LAST UPDATED: September 11, 2019
Best Motorcycle Amplifiers: Rev Up Your Bike and Your Music
These motorcycle amplifiers sound great and take up little space
The Review Team
How We Decided
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PUBLISHED ON September 11, 2019
The best motorcycle sound systems include an amp that performs similarly to the types of amps used in your car or home entertainment system. They are intended to boost your audio system's sound so you can hear clear, loud music when you're riding, particularly at high speeds. Our motorcycle amp buying guide will direct you towards the best units on the market.
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Benefits of Motorcycle Amplifiers
- Listen to your favorite music. Whether you're cruising around town or taking a longer road trip, the ride can be much more enjoyable if you can simultaneously listen to your favorite tunes.
- Amplify the audio signal. If you're looking for rich, quality sound, then motorcycle stereo amplifiers are the way to go. They can enhance the audio system on your bike for a more powerful sound.
- Upgrade your stock system. While many touring bikes come with audio systems already installed, they’re not usually the best you can find. For even better sound, upgrade your motorcycle amp and speakers.
Types of Motorcycle Amplifiers
Wired Versus Bluetooth
A Bluetooth motorcycle amp is convenient because it doesn't require wires for connection and can be used for multiple applications, such as controlling the radio and using it with a Bluetooth-enabled electronic device, such as an MP3 player. While it's not a necessity, a Bluetooth amp can be very useful. Bluetooth establishes the connection, and Wi-Fi generates the data.
Kenwood Corporation was established in Nagano Prefecture, Japan in 1960. The company designs home audio, car audio aftermarket and OEM systems, in-car entertainment consoles, and other products. Two popular motorcycle amps are the Kenwood Compact Bluetooth Automotive/Marine Amplifier and the Kenwood Compact 4-channel Amplifier.
Rockford Fosgate was founded in 1973 and is a subsidiary of Rockford Corporation, which is based in Tempe, Ariz. The company designs audio products for automotive, marine, motorcycle, and other purposes. One recommended product is the Rockford Fosgate Punch 300-Watt, 4-Channel Boosted Rail Amplifier.
Boss International Group
Boss Audio is the umbrella group for three major car audio brands: Boss Audio, Planet Audio, and Sound Storm Laboratories. The Oxnard, California-based organization has been around for 30 years. It makes subwoofers, speakers, amplifiers, and mobile video products as well as products for off-road use. One popular amp is the Boss Audio Systems Motorcycle Bluetooth Speaker System.
Motorcycle Amplifier Pricing
- Under $100: There are a few small motorcycle amplifiers at this price point. However, they may not be as durable or as long-lasting as products that cost just a few dollars more. They likely won’t have Bluetooth capabilities.
- $100-$200: Some small motorcycle amplifiers can be costly, but it's worth it if you appreciate a solid audio system. Units on the higher end of this price range will have more controls and are more likely to be Bluetooth compatible.
- Over $200: If you want to find a premium motorcycle amp, it will cost you. The good news is that many amps that cost a few hundred dollars also include speakers and/or other elements to complete your audio system set up.
Motorcycles vary greatly in their size and the amount of space they allow for an audio system. The best motorcycle amp will have the correct dimensions to fit properly on whatever type of bike you ride and wherever you want to put it. You will want to make sure you select a device that seamlessly fits alongside the rest of your audio equipment.
Even if you prefer riding in sunny weather, there's a good chance you will be exposed to a variety of weather conditions. A bike amplifier should be designed to repel rain, snow, dust, and other elements. In addition, amplifiers for motorcycles must have the ability to endure a lot of vibrations.
When selecting bike amps, pay particular attention to the peak power, which is often referred to as maximum output. The RMS power rating indicates the continuous power an amp can generate. Do not be seduced by inflated power ratings. One way to do this is by choosing a unit that's certified by the CEA (Consumer Electronics Association).
- Number Of Channels: When you purchase a motorcycle stereo amp, you need to pair it with some speakers. The amp has to be designed to power your system properly. A stereo amp with two channels is the most common; however, a four-channel amp will give you more options. You can choose between one and six channels.
