Written By Jon Langston
Published Oct. 7, 2021

Motorcycle riders know there’s no better feeling than firing up a motorcycle and cruising down the open road. Sometimes though, the ride can become tedious if you’re out there for a long time and the hum of the engine and the pavement zooming by under you can become monotonous. The only thing more dangerous to a motorcyclist than fatigue is, well, cars. To combat the fatigue issue, riders listen to music, news, or podcasts through motorcycle-mounted speakers. So, whether you like rock, rap, podcasts, news and traffic, and everything in between, you’ll be set. Here are our top picks for the best motorcycle speakers on the market.

The Best Motorcycle Speakers Reviews and Recommendations

Best Overall

From boats to motorcycles, BOSS Audio has been developing top-notch products for years. You could pay a lot more for bike speakers but you could also pay a lot less and hope for the best. We selected the 1000-watt MC4760B because it finds that sweet spot between quality and affordability. The power is wired, but you stream content directly from your phone via Bluetooth. BOSS also features an easy plug-in to popular music apps like Spotify and Pandora.

Included with a class-D amplifier, the system comes with four 3-inch speakers in chrome or black. Equipped with the latest weatherproofing materials, you won’t have to worry about corrosion or weathering. Most importantly, the adjustable brackets fit a wide range of handlebars from 0.75 inches to 1.25 inches. Accompanied by a three-year warranty, the BOSS MCB470B motorcycle speakers provide everything you could ask for in an audio system.

Specs
  • Dimensions 3.6 x 2.3 x 1.5 inches
  • Weight 5 pounds
  • Power 1,000 watts
PROS

Easy to install

Available in black or chrome

Weatherproof

Clear, consistent sound even at high speeds

Three-year warranty

CONS

Wired

No on/off switch for amplifier; external toggle recommended

Poor bass quality

Best Value

Finding value in a product is vital these days, and the GoHawk TN4-R speakers can be had for about half the price of your typical motorcycle audio system. It comes with a two-channel, 100-watt amplifier and two 4-inch full-range speakers, which can be fitted to any handlebar from 1 to 1.5 inches. With Bluetooth technology that is compatible with both iPhones and Androids, the wireless connection can reach up to 15 yards, so you won’t have to worry about poor connections.

The GoHawk audio system, which includes a built-in FM radio, is manufactured with high-quality ABS material and a high-performing bass. Also made with an advanced water-resistant design that produces balanced sound quality, the audio system is ideal for long cruises no matter the weather. The GoHawk TN4-R speakers may be less expensive than the competition, but they still pack a punch.

Specs
  • Dimensions (speaker) 4” x 5” each
  • Weight 3.89 pounds
  • Power 100 watts
PROS

Speakers are rated IP56 water-resistant

FM radio included

Plug and play

CONS

Wired amplifier

Amplifier is not waterproof-rated

Sound quality isn’t the best

FM reception is spotty

With 300 watts of peak power and increased versatility thanks to an integrated USB port, the Kuryakyn 2720 Road Thunder Sound Bar Plus takes handlebar-mounted audio to a new level. If you love podcasts, or listening to news, traffic, or audiobooks while you ride, this is the motorcycle speaker system you need because its voice clarity is unparalleled.

An internal 4-channel amp powers two 2-inch x 3-inch full-range speakers with dual voice coils; paired with four high-frequency 1-inch silk dome tweeters with N42 grade magnets, and the sound quality is distortion-free at nearly any volume level. The durable IP66-rated housing is weather-resistant and the internal 4.1 Bluetooth receiver allows wireless connectivity to any Bluetooth-enabled smartphone or music device. Best of all, the universal articulating mounting clamps fit virtually any handlebar between 7/8-inch and 1 1/4 inches.

Specs
  • Dimensions 10.62 x 2.91 x 2.91 inches
  • Weight 3 pounds
  • Power 300 watts peak
PROS

Clear voice output is ideal for news, traffic, and podcasts

Plug and play

Easy button actuation, even with gloves

Articulated clamps allow for adjustability and versatility

CONS

Sits high (over 5 inches) above the handlebar

Pricey, but worth it

Best Multi-Purpose

While handlebar-mounted speakers surely serve a function, they’re not the most attractive accessory you can bolt onto your motorcycle. The Q3 speakers from Lexin do more than just play amplified sound. They feature “atmosphere” lights that can wire directly into your bike’s turn signals or running lights, to provide extra visibility and a bit of flair. With a heavy-duty metal bullet housing (in black or chrome) and 150 watts of peak power to each 3-inch IB67-rated waterproof speaker, you can get premium stereo sound from your turn signals. How cool is that?

