There’s absolutely nothing like the feeling of shooting down an open road on your motorcycle, listening to your favorite music on really good speakers – especially when the speakers and the music are really loud and sound great. Good music, whether it is Born to be Wild, Shut Up and Drive, or even the Ride of the Valkyries, seems to be a necessary part of the whole scene, and the better the sound, the better the energy.
But, as you may already know, there are a couple of problems with making this open road fantasy into a reality. For one, headphones or earbuds are known to be really dangerous to use, they are often very uncomfortable and can be difficult to control, and some even feel the same about helmet speakers.
And if you are using speakers, most normal Bluetooth speaker systems are not really up for the challenge – they may not mount correctly on handlebars or handle the stress, they probably won’t play nearly loud enough, and even if they are waterproof they may not really be designed for the environmental conditions like sun, wind and dust that big burly bikers like you and me take in stride.
Best then to get good quality speaker systems designed for motorcycles. But who makes the best motorcycle speakers on the market today? Let’s find out.
Spoiler List: We will offer nine recommendations for the best speakers and soundbars for motorcycles in 2021, and at the end of the article even a couple of recs for the best helmet speaker systems, but here are our top six:
- Best 2-Speaker Motorcycle Speaker System: Kuryakyn Road Thunder Motorcycle Speaker Pods and Bluetooth Audio Controller
- Best Budget 2-Speaker Motorcycle Speaker System: Boss Audio Systems MC420B 600 Watt Bluetooth Motorcycle Speaker System
- Best 4-Speaker Motorcycle Speaker System: BOSS Audio Systems MC470B Bluetooth Motorcycle 4 Speaker System
- Best Budget 4-Speaker Motorcycle Speaker System: GoHawk TJ4-Q 4 Channel Bluetooth Motorcycle Speaker System
- Best Premium Motorcycle Soundbar: Kuryakyn 2720 MTX Road Thunder Weather Resistant Motorcycle Sound Bar Plus
- Best Budget Motorcycle Soundbar: GoHawk RD8 Gen 2 Waterproof Bluetooth Motorcycle Soundbar
What to Look for in the Best Motorcycle Speakers?
Here at Speakergy we’re all about the sound, but with motorcycle speakers, there are some very important technical issues that must be considered as well. The most important factors are:
- Extreme Weather Proofing
- Ease and Security of Mounting
- Reliable Bluetooth Connection
- Overall Build Quality and Durability
- Plenty of Power
- Great Sound (well that’s obvious, isn’t it haha)
Now you would think that just buying a speaker system designed for motorcycles would be enough, but in my own experience, and the experiences of my friends, of some of our readers, and of many customers on Amazon and other sites this is definitely not always the case. Many motorcycle speakers simply don’t hold up under these tough conditions, lots and lots of them don’t have enough power for even tame, low-rev city driving, let alone blasting down I80 at 120 (which, btw, we absolutely do not and cannot condone!), and far too many of them sound, at best, uninspiring – not what either Wagner or Steppenwolf deserve.
How to Find the Best Motorcycle Speakers for You
Fortunately you do not need to find out just how waterproof and weatherproof a particular speaker is, determine what Bluetooth codec it uses, measure the diameter of your handlebars or run all over town to audition speakers and try to imagine what they would sound like not in a showroom but on the open road.
We have done all the homework for you, and based on my own personal experience, lots of feedback from friends, family members and colleagues, and reading countless reviews from verified customers around the web, we have compiled a list of the very best speakers for motorcycles in 2021. You can be sure that every motorcycle speaker on our list sounds incredible, is easy to install and has everything you need, and can handle the vibrations, weather and other (sometimes brutal) conditions it may face.
We’re going to organize this buyer’s guide a little different because in our research and experience we have found three really amazing companies – by far the three best manufacturers of motorcycle speakers on the market today – and recommend their products with the most possible enthusiasm. Luckily, between the three companies, you can find such a range of prices and styles that everybody, and every bike, will be well served. And all three offer excellent sound, excellent design, excellent overall quality, and – from the most premium to the most affordable – excellent value for the money.
The three sections, and the three manufacturers, are:
- The Best Kuryakyn Motorcycle Speakers: the best of the best, with superb sound and ultra-tough construction, not to mention ideally effective designs clearly made by people who know motorcycles (and music).
- The Best Boss Audio System Motorcycle Speakers: in addition to having a perfect name for this kind of thing, Boss motorcycle speakers are super-strong and durable and have very good sound – not quite on the level of Kuryakyn, but punchy, fun, dynamic, and crystal clear, and for often substantially less money.
- The Best GoHawk Motorcycle Speakers: a budget alternative for reliable, easy-to-install speakers with very good sound – not as good as Boss or Kurykan, and not as loud, but still a great choice and an amazing value, and much better sounding than most other brands.
