Motorcycle Speakers – What to Look For

Only a few years ago, audio options for motorcycles were limited to only large touring bikes that had the space for a full head unit. With the advent of Bluetooth connections and the ability to wirelessly stream music from a smartphone, the need for a bulky head unit is significantly less these days. Streaming tech has made it possible to install great-sounding speakers on scooters, dirt bikes, ATVs, cruisers, and of course, upgrade weak factory speakers on touring bikes.

There are a few things to consider when looking at speakers for your bike, and we caution you to look at the price tag last. Just like when dealing with car audio, cheap speakers tend to have poor audio performance, don’t last long, and can actually end up costing you more money in the long run.

The key things you should consider are where you intend to mount speakers on your bike and how much power you actually need to hear your music while riding. The products on this page have all proven to work well for motorcycle applications where road noise, engine noise, and wind all make for a difficult sound stage environment.

The other consideration you’ll need to make is whether the speakers you are looking to install are appropriate for the weather. Many riders can get away with speakers that are intended for automobiles with the knowledge that they won’t handle rain, washing, or moisture and can degrade due to UV, dust, and vibration. We recommend buying the most robust options you can find in order to offset the conditions your speakers will be expected to survive in.

Finally, price can be a significant factor. Outfitting your bike with a full-blown stereo system with a monster amplifier will require an investment that may price you out of the market quickly. Budget components might work for a bit, but you are more likely to be disappointed with the performance and ultimately, you may find that you’ve wasted time and money going the budget route.

Key Terms

Understanding watts, ohms, RMS ratings, and various other terms used in marketing speakers is important and we recommend that you check out some of our articles that help explain how these various terms impact the products you are buying.

A final term that tends to be important for motorsports audio is known as an IP rating. This is a two-part rating, usually expressed as IPXX. Numbers placed in the XX portion refer to dust resistance and moisture resistance.

The first digit is used to identify the level of protection from solids, like dust. The range runs from 0 -usually represented by the letter X to indicate that the speaker is not rated- through 6, which indicates dust-proof enclosures.

The second digit is used to represent water resistance. The scale typically runs to 7 for speakers, but you’ll find some components that are rated up to 9k -indicating that the component can withstand direct, concentrated spray from a high-pressure source.

Our Best Pick Motorcycle Speakers

We are going to break this article into two sections. The first will detail some of the best handlebar-mounted options on the market. Just because these are designed for handlebars doesn’t mean you can’t mount them to other tubular structures, like windscreen frames, crash bars, or grab bars. They typically include a clamp that will handle a bar from 1-inch up to 1.5-inch thicknesses.

The second section will get into speakers that are intended for mounting in fairings. Many factory and aftermarket fairings have provisions for mounting speakers, but you may find that it is necessary to use spacer rings to get the correct fitment for the speakers you choose. Some kits include the rings, others will require that you purchase them separately.

Best Handlebar Mounted Motorcycle Speakers

Best Overall Handlebar-Mount Speaker: Kicker Black Mini 3″ PSM

Kicker PSMB32 motorcycle speakers
Kicker PSMB32 single speaker in the photo
Kicker PSMB32 side view of the two speakers and wiring

Key Features

  • 50w RMS, 100w peak
  • 100-15,000 hz frequency range
  • 2 or 4 ohm resistance
  • Chrome or black bullet-style pods with mounts
  • Fits ⅞”, 1”, 1 ¼” round and 1” square tubing

Latest Prices

Kicker Black Mini 3″ PSM Speaker Quick Review

There is a lot to like about this set of speakers with pods and mounting hardware from Kicker. The speakers themselves are PSM 3-inch drivers that are proven to work well in wet and dusty environments, but Kicker does not provide an IP-rating for them. The proof is in the pudding, and this is a popular set of pod-style speakers to mount on motorcycles, ATVs, and boats.

The speakers have a power handling of 50 watts up to 100 watts peak and they sound excellent even when used on unamplified, factory set-ups because of their high-efficiency motor design. The small size means you won’t get thumping bass, but these do an excellent job of producing mid-range frequencies at any volume without distortion, which is the key thing when you want to hear quality tunes when you're at cruising speeds.

The set of bullet-style speakers mounts to crash bars or handlebars and includes six-foot speaker leads that are fully insulated to prevent water and dust from causing problems. The compact design makes them perfect for small spaces and mounting on ATVs, motorcycles, or other powersport options. They come in black or chrome options, with 2 and 4 ohm options for both colors.

