My husband and I have been riding dirt bikes together for over two years, and one of the most annoying issues we face is not being able to communicate. Having a way to communicate is a security blanket and gives me a sense of ease while riding. If I crash, get lost, or need help, I want the ability to get in contact with someone, and I think it is safe to say that the majority of the time while riding dirt bikes, you have very little to no cell service, or if you use comm units, their range is lacking.
We have used the same Bluetooth comm units for a while now, but we are in a constant battle with them taking up valuable riding time. They either won’t connect right, they disconnect randomly, or their range is too short and you are left listening to loud static.
So when we saw Oxbow Gear was releasing their new Renegade Two-Way Radio, we were SO excited. We have been looking for a better solution to communicate on the trails and this seemed like the perfect fit. We are already big fans of Oxbow’s products owning a set of their Voyager Dirt Bike Helmet Light Kits.
Packaging: The packaging of the Renegade Two-Way Radio is quality. The box has the specs printed on it, giving you a quick overview of the product as well as a graphic of the actual radio so you can see what it looks like. Nearly everything you need to know about the radio is printed on the box. Upon opening the box, everything was nicely organized. The box includes:
1 x Radio
1 x Li-ion Battery
1 x AC Adapter
1 x USB Charging Cable
1 x Desktop Charger
1 x Shoulder Strap Mount
1 x Hand Strap
The Radio: I am very impressed with the radio! The size of it is perfect. I have pretty average-sized hands and it is easy to hold. Not too big, and not too small. The weight of it is also feels just right. It isn’t too heavy, but not too light where it feels like it will fall apart or I can’t get a good grip on it. I was happily surprised that it already had a charge so I could turn it on immediately to try it out. The buttons feel good and are easy to press.
Shoulder Strap Mount: This thing is fantastic! I was a little worried it wouldn’t fit my dirt bike pack because the straps are super thin and would slip down. To my surprise, it clamped down on my strap perfectly. The clamp is very sturdy and takes some gusto to get it closed all the way, but that is what I want for dirt biking. I would be pretty bummed if I lost my radio while riding because my clamp failed me.
On the Trails: Using the Renegade on the trails was a breeze. Josh and I didn’t have to spend any time trying to connect. We simply turned on our radios to the same channel and boom! We were able to start talking immediately, not wasting any time trying to pair devices.
I strapped my radio to my left shoulder strap which was easy to reach with both hands while riding. The shoulder strap did not move at all during the ride, which of course is bumpy. I had the volume on max (because dirt bikes are loud). While we were riding, I could hear if Josh was talking to me, but couldn’t make out every word over the noise of the dirt bike, but this was expected.
For a little test, Josh parked his dirt bike, while I rode away, checking in on our radios to see how far we could separate before losing connection. We conducted this test on a trail near our house which is very heavily wooded and I was able to go about 1 mile before the radios started to get staticky. The specs say the backcountry range is between 1-5 miles, so I would say this is accurate. Although 1 mile is on the lower end of the range, it is still far superior to our old comm units.
- Quick set-up
- Easy to use
- Sturdy shoulder strap mount – best I’ve seen
- Extended range
- Long battery life
- You do not need a license to use
- Unlike traditional comm units, there is no in-the-helmet headset or microphone offered by Oxbow (yet?).
- Other companies do offer headsets that are compatible.
- At times while riding, it is hard to hear someone talking on the radio over the noise of the dirt bike.
Overall, I am very impressed with the Oxbow Renegade Two-Way Radio and am excited to use them during our future rides (and on my next hike)!
Disclaimer: I did receive this product from Oxbow in exchange for an honest, unbiased review.