By August 18, 2008

IMC BHS10 headset intercom system for a 2002 BMW K1200 LT reviewed

There’s a lot I like about Raptor, my 2002 BMW K1200 LT motorcycle. I like the heated grips, the electric windshield, and the cruise control. One thing I don’t like about it is how expensive all the accessories are. To get replacement helmet speakers and a microphone is about $300 per helmet. I don’t ride 2UP on Raptor enough to justify spending $600 on something just for that one bike.

The IMC BHS10 headset system seemed very attractive to me because it was inexpensive. At just $65 per set, I felt comfortable giving them a try. I didn’t expect them to be of elite quality, but I am also no stranger to paying less and getting more. I just wanted to be able to talk to Starbuck on longer trips, and to hear directions from my GPS unit.

However, I was apprehensive that there would be a compatibility problem with the IMC headset and my stock BMW/J&G CommSystem. I emailed the customer service department at Whitehorse Gear via their Web site and got a response two business days later. I wasn’t happy with that long of a turn-around, especially on a pre-sales question, but sometimes these specialty places are only manned by one or two employees.

I specifically asked if the system was compatible with my setup, and “Dean” replied, “In both cases you will get the speakers, microphone, and a coil cable with the six-pin plug to fit into your LT. Mount the headset in the helmet, plug in, and you are good to go.”

I placed my order immediately and waited for it to arrive.

Whitehorse Gear shipped my order promptly, which made me happy. Installation was easy; I removed the inner padding from each helmet and affixed the two speakers and microphone via hook-and-loop backed by adhesive. I put the padding back into my helmet, plugged the headset into my K1200 LT and listened to “Hurt So Good” and “Vogue” on my checkout ride. It was so cool to listen to music on my bike! I danced a little and did the “bee dance” weave on the interstate.

Starbuck volunteered to ride with me for a bit on a rather hot (for Raptor) day. We plugged each headset in and listened to music for a bit. I asked if she could hear me, and she said, “well, yeah, I’m standing right next to you.” So I made her back up a bit and I shut my visor shield. “How about now?”

No response.

I hit the push to talk (PTT) button on Raptor and tried again.

No response.

I fiddled with the voice activation controls on the intercom system. “How about now?”

No response.

Maybe my unit was fucked up. I had her try to say something, then tried the passenger PTT, all to no effect.

I was disappointed, but figured I might have done something wrong. I emailed Whitehorse on August 10th, asking for help.

I didn’t hear back from them for four days, and decided to bag it. I emailed them again asking for an RMA number, and all of a sudden I got a same-day response from “Donna” with instructions on how to return the headsets. She also said that the IMC microphones were shaped like a pipe, and that the input part is the “bowl.” Some people have inadvertently installed the mics backwards without knowing it due to the fabric “sock” that covers the mouthpiece.

I had already removed the headsets in preparation for my return and was unwilling to remount them to try again. The lack of Whitehorse’s customer service had turned me off, and I was just ready to be done with the whole thing.

Furthermore, I’m not sure about Donna’s suggestion. I installed two units, what was the chance of both units being installed “backwards?” Why didn’t the mics pick up ANY sound, even when we were standing still with the engine off? I spoke loudly when we were doing our dry run, and yelled in frustration when we took a test ride later in the day. I would expect some sound, regardless of the quality or volume.

I can’t recommend the IMC BHS10 for a 2002 BMW with the stock CommSystem intercom. Later bikes or different systems may be okay, but don’t trust Whitehorse Gear’s customer service technician to give you accurate compatibility advice. I also can’t recommend Whitehorse for anything; their customer service is lacking. Donna suggested that my initial email got lost in their spam filter, which seems ridiculous since I emailed them from the same email address and got a response from her.

Two thumbs down, one for the product and one for the vendor.

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Posted in: motorcycling, review

4 Comments on "IMC BHS10 headset intercom system for a 2002 BMW K1200 LT reviewed"

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  1. Starbuck says:

    Funny thing is I heard you every time you said something just not through the headset :) Most of the time i responded “I can’t hear you.” Which made me feel dumb since I could just not through the speaker like I could the music. I like how we stood across from each other and were screaming “CAN YOU HEAR ME”
    “NO I CAN’T”
    Stupid headsets :/

  2. Rex says:

    I also have whitehorse headset with little complaint. I damaged the mic wire insulation on installation and found lower frequency transmission response from that set. I also can not get i-pod, FRS and cell phone to work thru comm ports. the GPS is laim for finding places and loose sat resecption often while riding. If you have any suggestions for operating the comm system with i-pod, FRS and cell… please advise. Rex

  3. As a rider of a BMW, I am able to use the intercomm system regularly on rides. I have not had any issues to date. I am interested in learning what issues people are experiencing. Good read.

  4. Peter says:

    The mic on the BMW communication system
    is a powered condensator mic.
    normal intercom mic’s will not work.
    also the mic’s of the older system will not work.

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