The Freecom 2 Plus is an excellent entry into the world of motorcycle communications. With a nice flat profile and sleek styling, this IP67 waterproof system enables you to easily talk to another rider or your passenger while enjoying music and voice directions from your bike’s infotainment system or your smartphone.
Good Starter Communicator
Connects 2 riders with intercom, music and smartphones up to half of a mile away. It’s not the top of the line, but it’s an excellent starting point if you aren’t sure if you want or need a helmet-to-helmet communicator.
What’s in The Box?
- Freecom 2+ unit
- Freecom Audio Kit
- 40mm High Definition Speakers
- Corded Microphone
- Glue Plate
- Hybrid Microphone
- Rectangular Velcro Pads
- Square Velcro Pads
- Speaker Relocators (Spacers)
- USB Cable
NOTE: The dual pack is generally cheaper than buying two single units. It could be worth splitting the cost with your buddy if you usually ride in a pair.
Installation is a Breeze!
The sleek unit is 46mm high x 79 mm long x 16 mm deep and weighs in at a mere 43 gm.
The unit is compatible with almost any type of helmet, regardless if it’s a full-face, modular, dirt bike, open-face, three-quarter, or half helmet. Note: for the half helmet, you need to purchase a half helmet kit.
To install on your helmet, the preferred method is to slide a clip between the shell and liner of your helmet on the left side. If the shell of your helmet is too thick for the clip, Cardo also includes a glue plate to stick the device to the helmet securely.
There are several installation videos on YouTube to make installation even easier.
- Cardo’s own installation video.
- Cardo’s ‘Complete tutorial’ is an almost 20-minute video covering unboxing, basic operations, installation, and Frequently asked questions and next steps.
- Just for fun, J & S Accessories assistant manager Sam installed one into a Shoei helmet in under 4 minutes.
The controls are large enough to be operated even with gloves on, an important feature often overlooked by motorcycle accessories manufacturers.
The features are complicated, but most riders will quickly learn the 2-3 that you need the most. Things like Volume up/down, phone, and intercom are all single presses. Others like pairing, last number redial, and mute are multiple presses of one button, or two buttons pressed simultaneously.
This COULD be a distraction while winding down a mountain road, so exercise good sense while playing with the controls.
The Freecom 2+ comes with Bluetooth 4.1, and pairing is as simple as any Bluetooth connection. Simply put the device in pairing mode, then look for it on your smartphone’s Bluetooth device screen to pair. The Freecom 2+ will pair up to your smartphone, bike infotainment system, or GPS as well as a second rider or passenger.
Depending on your motorcycle, you may want to play around with what pairs to what for the best results.
Some options are:
- The phone paired to the bike and Cardo, with Cardo NOT paired to the bike
- The bike paired to Cardo and the phone with Cardo NOT paired to the phone
- Cardo paired to the phone and the bike but the bike NOT paired to the phone
- Nirvana – all devices connected to each other.
To answer calls, it’s a simple one-button operation to answer hands-free, either blow sharply into the microphone or shout HELLO.
The easiest way to make calls is probably to use Google Assistant or Siri to navigate your phone contacts. You can tap the phone button on the communicator one time to redial a number or three times to dial an often called number that you have previously set up in the Cardo Communicator app on your smartphone.
Of course, we all like to listen to our favorite tunes to help ease the miles. To help with this, the Freecom 2+ has a built-in FM radio with presets. Additionally, you can listen to music from your phone or motorcycle’s infotainment system.
Let’s not forget about GPS! While the unit doesn’t have built-in GPS, it does allow you to hear voice prompts from your phone or bike’s infotainment system if you have one.
The quality of voice communications can be a little scratchy, and some people have noted that to achieve sufficient volume, you have to tweak settings in the Cardo app. Having said that, the quality is sufficient so long as the person speaking isn’t mumbling.
Music is also reported to be a little tinny with the base model speakers. This can be resolved by upgrading to the 45mm JBL speakers for the best experience.
The Bluetooth connectivity is only a half-mile or 0.8 kilometers and is limited to one other rider. While that sounds limiting, it’s pretty good for a device on the upper end of entry-level.
Battery Time/ Charging
The 600mah battery reportedly delivers a talk time of 13 hours with a standby time of a whole week. The Charging time is only 4 hours, and you can USE IT WHILE IT CHARGES!
Several tests seem to bear out the talk time, and the charging is even faster.
Waterproof and Dustproof
The Freecom 67 is rated as IP67. Ok, so what does that mean?
IP stands for Ingress Protection which is short for keeping things out of the enclosure. Specifically solid things like dirt and dust as well as liquids like water.
The numbers are two measurements. The first (6) is the highest on the scale of 0-6 for protection from solid objects. This means the device is totally sealed from dust and dirt.
The second digit (7) is a 0-8 range for protection against liquids. This means the Freecom 2 Plus is protected against immersion in water no more than 1 meter for 30 minutes. That certainly means it will not short out or be damaged by a rainstorm, but I suggest you don’t drop your helmet in a swimming pool!
Cardo Connect Smartphone App
The Cardo Connect app for your smartphone is not really optional. Much of the tuning for your Freecom 2 Plus is done through the app, as well as certain features like setting the number to dial with a double press of the phone button on the unit.
As with most software, people have a love/hate relationship with the app. There are a few features that seem buggy to some, but Cardo does a good job of responding to user issues, and most problems are solved by an update to either the app or the device firmware.
Additionally, there is a Cardo Update application for your PC or Mac to download and install the latest firmware updates. The USB connection seems a bit archaic, but it’s much faster than a Bluetooth file transfer.
Cardo does a pretty good job of updating the firmware on their devices to correct issues and add features. Ensure you update the device before installing and then check back on their website periodically for newer updates.
Would I put it on my helmet?
The truth of the matter comes down to budget and need. It’s a good product, but is it right for you?
For me, I would at least upgrade to the Freecom 4+ Duo set for another $130 and be able to communicate with an extra 2 riders, gain the natural language voice interface (Hey Cardo – turn up the music), and the upgraded JBL speakers. To me, that says bang for my buck.
If I regularly rode in groups of more than 4, I would invest in the upgraded Cardo Packtalk line. They are more expensive but add features like Bluetooth 5.0, mesh technology in addition to Bluetooth, and the ability to talk to up to 14 other people. If you see yourself needing these often enough to double your investment, that’s the way to go.
Read more about the best motorcycle intercoms.
If you ride with one other person or are mainly interested in easier communications with your passenger, the Cardo Freecom2 Plus fills the need on a budget.
For a reasonable price, the two of you can easily talk while the miles roll by. Add in the ability to share music and GPS directions, and it is a perfect starter pack for communication with a passenger or other rider.
The bottom line is this: pick the price point you feel meets your needs, but stick with Cardo. The competition doesn’t measure up.