Top Radio for Motorcycles and Motorbikers – Our Analysis & Guide
If you’re trying to find the best motorcycle radio but you don’t know much about these devices, then you’re in the right place. We know that choosing the right radio for your motorcycle can be quite tough, and that’s why we’ve scoured the market, so we could bring you some of the most appreciated devices available. We’ve studied and compared plenty of models and chose the ones that offered the highest sound quality and most features. After analyzing countless products, we’ve come to the conclusion that the Shark Motorcycle Audio is the one you should consider. It comes with a 250W amplifier with built-in FM radio, two chrome-accent speakers, integrated Bluetooth, SD and USB slots, as well as two controls for easy access. In the unfortunate event that this model is no longer available, you might want to take a look at the INNOGLOW Bluetooth Anti-theft as well.
Our Team Recommends
Are you having trouble finding a reliable radio for your cruiser or street bike? Then look no further, as we can help you out. We’ve compiled a list with some of the top motorcycle radio reviews on the market so you get all the info you need to make a smart choice regarding your next purchase.
Shark Motorcycle Audio 250W (B00CYSNH74)
The amplifier comes with FM radio so you won’t miss your favorite radio show while on the road. There’s a short antenna that improves the radio signal – and it’s fairly inconspicuous. You get aux inputs as well as integrated Bluetooth so you can use it with your comfortable Bluetooth motorcycle helmet. There are also two SD and USB slots for increased functionality.
The system comes with two remotes (wired and wireless) so you can use the one that works for you. The head unit has a large LCD display that gives you all the info you need about the radio station or song information. The speakers come with a chrome finish as well as two mirror brackets.
INNOGLOW Bluetooth Anti-theft (B01M3XIXOY)
The two speakers have a sturdy design and the shells are made of clear plastics. With internal LEDs, these speakers can glow with a blue light and improve the atmosphere around the bike. The main unit supports FM radio and you can easily plug in your MP3 or USB flash to listen to your preferred songs. You also get integrated Bluetooth for wireless broadcasting.
This system can be mounted on motorcycles and electric bikes that have up to ⅞-inch handlebars. You also get all the controls you need to change EQ settings, play modes, songs, radio stations or even to make hands-free calls, and that even if you are wearing thick Harley Davidson gloves. There’s also an anti-theft remote controller for increased security.
BOSS MCBK420B Bluetooth (B00T3QBL3M)
These all-terrain 3-inch speakers come with a 600-watt amplifier that will allow you to crank up the volume anytime so you’ll be able to hear your own tunes even when traveling at high speeds. Just hook up your MP3 player or smartphone via the 3.5mm Aux Input and start listening.
Thanks to the built-in Bluetooth, you can wirelessly stream audio through popular apps such as Pandora and Spotify. You also get a wired remote control that you can place in a comfortable spot where you can change the settings safely while riding. This system is easy to install as you get all mounting hardware for .75” to 1.25” handlebars.
BOSS MCBK470B Weatherproof (B014JCWC1Y)
With the 3.5mm auxiliary input, you can easily connect your iPhone or MP3 player and browse through your favorite music selections or stream audio through apps like Spotify with the integrated Bluetooth. You get a remote wired volume control that can be placed in an easy-to-reach spot for easy tweaking while riding, and that without having to take your hand off the handlebar.
This speaker system can be mounted on handlebars with a diameter between .75 and 1.25 inches. You get handlebar brackets, bolts and nuts, wire harnesses, as well as easy-to-understand instructions on how to connect the wiring so you benefit from a hassle-free installation. This system can also fit on scooters, electric bikes or ATVs.
Boss MCBK500 Black 600Watt (B015AA4H44)
There’s also a USB port and an SD card slot that supports memories of up to 32GB for extra versatility when it comes to audio playback. With this product, you benefit from a keychain wireless remote that allows you to change the FM station, track, and volume in a convenient way.
You’d be glad to learn that the speakers and aux input are weatherproof so splashed water, fog or rainy weather shouldn’t cause any major problems. The package includes all the mounting hardware and cables you need to install the system. These include heavy-duty brackets, fasteners, and cable connectors that are safe and easy to use.
