Last updated on April 14th, 2021 at 12:51 pm
|Our Rank||Motorcycle Speaker||Power Handling||Water Resistant||Price|
|1||Boss Audio MCBK420B||600W Peak||Yes||$$$|
|2||Shark Motorcycle SHKC6800||1000W Peak||Yes||$$|
|3||Sound Storm Laboratories SMC95BC||600W Peak||Yes||$$$|
|4||Boss Audio MC500||600W Peak||Yes||$$$$|
|5||Pyle PLMRKT4B||1200W Peak||Yes||$$|
Back in the day, only larger motorcycles were equipped with sound systems. Today, motorcycle speakers and sound system kits can be mounted even on both large and small bikes. With the number of different brands, the question is how to choose the best bike speakers with the least amount of trouble. Another two factors that are important to your decision is performance and value. Will you get a high performing speaker for a great price?
Our review focuses on 3 main aspects of motorcycle speakers: sound performance, power, and user-friendliness. The fact of the matter is, there are too many choices available in the market today. And a lot of them are cheap. Many of the cheaper models might look good and have a nice price tag, but give out terrible audio and overall quality. Without a quality bike speaker, your money could be wasted in only a few months.
For many bike enthusiasts who love music, there are three ways to listen to music while riding:
- Ear buds
- Helmet with speakers
- Handlebar speakers
All these methods have their pros and cons. For example, ear buds. They are usually the least comfortable choice because they often don’t fit well while wearing a helmet. Helmets with speakers have their share of serious issues too. Mainly safety during use. Sometimes the controls for ear buds and helmet speakers are difficult to access. So, if you want to talk with someone, you have to lower the volume or take the helmet off. In addition, there are wires and attachments that can be bothersome. Bike speakers are the ideal choice for a lot of people. While they are a little pricier than the first two options, a good set of handlebar speakers would be worth the additional cost because of their practicality.
What to Look For
Motorcycle speakers are not the same as the speakers you use at home or in cars. These speakers have to be compact. They need to be strong enough to be heard over the sound of the engine with little wiring. In addition, they should have features like Bluetooth or wireless transmitting.
To be more specific, the factors to consider include:
Wattage – Handlebar bike speakers have a range wattages. For beginners, the general rule is the lower the wattage, the quieter the speakers. The higher the wattage, the more powerful the speakers. If you plan on city driving, you don’t need high wattage because you will not be pushing the speed limit. But, many riders prefer loud audio so a higher wattage might be ideal. Ultimately, wattage is a personal choice.
For low CC bikes with an average speed of 50 miles/hour, the 100-watt speaker system or Series 1 is highly recommended. Wattage starting at 150, also known as Series 2, is recommended for rider speeds of 50 to 70 miles/hour. Series 3 is the audio system that has over 200 watts, and is recommended for touring and highway driving.
Amplifier – Amplifiers are what power the sound, audio, and range of the speakers. They are either built into the audio system or sold separately. It is important to know how many amps your speakers have. Aligning the speakers's RMS power handling to the amplifier's RMS power handling is essential.
Waterproof or water resistant – The majority of handlebar speakers are water resistant. This means they can handle the occasional light downpour. The waterproof types are a bit rarer to find, but if you often ride during rough weather they're a must. If you buy the speaker and amp separately, it's important to check each both are waterproof.
Input Source – The most common input source would be a smartphone that uses the 3.5mm jack, such as an iPhone. However, some speakers allow for multiple audio sources including Bluetooth. Some speakers sell the input source separately. If you want the all-in package, look for an audio system with a head unit. Having Bluetooth is ideal because it eliminates the use of wires, but remember that spotty connections can ruin the fun. It can cause skipping of tracks or make it difficult for you to control while driving.
Warranty – Typical warranty included is one year. Some companies offer extended warranty as an additional opt-in.
Best Motorcycle Speakers List
Boss MCBK 420B Quick Review
The Boss MCBK 420B's have a great reputation. Our expectations were high as we unboxed this pair of 3-inch, full-range speakers for 12-volt scooters, bikes, and ATVs. The minute we installed it and played a track, we were blown away by its combined 600-watt power. They aren't the most powerful pair of speakers on the market, but they do a great job for city or highway driving.
With the MCBK 420B, you can use your smartphone to play music, an MP3 player or stream music via Bluetooth. It is weather-proof so you can use it while driving through light to moderate rain and fog. If you happen to splash water on them, they can handle it and won’t short out.
