Canadian Motorcycle Rider

Your Canadian source for all things motorcycle!

Featured Articles - CMR_Articles_Feed
Stories about motorcycles with a Canadian perspective

Scala Rider - Q2 Multiset Review

Scala Rider - Q2 Multiset Review

I'll admit - I had misgivings about wireless communications system. I assumed that it would detract from the 'zen' of the ride or perhaps affect my concentration. I figured it would take away from the ride. So, I've never once listened to music on a ride much less take a phone call.  That is, until I tried out the Q2 Multiset from Cardo.

The Cardo MultiSet Q2 is basically two communications systems that come factory paired so that two people - whether they're on the same bike or on different bikes - can use them to communicate with one another; straight out of the box. They can be used on their own too, or paired with other Scala wireless systems - which could be useful if you're traveling with friends for example. They could be used for ATV's, snowmobiles, dirtbikes, or side-by-side's too. Anything that makes a bit of noise really, as they're designed to be used in a environment with some noise.

My first test with the Cardo system was to use it for a solo ride so that I could be sure I was familiar with its operation. A nice run of about 200 km's of secondary roads along the coast of Nova Scotia near Halifax provided the testing grounds.

What's in the Box:

Two headsets, two helmet clamps, 2 wall chargers, 2 allen wrenches, 2 sets of velcro pads, 2 MP3 cables,  2 glue plates, 2 pre-moistenend towelettes, 2 carry pouches, 4 microphone sponges, and a user guide with warranty and registration form.

The user guide is excellent and gives clear explanations (with pictures) of what each piece is and how to operate the device.

Once the box was opened up and I had figured out what all the little bits were for, the next step was to get it hooked up to my helmet.  I didn't want to stick the device to my helmet so I was really hoping that the helmet clamp would work on my Scorpion EXO-1000. The Scorpion EXO-1000 has an internal air bladder that sits between the shell and the helmet padding; there's also a really thick band of plastic along the bottom edge of the helmet where all the pieces are sandwiched together. Well, it took a little persistence but after opening up the clamp as wide as it would go and easing it on with a little pressure (but not enough to break anything) all was well.  I tightened it down with the supplied allen key. It is surprisingly secure actually. Pushing on the unit in any direction and there's no movement whatsoever.

Next step is to get the placement of the microphone just right. This part isn't too difficult really - you just have to place the helmet clamp in the appropriate place, the microphone is attached to the helmet clamp via a flexible arm so you can move and twist the microphone into the exact position you want. I couldn't even tell the microphone was there when it was properly placed in my helmet. The speakers are ultra-thin so that they'll fit into even the tightest of helmets.

The Scala Rider system is more than a communication system. It has a FM Radio built in, you can hook it up to an MP3 player through the integrated jack, a voice activated GPS, or a cell phone.  These are the features that will make it particularly useful for a wide variety of riders. I synched my iPhone to to the Scala System following the easy to read and clear instructions.

Cardo claims a 1,640-foot range under ideal circumstances but says that typical is range is more like 800 feet. The range of the communicators is pretty impressive even at the typical range. Riders can communicate in full duplex contact (you're able to talk and listen simultaneously) with each other.

Cardo Scala Rider Q2 MultiSet Specifications (Per Cardo)

MultiSet includes two intercom systems.
- Bike-to-bike Intercom up to 1,640 feet. 
- Cell phone connectivity along with FM and MP3 audio.
- 500 meter (1640 foot bike-to-bike intercom range and cell phone connectivity
- Rider-to-passenger communication
- Optional receiving of GPS voice instructions or music from an MP3 player (cable included) or embedded FM radio
- Headset automatically adjusts the sound level
- Incoming calls may be rejected or accepted by voice-control


- Easy to read instructions
- Well designed system with all the elements required to get you using the system quickly and with minimal fuss.
- Excellent for business people who commute via bike and need to take calls.
- Very clear communications; I was told from those who called me that reception on their end was excellent too - even at highway speeds.
- An easy way to add music, GPS, and ability to use the phone on the bike. Remember, it's for your convenience so you don't have to answer calls if you don't want to!
- Rugged design that's rain and snow resistant.
- Cardo’s AGC Technology automatically adjusts the volume of the unit according to wind noise.