BOSS MC500 All-Terrain (B004S52NRG)
You get a 600-watt 2-channel amplifier and two 3-inch speakers that aren’t just able to reproduce accurate sounds at high volumes, but they’re also weatherproof, which means you won’t have to fear riding in unfavorable weather conditions.
The amplifier has a normal 3.5mm Auxiliary port where you can hook up a mobile device and play your own music or you can switch over to the FM radio and tune in to a local station and get updated on the news. There is also a USB port for easy playback from a flash drive, as well as an SD card slot. Installation is simple and you can mount this system on 0.75” to 1.25” handlebars.
Firehouse Technology Stereo (B073NNTMRR)
The speakers are advertised at 140 decibels which should be more than enough for most situations, although some users have reported that they can’t hear any sounds at 50+ mph. The 3-inch speakers are made of strong ABS material that will surely help them last for a long time even if you mostly enjoy riding on bumpy roads.
The chrome accent on the speakers will go well with a cruiser or bagger so you also get to benefit from an aesthetical point of view. The speakers can be easily installed on handlebars with diameters ranging from 7/16″ to 1 1/8″, which means that you can also mount these on other vehicles such as ATVs.
This Year’s Buying Guide
Riding your motorcycle is a joyous activity in itself, although that doesn’t mean there’s nothing to be done to improve on that. You can get the best motorcycle audio system and delight your ears with your favorite tunes. Not only will you enjoy great sound quality when traveling, but also while at home or when working on bikes in one of your friends’ spacious motorcycle storage sheds.
The problem is that there are lots of options on the market, and finding the right one for your motorcycle model, preferences, and budget can be a daunting task. The good news is that we’ve looked at some of the most popular models for sale, checked their features and compiled a guide where we present the most important ones that you should consider before buying.
Power and sound quality
When searching for a good motorcycle radio, the first thing you’ll probably look at is the power specifications. You can find various models with different power outputs, from 250-watt amplifiers to head units with a rating of 600 or even 1000 watts. The power of a sound system will also influence both sound quality and volume.
Some 300-watt speakers will surely be able to play music at much higher volumes than 125-watt speakers. The size of the speakers is also important, as larger speakers will amplify the sound better. You can find normal 3-inch speakers or even larger speakers, depending on the make and model.
The loudness of the speakers is expressed in decibels, and you can find speakers that are rated at 140 decibels or more, especially the large models which can be heard even when traveling at higher speeds. Just make sure that the speakers won’t be too large to affect visibility or stability, and that they can fit on your bike’s handlebar.
With a quality unit, you won’t just get the common FM capability, but also several other options that will allow you to listen to music from various devices. Many head units have 3.5mm AUX inputs which should enable you to connect just about any iPhone, smartphone, tablet or MP3 player so you can listen to your favorite tunes.
There are also models that feature USB ports which allow you to listen to music on your flash drives. SD ports are also available on a variety of amplifier units, with accepted capacities of up to 32GB.
Bluetooth, wireless remote controls, and display
Another thing you might want on a motorcycle sound system is integrated Bluetooth. You could easily stream your favorite music via apps such as Pandora and Spotify, and the best part is that you won’t have to wear wired headsets.
You can get a helmet with integrated Bluetooth and listen to your own playlist anytime, anywhere, without being bothered by wind noise, the sound of your engine or other distracting factors.
There are other things you might want in a radio system, things such as wired or wireless remote controls. You could keep one mounted on the handlebar and ensure that you can switch the radio channel, change the music or turn the volume up or down without raising your hand off the handlebar.
If the amplifier comes with EQ controls, you could easily change the settings and ramp up the bass or treble so it suits the particular genre of music that you’re listening to. There are also head units that come with small LCD displays which should be quite handy for giving you info on playlists, songs, time or radio channels.
Even if you go for one of the cheap motorcycle radio models, you might still want to make sure that you get a durable system that won’t break down after the first couple of months of light use. The head unit should have a sturdy case that’s made of metal or some tough thermoplastic.
The speakers should also benefit from a strong construction, as they get the most exposure since they’re protruding from the handlebar. ABS, polycarbonate or other materials are to be preferred, as these offer a good strength-to-weight ratio and they can ensure that the speakers can withstand a lot of use and abuse, not to mention constant vibrations from the motorcycle.
