HomeReviewsProduct ReviewsRugged Radios YXZ1000R Communications Kit

Rugged Radios YXZ1000R Communications Kit

Talk to passengers and other cars from the convenience of your own helmet


Part of the reason UTVs have become so popular is the ability to take friends or family with you on your ride. Much like on-road trips, long bits of trail can be made even better with sing-alongs to your favorite music and conversations with your passengers. So what do you do when you have to wear a helmet and your UTV is too loud to carry on a talking-level conversation? Introducing the Rugged Radios YXZ1000R Communications Kit.

Rugged Radios YXZ1000R Communications Kit
Rugged ships you a big box of cables and components, and they all click together like Legos for adults. Here is a quick shot of the assembled radio and intercom bracket before it was installed into the YXZ. Note the factory shift knob, lights, and rocker switches are integrated into the Rugged mount. The kit also ships with a decal that goes above the shift knob to call out the different shift programs, so you don’t have to squint at the LED panel to see what mode you’re in.

Rugged Radios, a Pismo Beach-based communications and racing products company, has a great answer. Their Complete UTV Communications Kits are an all-in-one package that allows you to use your existing helmets and achieve Bluetooth music, hands-free in-car discussion, and high-powered mobile radio transmission to other vehicles. There are no batteries to charge here, as this system is hard-wired into your UTV using completely plug-and-play connections.

Rugged Radios YXZ1000R Communications Kit

We outfitted our 2024 YXZ1000R SS XTR with the Rugged communications kit, which is SKU YXZ-696RS-M1-HK. It retails for $1,613.00, and includes the following parts:

• RRP696 ROCKER Bluetooth Intercom with Rocker Switch Controls
• (2) Helmet Kits.
• (2) Intercom Cables
• Driver PTT (Push To Talk) button (Steering Wheel)
• Passenger PTT button (Push To Talk) (Grab Bar)
• Powerful M1 Business Band or G1 GMRS Mobile Radio (M1 Shown)
• 15′ Ft. Antenna Coax Cable with 3/8″ NMO Mount
• Long Range Antenna – POINT5 or VHF 1/2 Wave
• Radio/Intercom Mount
• Active Noise Filter
• Plug-n-play wiring harness (just power to battery)
• (2) Packs of R-Wrap Reusable Cable Ties

Once installed, Rugged’s communications kit is clean enough to be a factory accessory. It’s an unobtrusive modification and makes the dash look great.

Installation of the kit was straightforward and took a little over an hour. Most of the work is done down the center of the car from the top of the dash to the battery box, and a handful of plastic panels must be removed to run the wire. To see what’s involved, view Rugged’s instructional video here.

Rugged Radios YXZ1000R Communications Kit

The box includes two retrofit helmet kits that allow you to install speakers and a microphone in just about any helmet out there. Those helmet kits plug into long cables with a large single jack connector, similar to a guitar plug. Those cables are routed directly to the back of the intercom. Once you’re plugged into the intercom, you can now speak freely with anyone else who is also plugged in.

The intercom receives Bluetooth music and phone calls, and allows you to mix them into your conversation seamlessly. When someone speaks, the music volume softens quickly and allows for clear communication, even at high speeds in very loud environments, like inside our Trinity Racing-equipped YXZ1000R. Voice sensitivity can be adjusted independently of volume on the controller.

Rugged Radios YXZ1000R Communications Kit
Under the hood, Rugged supplies all the accessories needed to make the wiring install very simple and clean. The intercom body mounts under the YXZ’s hood for easy access.

Push To Talk buttons, or PTTs, are mounted at the driver’s steering wheel and passenger grab bar for allowing communications outside the UTV. This happens via either Rugged’s M1 VHF or G1 GMRS-Band high-powered mobile radios. Hold one of the PTT buttons down, and the intercom will key up the radio and broadcast your voice to other radio users.

VHF radios like Rugged’s M1, shown here, have been the staple for off-road racing and recreation in the Southwestern United States and other areas for decades. GMRS band radios like the G1 are locked on the FCC-designated frequencies that make up GMRS and FRS radio bands, which are dedicated recreational radio frequencies. The nice thing about GMRS is that no matter where you go, all GMRS radios are programmed with the same basic channels.

Regardless of which radio band you choose, the kits function the same way. Speak freely in-car, hold the button down to talk to other cars/bikes/people around you. The ecosystem of radio users grows every day, and it is already massive. Having radio capabilities in your UTV will give you an extra bit of confidence knowing you have another line of communication if cell service is non-existent. It is also a great way to keep groups of riders together and in communication without having to bunch up and stop to talk. Rugged Radios talk to almost all other VHF/GMRS radio brands too, as long as users are on the same frequency/band.

Rugged Radios YXZ1000R Communications Kit

Out of the box, this kit performed beautifully. The install is very straightforward, and Rugged has detailed install videos for a wide range of applications. The cabling and component quality are very nice, and the fitment of the bracketry made installation frustration-free.

The in-car voice audio clarity from Rugged’s new 696 Rocker intercom was a pleasant surprise. The voice tone is extremely natural, and the noise reduction works well to cut wind and engine noise on the trail. The intercom also features Bluetooth, so you can connect your phone and listen to your favorite driving music. The intercom’s music channel sounds fairly good at moderate volume, but it is not up to the standard of some of the other high-fidelity Bluetooth-only communication devices from companies like Cardo. Rugged does have a stereo intercom upgrade for music junkies called the STX, but it is only available for certain applications currently, and 2024 YXZ does not yet apply.

Rugged Radios YXZ1000R Communications Kit
Having radio communication is great for high-speed running, especially in dusty conditions where cars need to gap out for visibility. “Turning Right on RM43”. “Roger, Right on RM43”.

Getting the right voice control and volume setting was simple, and we were able to jump right into communication with our group’s existing equipment. When driving, the ability to speak freely to a passenger is now something we covet. An extra set of eyes scanning the trails and horizon for other riders and dangers is a plus, and it gives the passenger something to do instead of hanging on for dear life in silence. Transmission quality on the radio side was also excellent, with a very clear voice tone that makes identification over the air easier than with some older radio equipment we have used.

Having a communications equipment suite in your UTV is an investment, but it is one you can also carry with you if you move on to a new vehicle. Rugged’s M1 and G1 radios are waterproof, and their electronics carry a 3-year manufacturer warranty. If  you ride in groups of 2 or more, or carry a passenger frequently, this is a great enhancement to the experience. It will make you feel like a race car driver, and it makes navigating days on the trail with multiple people a heck of a lot easier. The installation is simple, the kit looks great in the dash, and it retains all of the factory Yamaha switch gear. Check out Rugged’s website, www.RuggedRadios.com to find a kit for your rig. We wish we had a radio and intercom in every UTV!