Pros
  • Provides plenty of volume for most applications without distorting
  • Decent response at low power, but comes alive with modest amplification
  • Flexible mounting system allows for nearly any bar mount design
Cons
  • Lacks IP-rating to certify weather resistance
  • Won’t provide bass response due to small size

Runner Up, Best Pick Handlebar Mounted: BOSS Audio MCBK520B

Boss Audio MCBK520B
Boss Audio MCBK520B amplifier
Boss Audio MCBK520B remote
Boss Audio MCBK520B speaker
Boss Audio MCBK520B packaging

Key Features

  • Pair of 3-inch pod-style speakers mounted in enclosures
  • Mounts to ⅞”-1 ½” round bars
  • Includes Class-AB digital amplifier
  • Bluetooth, FM transmitter, 3.5mm jack
  • USB and SD card slot for additional streaming options
  • 80-15,000 hz frequency response

Latest Prices

Buy on Amazon.com $118.75
Buy on eBay $169.99
Last Amazon price update was: July 2, 2022 1:23 pm

BOSS Audio MCBK520B Quick Review

This is another compact bar-mount design that has proven itself in the real-world by handling dirt, dust, and moisture in a broad variety of applications. What we particularly like about this design is the inclusion of a Class-AB amplifier that has the ability to connect using Bluetooth so you don’t have to have a head unit cluttering up your ride.

The advertised 600 watts of maximum power is a bit of a stretch, but the included amplifier does an excellent job of getting loud while staying clear. BOSS doesn’t provide a lot of detail about the materials used in the construction of these speakers and does not provide an IP-rating but claims that the speakers and the amp will resist water and dust.

The biggest advantage to this package is the ability to easily stream music wirelessly using Bluetooth, but you’ll also have the option of using a 3.5mm headphone jack to directly provide music without the hassle of dropping signals. An included keychain remote helps to simplify control and makes this one of the easier packages to install and use right away.

Pros
  • Convenient way to affordably add tunes to almost any vehicle
  • Numerous options for accessing music from your favorite sources
Cons
  • Small size translates to a lack of bass response
  • Lacks common ratings information that makes it difficult to determine power handling ability
  • No IP-rating despite weather-resistant marketing

Best Budget Handlebar Speakers: GoHawk TN4-Q

GoHawk TN4-Q
GoHawk TN4-Q amp remote
GoHawk TN4-Q speakers

Key Features

  •  
  • Includes four, 4” speakers mounted in gloss black pods
  • Includes an amplifier
  • Bluetooth and 3.5mm connections
  • Dual-direction USB and SD card for audio file playback
  • IP56 rated
  • Includes all wiring
  • Wireless remote control included

Latest Prices

Buy on Amazon.com $169.99
Buy on eBay $231.99
Last Amazon price update was: July 2, 2022 1:23 pm

GoHawk TN4-Q Quick Review

We cautioned you earlier about going the budget route, but this set of speakers for your bike is a good compromise when you are simply looking to add some tunes without breaking the bank. Be aware that you won’t get the kind of volume from this set that you will from the other bar-mount designs on our list, but these make a good complement to quieter bikes, atv’s, and other uses.

The set includes four, 4-inch speaker pods finished in gloss black that use an oversized bar-mount bracket. It’ll accommodate up to a 1-½” bar and the mounts are good and sturdy to withstand vibration. It carries an IP56 rating, a rarity at this price point.

The package includes an amplifier that is dubiously advertised as providing 1,000 watts. If you read the fine print, it produces 25 watts per channel, a far cry from the 250 watts per channel that it would need to produce to get to 1,000 watts total. With that said, the package does produce decent volume, but like other small, pod-style speakers, won’t give you much bass. It does provide 3.5mm inputs, Bluetooth for wireless streaming, and has both a USB port and an SD card port.

Pros
  • Affordable way to add tunes to almost any 12v-powered vehicle
  • Four speakers let you spread the sound around
Cons
  • Dubious marketing efforts give the impression of more power than actual
  • Large amplifier design may be problematic for tight installations
  • Amplifier is not weather-resistant

Best Fairing-Mounted Motorcycle Speakers

Best Pick Fairing-Mounted Motorcycle Speakers: Infinity Kappa Perfect 600X

Infinity Kappa Perfect 600X speakers with harley davidson grilles
Infinity Kappa Perfect 600X pair of harley davidson speakers with tweeter removed
Infinity Kappa Perfect 600X no tweeter installed with cap on
Infinity Kappa Perfect 600X side profile of the speaker
Infinity Kappa Perfect 600X tweeter

Key Features

  • 6.5-inch coaxial-convertible speaker set
  • Basalt cone with Plus One technology
  • 1” edge-driven tweeter
  • IPX5 front rating
  • 75 watts RMS, 225 watts Peak
  • 60-20,000 hz frequency range
  • 3-ohm resistance
  • Includes universal grills and H-D specific grills

Latest Prices

Infinity Kappa Perfect 600X Quick Review

We recently had the opportunity to play around with Infinity's Kappa Perfect 600X. They're designed to mount in the factory location on 2014+ Harley-Davidsons, and to say we were impressed is an understatement. They offer the classic, quality Infinity sound you’ve come to expect, while providing robust weatherproofing that makes them the ideal choice for your next ride.

Right out of the gate you’ll notice their unique, woven cone material. Infinity uses a proprietary basalt fiber that produces an ultra-light weight and incredibly rigid surface that won't compromise under heavy loads and high volume. Infinity also uses Plus One technology in their speaker which enlarges the cone area by about 35-percent, giving this speaker range that few other designs can match.

