Cardo Scala Rider Lightning Review: Check Your HeadS

Riding a motorcycle is a very solitary experience—that's half the appeal. So who knew how much I would like being able to chat to other riders or even use my iPhone?

Like

For all the noise that comes on the open road, the G4's microphone was good at picking up my voice from within my helmet. I didn't sound amazing, but those I spoke with could understand me just fine, even up to highways speeds. The buttons are easy to push, even with gloves on. Battery life, charged from USB, was reasonable—hours of use, days of standby.

No Like

Because the G4 clips on to the outside of my helmet, its relatively large control pod catches the wind. I definitely felt it pull my head slight to the side on my motorcycle with little wind protection. It's sometimes difficult to remember which button presses do what—frustrating and potentially dangerous while cruising. Occasionally music from my iPhone would cut out, then come back at random—typically Bluetooth quirks. The hook-and-loop speakers don't sound amazing for music, although they're loud and clear for voice.

Should I Buy It?

For riders who need to talk to pillion passengers, other rides, or use their phone, the modular Scale Cardo G4 is a better option than even helmets with Bluetooth built-in. Just don't expect it to sound as good as earbuds.