Best Dirt Bike Radio Options for Trail Riding

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Dirt bike radios are a great way to communicate with your trail riding group. No more need to yell to riding buddies with your helmet on. These dirt bike walkie talkies can help in keeping the group together, find lost riders quicker, and simply help share the fun and enjoy amazing views together.

The best dirt bike radios are small and durable. They can be used with gloves on without additional wiring or external buttons. 1 to 2 mile range usually works wells in most trail riding conditions with your riding group. Back to camp calls usually do require more range from the walkie talkies.

We wanted to share our experiences with different types of radios, helmet installed headsets, and walkie talkie style handheld options for dirt bikes in general. The same radio options work well both in trail riding, adventure riding, and motocross.

Dirt bike radio attached to a dirt bike riders shoulder strap

Benefits of Using a Dirt Bike Radio

Trail riding, enduro, and adventure riding have a lot to do with being able to explore and experience the nature and the great views it can offer.

Getting to these fantastic locations often means that you will not be able to use your phone as the main communication method as the cell coverage is usually non-existent on the trails. Furthermore, using small, portable, and easy-to-use walkie talkie style dirt bike radios will make riding much more enjoyable and fun in new ways.

Additional communication methods are beneficial in many other situations when you are riding dirt bikes. Let’s take a closer look at typical scenarios for using a radio for dirt bikes in general.

Read also: Single Track Riding Tips for Beginners

Rider with a walkie talkie in right hand with gloves on and a yellow dirt bike jersey on the background

Radio Helps With Organizing a Larger Group Ride

Larger groups tend to have a mix of faster and slower riders with different skill levels. This makes navigation and keeping the group together much more difficult.

Walkie talkies or radios help with navigating the trails and notifying the riders about dangers or crossings and they are a good way to make sure that the group is able to follow the same track. They will also help to minimize the stops along the way when you don’t have to stop and wait for lost riders.

In larger groups, having a radios with at least between the lead and the sweep will make the group ride experience much smoother.

Packing a Radio When Riding Solo

We do not recommend riding alone. But if you must, radio communications can help to keep an open line between the camp and the rider.

Contacting people in case of an emergency, getting lost, or having any technical issues is crucial and can help save the day in various conditions. In other words, a dirt bike radio will bring peace of mind to yourself and your riding buddies back at the camp.

Coaching and Teaching Situations Can Benefit From Using Radios

2-way radios can help in many coaching and teaching scenarios.

If you are helping a friend or your kid or spouse to learn dirt bike riding, using a radio can really help with giving riding tips. We all know how difficult it is to hear other riders with the engines running and helmets on.

Read also: Where To Ride My Dirt Bike Near Me

Retevis RT19 dirt bike radios laying on a dirt bike seat with a single trail on the background
Retevis RT19 is a great lightweight option for dirt bike trail riding.

Choosing the Best Dirt Bike Radio to Fit Your Needs and Riding Style

The best off road radio is the one being used the most.

Trail riding and enduro is different from street riding and the radio that is working well in street riding is likely not going to be the best for trail riding.

Ultimately, the choice depends on what the primary use for the radio is. When that is determined, focus on the form factor (size and weight) and the ease of use.

Available Dirt Bike Walkie Talkies for Trail Riding

Basically, there are two main categories to choose from. You can choose a handheld dirt bike radio and strap it into your gear or a walkie talkie for dirt bike helmet with a headset.

Let’s dive into details of these options.

Handheld Type Radios

Small, compact, and durable handheld radios are definitely a great option. You have plenty of options and can choose from models that offer a great variety of accessories.

In our experience, small rugged waterproof radios work very well for most single track and enduro riding as the main radio. Typically, talking to someone means stopping trailside and focusing on the discussion. This means that the radio needs to be fairly accessible, easily attachable to gear, and easy to use with gloves on.

Many of the handheld dirt bike radio options are about the size of a smart phone and they offer various mounting options. Our favorite is a heavy duty clip that can be used to strap the radio to a hydration backpack, a roost plate, or a fanny pack.

We think the best walkie talkie for dirt bike riding is Retevis RT19 Walkie Talkie (click to check the current price on Amazon.com).

It is a walkie talkie style lightweight radio for dirt bike riding that easily straps to your gear. It offers an acceptable range and a small form factor and it is light and durable with decent weather and dust protection.

