Customer review posted on the BMW-MOA forum on December 10, 2014
After years and years of struggling to get clean, reliable, quality sound without electrical noise and interference, struggling with ineffective VOX microphones out of motorcycle intercom/music devices, I have installed a Motochello MC200 in my bike. I frequently travel with my wife, and we like to be able to talk to each other, and listen to music and listen for the radar detector.
I heard about the MotoChello units recently, and decided to take the plunge. You can review all the many, many things the unit will do on their website, including intercom, FM radio, ability to connect to other music devices, even integrate with OEM music, gps, etc, and make and receive voice-command phone calls.
I purchased my unit from Rockemoto.com; you can also buy direct from MotoChello, and I believe there are other dealers. I have had excellent customer service assistance with RocketMoto, so it was natural for me to buy from them again.
As you will see on the website, the unit comes complete, with everything you might need to connect all your devices. You even get two types of microphones, suitable for open face or full face helmets. The only things needed: if you have a radar detector, you will have to purchase a mono-to-stereo adapter, and if you want to connect to your factory stereo system you will need to order a kit, available (I think) only from RocketMoto, which is easy to install and allows you to switch between bike speakers and the MotoChello sound system. If you use two way radio (FRS), all you need is the radio itself, the controls come with the unit.
Remember when Blackberries were all the rage, and then the iPhone came out, and owners actually took classes on how to use them? The MotoChello is not that complex, but be prepared to spend some time with the unit, the directions, and the multi-page quick-start guide. The myriad options for customization can, if you tend to the Bozo end of the spectrum (like me), take some time to figure out. Be patient, and it won’t be long before it’s all clear.
The brain of the system is small enough to fit under almost any seat, and has one single plug-in connector for all the various individual connections to phone, stereo, etc. There are three 3.5mm inputs, one specifically dedicated to phone (but will also accept any other input), the other two available for music, radar detector, etc. One power wire easily connects to any switched power you prefer (I used a fused power block).
There is a standard automotive type antenna connector for your bike’s antenna (a budget antenna is included in the box). Installation is as simple as choosing a location for the brain, attaching the power wires, and plugging the main connector into it. Velcro, Dual Lock, etc. is sufficient to hold the brain in place. You can of course install the entire thing in an electrified tank bag. Some thought should be given to routing the wiring, depending on where and what you intend to connect, but each connector has plenty of length.
Extensions are included in the box to allow placement of headset connectors where you want them, as well as the display unit. You will not have to make any compromises in your preferred location. Headsets include very good quality speakers, far superior to any others I have tried, and they are loud enough to hear through earplugs (consider purchasing a set of musician’s earplugs, which reduce noise, including wind noise, but let music through without loss of clarity). If you prefer in-ear monitors (aka earbuds, earphones, etc.) an easy connection is included in the box. Be aware the speakers are fairly thick, and in some helmets you may feel the speakers on your ears. Also, if you do use any sort of earplug or earphone, if they stick out from your ear they may touch the speakers, which can very quickly cause irritation of the ear canal. You can adjust all this fairly easily with different earplugs, etc.
It’s very easy to plug the coiled headset connection wire to the helmet and the bike while wearing gloves (all the connections are stainless steel, so weather concerns are nonexistent). Rider and pillion volumes are individually adjustable. The display unit can be mounted via RAM mount in your preferred location, or you can probably use Dual Lock or even industrial strength Velcro to hold it in place.
There is a short, fairly steep learning curve to figure out all the possible settings for music, voice, VOX, tone, phone, radar detector, etc., but once you become familiar with the logic of the interface, it will quickly become second nature, and most of the settings will not have to be adjusted after initial setup. The touch screen is small but bright, and with practice your bare finger can adjust settings (a stylus or even a pen help a lot). The display unit also has buttons similar to a computer keyboard’s up/down/left/right keys which allow you to navigate through the various screens.
Phone can be controlled from the display, although I am not the person to comment on this feature, as I do not use the phone when riding. I can tell you another rider plugged his phone into my unit and was able to use voice commands to make a phone call without effort, simply by saying “Call Steve” (I thought this was a bit complicated, since Steve was standing right next to him, but they both seemed to think it was neat when Steve answered his phone…).
