Last year I reviewed the Boombotix BB1 portable amplified speaker system. The fun little gadget attracted plenty of attention anytime I rode with it, and it’s been pleasant riding to work while listening to music (and not having to worry about the negative aspects of riding with headphones). The one thing that proved less than ideal with the BB1 was the need for a speaker cable, which limited the available mounting options and was generally inconvenient. Enter the BB2, the Bluetooth wireless equipped model.
In addition to being wireless, the BB2 features volume controls, which admittedly would have been nice on the BB1, as well. Like the original it’s lithium ion battery charges via USB and is claimed to run nearly eight hours on a one hour charge. Combined with the optional handlebar mount, the BB2 can be positioned on your handlebar so that it faces you, while your music player remains safely tucked away.
In real-world testing I’ve found the BB2 is very cool, but there’s room for improvement. While the wireless functionality worked flawlessly throughout the test, it’s a fact of the matter that the wireless BB2 is about 15% less audible than the cable-bound BB1 (both are cable-compatible, however, and provide the same 3 to 5 W output). And the 15% figure is from Boombotix, not an arbitrary number I came up with. In practical terms, I simply wish the system was louder. I don’t have the most spectacular hearing to begin with (blame that on 10 years of playing in punk rock bands) so when the wind starts whipping through my helmet, or I pull up beside a diesel truck, I can barely make out what old Joe Strummer is singing.
Of course I encourage you to take my opinion with a grain of salt, and if you’re interested in the BB2, try to find one to demo in person. It’s definitely a convenient gadget and a slick piece of industrial design.
The BB2 retails for $75, the handlebar mount kit ($17) is sold seperately. Check out www.boombotix.com