- Lack of volume control with the MP3 player hookup.
- FM tuner didn't seem to pull in strong signals and scanning for stations is done via the volume control which requires a very firm push to operate.

Overall Impressions:

I really enjoyed using the device to listen to music on my iPhone and I even took a couple phone calls. If I was going on a long distance solo trip, or especially if I were riding two-up, or with a group - I'd definitely have one of these systems. If I needed to be readily available via telephone, I'd also recommend it highly. While I didn't test the system with a GPS system I can see that a voice activated control GPS would work very well as it would allow for hands-free use of the GPS.

Now, when you're on a group, or two-up ride you'll be able to communicate with those you're riding with without resorting to high-speed charades. Pit stops and breaks can be easily coordinated. You can warn others in your group about road hazards, or point out some interesting scenery. Even if you're just riding alone the device can keep you connected or allow you to listen to some of your favorite tunes.

For more information about Cardo and the Q2 Multiset you can visit the company website HERE.

Support CMR and get a great deal on the Cardo Multi-set Q2 system by purchasing it via Amazon:

Cardo Multiset Q2 picture slideshow:

Have Rally, Will Travel

Mike Buehler is a two wheel fan from Newfoundland. He's been riding motorcycles for 15 years and pedally bikes for many many more. He earns a living as an industrial climber among other things and can currently be found recovering from landing on his head. If you can find him at home he's usually riding something fun.

Have Rally, Will Travel

Written by
: Mike Buehler
Photos by: Mike Buehler

I have the dreams that many do, dreams of riding in big rallies like the Dakar. You know, just like I wrote last year, riding through the desert trailing dust clouds behind you in countries you’ve only seen in National Geographic.

Earlier this year I got the go ahead from my girl to chase some of these dreams and I immediately went to work trying to make some headway in that direction. Having read “To Dakar and Back” by Lawrence Hacking and Bob Bergman’s first hand account of their respective experiences in the Dakar I sent Lawrence an email looking for some advice.

“Hey Lawrence, do you have any suggestions for someone looking at trying for the Dakar in a 5 year plan?” To which he replied, “go enter the Rally Mongolia, it’s an 8 day offroad rally and it’s the cheapest and easiest of the big rallies.” Ok, sounds like a plan!

Game on, as they say. I dove into planning and dreaming and finding out the price of a plane ticket to Ulaan Baatar. I’m sure I was driving Lawrence a little crazy with all of my questions, but who else did I know that had been there and knew what it was all about? He put me on to Teru of Japan Racing Management to get a rental bike lined up for the event. Now I was really onto something big.

Teru returned my emails in short order and said he’d let me know about a bike. It didn’t take long before he got back to me again with the offer of a Honda XR 400 or 450 all ready to go. That was followed up with the cost of it all-the bike and the rally. It was looking like I could go racing for less than $10 K, which is cheap in this racing world. The really nice travel agent who got me tickets to Argentina found me flight options for about $2500 too.

But how quickly the dreams get put on hold: the responsibilities of a homeowner to an insurance company to keep the home in good repair; for me that was a new roof. So regretfully I emailed Lawrence and Teru to tell them I was pulling out for the upcoming rally, but that I still had plans of getting there next year.

As the year progressed towards summer I picked up a little sideline of work and my first job for this company was going to take me to Japan–Tokyo, the home of Japan Racing Management and Teru the nice guy on the other end of the emails. I got in touch again to ask if I could meet him while I was over there to talk a little about going racing next year.

He replied saying they were spending a lot of time at the HINO factory getting their vehicles ready. Hmmm...must be their support trucks? Sounds good to me. So when I got to Japan and figured out my schedule a bit I dropped him a note and he said I was close to them and he’d pick me up to go to the factory. As we were talking in the car I was asking him what he does mostly to which he replied that he does fundraising for his dad. Ok…for his dad to do what? “Race trucks” And what else do you do? “Drive trucks.” It was slowly dawning on me that he and his dad race trucks in the Dakar! I was a little taken aback at it all, wondering what the hell I was doing there? So off we go to the HINO factory where they’re in full swing getting ready to ship the trucks to South America for the 2010 Dakar. When we roll into the factory he pointed this out to me, where it was waiting for sponsors’ decals.

