Best Motorcycle Speakers: Enjoy Your Favorite Tunes as You Blast Across the Road
Enjoy listening to music over the roaring engine as you blast across the road with our top picks for the best motorcycle speakers
The Review Team
How We Decided
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PUBLISHED ON June 20, 2019
There is no better feeling than cruising on your motorcycle while listening to your favorite playlist with some of the best sounding speakers. Besides, riding a motorcycle with your earbuds plugged in is unsafe as it pulls your attention away from the ongoing road conditions. So, why not consider upgrading your motorbike's sound system with a pair of high-quality speakers? We are here to separate the good from the bad with our best motorcycle speaker review. Read on.
- Best OverallBoss Audio MCBK420BSummarySummaryA pair of 3-inch motorcycle speakers with one compact amplifier system. The speakers are designed with the latest waterproofing technology and run on 600 watts of power.ProsProsComes with Bluetooth play that enables connectivity with MP3 devices and smartphones. Fitted with a volume control feature. Classy matte black design. Easy to install. Decently priced. The speaker’s stand a chance against mist, rain, and fog.ConsConsThe sound might not be clear at high speeds. There might be an annoying beep when you start your bike. Doesn’t come with an on-and-off switch to protect your battery from draining.
- Best ValuePyle PLMCA20SummarySummaryTwo affordable 3-inch speakers with a powerful amplifier system. The speakers come with handlebar mounts and offer the user complete control over the sound quality.ProsProsComes with a remote control that allows on, off, and mute functions.
Convenient handlebar mount design. Designed with a 0.14-inch auxiliary input for smartphones, tablets, and MP3 devices. The speakers are loud enough for 50 mph speeds.ConsConsSpeaker cables are short for most motorcycles.
FM radio might not work as expected on a motorcycle.
- Honorable MentionJBL Wind Bike Portable Bluetooth SpeakerSummarySummaryA practical and water-resistant Bluetooth speaker with a rechargeable battery that offers at least eight hours of audio playback on a single charge.ProsProsEasy installation.
Bluetooth connectivity increases play options. Offers the convenience of hands-free calls.
Allows use of external storage devices such as SD cards. Equipped with a built-in FM radio.ConsConsPoor quality external antenna which affects the FM radio. Not the best quality audio for midrange sound. Cuts of sound when playing audiobooks.
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All of our reviews are based on market research, expert input, and practical experience with each product we include. This way, we offer genuine, accurate guides to help you find the best picks.
Benefits of Motorcycle Speakers
- Make your trips enjoyable. Are you tired of listening to the sound of your motorcycle engine when on long trips? Well, you can change this with high-quality motorcycle speakers. We understand that there are times when you might need silence, but go for some high-end speakers for when you want to share your playlist with the world.
- Navigation ease. You can take advantage of the connectivity options offered by some of the best motorcycle audio systems. Just connect your smartphone to the system and you can get the directions from the speakers without having to stop. Plus, you won’t have to keep looking down at your smartphone for directions.
- Great outdoor entertainment. Having an audio system on your motorcycle means you can listen to music anywhere you like as long as you have your bike. Whether you are mowing your lawn or watching the sunset somewhere far away from home, the speaker sound system will keep you entertained.
- Boost the resale value. Installing an audio system on your motorcycle will boost its overall value. In case you want to sell the bike in the near future, the sound system may be the reason you get more money from the sale. Some buyers may be looking for such convenience features and will shell out more money when they find them.
- Get more motorcycle show points. If you are planning on participating in a motorcycle show, high-quality speakers will help you score some extra points since some judges have their eyes on stereo upgrades. Though the speakers may not guarantee that you will take home the top prize, they may put you a spot above the other contenders.
Types of Motorcycle Speakers
The name says it all about these types of speakers. They are typically mounted on the motorcycle handlebars. Most of them will come with mounts which are easy to install and allow you to adjust their direction according to your preferences. In addition, most of them are sold with an amplifier system to ensure you get the best sound quality.
Helmet Motorcycle Speakers
Helmet motorcycle speakers are modern technology devices that are fitted on a motorcycle helmet. These speakers will allow you to listen to your favorite music from different devices using Bluetooth connectivity. You can also make hands-free calls, communicate with other riders through intercom technology, or receive GPS instructions. They are easy to set up and are better than earplugs that hurt or fall out of your ear.
