New From Cardo: A Helmet Comm … With A Subscription Plan To Use All Its Features

Credit: Cardo

Helmet comm manufacturer Cardo has just announced its new PackTalk Custom, with a feature we didn’t expect to see: A subscription plan!

We’ve written about Cardo over the years here at CMG and tested some of their units, and generally been happy with them. The latest-gen unit, the PackTalk Edge, came out in 2022 and works very, very well; by many riders’ standards, it’s the best on the market today.

The PackTalk Custom comes with the same capability as the Edge, but only some of that capability is unlocked out of the box. Without extra fees, you get Dynamic Mesh connection, which offers improved audio over the older units from a decade ago, and the ability to connect to up to 15 other riders. You also get IP67 weatherproofing, Bluetooth 5.2 compatibility and a 13-hour talk time. Fast-charging capability lets you get an other two hours of talk time with only 20 minutes’ charge.

However, the advanced features that were included with the PackTalk Edge as standard, such as voice control and universal Bluetooth intercom compatibility, are only available with a monthly charge now.  You pay $269.99 USD for the Custom up-front, and then a monthly fee is added if you wish to upgrade. You can switch between plans, or cancel altogether.

We have not seen Canadian pricing for these features yet, but American pricing is below, as listed in Cardo’s PR:

“Riders can upgrade their PACKTALK CUSTOM by selecting one of three Pay-Per-Feature subscription packages, including:

SILVER, starting at $2.99 Monthly / $19.99 Yearly
GOLD, starting at $4.99 Monthly / $29.99 Yearly
PLATINUM, starting at $6.99 Monthly / $39.99 Yearly

The key features of the SILVER package include everything in the base package with the addition of music sharing, audio profiles and speed dial. Riders looking for more features can opt for the GOLD package which includes the base and silver features but also expands to include Universal Bluetooth Intercom and a 2nd channel connection. Riders looking to ride with all the bells and whistles can upgrade to the PLATINUM which includes all the previous features from the lower tiers but is elevated with voice commands and eco mode.

The PACKTALK CUSTOM utilizes the Cardo Connect app with Apple Pay and/or Google Pay to provide riders the ability to upgrade and/or scale back on the features needed at any time. Simply connect to the app, pick your package and enjoy the desired features. When switching from a higher subscription tier to a lower tier the features from the higher tier will remain through the billing cycle and the down grade will be implemented at the start of the new billing cycle. When upgrading from a lower subscription tier to a higher tier the features will automatically be applied to the PACKTALK CUSTOM and a credit will be issued for the unused lower-tiered subscription.”

No doubt some riders will be happy to pay less up-front for the comm system without being required to pay for features they won’t use. However, the Universal Bluetooth Intercom, at least, seems like a fairly basic feature that should come included as standard.

You can see more details on the new Cardo PackTalk Custom at the company’s website here.


  1. I have owned multiple Sena and Cardo units over the years. Starting with the Packtalk Bold, Cardo became far superior to Sena for usability and clarity. I was highly recommending them to all my friends but I am disappointed that Cardo decided to scam people with recurring fees. It doesn’t take long for the Packtalk Custom to cost more than a Packtalk Edge. Very disappointing that they would stoop this low.

  2. No. Just no. No more ‘small monthly fee’. Might be the best intercom that has ever been and will ever be made, but I just am saying no to another monthly fee. It’s being nibbled to death by mosquitos.

Join the conversation!