Besides being durable, the radio, and especially the speakers, should also be at least weather-resistant. If you’re wondering whether there’s a difference between weather-resistant and waterproof models, the answer is yes, there is quite a significant difference.
Speakers that are rated as weather-resistant can work well in damp environments and they can also take light rain without any damage. However, once you start using them in unfavorable weather and riding for hours in heavy rain, you’ll probably see their limits.
If you intend to ride your motorcycle in such a weather, then you might want to get a waterproof model. While more expensive, waterproof radios and speakers will be able to lighten your mood when riding in horrible weather while ensuring that you won’t have to spend money on another sound system due to premature failure.
Installation and ease of use
Before getting one of the popular sound systems out there, you might want to check the specifications to ensure that it fits your particular motorcycle model. The thing you have to pay attention to is the handlebar specifications.
Most models can be fitted on handlebars with a diameter between 0.7 and 1.25 inches, although you’ll certainly find variations that can fit larger handlebars such as those on ATVs, as well as smaller ones as is the case with scooters and electric bikes.
Installing the head unit and speakers isn’t exactly rocket science so you shouldn’t be afraid of doing this on your own. Most reputable manufacturers ship these audio systems along with mounting brackets, fasteners, cable connectors, and comprehensive manuals that help you install these devices correctly step by step.
If you want a solid support, you should look for a model that comes with heavy-duty brackets. You can put some strips of rubber on the inside of the brackets if they come without these or in case you still feel that the brackets are not tight enough on the handlebar.
How much should you spend?
Depending on your budget and specific needs, you can go for an inexpensive head unit with basic features such as FM radio and low-power speakers. Doing so will still allow you to enjoy a great sound while riding your motorcycle.
The good news is that you can find quite a few models that come with many extra features such as Bluetooth, USB and SD ports, remote controls, powerful amplifiers, EQ, and others that will give you an amazing audio experience every time.
How to install your motorcycle radio
If you’re afraid of having to install a motorcycle radio on your own, you shouldn’t worry as it isn’t as hard as you might think. Many speaker systems come with all the hardware you need for a quick setup. Most packages include fasteners, mounting brackets, and other accessories that make for easy mounting of both the speakers and head unit on the handlebar.
It’s important to check the manufacturer’s specifications to ensure that the speaker system fits on your handlebar. Choosing a position for the radio or head unit is important, and perhaps the best position is on the console. You should normally have a special spot to mount the radio.
Unless you want to drill holes in the console, you might want to look for an adapter or handlebar bracket so you don’t risk modifying or damaging the console. The wiring should also be relatively simple to figure out, especially since most systems come with intuitive wiring.
For the head unit, connect the red power wire to the positive console bus, and the black wire to the negative circuit socket. You also need to mount the speakers on the handlebar next to your precise motorcycle GPS units and ensure that the brackets are positioned correctly and that you have tightly fastened the nuts and bolts.
Once the speakers are securely attached, you can connect them to a power socket along the main wire harness as well as to the amplifier using the yellow wire that goes into the dedicated speaker input. You might also get some wired or wireless controllers mounted on the handlebars for easy access.
Frequently asked questions about motorcycle radios
How to wire motorcycle radio?
Wiring a motorcycle radio and speaker system is easier than you think. First, you need to make sure that you have properly mounted the radio/amplifier and the speakers using the provided hardware. You then need to connect the radio to the positive circuit bus which is located on the console by using the red power wire.
You then need to connect the black wire to the negative circuit bus. You’ll also need to connect the speakers to the power socket and then the yellow wire to the speaker input which is located on the amplifier.
Can you hear motorcycle radio?
Your motorcycle radio and speaker system should be able to provide you with decent a sound quality in many situations. However, you should be aware of the fact that wearing a full face helmet and riding at speeds of 50+ miles per hour might mean that you probably won’t be able to hear much from your speakers, especially due to wind noise.
You can minimize the effect of environmental noise by adding a windshield, and that way you won’t need to wear your protective motorcycle goggles all the time. Your speakers will also delight you with beautiful music at low speeds, as well as when camping in one of your comfortable motorcycle tents.
Are all motorbike speakers waterproof?
Before buying a radio and speaker system, you should be aware of the fact that not all of them are waterproof. If you’re often riding in rainy weather or traveling to regions where humidity levels are quite high, you should check some reviews of motorcycle radios and pick a model that is waterproof.