Boss Audio is a leading audio and video products manufacturer. The company has been in operation for over three decades and has its headquarters in Oxnard, California, and other operating offices in Shenzhen, China. The company’s products are sold in online stores and storefront retailers across more than 130 countries. Some of the high-quality motorcycle speakers the company makes include the Boss Audio MCBK420B and the BOSS ATV25B motorcycle speakers.
Pyle Audio is an American company that manufactures consumer electronics and audio equipment. The company sells its products through online retailers and big-box stores. Pyle was established in 1960 and is headquartered in New York City. The company sells an array of speakers, including motorcycle speakers, such as the affordable Pyle PLMCA20.
JBL is a loudspeaker manufacturing company owned by Harman International Industries. The journey to JBL started back in 1946, and today it is headquartered in Los Angeles, California. Over the years, the company has introduced different products into the audio industry, including portable speakers that can be used on motorbikes, such as the JBL Wind Bike Portable Bluetooth Speaker.
Best Motorcycle Speakers Pricing
- Under $50: This price range is mostly for small motorcycle speakers that come with basic features. Most of these speakers are 3 inches wide and typically have wattages of 50 and below. Most do come with mounts for easy installation but might not have Bluetooth functionality.
- $50-$100: This price range is for mid-range speakers that might have advanced features such as wireless connection, built-in microphone, and an amplifier. They are made of durable materials and can also be mounted on a bicycle. However, most of the speakers in this category might not have remote volume control unless it’s from a high-end brand.
- $100 and above: These are the high-end products of the industry and come with multiple useful features such as Bluetooth functionality, remote sound control, and different connectivity options. They are more durable and can come in sets with more than two speakers.
When buying a motorcycle speaker, it's important to decide on the type that will suit your preferences. Your choice on the two main types (motorcycle handlebar-mounted speakers and helmet speakers) will depend on the level of comfort and safety you prefer when riding. Handlebar speakers are louder and have a wide range of functions. Helmet speakers, on the other hand, are easy to use and offer the advantage of hands-free communication.
Speaker wattage or RMS power is the maximum volume a speaker can produce at its peak power level. The higher the speaker’s wattage, the louder its volume. If your aim is to ride around town or a neighborhood, you might want to choose a speaker with low wattage to keep the noise at a minimum. Go for high wattage speakers for long off-country drives where you can play your music as loud as you'd like.
Since the motorcycle’s audio system will not play music on its own if it has no FM radio, it's a good idea to look into the input options available. Some speakers will come with head units that will diversify the input sources. Most, however, will have an amplifier that allows AUX input, Bluetooth connectivity, flash drive, and SD card play. Make sure your system of choice will allow you to play music from your favorite devices.
Though most motorcycle speakers are waterproof, it's always important to confirm that the unit you are interested in is water-resistant. Your speaker will be exposed to snow, ice, and rain since you will most likely mount the speakers on the bike’s handlebar. A good-quality speaker should have a durable finish that protects it from water and other weather elements.
- Mounting Options: There are some handlebar speakers that are more difficult to mount than others. You have to pay attention to the size of your handlebars and the flexibility of the mounts. Make sure you choose mounts that can let you change the direction of the speakers. If you don’t think handlebar speakers are for you, you could always settle for helmet speakers.
- Sound Quality: You don't have to be a professional producer to appreciate the good-quality sound. When choosing a speaker, keep in mind that you will be listening to your favorite jams as you ride your motorbike. It’s, therefore, important to ensure that the sound coming from the system is crystal clear.
- Extra Features: There are extra features aimed at making your ride smoother and safer. Features such as thumb control will ensure that you do not lose concentration on the road when operating the audio system. Other features may include docking ports that ensure that your external music source does not run out of battery, Bluetooth audio streaming and weatherproof speakers.
Best Motorcycle Speakers Reviews & Recommendations 2019
Best Overall: Boss Audio MCBK420B
The Boss Audio MCBK420B, a two-speaker, one-amplifier unit, is one of the best handlebar speakers. This system comes with Bluetooth connectivity that allows you to play from Bluetooth-enabled devices such as MP3 players and smartphones. The speakers come with a two-channel amplifier that boosts the audio quality of the speakers. Also, both the speakers and the amplifier have a compact design and are made of waterproof material.
