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Best Overall: Boss Audio MC420B at Amazon
"Clear, rich sound, loud enough to hold up at highways speeds with very little distortion."
Runner-Up, Best Overall: JBL Cruise at Amazon
"Should give you enough volume to hear when you’re riding at 70 mph or more."
Best Budget: Pyle PLMCA20 at Amazon
"The hardware gives you great returns on sound quality for the price."
Best Sound Quality: Kicker PS-Series 6.5-Inch Speakers at Amazon
"The low 2-ohm impedance allows for greater output when paired with a powerful compatible amp."
Best Four-Speaker Set: GoHawk AN4-QX at Amazon
"Includes a built-in 4-channel class-D amplifier with a combined 120 watts RMS and 1200 watts of peak power."
Best Handlebar Speakers: MTX MUDHSB-B at Amazon
"Designed specifically to serve as an all-in-one handlebar-mounted audio solution."
Best 6x9-inch: Polk Audio DB692 at Amazon
"Their marine certification makes them perfect for a motorcycle out in the elements."
Best Helmet Speakers: Sena 20S-02 Bluetooth System at Amazon
"The sound comes through loud and clear for both music and conversations."
Best Budget Helmet Speakers: UClear Helmet Speakers at Amazon
"Not only for the affordable price, but also for the very usable features you get for your money."
Courtesy of Amazon
You may be surprised by how much quality you can get for a reasonable price with the Boss MC420B sound system. The set—available in matte black or chrome—comes with two three-inch speakers and a two-channel amplifier that delivers a peak power output of 600 watts. The result is a clear, rich sound, loud enough to hold up at highways speeds with very little distortion.
The MC420B is designed to withstand weather and the elements, including a degree of water resistance (though it’s not fully waterproof). It offers RCA inputs in addition to a 3.5-mm auxiliary jack for easy smartphone connection, but you might find yourself most often streaming your audio in through the built-in Bluetooth connection.
Installation is fairly simple with the provided hardware, which includes a wired volume knob that you can attach to your bike in a convenient place. It doesn’t come with an on/off switch though, so you may want to buy and install a separate switch if you want to make sure the system doesn’t drain your battery.
If you’re looking to get the tunes pumping without too much fuss, check out the JBL Cruise speaker kit for easy-to-install, high-quality equipment. With a built-in amp, each of the two speakers can produce 20 watts of RMS (or continuous) power. That should give you enough volume to hear when you’re riding at 70 mph or more. They’re designed to be mountable on almost any motorcycle, scooter, or ATV handlebars, and set up to integrate with your mirrors.
The JBL Cruise doesn’t hold back on tech designed for your convenience. In addition to Bluetooth for wirelessly streaming from your phone, there’s a 5V USB port for charging devices. For controlling your music, buttons on the speaker are large enough to be pressed with gloves on. It’s also made to handle the weather, with waterproofing rated at IPX5, which means protection against low-pressure streams of water.
Motorcycle audio setups, fortunately, can be pretty affordable, and the Pyle PLMCA20 definitely presents excellent value. The pair of three-inch weather-resistant speakers come with a mini amp, along with mounts and cabling for installing the equipment on your handlebars and a wired on/off power switch as well. It doesn’t support Bluetooth, but you can connect to your phone or audio devices with a 3.5-mm aux input, and to a head unit or other sources via the RCA jacks.
The hardware gives you great returns on sound quality for the price, too. You’ll get clear audio with a 20 to 20,000 Hz frequency response. With the two 50-watt speakers, you get a combined 100-watt max output that should be loud enough to hear at high speeds, though it may depend on your type of helmet and your motorcycle’s noise level.
Great audio quality often means upgrading to great-quality parts. One way to take your motorcycle’s sound to the next level is by replacing your stock fairing speakers with a pair of 6.5-inch coaxial speakers from Kicker’s Powersports line. The 42PSC652 model’s low 2-ohm impedance allows for greater output when paired with a powerful compatible amp. (A 4-ohm 42PSC654 model is available as well.) The set is designed to work best with 60 watts RMS / 120 watts peak power.
Each of the two-way speakers is built with a ¾-inch titanium-dome tweeter suspended above a polypropylene woofer, allowing it to vibrate more freely for stronger bass. This premium construction gives it a frequency response range of 40 to 20,000 Hz and high sensitivity of 92.5 decibels. It’s very efficient in terms of the current it needs to draw from your system and weighs a lightweight 15 ounces. And, of course, it’s made with durable, weather-resistant materials to keep the sound quality at its best in any conditions.
