Motorcycle aficionados have a chance to get their bikes out and go for a ride now that the weather is nice across the country – but many riders gripe that the factory audio systems on their bikes don’t sound as good as they’d like.
There are a few reasons for this, as well as some relatively simple solutions to improve these systems. At the very least, a proper motorcycle audio system upgrade will contain an amplifier and a new pair of motorcycle audio speakers. When searching for new motorcycle speakers, this article emphasizes a few things to look for.
When riding a motorcycle, unlike in a vehicle, your speakers are exposed to the elements. Natural barriers such as the sun, water, sand, dirt, and debris might ruin your speakers. When looking for a new set of motorcycle audio speakers, you should search for ones that are entirely weatherproof.
JL Audio thoroughly tests its speakers for salt spray exposure.
Waterproof The majority of speakers are plastic or metal. Ceramic or neodymium magnets attach to ferrous metal plates within the speaker’s motor construction. Water must not come into contact with these metal plates. There must be a seal between the woofer cone and the tweeter post when using coaxial speakers. Water can enter the motor assembly and cause corrosion if this seal is missing. A test known as ASTM B117 exposes speakers to a salt fog spray to test for corrosion or material failure in the marine speaker market. If your speakers have this grade, you may rest assured that they will provide years of service.
Dust-resistant Design Similar to the requirement for water resistance, a motorcycle audio speaker should be able to perform consistently in dusty or dirty conditions. The performance of a coaxial speaker ruins by only a few particles of sand jammed between the voice coil former and the tweeter post.
You should seek a speaker made with UV-resistant materials. Even after years of direct sun exposure, these plastics will not chalk, fade, crack, or degrade. It’s an unpleasant experience to have your speaker cones or surrounds come apart after a few years on your bike. Look for ASTM D4329 testing on the speakers you intend to utilize to be sure they’re up to the task. The products experience years of UV and heat exposure in a short period of time in this test. You can trust them to work hard on your bike if they pass this test.
You’ll need the power to play your music loud enough to drown out the wind and drown out the roar of a noisy exhaust. To gain appropriate performance, you’ll need to add an amplifier to your bike, and cannot rely on the radio. Your new speakers must be able to handle the amp’s power.
Your speaker’s motor is the voice coil. It transforms your amplifier’s electrical signal into a magnetic field that pushes or pulls the speaker cone forward or backward. If the voice coil is receiving a lot of power, it must be physically large enough to disperse the heat generated. Look for large-diameter voice coils, which behave like your car’s radiator.
Hard- and soft-dome tweeters have a lot of stereotypes attached to them. Hard, metal dome tweeters are said to sound harsh, whereas soft-dome tweeters sound smooth and laid back. After listening to thousands of speakers, we can say that there are just as many examples of each type of tweeter that support this hypothesis as there are that contradict it.
A speaker’s sound is not determined by a single material choice. Each component of a speaker functions as part of a larger system. The cone, surround, spider, voice coil, and magnet structure all play a role in defining a speaker’s overall performance. Listening to a system is the only method to find out how it sounds. However, selecting materials that are weather-resistant and long-lasting is critical.
Many people have purchased bolt-on audio system modifications at events such as Bike Week or the Thunder Beach Fall Rally. People selling things at these events might even offer to install them on-site. It’s great to have the convenience and rapid gratification, but what about after-sales support? What happens if a speaker isn’t able to deliver? What if you get the kit home and discover that something is missing? You’ll have to track down the vendor and hire someone to remove and replace the faulty component if they aren’t local.
You know you’ll get the after-sales service you expect and deserve when you deal with a dedicated shop with a “brick and mortar” presence. Your retailer is available to help you every day if you have a query or issue, or if you wish to purchase additional upgrades.
What would you say if someone approached you on a cruise and said, “Hey, I created these great tires in my basement, do you want to try them?” You’re going to be cautious unless this person’s last name is Dunlop or Pirelli. That is a positive development.
You bought a Honda Goldwing, a BMW K1600, or a Harley-Davidson Road Glide or Street Glide because you trust the development and testing processes used by those manufacturers. Every year, decades of engineering, design, and invention result in more reliable and high-performing products. The audio components are the same. A tiny business can travel to Asia and get its name printed on a speaker order, but does anyone really know what you’re receiving for their money?
Dealing with a recognized company guarantees that you will receive product support even after the purchase has been made. You’ll get cutting-edge technology for outstanding performance. Dealing with a premium brand entails FEA design study, Klippel testing, zealous quality control, and ongoing research. Why take a chance with your audio purchase?
Today is the day to upgrade your motorcycle’s audio system.
Contact Music In Motion when it’s time to replace your old audio system or add a new system to your motorcycle. We have the products and skills necessary to create an audio system that will sound amazing and last for years.