Finally, we’ll talk at the end of the article a little bit about safety when using motorcycle speakers, and even recommend a couple of outstanding helmet speakers. But for now, let’s dive right into this all new buyer’s guide for the best motorcycle speakers available today!
The Best Motorcycle Speakers in 2021
Kuryakyn – Premium Quality Motorcycle Speakers
An incredible product, the Kuryakyn Road Thunder sound bar combines the finest motorcycle sound system and a perfect portable music player in one beautiful, full power audiophile package.
Any Kuryakyn product is conservatively rated, and when their amplifiers claim 300 watts peak power, as the Road Thunder 2720 MTX does, you can bet it can play louder than you can handle – even when you’re riding full speed with the pipes roaring and the wind howling. But more than just volume, the 2720 MTX has amazing high fidelity sound – musical, detailed and dynamic, with beautiful tone and clarity.
Superbly built and offering awesome resilience and long term durability in all kinds of conditions, the Kuryakyn Road Thunder 2720 MTX has some of the best sound I’ve ever heard, and is easily the best motorcycle soundbar on the market today.
For combining raw power and stunningly beautiful high-definition sound, I’ve never heard a better motorcycle speaker system than the Kuryakyn Road Thunder Speaker Pods. They have built in Bluetooth connectivity, and the pair of brilliant 3 inch full range speakers have a full 100 watts of power each – and not 100 watts like from most companies, but with extremely high current, low distortion and mind-blowing dynamic power. If you want loud and clear, forget about numbers and look no further!
A beautiful and functionally flawless product, built to the exceptionally high standards that have made Kuryakyn a legend, the RoadThunder Speaker Pods are nearly perfect motorcycle speakers, and a perfect choice for the best bikes and the most discerning listeners – truly the best powered Bluetooth speakers for motorcycles on the market today.
A great way to get into the legendary world of Kuryakyn sound for much less money, the 831 is a basic amplified speaker without Bluetooth connectivity, meant to plug into any music player, phone, tablet or Bluetooth receiver.
But what the Kuryakyn 831 motorcycle speakers lack in features they more than make up for in pure sound quality – superb low distortion sound, tight, accurate and sweetly musical, but with plenty of power and energy. In fact, the incredible built-in 50 watt audiophile amplifier not only sounds better than anything else, it plays louder than other amps rated at much higher output power.
Kuryakyn quality and reliability, beautiful styling and incredible sound – the Kuryakyn 831 are some of the very best motorcycle speakers on the road today, and an incredible value.
Boss Audio Systems – Superb but Affordable Motorcycle Speakers
The coolest looking motorcycle speakers on the market today (though perhaps not to all tastes!), the Boss Audio System Phantom 800 weatherproof Bluetooth speakers are also maybe the most powerful – with an awesome 300 watts of true power to each side! But it’s not all about power and volume. Well, ok, it is a lot about power and volume, but still the high quality speaker drivers and clean amplification play all kinds of music with amazing clarity, smooth, distortion-free musicality and real energy, even at lower volumes.
The Bluetooth system works flawlessly, the waterproofing and weatherproofing are beyond what even the most extreme conditions can dish up, and there is even a super-convenient in-line volume control (you know, if you want to turn it up even louder).
Even people who don’t want a super-cool black skeleton hand hovering above their handlebars might still be tempted to buy these brilliant Boss Audio Phantom 800 weatherproof Bluetooth speakers, which are some of the finest sounding I’ve ever heard, and easily the best motorcycle speaker system at this price.
Boss Audio is not above making strong fashion statements, and if the black death claw of the wonderful Phantom 800 speakers above is a little much, you can still find a certain audacity in their MC470B, with its four bright and beautiful chrome speakers mounted across your handlebars. And you can also still be immersed in the almost overwhelmingly powerful listening experience that Boss does, well, like a boss.
In fact, some people actually find the four speaker configuration even more powerful and, speaking of power, the 1000 watts of total output means that even with the shortest, fattest pipes, and even at speed, you can hear their amazing sound quality loud and clear. And you can use any source, as both Bluetooth streaming and wired connectivity are included.
The dream of loud, clear and exhilarating music on the open road is fulfilled by the Boss Audio Systems MC470B amplified Bluetooth speakers better than with almost any other system we know, and the design (including both Bluetooth and wired connectivity and an inline volume control), the weatherproofing and the overall quality and value are unprecedented – a superb motorcycle speaker system for the money!
All Boss Audio Systems motorcycle speakers represent amazing values, but the MC420B is so powerful, so well built and sounds so incredible that, for a little north of a hundred dollars, it is an almost unbelievable bargain.
A simple three piece system, with two full-range high resolution speakers mounted on the handlebar and a separate 600 watt (!) amplifier, the MC420B allows for both Bluetooth streaming and wired audio inputs, has an in-line volume control and sounds simply incredible.
