When I’m riding on the road my helmet of choice is the Schuberth C5. I have the SC2 comms installed and it’s a superb helmet all round, although for a combined price of over £800 ($1k USD) it ought to be!
My one gripe with helmet intercoms has always been having to reach up with a gloved hand to the left of the helmet and try to hit the correct button on the remote. It’s fiddly, distracting and frankly, dangerous if you continue to ride. I’m a tad old school and really don’t like to talk on the phone when riding so if a call comes in, I’ll pull over safely to the side of the road and then answer it, if I really feel the need to talk to that person immediately. Even stationary, however, it’s still a faff trying to answer the call with gloves on and the faff continues if I need to adjust the volume to hear. I’m aware I can program Siri together with my comms and use that to answer the phone but I hate using Siri and always have, so that’s a no, no for me. What I’ve been looking for is a simple way of answering my phone, quickly and safely, without messing around with the helmet remote. Chubby Buttons enter scene right..
Chubby Buttons is a small unit (10.8 x 3.9 x 1.56 cm) that has five rather large buttons. It connects to your phone (IOS or Android) via BlueTooth and allows you to control several functions within the phone, including answering it! Aha! Could this be what I was after?
Inside the box I discovered a Chubby Buttons unit, an elastic strap and two batteries. Unfortunately, the unit is not rechargeable but the small button batteries apparently last circa 4 to 6 months, so no big deal, I guess.
Connecting the Chubby Buttons to my iPhone 11 was a simple task that involved pressing two buttons together for a few seconds until a blue flashing light ensued and and then accepting thew pairing via the phone. I then connected my phone to the SC2 comms in my helmet and it was ready to test. I donned my helmet, called my phone from the landline and my ears were suddenly full of my iPhone’s custom ringtone. I quickly depressed the middle button of the Chubby Buttons and, lo and behold, the call was answered. The only downside was I couldn’t hang up using the CBs. Apparently, if you’re running Android you can both answer and hang up with a quick press of the middle button on the unit but on IOS you can answer but not hang up.. Not a deal breaker as the person you’re speaking to will undoubtedly hang up when finished, anyways, but I hope they sort this issue with a future software update. Whilst speaking on the phone you’re able to increase or decrease the volume using the far left or right buttons. When not in conversation the Chubby Buttons will instead call up your music and you’re able to play a tune, move to the next or previous tune and control the volume, of course.
On the reverse you’ll find the battery compartment that’s easily opened and closed with just your fingers and a strip of double sided tape. This allows you to either stick the unit to a flat surface of choice or use the included strap to wear it over your jacket or wherever you choose. The sticky tape is supposed to be wipeable and reusable but I have to say on my example, I didn’t find the tape particularly adhesive and I certainly wouldn’t have trusted it whilst doing 80 down the highway but we’ll come to that shortly.
What I particularly like about the Chubby Buttons is they fit perfectly underneath the Tenere 700 computer and look virtually stock. There is a large tab that sticks out from the OEM bracket that supports the T700 computer and there is just enough real estate there to stick the Chubby Buttons firmly in place but you will need to add a 24mm wide strip of 3M VHB double sided tape over the CB sticky pad to ensure it has enough grip to stay firmly in place. Remove the Chubby Buttons protective cellophane from their adhesive pad and then stick the 3m VHB tape directly to the CB adhesive pad. Mine is now rock solid on the bike. OK, whenever the battery dies you’re going to have to replace that 3M tape but that’s hardly a major chore and will need doing twice a year, tops.
This is a great little accessory that, for me, solves a problem that I’m surely not alone with. Just being able to safely and quickly answer my phone on the go is incredibly useful to me and for those who like to listen to their music whilst riding, this will also work well. Yes, there are other ways of answering a phone on the go (and dialling in music) which don’t require a physical set of buttons but if, like me, you prefer something visual and tactile, then this is probably the way to go. The unit is water-resistant and seems to be well built and durable. Of course, Chubby Buttons was not initially designed for use on a motorcycle and when the bike is in the garage there’s nothing stopping you strapping this unit to your arm and using it on the ski slopes or wherever you find it useful. I’ll leave mine mounted on the bike as that’s where I’ll personally find it the most useful and if, one day, technology surpasses bluetooth and the unit becomes defunct, I might just remove the battery and leave it where it is as it looks “cool as” nestled there under the T700 computer. 🙂 Before purchasing, I’d recommend you read through the advertising literature at the Chubby Buttons site to see exactly what the unit will and won’t do, depending on whether you’re using IOS or Android. I didn’t, so I wasn’t aware of the IOS hang up call issue until I reviewed it here.
Justin’s (CB CEO) Video Explaining Chubby Buttons
Chubby Buttons charge $30 for international shipping via USPS. At the moment USPS and Royal Mail are both back-logged from holidays and strikes and so the unit sent via USPS took a month to arrive. It was so slow and the tracking fairly useless that another unit was sent to me, this time via Amazon.com (US site). That unit got to me inside a week so if you’re ordering from outside the US you may find it considerably quicker to order via Amazon.
Update 1 – 07/01/23
Someone on social medial asked why I thought the Chubby Buttons were safer to use than the Sena remote, considering both required lifting a hand from the handlebars. Here’s my response:
With regards CBs vs Sena Remote: the difference is firstly the CB buttons are much bigger and secondly I can see them, so pressing one is much less involved than my mind having to picture the remote on my helmet whilst trying to feel around to find the correct button with a glove on. So for me, the CB is by far the easier and safer option.