Rocky Talkie vs. BC Link 2.0
Read Entire Review For Discount Code!
Watch out Back Country Access, there is a new kid in town. Each year, our business sees over 100 dirt bikers and over 50 snowbikers that rent our machines and enjoy the outdoors of Colorado. Our primary goal is to give our clients a First Class experience, from the machines they ride to the gear they are using. Most of these riders are here from other states and other countries who are checking off a bucket-list item, so giving them the best experience possible is paramount. Part of that experience is them feeling safe.
In previous snow seasons, both the BC link radio 1 and 2, have been part of the safety gear handed to each renter. We have used these personally as well. The BC Link has been the standard for years, being used by both Summer and Winter rescue teams, as well as a go-to for recreation enthusiasts who want to stay connected to their group. Until recently, BCA was the only name we could trust. But then, we found Rocky Talkies. Both BCA and RT are local to Colorado…which we like….A LOT.
We were attracted to the Rocky Talkie, mostly for its form factor and price point. Avalanche packs have loads of room. Being slim and trim is less of a concern in the Winter. It’s more about being (and staying) warm and dry, with the ability to survive in the wild in the event of an emergency. But in the Summer, we like to say “every once counts”. This also applies to bulk. We were hungry for something we could use in the Summer for rider to rider communication, that was less bulky than the BC, but still easy to use. So, we purchased 4 Rocky Talkies and field tested them during the month of October. This is important to note, because temps and weather can range from 70 and sunny to cloudy and 15 and/or snowing…in one day. We even got a chance to use them during a snow storm. Since we’ve been using the BC links for 3 years, we had some good comparative data points. For clarity, we are using the BC Link 2.0 during this comparison.
Here are our results:
Both radios can clip to your lapel/backpack/hydro-pack straps. The BC is lighter and smaller for the talking peice, however there is a still the cord and main body to deal with. These must be stored in a pocket or inside your pack, with the cord run along your shoulder strap. From a bulk stand point, this can be annoying, seeing that most Summer hydro packs are focused on space savings. Doable? Yes. Ideal? No. The Rocky Talkie has a carabiner for hooking to loops, straps or clasps on your pack. It also has a coiled tether cord that allows the radio to still be connected to your pack for the times you intentionally remove the radio with the carabiner to change channels or perform other functions that need your eyes. We found this to be handy, especially with some of our testers with butter fingers.
In the Summer, where “every ounce counts”, we were pleased to find the RT weighs just 7.81oz. The BC Link weighs 11.73oz. We can already see the eye rolls from our readers. But think of this way, the extra 4oz equates to over 50% heavier.
We’d be lying if we said the BC’s talk button was easy to find. For years, we (and our renters) have struggled with BC’s press to talk button. When you see photos of it, or even looking straight at it…you can’t imagine it would be difficult. With thick gloves on, clamped to your lapel, completely out of sight…it can be difficult to nail the button every time. That can be frustrating is a tense situation.
Additionally, the scrolling channel and volume dials on the BC are easily moved accidentally. Of the gripes we have with the BC Link (1 and 2), this is by far the most biggest and most frustrating. We can confidently say that 10-20% of the time when we go to communicate using the BC Link, the volume has been changed or the A,B,C has been moved, and we are unable to communicate with our group. Again, in a tense situation, this can be frustrating at the very least…scary/dangerous at worst.
The RT’s talk button is easy to nail nearly every time. The recessed button is easily felt with gloves on and once the volume and channel is locked…it’s impossible for them to change unless its intentional. The volume up/down are just as easy to locate and operate with thick gloves on. For us, the RT’s ergonomics are far superior and we have a sense of confidence we can communicate easily in a stressful situation.
Under usage, we found the RT out paced the BC battery by 5-10%. Meaning, in one, 4hr ride, under very heavy use, the RT read 81% battery remaining. The BC showed 73% remaining. That may seem small, but when you do the math, the BC Link showed a 50% more decline than the RT in the same period of time. At that decline, the RT would still have 1/3 battery life remaining, when the BC Link was dead. It worth noting that some rides were 3hrs and some were 5. 4hrs was just the average ride time. What we found the most interesting is the standby test. We charged both units to 100%, set them to completely different, off the wall channels, sat them in the shop and let them sit for days to see what the standby time was like. The BCA ran out after 3 consecutive days. Literally, down to a dead battery despite BCA’s claim of 400hrs of standby time. The RT had 50% at 6 days. We couldn’t continue the standby test because we needed to go out and get more real-world testing. Suffice to say, this was compelling. We did this test twice, during the week and got exactly the same result.
Very rarely did we get out of range with either radio. To us, the range was similar. Both performed well in our everyday riding tests and intentional long range tests. If you are familiar with Colorado’s terrain, you know it’s littered with step cliffs, deep valley’s and obstacles galore. During the real-world riding through the backcountry trails, we went out of range twice on both radios. When looking at a topo map and estimating distance (as the crow flies), we were separated by approx .75 miles each time in an elevation difference of 1000’. The two intentional tests were a rough terrain test and rolling hills test. The rough terrain test resulted in very similar results as our real-world riding test. The rolling hills test was in our neighborhood, where our friend was exactly 1.5 miles from us, as the crow flies. Both radios were crystal clear.
Here is some Rockie Talkie feedback from the riders who helped us test them.
-“This was our first time using a walkie talkie system. They seem cool. The RT has good reception everywhere and clear sound.”
-“I think the RT’s are compact, but still have great range for how we were using them. They are loud enough to know when someone is trying to communicate, so you can shut your engine off and listen to respond. They seems like a great value for the cost vs. functionality.”
-“Durable with great reception in nasty terrain. It seems like great battery life, even in the freezing cold.”
We understand this is just a short term test. We will probably write another review once we get through Winter and into Spring of 2021. But for reference, we have sold all of our BC Links and just run with the RT’s now. We are convinced that we now have a viable communication method for both Summer and Winter sports, that’s easy to use, has great range and impressive battery life…at a price point that’s 50% less than the BC Link 2.0.
After sharing our results with Rockie Talkie, they have decided to offer an exclusive discount to our followers. Use coupon code FIRSTCLASS during checkout or use this direct link for a 10% discount.
Happy trails and stay safe out there!