There are only three buttons, so actuation and control are a cinch, even with gloves on. A built-in FM radio is integrated, and you can use the USB port to charge your phone while riding or play content directly from your smartphone if you’re out of wireless range. Fits bars from 7/8 to 1 1/4 inches.

Specs
  • Dimensions 11.9 x 8.4 x 4.9 inches
  • Weight 5.59 pounds
  • Power 150 watts peak
PROS

Easy to install, easy to control

Includes USB port for input or device charging

Lights can wire into your turn signals for extra visibility

Bluetooth-connect two phones at once

CONS

Quite large

Wired

Can drain your battery if left on

Honorable Mention

A renowned audio company, Kicker is known for small speakers that deliver big, balanced sound. The 40PSM34 Mini motorcycle speakers are no different. In some cases, motorcycle speaker systems tend to be complicated and you need professional assistance to wire them correctly. Kicker Mini audio speakers are simple and still give you decent sound quality.

The Kicker motorcycle speakers are easy to use and install for anyone looking to listen to music while they ride. Ideal for small motorcycles and ATVs, the speakers are also weatherproof to go anywhere you need. The small black speakers are enclosed in a durable chrome covering, which adds style to your ride. If you don’t want the hassle of big and bulky motorcycle audio systems, the Kicker PSM Mini speakers deliver quality sound with ease.

Specs
  • Dimensions 10 x 10 x 10 inches
  • Weight 3.45 pounds
  • Power 50 watts
PROS

Small size, low profile

Renowned name brand

CONS

Amp not included

Mounting clamp for 1-inch handlebar only

How We Selected the Best Motorcycle Speakers

Motorcycle speakers aren’t as common as they were even just a few years ago. The advent of Bluetooth technology and streaming services, plus vast improvements in smartphones, helmet comms, and speakers themselves, have rendered hard-wired connections nearly obsolete. In selecting the motorcycle speakers for this buying guide, we’ve considered factors such as ease of installation, weatherproofing, and Bluetooth connectivity. We didn’t give much credence to speaker systems that require wiring to your phone. 

Our product selections, rankings, and awards for this story are based on research. While we haven’t conducted real-world testing on all of these products yet, we’ve looked at consumer testimonials and data, tutorials, and general discussions on social media and in forums. We also consider price and specification in the context of the segment. And, of course, we rely on our institutional knowledge of the automotive landscape to weed out weak products.

Buying Guide/What to Look For 

We’re not just drivers; we’re riders, and we’ve had a lot of experience with motorcycle speakers. We’ve messed with wonky clamps, we’ve smacked them when they stopped working while riding, and we’ve spent precious campground time taping up loose wires. But the most important lesson we’ve learned is this: Even the best, most powerful external motorcycle speakers sometimes can’t overcome the sound of the open road or the roar of exhaust pipes. If you’re really looking for the best sound quality that doesn’t miss a beat, we recommend plunking down for an in-helmet communications system. But if you insist on having speakers mounted to the bike, here are some other things to consider.

Purpose

When you’re in the saddle, motorcycling can become tedious. Especially on the highway, the droning hum of the engine and the road (and wind) can lull a rider into not just complacence, but even drowsiness. It happens while driving a car, too but on a bike, such weariness can be dangerous, and perhaps even fatal. You’ve got to stay sharp.

Motorcycle speakers allow a rider to stream music, listen to podcasts, keep up with news, traffic, and weather, and sometimes even let you take and make phone calls and stay connected. They’re a great way to remain focused on the task at hand.

Compatibility

Not that long ago, if you wanted to listen while riding you had to connect a phone or MP3 player/radio to the speakers via an annoying wire that flapped in the wind. External motorcycle speakers were always hard-wired to an external amplifier and that was wired directly to the battery on the bike. It was an unwieldy (and probably dangerous!) mess of wires and worst of all, the amplifiers would often continue drawing battery power even after the bike was turned off. 

In recent years, motorcycle speakers began using rechargeable batteries and internal amplifiers to cut down on the spiderweb of wiring. The latest Bluetooth and Lithium-ion battery tech has made motorcycle speakers small, unobtrusive, and easy to connect.