Look at the MotoChello website for details of the functions of each screen. Most, but not all, is intuitive, and as I said, with a little practice it will become second nature. So. Pick a spot to mount the brain, connect it to bike power. Plug your devices into it. Learn all the settings while you’re in the garage (might be a good time to connect your Battery Tender so you don’t end up like me, with a dead battery). Go for a test ride. STOP before trying to adjust anything. Repeat a couple times, and you should be all set. Now mount the display permanently. Be aware the myriad options for settings are a much worse distraction than, say, using a phone, texting, fiddling with your GPS or even driving drunk. Don’t fool with the adjustments while under way.
Does it all work? In a word, yes:
• Helmet speaker quality: excellent
• Electrical interference: none. NONE.
• VOX: I couldn’t make the mic open with wind noise, no matter what I tried. Quite frankly, this is the main reason we switched from our previous setup.
• Installation: quick and easy Is it perfect? Nothing is perfect. But the combination of excellent, expert customer service from RocketMoto and directly from MotoChello’s owner and designer quickly resolved any issues. By way of example, the wire loom in my unit arrived with one of the tiny wires broken. A new one was sent out immediately, the USPS lost it, and another one was sent out, and I was told to just keep the extra one when it finally did arrive.
This is a new product, with new technology, and thus will have some teething problems. The only potential weak spots I see are the 24-gauge wire used in the loom, exposed at the plug (where the wire I mentioned was broken), and the connectors for microphone (I had to really fiddle with the connector to get it to seat properly, but on our test ride it was fine. MotoChello’s owner assures me they have tested the wire strength many times without a failure. I intend to reinforce the loom at the connector as a precaution. Despite these niggles, it is, in my opinion, far and away the best system on the market. I have no financial interest in either MotoChello or RocketMoto, received no financial benefit from writing this review, yadda yadda yadda. Had they offered, I would have happily taken the money….
Tips and tricks: Once you have everything set the way you like it, be sure to SAVE USER in the Settings menu. If, like me, you run a radar detector, get a mono to stereo adapter, and plug it into one of the Aux wires…doesn’t matter which one. Find the Settings screen (press the lower right button on the display), be sure the radar detector Aux is turned on and if you want, add an RD icon…see the directions. If, when you turn your key on you don’t hear the detector going through its self-check, go back into settings and poke around until you find the Aux priority screen. Turn the one for the RD to “Off.” Now you should be able to hear it power up. If not, I screwed up in my description here.
VOLUME: this adjustment controls the master volume for everything, not just music, not just rider headset. Connect the MotoChello radio to the antenna provided, and use the MotoChello radio to set your master volume. Once you’ve done that, then go into the Settings menu and adjust your other devices to match the radio volume. If you connect to a bike stereo, set your bike’s stereo volume where you normally listen, and then adjust the unit’s volume up or down until it matches your desire. Henceforth use the MotoChello volume controls to adjust volume up and down, i.e. leave the bike’s volume knob alone.
The BALANCE adjustment controls BOTH rider and pillion headsets.
PHONE: MUST be plugged into Aux 1, i.e. directly into the brain, to the left side of the wire loom as you look at it end-on. If you don’t use a phone, Aux 1 can be used like the others for whatever you want.
Appendix: I didn’t test
• Phone, other than as mentioned above, so I can’t comment on its functions.
• GPS, as mine is built in, and is controlled by the bike
• FRS radio, again, I don’t use one. Everything but the radio is included for push to talk.
Appendix: BMW owners
If you have a late model K1600 or other model with the factory stereo, you will be able to control everything with your “wonder wheel” just as you always have (you’ll want to set the wonder wheel volume during installation, then use the MotoChello volume controls, but all your toggles will still work just fine with the wonder wheel), with the additional widget from RocketMoto.
For K1600 owners the brain can be mounted directly on top of the Alpine unit under the seat, provided you have a factory seat. My Sargent seat sits lower, so I mounted mine on the posts that are just behind the Alpine, which have something to do with the GTL model. If you can’t mount it in either of those spaces, you can slip it into the tail section without having to disassemble anything. Wrapping it with thin bubble wrap will probably be all you need to keep it from sliding around back there.
Appendix: Contact information
MotoChello 855 / 326-3953
Tell ’em I sent you. Maybe they will send me some money….
And feel free to ask me questions about the system. If I don’t know the answer, I’ll make something up.