Best Motorcycle Radio: Stay Connected On the Go
These radios allow you to listen to music and communicate with others on every motorcycle ride
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BY Amy Poole / LAST UPDATED ON March 9, 2020
Who doesn’t love listening to their favorite music while on the go? Most vehicles come with a radio that allows you to do this, but unfortunately, motorcycles don’t.
However, we’ve discovered some of the best motorcycle audio systems on the market that are portable, lightweight, and contain all the same features as an in-car radio. Take a look through the full range of options so you can stay entertained while you’re on the road.
Designed to work well in any environment, these bluetooth speakers connect reliably to any device. The weatherproof design and powerful amplifier give it a particular edge.
- User-friendly volume control
- Easy to install and compatible with most motorbikes
- Reliable audio input and output
- Likely requires professional installation
- Won’t fit handlebars over 1 ¼ inches
Affordable and easy to install, these speakers mount on the handlebars. Built for durability, this motorcycle radio offers consistent sound, rain or shine
- High-tech design compatible with MP3 files, RM radio, and microSD cards
- Straightforward installation
- Bluetooth range is only 15 meters
- Does not support USB connections for charging or audio input
Meant to outlast, these speakers mount to your handlebars and connect your bike to 300 watts of peak speaker power.
- Includes single-amp charging port
- Optimizes sound quality to limit static and distortion
- Includes auxiliary input
- Protective screen prone to taking on dust
- Can be difficult to clean and maintain this model
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Benefits of Motorcycle Radios
- Communicate with other riders. One of the main benefits of motorcycle stereo systems is being able to talk with other riders or answer your smartphone while riding, without having to pull over.
- Listen to music. Without any distractions and safety in mind, you can play your favorite songs while cruising along. These radios are designed with excellent quality and power, so you don’t miss out on not being inside of a vehicle.
- Jazz up your motorcycle. These radios look cool and provide a sophisticated touch to your motorcycle and helmet.
Types of Motorcycle Radios
Motorcycle speakers that mount to a motorcycle’s handlebars play music aloud for all to hear. They’re robust and weatherproof to withstand all weather conditions, including snow and rain. They’re trickier to install, though, as they require handlebar mount equipment and accessories.
A radio that connects to your helmet, with no aux, is generally less expensive than speakers that mount to a motorcycle. They don’t offer the opportunity to charge your smartphone at the same time as listening to music via apps such as Spotify or receiving calls. They’re a popular choice for listening to music inside your helmet without disturbing others and taking personal calls without risking your safety while riding.
Opening its doors in 1946, the Kenwood Corporation was originally called the Kasuga Radio Corporation. With roots in Tokyo, it quickly developed a stronghold in the sound equipment industry. Merging with JVC back in 2008, this brand now represents the consolidated strengths of JVC and Kenwood electronics. Products range from radios for marine vessels to motorcycles to cars. Among its popular options is the Kenwood Flush Mount Coaxial Sports Series Speakers.
One of the few companies that focuses exclusively on audio equipment for motorcycles, Golden Hawk is a California-based company with an impressive selection of stereos and everything from powerful soundbars to products exclusively for Harley-Davidsons. In business for several decades, this company focuses on keeping up with the times by advancing its tech. A good example of this commitment to innovation is the GoHawk Second-Gen Waterproof Stereo Speakers.
BOSS Audio Systems
This brand stands out as a leading name in the soundsystem industry. BOSS. is an American brand founded in California in 1987. Since its inception, this brand has focused on both quality and diversification. While it does have supplies for everything from cars to motorcycles, boats to ATVs. It is a privately held company and the BOSS headquarters remain in Oxnard, though it now ships supplies globally. One of its best motorcycle radios is the BOSS Audio Systems Motorcycle Bluetooth Speaker System.
Motorcycle Radios Pricing
- Up to $70: For this price range, expect access to FM radio with a device that fits your helmet. It’ll have Bluetooth connection that’s generally compatible with two devices at the same time.
- $70-$110: Within this budget, you’ll receive speakers that attach to your motorcycle’s handlebars. The unit will be water and weatherproof and feature Bluetooth and auxiliary connections.
- $110 and up: For a high-end motorcycle radio, this won’t lose Bluetooth connection when driving at fast speeds. You’ll also receive more features for your music, such as play, skip, rewind, and more.
The sound quality is one of the most important features of a motorcycle radio. You can expect a range between 600-100 watts, which can affect the maximum volume and overall sound quality. Look into the maximum decibels, too, especially if you travel at high speeds or on uneven terrain. Most rated over 140 decibels are the best quality.
Depending on your budget and preferences, you can opt for a minimum FM capability. However, most come with Bluetooth connection, and some even allow multiple devices to connect to the radio at one time. If you wish to charge your smartphone while listening to music, the unit should have a USB connection that fits your device.
You want the device to remain long-lasting, so it must be equipped with high-quality materials. ABS and polycarbonate are preferred materials, as they’re sturdy but lightweight. Whether you opt for a Bluetooth device for your helmet or speakers that attach to your handlebars, you’ll likely wish for a waterproof feature. Check to see that it’s compatible and will remain working in the rain or harsh winds.
- Installation. Whether you opt for an audio system that attaches to your helmet or speakers on your handlebars, check that the device comes with all the necessary fasteners and mounting brackets you need.
- Distance. Motorcycle radios typically connect to your chosen device via Bluetooth. The distance of connectivity matters. If you wish to listen to music or chat with your friends off your motorcycle, check the distance covered.
- Charge. Another consideration is how long the device can operate before requiring a charge. Consider how long you travel to calculate the number of hours the charge should last.
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- Consider your motorcycle’s handlebar size when choosing a sound system, as not all devices come in a universal size.
- A dustproof feature is useful if you tend to travel across sand or in dusty conditions.
- Check to see if the speaker has an auto shut-off mode if it’s sitting idle to avoid draining the battery.
Q: Will speed affect sound quality?
A: Generally, yes. Many audio systems aren’t equipped with excellent sound quality above speeds of 50 miles per hour. Consider your average speed, and select a radio that accommodates this.
Q: Are all radios weatherproof?
A: No. There’s a difference between weather-resistant and weatherproof speakers. Some devices can handle a few drops of rain, but if you’ll be riding when it’s pouring down, consider a waterproof design.
Q: What other features should you consider?
A: Consider the frequency response when looking for the best options available. You should also opt for a high-quality auxiliary to connect your smartphone to the speaker.
Now that you’re ready to deck out your ride with the best motorcycle radio, you can make your pick. We peg the BOSS Audio Systems Motorcycle Speaker System as the top choice overall for its weather-resistance and high functionality. If you’re trimming the budget — but still want that powerful audio — the GoHawk Waterproof Bluetooth Motorcycle Stereo Speakers are easy on the budget.