came with a spare set of cheek pads, I measured and cut out a section of the plastic insert slightly wider than the mounting clip.
After re-fitting the cheek pad, I again replaced the foam insert over the left ear speaker.
Tightening the mounting clip screwa after fitting the bluetooth receiver and control unit was a little fiddly. I wanted to make sure it sat snugly without putting too much pressure on the mounting bracket. I’d probably replace the screws with longer ones if mounting another one of the same type.
All that was left was to charge it! The supplied charger has a USB port and came with a USB cable with a connector that matches the port the headset cables plug into. I’m pretty sure the USB cable supplied only supplies power, as I’ve connected to my computer with the unit both turned on and turned off and it wasn’t detected at all.
I took it on a ride on Saturday after pairing it with my phone and found the headphone quality was as good as expected – both music and Google Maps voice navigation were quite clear and audible over the sound of the bike without preventing me from hearing what was going on around me.
One drawback was that it didn’t pair as an intercom with my friend’s more expensive Bluetooth headset but at the AU$49.95 price tag, I didn’t expect it to!
Overall, the fact that I’ve bought another one when it was available speaks for the value I got from this product. I’d happily buy another for my fiancée when she’s able to ride pillion again!