Ok, here’s me, rally neophyte, basically a nobody sitting in the car with a Dakar truck racing regular wondering where I fell into a worm hole? We drive on a little further and we wind up at the bay space where his dad’s truck is being worked on by their crew of 5 mechanics and they’re packing spare parts in the metal footlockers we’ve all seen on TV when they show the bivouacs.

Teru popped in a video of truck highlights from the 2009 race for me to see and it was an eye opener of just how difficult last year’s event was. We were joined by the head of the Dakar activities for HINO, Shigeo Matsumoto, and he took us to lunch where all 3000 employees eat. I was the only visitor I could see there, but no-one seemed to mind and the noodles were good. I was given a few little souvenirs too:

including one of the products of his search for sponsorship.

After lunch Teru showed me around his truck and like a kid in a candystore of I got my chance to sit in the driver’s seat and see how that felt, I still remember as a kid seeing the random bits of rally coverage on TV and being glued to the bikes and the trucks with no idea what it was all about except that it was riveting. No, he did not give me the keys for a test drive.

These trucks are not small and there is a lot of technology and information to pay attention to by both the driver and the navigator. I was interested to find out that they can change tire pressures on the fly on any wheel; and they have auxiliary oil pumps for extra cooling on demand too. The round yellow button is for the Sentinal system to warn the bikes they’re on top of them; I had instant visions of scenes from Boorman’s “Race to Dakar.”

There’s nothing extra on these machines for comfort and every effort is made to cut weight wherever they can. In the small truck class these particular HINO’s are now underpowered by quite a bit compared to many of their competitors so they have to be smarter to make up for it. Teru must be one of the wileyest drivers out there to have come second place in category last year; not to mention he's never rolled a truck either.

When he was done what he needed to do at the factory for the day Teru took us on our way back into the city, and he asked me if I wanted to stop in at their office? Of course I did, I still wanted to do some planning for Mongolia.

We pulled up outside a small double garage with the office upstairs and the first thing I noticed was the wall of history starting in 1983. I was speechless.

We go upstairs where I’m introduced to the couple of people inside including Yoshi-san: a vibrant and cheerful man. They were doing a short interview for some media type, I figured I’d piggyback on that one.

I was allowed to wander around the little office and ogle the plethora of Dakar icons and memorabilia scattered about and we talked about the various rallies they’re involved with either as drivers or support. I was in awe of Yoshi-san as I realized he has to be one of the ultimate Dakar personalities and this record proves that he’s second to none when it comes to driving trucks.

This record shows just how good he is on the world stage and how long he’s been that good. Teru is no slouch either when you see it laid out on paper like this.

I took my leave to catch the subway home still in disbelief of where I’d just spent my day. Teru and Yoshi were incredibly generous with their time and I the tourist took plenty of pictures to remind myself that dreams can come true.

I know, you’re asking yourself what this article has to do with motorcycles? Well, not a whole lot really, it’s more about these two men I had the fortune to meet who spend a lot of time and effort fundraising to keep their dreams alive and keep racing. It gives me hope that I can fulfill some of mine riding a motorcycle across the plains of Mongolia when August comes. Lawrence Hacking is the only Canadian to have entered the Mongolia Rally and I hope to be the second, if you want to go too just have a look at the organizer’s website SSER.ORG. Maybe I’ll see you there!

There's the very talented Lawrence Hacking top left above from his run through Mongolia in 2007. He's been making good on his dreams forever and has been kind enough to write about them often for us to live vicariously with more to come; that scenery is calling me like a Siren.

But before I can make good on mine they will be making good on theirs and I’ll be able to see some of it on the paltry half an hour OLN dishes out to us Canadians each day of the event. Join me at the TV for Dakar 2010 in cheering on these two hardcore drivers who were nice enough to share their time and space with some random guy from Canada.

Yoshimasa Sugawara

Teruhito Sugawara

Links of interest:

- Team Sugawara