Pros and Cons of Handheld Dirt Bike Radios

PROSCONS
No installation requiredNo great hands-free options, ear pieces are now available
Multiple mounting options
No wiring or modules that can get snagged
Plenty of accessories available
Affordable

Helmet Installed Dirt Bike Radio Options

For hands-free operation, you can consider helmet installed radios. You may have seen similar options on the street riding world. Some models install directly to the side of the helmet and they include a speaker and a microphone that are installed inside the helmet.

Typical installation options include a module installed directly to the side of the helmet, with external microphone and speakers either wired or connected using bluetooth technology.

After testing different dirt bike helmet radio options, we have found that most of the speakers are uncomfortable in long term use. Enduro helmets are light, narrow, and heavily padded on the inside. The speakers and microphone inside the helmet can put pressure around your ears and cheeks and quickly become uncomfortable. We have yet to find a good inside the helmet option that would work for us.

We recommend a radio with a standard headphone jack option and a bluetooth and then testing helmet speaker configurations and microphone options that best fit your helmet model. Small, smart phone style headphones will probably work well.

Push to Talk or Speech Recognition Options May Help

You can also test with different style speech recognition enabled radios or additionally add a handlebar mounted push button option to begin talking. Many speech recognition radios will turn on when riding and revving the dirt bike or breathing heavily inside the helmet. This will quickly start annoying anyone on the receiving end of the enduro radio.

Pros and Cons of Helmet Installed Enduro Radios

PROSCONS
Push to talk and speech recognition optionsWiring can get easily snagged and break
Inside helmet speakers are louder and can be heard while ridingModules installed outside the helmet can snag on branches pulling your helmet and cause injury or crash
Plenty of accessories availableHigher price point
Can simultaneously listen to musicSpeakers inside the helmet can be uncomfortable
More range optionsLow range for bluetooth only models

Price Points for Dirt Bike Radios

Handheld radios definitely have the most available options for any price point. That is partly why we recommend the handheld enduro radios for trail riding. Also, they start from about $20 and up and are a great option for most riders looking to buy radios for enduro style single track riding.

The helmet installed enduro radio options are pricier. However, they are more feature-rich and come with a variety of options for speaker and microphone installation. The typical models start from $150 and up and they usually include a pair for two riders.

Be cautious when looking at the range of the helmet installed enduro radios. Additionally, many models offer only bluetooth connectivity, which is not enough for trail riding.

Read also: Single Track Riding Tips For Beginners

Minimum Features for a Good Dirt Bike Radio

When choosing the best trail riding dirt bike radio for your needs, there are few features that you should take into consideration.

Handheld dirt bike radio on riders left hand

At the bare minimum, your radio should come with an appropriate range, it should have at least some weatherproofing properties, and it should be easy to use.

Range

Think of the primary use for the radio. Are you riding solo and need the radio to carry back to camp? Do you ride in the mountains or on a track around the backyard? Many things will affect the overall range in most radios for dirt bikes. However one thing is certain: you need more range on the trails because of the hills and trees blocking the direct line.

Many radio manufacturers claim several miles of range but in real life, the range is heavily limited by obstacles. Typically, one mile range can easily be a quarter mile on the trails where you actually need it to carry the signal and operate.

If your primary need is to talk with riders in your group, you can usually pick a radio that works well in about 0.5 miles to 1 mile on the trail. This is plenty for most scenarios when you plan to ride with the group and find lost friends near your location.

Weatherproofing

Riding enduro means that dirt, dust, mud, and water will travel everywhere. This also applies to radios, so you want to consider this when selecting the radio.

For an easy access and ease of use, the enduro radio usually sits uncovered and exposed to weather elements. Additionally, consider the waterproofed models and decide how you plan to protect the unit if using it year-round in harsh conditions.

Ease of Use

A radio that is easy to use with gloves on, grab with you, and mount is the one that you will be using the most. Also, you need to be able to easily access the radio and start talking without removing the gloves.

Consider models and radios that fit this description. Otherwise, you will soon notice how annoying certain features are if they distract your riding.

Being able to grab the radio, start talking, and continue riding is the reason why we keep choosing the small handheld radios that you can strap into your chest plate, fanny pack, or hydration backpack. You can’t beat the ease of use and simplicity.

Conclusions

A dirt bike radio or dirt bike helmet walkie talkie comes in handy in trail riding more often than you would think. Whether you go with a handheld or a helmet installed radio depends on your personal preference. Read reviews and test different options to find the one that best fits your needs.

Our choice is clear: we prefer a handheld enduro radio that is easy to operate without removing the riding gloves. The simpler the better!

Keep the line open and keep riding!

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Last updated: September 1st, 2022