If you’re looking to set up a full four-speaker system on your motorcycle all at once, the GoHawk AN4-QX is a nice, complete package. The 4.5x5.5-inch speakers include a built-in 4-channel class-D amplifier with a combined 120 watts RMS and 1200 watts of peak power. It’s got the volume for high speeds, plus weather-proofing for harsh conditions—an IP56 rating indicates its resistance to dust and powerful water sprays.
Installation should be easy enough, with mounting clamps for 1 to 1.5-inch handlebars. It also comes with a convenient wired remote with full on/off, volume, and playback control. Some users reported having to make modifications to make their particular setup work, but this isn’t uncommon with motorcycle speakers. The AN4-QX is Bluetooth 5-enabled for wireless streaming from your sources, but it also includes a 3.5-mm aux cable to connect your phone or another music player to the aux audio jack.
There is no shortage of speakers you can install on your motorcycle’s handlebars, but the MUDHSB-B sound system from MTX is designed specifically to serve as an all-in-one handlebar-mounted audio solution. The weather-resistant shell—IP66-rated as having full protection from dust and strong jets of water—takes the form of a cylinder 10.5 inches long and 3 inches in diameter. Its versatile mounting rings can clamp onto handlebars from 7/8 to 1-1/4 inches in diameter, and you can install the unit at a wide range of angles to suit your setup.
Pumping out audio from inside the shell is a complete six-speaker system, with two 2x3-inch full-range speakers, four one-inch tweeters, and an internal amp with 150 watts of peak power. You can connect to your music through Bluetooth or a 3.5-mm aux input, and control track playback through buttons directly on the unit. There’s also an aux output if you want to connect an additional amplifier or soundbar. The MUDHSB-B is pricier than a lot of other individual speaker setups, but you’re paying for crisp, loud sound from a compact handlebar-optimized device.
The six-inch by nine-inch speaker size offers great options for well-balanced sound, with stronger bass than smaller sizes. Polk Audio’s DB+ Series 6x9 speakers can be installed in cars and basically any other vehicles, but their marine certification makes them perfect for a motorcycle out in the elements. Their IP55 rating means they’re protected against dust and average jets of water, and their parts are made from non-corrosive, UV-tolerant, and other resistant materials.
The three-way coaxial speakers (sold in a pair) each have two silk dome tweeters for crisp highs and a polypropylene woofer cone with a durable rubber surrounding for rich lows. You can get a frequency response between 30 and 22,000 Hz, with 93 Db of sensitivity. With a 4-ohm impedance, the DB692s can handle up to 150 watts of RMS and 450 watts of peak power, and their sound quality shines through best with a high-quality amplifier.
If you’d rather not blast your tunes out loud for all to hear, you can opt for a helmet with built-in Bluetooth, or speakers designed for individual helmet use. These helmet speakers are often full communication systems that let you talk to others in addition to hearing audio, and the Sena 20S-02 is a high-quality example. Installation involves clamping the main unit onto the side of your helmet, choosing which of different microphone options works best for your situation, and placing the slim circular speakers into your helmet. You can then listen to music or GPS voice navigation from your phone through Bluetooth 4.1, pick up radio stations on the built-in FM tuner, or intercom with up to eight other riders within a 1.5-mile range.
You won’t get booming bass from the small speakers, but the sound comes through loud and clear for both music and conversations. The 20S-02’s multitasking system lets you switch between the multiple audio functions with a series of button presses, or you can use the hands-free voice prompts and voice commands. It’s a premium device filled with tech-forward features, with firmware that continues to get upgrades and improvements.
UClear’s Digital Pulse wired drop-in speakers are a popular choice for a helmet unit, not only for the affordable price but also for the very useful features you get for your money. Its main drawback is the lack of Bluetooth, so you have to connect it to your smartphone or other communication device using a standard 3.5-mm audio cable. Once it’s plugged in, though, you get good, well-rounded sound quality (20 to 20,000 Hz frequency response) and strong volume from the 40-mm diameter drivers.
The Digital Pulse comes with an installation set with Velcro mounts and foam spacers to help with fit. The drop-in nature of the speakers is also designed to make them quick and easy to take out and switch into a different helmet; it should fit well with most motorcycle helmet types.