The 3-inch speakers have a matte black finish and are fitted with adjustable brackets that allow mounting on handlebars that range from 0.75 inches to 1.25 inches in diameter. The amplifier has a 0.14-inch AUX input compatible with MP3 devices and smartphones. In addition, this unit has an inline volume control that you can install anywhere you find convenient. Everything is included in the package and the installation process is quick and easy.
However, these speakers don’t have an 'on' and 'off' automatic switch that would protect your battery from draining. Moreover, the sound might not be as clear as expected at high speeds. There might also be an annoying beep when you switch the motorcycle on. They are, however, suitable for motorcycles, ATVs, scooters, and any other 12-volt vehicle.
Best Value: Pyle PLMCA20
The Pyle PLMCA20 is our best value speaker system based on its affordable price tag compared to other brands in its category. The unit comes with sound control that covers digital bass, treble, and volume control. The amplifier comes with a port that allows the connection of MP3 devices, an iPod, or a smartphone. The system also offers an FM radio feature.
When it comes to the construction, the system comes with mounting brackets and accessories that enable easy installation. Also, the speakers are engineered with marine-grade materials to keep the speakers weather-resistant. Lastly, they have a chrome finish that fits in well with chrome handlebars. You also get a remote control with on and off functions.
This audio system has the best value but might be an inconvenience on bigger bikes since the speaker wires are a bit too short. The FM system may not work as expected, and the volume the speakers put out is mediocre. However, this system is great for people who are looking for an affordable unit with all the basic features.
Honorable Mention: JBL Wind Bike Portable Bluetooth Speaker
With a low profile and a variety of playback options, the JBL Wind speaker makes our list as a great portable speaker, with a decent audio performance. The unit comes with an FM radio and a microSD card reader to broaden your entertainment experience. It has a water-resistant rating of IP45, which means that the speaker is designed to prevent low water jets from damaging the unit.
The speaker has a carabiner adapter that’s easy to install and detach and forms a strong and steady attachment when mounted on a motorbike’s handlebar. You could take the speaker wherever you go to prevent theft, and it runs on a rechargeable battery that can last for up to eight hours on a single charge. It’s also integrated with a microphone, and you could take hands-free calls after you connect your smartphone to the unit via Bluetooth.
It’s not all bells and whistles with the JBL Wind as it’s external antenna is weak, and that makes a poor FM radio. The speaker also has poor midrange frequency which translates to poor quality vocals when playing audio files. You may notice that the speaker pauses a lot or skips a few words when you are listening to podcasts or audiobooks.
- As you choose your music files, make sure to select low-level compression files. Low-level compression files take up more space but will offer better sound quality, especially in non-confined spaces like a motorcycle.
- Consider installing the speakers on the handlebars and face them towards you. That way, the speakers project sound directly to you and offer you the best sound quality. You may notice that such a placement may eliminate the need for high-volume speakers.
- It may be an inconvenience to hook up your smartphone or other devices with cables to your speakers. The devices may fall off when riding at high speeds. Consider using the Bluetooth functionality of the speakers to play music files automatically, and receive hands-free calls.
Q: Will my handlebar controls still work after installing an aftermarket speaker?
A: Yes, they should still work as normal. Some manufacturers also offer installation kits that are compatible with factory controls. However, if you are worried about mixing up the wires or controls while installing the speaker, you could have a professional install it for you.
Q: Why does my amplifier keep on blowing my speakers?
A: That often happens when you buy a separate amplifier from the speakers. The amplifier may have a low impedance and consequently blow out your speakers. Also, be sure to check the wiring of the amplifier and the speakers. Improper wiring can lead to overheating, burnt wires, or blown-out speakers.
Q: My motorcycle speakers are shutting down on their own. Should that happen?
A: Some manufacturers fit their speakers with automatic switches that shut off the speakers when the motorbike is off. If that’s not something the manufacturer advertised with your speakers, then the problem may be a slight electromagnetic interference. You can fix that by moving the speaker’s power cord away from the engine.
Our top choice for the best motorcycle speakers is the Boss Audio MCBK420B for its compact amplifier, quality sound, and volume control.
If you are looking for a pocket-friendly motorcycle audio system, you can check out the Pyle PLMCA20.