One of the coolest features is the convertible design – the tweeters are removable. You can install this setup as a regular coaxial, or with a few simple steps, relocate the tweeter to build a component system that puts the high frequencies where you need them. Everything about this speaker is ideal for use on a bike – from the IPX5 front rating to the 1-inch edge-driven polyphenylene sulfide-dome tweeter that is specifically tuned for riders.

And being one of our best fairing speaker choices, they obviously come with the grilles you need to install them seamlessly onto your bike. This includes one for Road Glides, Street Glides, and even your Tour Packs.

If you're interested in reading more about these speakers, check out our in-depth Infinity Kappa Perfect 600X Review.

Pros
  • Among the best-sounding motorsports speakers we’ve heard
  • Convertible design allows for a huge amount of installation flexibility
Cons
  • No rating for dust, could benefit from a few changes to improve moisture rating
  • A little on the pricy side

Runner Up, Best Pick: Rockford Fosgate HD14U-Stage 2

Rockford Fosgate HD14U-STAGE2
Rockford Fosgate HD14U-STAGE2 speakers
Rockford Fosgate HD14U-STAGE2 speaker front
Rockford Fosgate HD14U-STAGE2 speaker side
Rockford Fosgate HD14U-STAGE2 amp top
Rockford Fosgate HD14U-STAGE2 amp terminals
Rockford Fosgate HD14U-STAGE2 harley grilles

Key Features

  • 4x 6.5” coaxial speakers (2 for fairing, 2 for tour pack)
  • 75 watts RMS, 150 watts peak
  • 400w Class-AB marine-grade amplifier
  • Includes wiring and heat sink for installation
  • Fits select 2014+ Harley-Davidson models

Latest Prices

Rockford Fosgate HD14U-Stage 2 Quick Review

There is no question that the factory audio quality on your 2014+ Harley-Davidson leaves plenty to be desired. When you are looking for an excellent upgrade and you don’t want to fuss with which parts will work with each other, this kit from Rockford Fosgate is the ultimate answer.

This kit starts with four 6.5-inch woofers, each designed to fit in the factory locations on your H-D without cutting. The speakers are powered by a Class-AB amp that produces 400 watts, ensuring you get the kind of volume you want without having to turn it all the way up. The amp provides Bluetooth connectivity.

With this kit, you aren’t wasting time looking for extra parts or trying to make it work right. It just simply bolts in and everything you need is included. Once installed, you will need to have your factory EQ settings flashed by your H-D dealership to get the most from this weather-proof factory upgrade.

Pros
  • Complete upgrade that replaces the wimpy factory equipment
  • Custom-designed to fit and function without modification
  • Extremely powerful option to ensure you can hear your tunes on the highway
Cons
  • Pricey upgrade by most standards
  • Requires an authorized H-D dealer to flash the EQ on the factory radio in order to work correctly

Best Budget Pick Fairing Motorcycle Speakers: HogTunes Gen4

Hogtunes 462F-RM main image with speakers and grilles
Hogtunes 462F-RM in box

Key Features

  • Pair of 6.5” speakers to fit batwing fairings
  • Injection-mold frame and poly woofer cone
  • Ventilated magnet
  • Installs without modifications
  • Weather resistant design

Latest Prices

Buy on Amazon.com $159.75
Buy on eBay $169.95
Last Amazon price update was: July 2, 2022 1:23 pm

HogTunes Gen4 Quick Review

When you simply want to improve the sound from your H-D, but you aren’t willing to cough up big-time cash, look to HogTunes for audio solutions. These aren’t the most powerful, best sounding speakers around, but they are better than the stock speakers and they aren’t going to break the bank, either.

The Gen4 set has several unique features, starting with the design that is specifically intended to fit H-D bikes without modifications. They feature an ultra-low 2-ohm design that gets the most out of the power you've got so you don’t have to install an amp just to hear your music. They also feature unique ventilated ports at the magnet to enhance low-end response.

This is a great starting point for riders who are looking to improve audio performance, regardless of the price. They produce better bass response and less distortion at high volumes than factory speakers and are among the easiest speakers to install that we’ve seen.

Pros
  • These speakers make a noticeable improvement over factory speakers
  • Easy to install in factory locations
Cons
  • No IP-rating
  • No performance numbers readily available, making it difficult to compare with other speakers

Conclusion

Upgrading or adding speakers to your motorcycle, ATV, or other powersports vehicle has never been easier than it is today. You can add the convenience of Bluetooth for wireless, hands-free streaming options. You don’t have to be stuck with weak and ineffective speakers that sound like garbage, and you don’t have to be limited by the size of your bike anymore, either.

Upgrading the audio on your motorcycle adds value, improves your riding experience, and gives you the satisfaction of truly enjoying everything that riding a motorcycle offers. The speaker solutions we’ve shared today all make for excellent upgrades over stock and give you the opportunity to add speakers where you didn’t have them in the past.