It’s the middle of summer, and motorcycle aficionados are en route to Boyne City, Michigan, for motorcycle fun. Motorcycle audio upgrades are one of the fastest-growing segments of the mobile electronics industry. We’ll give you a few pointers and advice in this post to ensure that your new audio equipment for your bike lasts for years and sounds excellent.
Whether you buy a new radio, a set of speakers, an amplifier, or a whole audio improvement package, you’ll be covered by a manufacturer’s warranty against defects. In most circumstances, if you get a bit too enthusiastic with the volume control and break a speaker, the manufacturer will usually replace it. To acquire that replacement, you’ll need to present a receipt proving that the products were purchased from and installed by an authorized dealer.
Who will assist you if you have questions or issues about the system a week after the show? What happens if one of the speakers buzzes or rattles? Is it something to do with the installation? Is it a faulty or broken speaker? Working with a store where you can go for assistance might save you a lot of time and aggravation.
Any worthwhile motorcycle audio improvement will necessitate the use of an amplifier to push the speakers loud enough to drown out your exhaust system’s “loud pipes save lives” slogan. Unless the amplifier is made expressly for the make and model of bike you own, it must be correctly set up to avoid damaging your new speakers.
Oscilloscopes and distortion detectors are common instruments used by mobile electronic specialty shops that operate from a brick-and-mortar site to ensure that the system is properly configured. Setting up an amplifier is a crucial step that is frequently ignored. If you can’t turn up your audio system to at least 85% of its maximum volume, it wasn’t set up properly.
When you bring your motorcycle to a shop to have its audio system upgraded, you can rest assured that it will be treated like royalty while it is in their care. For your fairing, saddlebags, windshield, or any other fragile parts that need to be removed to enhance the bike, a good shop will offer a storage rack covered in carpet or a blanket.
Overpainted surfaces like gasoline tanks and bumpers, several shops put protective films. Damage to a CVO Harley gas tank has been reported to cost more than $1,000 to repair. Working outside doesn’t always allow you to safeguard your bike from harm.
The shop may need to construct a mounting bracket or adapter depending on the components you chose for your audio system update. They may walk back and forth between the wood shop and the fabrication room while your motorcycle is in their installation bay, so they don’t have to “make” parts near your bike.
While driving down the interstate or idling at a traffic light, motorcycles produce a lot of vibrations. Electrical connections that aren’t both mechanically secure and appropriately secured can be wreaked havoc by this high motion. Look for a store that ensures each connection is made in such a way that the two wires have a good physical connection. Twisting and taping electrical connections isn’t a good idea, and quick connections like 3M Scotchloks can break wires and cause systems to fail.
Most shops solder connections and wrap them in high-quality vinyl electrical tape or heat-shrink tubing to protect them. The wiring is carefully packed up and formed into a harness using zip ties or automotive-grade fabric and fleece tapes once the connections are complete. You should have your audio installation evaluated if it does not appear to have come straight from the manufacturer’s production line.
Reliability and serviceability are two more crucial elements to consider when upgrading a motorbike sound system. If speakers must be screwed into mounting adapters, stainless-steel hardware should be used so that the fasteners do not rust. If you add speakers to a saddlebag, the system should have a service loop or electrical connector that allows you or your mechanic to remove the bag for repair without cutting or undoing any wiring.
In the mobile electronics business, there are hundreds of brands to choose from. There are about a dozen of businesses that specialize in speaker systems for motorcycles, even some work with marine audio. When looking for speakers, you’ll want to choose something that not only sounds fantastic but also lasts a long time. Motorcycles are not the same as automobiles or vehicles.
The speakers are immediately exposed to the sun’s strong UV rays and will dry out and break if they are not made of the proper materials. Look for speakers that can withstand water and UV exposure so you can be confident in your purchase.
The Harley-Davidson Boom! Box infotainment system, which was introduced in 2014, provides a number of features. It also has a sophisticated equalizer built in that adjusts to the number of speakers and the specific features of the audio system you select. When you replace the stock H-D speakers with something that sounds better and can handle more power, the manufacturer-selected equalization curve works against you, making the system sound worse rather than better in most circumstances.
When dealing with factory-installed Harley source units, you have two options. In a good shop, the installation expert will have a module that will allow them to reflash your radio to a smooth and natural EQ choice. A second alternative, which provides even more flexibility in terms of the audio system’s final performance, is to integrate a tiny digital signal processor (DSP) in the system architecture.
The installation professional can adjust the default EQ curve as well as fine-tune the performance of your sound system to your liking. The installer will need to set up a microphone to tune the audio system if you choose a DSP. At a meet or rally, the background noise would make this approach difficult.
One final word on upgrading audio systems for any application. We all have distinct listening preferences and budgets. Better items, on the other hand, nearly invariably sound better. This doesn’t imply you have to spend tens of thousands of dollars on new speakers and amplifiers, but we do advise against making “stop-gap” purchases that will “keep you going until you can afford something better.” Spend your money once on quality equipment, and it will last you a lifetime.
We hope you found this article to be informative. Now, put down your phone or computer and hop on your motorcycle to visit Music In Motion to inquire about upgrading your motorcycle’s audio system. If all goes according to plan, you’ll have a fantastic music system to enjoy on the way to the next meet or rally.