Ease of Installation

Motorcycle speakers are most often mounted to the handlebar, so their sound is directed straight at the rider. Now that wiring has been (mostly) eliminated, mounting is easy: Just bolt or strap them on, depending on the type of clamp the manufacturer provides.  Some still require an amplifier; mount this securely in an inconspicuous spot such as the frame downtube.

When choosing motorcycle speakers for your bike, always measure the diameter of your handlebar, or wherever you intend to mount them, to ensure the proper fit. You don’t want to jerry-rig things to your handlebar or anywhere controlling your bike might become compromised if it comes loose. 

Weatherproofing

Most anything on a motorcycle by definition needs to have a certain amount of weatherproofing, particularly electronics. Look for the IP code. The IP Code is an international standard that rates a product’s protection against intrusions by water and foreign particles, i.e., weatherproofing. Motorcycle speakers rated IP67 or higher should be completely dustproof and waterproof. Anything less might be compromised by road dirt or moisture.

Types

External

This roundup focuses on external speakers that are mounted to the bike. These speakers have improved by leaps and bounds in the last few years so that the sound quality is as good as it can be — while cruising in the open air at highway speed with a helmet on. These days, wireless connectivity to a smartphone is a given. 

Wired vs. Wireless and Rechargeable

Wireless capabilities and battery technology have improved to the point where there’s absolutely no need to hardwire a music player or your smartphone directly to the speakers anymore. Some motorcycle speakers still require a wired external amplifier, however. If you choose one that does, be sure the amplifier is at least IP65-rated waterproof and you may want to consider adding a toggle or other switch to the electrical circuit to prevent battery drain. 

Instead, we recommend motorcycle speakers with a powerful, rechargeable lithium-ion battery and an internal amplifier. You may need to carry a power pack for quick charge-ups. But that’s far better than getting tangled up in wires while riding. Or spending your evenings on the road messing with short-circuits or badly wired connections.

In-Helmet

There is a huge market for communication devices using in-helmet speakers these days, and 90 percent of those would provide clearer, louder, and more immediate sound quality to a motorcyclist than handlebar- or fairing-mounted speakers. For this roundup, though, we’ve selected only external motorcycle speakers that mount to the bike. In-helmet speakers, depending on quality and power, can be rather like over-ear headphones that provide a “cocoon effect,” lulling the rider into complacency by blocking out background and atmospheric noise — including vital sounds you need to be cognizant of while riding a motorcycle, such as emergency sirens, car horns, backup alarms, and perhaps even screeching tires. 

Tips and Tricks

As we said, we’ve done this and we know the drill. And we’ve learned a few things about motorcycle speakers:

  • When installing, be mindful of dash gauges and hand controls; don’t block your view or impede your hands.
  • Opt for waterproof ratings of IP65 or higher; “weather-resistant” speakers might suffice in some locales but not in rainy climes.
  • For ease of use and installation, we recommend battery-powered, Bluetooth-connected speakers that don’t require wires.
  • If you have wired motorcycle speakers and are considering an upgrade, get Bluetooth-connected streaming speakers. They don’t require a wired connection to your phone or music player. 
  • Wired speakers usually require an (also-wired) external amplifier. But many of these will keep drawing power from your battery even after you’ve turned off the bike. Install a toggle or other type of switch in the electrical circuit. This way you can manually shut off the amp and save your battery.

FAQs

Q: What is a good wattage for motorcycle speakers?

The best motorcycle speakers should have at least 300 watts of total power. The higher the wattage, the higher the possibility of having loud, clear music with minimal distortion. The best systems will push 1000w.

Q: Do motorcycle speakers have to be waterproof?

No, but unless you ride in a place like Arizona, they should be. Any exposed electronic components on a motorcycle should be waterproof, not just “resistant.” Look for an IP rating of at least IP65 to ensure moisture and road dust can’t creep in.

Q: Are motorcycle speakers illegal?

No, but wearing headphones while driving or riding is illegal in many states. And of course, noise ordinances are always a consideration. Don’t be “that guy.”

Final Thoughts

For that sweet spot between quality and affordability, we recommend BOSS Audio’s 1000-watt MC4760B speakers. They’re waterproof, adjustable, and fit a wide variety of handlebar diameters. If you want the best, clearest sound you can get, try the Kuryakyn 2720 Road Thunder Weather Resistant Motorcycle Sound Bar Plus.

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