- Wired remote control
- Compatible with Pandora and Spotify
- Two RCA inputs, one 3.5 mm input
- Inline volume control
- With amp
- Comes with adjustable mounting brackets and can fit on handlebars measuring 0.75 to 1.25 inches
- Frequency Response: 80 Hz – 15 KHz, decibel is less than 85 dB
- Total Harmonic Distortion – less than 0.01%
- 3-year warranty
We were most impressed with the crisp, clear sound. They didn't distort at high volumes either. And just because they're affordable doesn't mean the speakers do not perform like a low-cost set. You get great value for your dollar. Really the only disappointment for us with this model is the plastic housing that may discolor over time.
Shark Motorcycle SHKC6800 Quick Review
If you have a large bike and want reliable audio, you can’t go wrong with Shark Shkc 6800. This 1000-watt, 4-channel system comes with Bluetooth, radio, multiple input sources, and two remotes. Installation is incredibly easy too.
With the amount of power these have, you can expect big sound that will not be affected by wind factor. These speakers can definitely keep pace even for people who ride fast.
- Four 4 x 3 inch speakers
- Connects to MP3, smartphone, and any Bluetooth-enabled device
- Built-in FM tuner with external antenna jack with waterproof antenna
- 5 mm auxiliary input
- SD slot
- Mirror brackets
- LCD display on the amplifier
- Two fully-functional remote controls: wireless and wired
Something worth noting about the Shkc 6800 is that the amplifier is water resistant not water proof. This means you have to make sure it's relatively protected from the elements where it's mounted. Otherwise, everything else is waterproof. The Shark is also one of the pricier models. But it is worth every penny if quality, high volume sound is important to you.
Sound Storm Laboratories SMC95BC Quick Review
If we had to describe the SMC95BC in a few words, it would be easy to install and very dependable to use. However, you get a lot more once you experience the full power and range of these speakers. For one, it has 1000 watts and four speakers, which means its perfect for 12v bike bikes. It might be overwhelming for a smaller bike, but it’s up to you if you still want the boom and power this set can blast.
- Two pairs of 3-inch full range speakers
- Weatherproof system, but cannot handle being soaked
- Wired remote control
- Wired amplifier
- One 3.5 mm auxiliary input for MP3 or smartphone
- Frequency response of 80 Hz to 15KHz
- Decibel level of 85 dB
- Total Harmonic Distortion of less than 0.01%
- Adjustable mounting brackets (handle bars)
Although small and compact, it is quite heavy for its size and its power is impressive. We did notice that with all that power, there was a slight disconnect with the bass and midrange sounds.
Boss Audio MC500 Quick Review
This Boss Audio product comes in four variants: either black or chrome, and either with Bluetooth or no Bluetooth. It features an amp with 600 watts and works best for 12 V motorcycles, and even scooters and ATVs. We highly recommend it for off-road trips, as the unit has its own amplifier and wireless remote. And in terms of convenience and affordability, it’s a winner!
- Pair of 3-inch full range weatherproof speakers
- FM radio, 3.5 mm input, and SD and USB ports
- Wireless keychain remote control
- Bluetooth audio streaming
- Compatible with MP3, WMA, smartphone audio files
- Comes with adjustable mounting brackets and hardware
We only had two concerns when we reviewed the MC500. First, when using the aux input, you can’t adjust the volume very easily. Second, it isn’t easy to turn on or off because there is no control switch. Instead, you have to pull the plug (it won’t damage the unit). Even with these two caveats, the unit rates extremely high in value and durability. And considering the price, it’s hard to beat this model!
Pyle PLMRKT4B Quick Review
We added the Pyle PLMRKT4B motorcycle speakers to our list because it’s one of the best choices for a starter audio system. With a price tag under $100, it's a very affordable set of speakers that delivers great audio. It's also an easy DIY install and doesn't need professional help.
The PLMRKT4B amp is quite impressive. It features two low inputs and a max output of 800 watts. The two-way speakers are resistant to water, and they even come with a waterproof poly bag to prevent rust and corrosion. It also includes a waterproof 3.5mm stereo to RCA adaptor for connecting to your iPod or MP3 player.
- Four 6.5-inch speakers, two-way, at 200 watts each
- Speakers are encased in polypropylene cones and each has its own tweeter
- Wired volume control to be mounted on your handlebars
- Frequency Response is 80 to 20 KHz
- Impedance is 4 Ohms
- Multiple input compatibilities with 3.5 mm jack, RCA adaptor
- Has power protection wiring
We liked the fact that you can adjust the input sensitivity levels, polarity, amp level, and volume. There are convenient switches within reach that you can adjust to get the bass, balance, and power just right. The one issue that we found among consumer reviews is that over time, the unit may show signs of rust. But this was in harsher climates.
Here’s a quick tip if you are interested in any of the 4 speaker packages. Use one pair and keep the other pair as a reserve. If you are going to use it for your motorcycle, two quality speakers should do the job well. It's a great way extend your money’s worth and still enjoy great music.