Going for marine-grade speakers is probably a good choice since these are waterproof and can withstand even heavier rains. However, it still wouldn’t be a good idea to leave your motorcycle outside in pouring rain, as the speakers, as well as other electrical components, aren’t going to very happy about it.
What’s the difference between weather-resistant and waterproof speakers?
In case you’ve seen weather-resistant speakers as well as weatherproof models and have no idea what’s the difference between them, then here’s an explanation. The weather-resistant rating is applied to speakers that might be able to hold well in humid environments and foggy weather, and they might also get away with being exposed to rain showers.
But being weather-resistant does not make them waterproof, and that means that they’ll likely get damaged if you leave them out in the rain for prolonged periods of time. Waterproof speakers, on the other hand, should be able to withstand even heavy rain so you can count on them in any kind of weather.
How loud are motorcycle speakers?
If you’re looking for speakers that are capable of playing music at high volumes, then you’d better check the specifications. Obviously, you’d want speakers that are larger in diameter and a powerful amplifier with a 600W or even 1000W power output. The more speakers and channels the amplifier has, the lower the wattage output for each speaker, so bear that in mind as well.
You can also look at the speaker ratings which are expressed in decibels. The higher the ratings, the louder will the sound be. However, you should know that riding at high speeds will create wind noise that can act just like modern noise canceling earbuds, which could prevent you from any of the sounds coming from your speakers.
What to consider before buying two-way radios for motorcycles
Getting a radio and speaker system is a great way to spice up your motorcycle adventures, but in some cases, you might need a little more than that in order to be able to communicate with traveling buddies.
This is one good reason why you might want to get the best motorcycle two-way communication radio which could help you stay in touch with family and friends while also being able to stay tuned to your favorite radio station to hear the news or to get a heads-up regarding the latest NOAA alerts.
Here are the main characteristics you may want to consider before getting a two-way radio for your motorbike.
Depending on how far you ride your motorcycle every day, you might want a two-way radio which has a short-to-medium operating range or one that can cover much larger areas. For normal commuting, a radio with a range of a few miles should be more than enough to stay in contact with work colleagues, friends, and family.
If you go touring often or are commuting to distant locations on a daily basis, then you will surely need to purchase a long-range radio. Most models have an operational range between 10 and 30 miles, although you can find a few radios that can work at distances of up to 50 miles.
Get a headset
An important thing you should do when searching for a two-way radio is to also buy a headset with a microphone. That way, you’ll be able to communicate with your motorcycle buddies while riding without having to lift your hands off the handlebar and risk an accident.
There are quite a few models to choose from which should fit nicely in most types of helmets. Just make sure that your full face helmet can accommodate the model you’re trying to get. Also make sure that the headset is compatible with the two-way radio, as you might bump into compatibility issues and you don’t want to waste your money on a model you can’t use.
Your radio will be exposed to the elements all the time, and that’s a good reason to make sure that you’re opting for a weather-resistant model. Make sure that the two-way radio has a sturdy case that can withstand constant vibrations so it will work well even on bumpy roads. The case should also be dust-proof to avoid getting loads of dust particles inside.
The radio might be completely waterproof and perfectly usable even in pouring rain or it may be just able to withstand some exposure to humid environments and some rain showers, given that you won’t leave it outside for hours on end under heavy rain.
There’s also the option to buy a two-way radio that comes with an integrated GPS. Doing so would give you excellent communication abilities while also helping you check out the road ahead.
The display of the navigating system is probably going to be smaller than what you can find in a dedicated unit, but you’ll still be able to orient yourself easily in unfamiliar locations.
While connecting your radio to your motorcycle’s battery will have a negligible effect while riding, as the battery will recharge itself, this can become a problem when you’re stationary. Using your radio for extended periods of time while at a moto festival or when camping can drain your motorcycle’s battery.
That could be a huge problem if you don’t have one of the reliable motorcycle battery chargers available on the market or at least a powerful motorcycle jump starter to get going and recharge your battery on the road.
This is a very good reason why you may want to opt for a radio that comes with a separate battery which would enable it to work for a long time without draining your battery and raising the risk of getting stuck in the middle of nowhere with a dead battery.