- Easy Installation: Select a unit that is adjustable. The best motorcycle amplifier should be easy to install and include mounting brackets or other hardware that allows you to put it on your bike without much stress. This goes hand in hand with the design and the size of the amp.
Best Motorcycle Amplifier Reviews & Recommendations 2020
This four-channel, class D, Bluetooth amplifier with remote control will power your motorcycle's sound system with 45 watts RMS per channel. It has plastic plugs to protect the connections and a conformal-coated circuit board to keep water and moisture out. You don't need a receiver since it's wireless. The device features signal-sensing, turn-on, speaker-level inputs, which means you won't require a separate remote lead.
This device is fairly easy to set up and use, and it produces a great sound. The Bluetooth connection is simple to operate, and the unit's extremely compact size allows for many mounting options. When combined with some good speakers, other bikers can hear it next to you when you're riding over 60 mph on the highway and are faced with a lot of wind noise.
One downside with this device is that, while the controller is good and water-resistant, the amp unit is less so. The outside housing is not sealed from the elements, and it lacks rubber gaskets between the aluminum pieces. Also, the amp may cut out when the volume is too high.
Similar to our best pick, this four-channel, a 400-watt amplifier will power your motorcycle's sound system with 45 watts RMS per channel. It's compact, will fit in tight spaces, and has plastic plugs to protect the connections and a conformal-coated circuit board to keep moisture out. It comes with an RCA cable to connect to a receiver but also handles speaker-level signals.
This amp sounds great with your motorcycle's stock stereo, and it puts out some decent power for its size. It's easy to install and produces a loud, crisp, and clear sound. You can pack this amp, a receiver, and other items into a Harley-Davidson or other type of forks bag without a problem. It comes with a wiring kit, and there is no humming through the speakers.
One problem with this amp is that the speakers may intermittently shut off when you turn it up all the way. Also, you can't control the bass levels with this unit, and it lacks a speaker relay to prevent that thumping sound when you turn it on or off, which can be annoying.
The Rockford Fosgate is a four-channel, 4-ohm, 300-watt amplifier. It's designed for stereo systems that require little space. The device is just 1.53 by 4.25 by 6.75 inches. It features high- and low-level inputs with variable 4-6 volt high-level DC offset voltage input turn-on control. It comes with a one-year limited warranty.
This amp is loud and clear, and it has a high pass and low pass filters set at 80hz. There are separate gain dials for front and rear speakers, and it's fairly loud, even on the highway when riding through the rain. There's also no distortion. You can crank your music all the way up, and it’s small enough to fit on top of the stereo.
There have been some complaints that this amp tends to run hot and can overheat, so it's recommended that you keep it well ventilated. Also, when it gets too hot, it will shut itself off, which is good for safety but means your music shuts off too. The amp may also stop working after a few months of use.
- The amp's wattage must be the same or greater than that of the speakers. This is to avoid distortion, which can occur when speakers are too powerful for the amp.
- Ensure that the RMS and the voltage match. Motorcycle amps use 12-volt power sources, and they need to be compatible in order to function properly.
- The best motorcycle amplifier will have high and low pass filters, a bass boost, and speaker level inputs that allow you to customize your sound. An EQ will also enable you to adjust the sound to your liking.
- During installation, you may want to use a relay on your power amplifier. Hook it up to a switch on accessory power and then run the power from the relay to the battery.
Q: Where do I install a motorcycle amplifier?
A: Choose a location where you can easily access the amp. Options include the saddlebag, handlebars, and tank bag. The most important thing is to make sure the audio inputs are accessible for use with a smartphone, USB device, etc.
Q: Does a motorcycle amp need to be wired directly to the battery?
A: Depending on what type of amp you purchase, you can wire it to the battery or directly to the deck power supply.
Q: Will mini amplifiers for motorcycles fit on a fairing?
A: This can vary, depending on the size of the amplifier and the amount of space you have on your fairing, but many motorcycle amps can easily be mounted above the head unit.
Our pick for the best motorcycle amplifier is the Kenwood Compact Bluetooth Automotive/Marine Amplifier. You can hear it well at highway speeds, it's easy to set up, and the Bluetooth connection is a breeze to operate. For a more budget-friendly option, consider the Kenwood Compact 4-channel Amplifier.