With this much power and such high-quality amplification, you can play music ridiculously loud with no discernible distortion, not just audible but really intense and really clear over road and pipe noise, and at lower volumes this amount of raw power gives music an unmistakably dynamic and energetic quality that makes all kinds of music more exciting and realistic. And the superb full range speaker drivers are equally excellent, and a perfect match for the Boss Audio high fidelity amplifier.
An easily affordable speaker system which nonetheless offers premium sound, material and construction quality, the Boss Audio Systems MC420B may well be the best value in motorcycle speakers on the market today.
GoHawk Motorcycle Speakers – Incredible Bang for the Buck
While we are entering into a whole different price category with the popular GoHawk motorcycle speakers, you should not assume that there is a significant decrease in performance or quality. In fact, while the big, powerful GoHawk TJ4-Q speaker system does not have quite the high level of sound quality or resolution of the Boss or Kuryakyn systems, it still offers beautiful sound, real dynamic musical power and surprisingly rich and solid bass.
And the GoHawk TJ4-Q will play really loud. I’ve heard these babies on a bike with baffleless pipes at high speed, and not only could I hear the music clearly, it had great definition and detail- an engaging and fun listening experience.
With Bluetooth 5.0, a fancy and useful wired remote controller, wireless, wired and SD card input, a built-in FM radio and a full 1000 watts of power, this is one of the most advanced, usable and powerful systems going, and an outright steal at the price – easily the best budget motorcycle speakers in 2021!
With the GoHawk TN4 speaker system we are getting into a price range where it is natural to wonder if motorcycle speakers can be any good at all. But, in the GoHawk tradition of offering amazing quality and value at silly low prices, the TN4 system, with two bar-mounted speakers and separate Bluetooth amplifier, is not only good, it is a constantly surprising and engaging listen.
The full range dynamic speaker drivers are designed and made so well, in fact, that there is great tonality and sound quality from the deepest to the highest notes, with no harshness but plenty of detail. And the GoHawk amplifier, with a staggering 600 watts of dynamic power, is similarly clean, detailed and low distortion, and will push the speakers loud enough to hear all of the music without any strain – even the loudest pipes are no problem!
A really great sounding system, the GoHawk TN4 is also technologically advanced and brilliantly designed, with a nice wired controller, Bluetooth 5.0 and wired audio inputs, an SD card slot and built in FM radio, and is built to withstand the toughest conditions – an easy choice as the best motorcycle speaker system in this price range, and an exceptional value.
We began this buyer’s guide for the best motorcycle speakers in 2021 with a remarkable (and expensive) motorcycle soundbar, and coming full circle we now arrive at another remarkable motorcycle soundbar – but this one dirt cheap! Yes, there is no doubt that the 400+ dollar Kuryakyn soundbar is well worth the money, and it does, naturally, sound better than this modest GoHawk RD8, but the difference may be less than you’d expect.
In fact, while the Kuryakyn offers astounding audiophile resolution and accuracy, the big, warm and punchy sound of the GoHawk RD8 2nd Generation waterproof soundbar is, for many people, more fun to listen to, and the sonic signature sounds absolutely great with any popular music genre, rock, pop and EDM, rap and R&B, country and acoustic singer-songwriter music. Not as accurate, perhaps, not as high fidelity, but really musical and enjoyable.
This is not, though, a very high power system, and will not play at any real volume on the open road – especially with loud pipes and/or strong winds. For city driving, though, or especially quiet bikes, the GoHawk RD8 G2 is a remarkably good sounding and useful soundbar, with a great display that is clear and simple enough to not be distracting. Add to that both Bluetooth and wired connectivity, USB and SD card slots, a built-in FM radio and strong, durable and weatherproof construction, and this becomes the best bargain soundbar for motorcycles available today.
Final Thoughts: Are Motorcycle Speakers Really Safe to Use?
Now that you’ve found the best speakers for motorcycles available today, you may still be wondering if motorcycle speakers are actually safe to use. And, of course, you get different opinions from different people, but in our experience they are perfectly safe (and tons of fun).
There are a couple of considerations, though, to make motorcycle speakers even more safe to use:
- Never listen to music so loudly that you get distracted or stop paying attention to the road (or, for that matter, get a ticket for noise or incur the road-wrath of others)
- Make sure you don’t pay too much attention to controls, displays, changing tracks or volume – all of the systems in our buyer’s guide for best speakers for motorcycles are very well designed in this way, but always be mindful of how dangerous even short lapses in concentration can be.
- Do not use earphones, headphones or in-ear monitors. They are illegal in most places, and they really take you out of full awareness of the road and what’s going on around you. Some people even think that helmet speakers – even well-designed systems designed specifically for motorcycle riding – can be unsafe in this way, although they are usually legal.
- Don’t ever, ever, pull into Sturgis playing Yanni – there’s no better way to get a good and immediate beating.
Although it isn’t the focus of this article, if you are interested in a great helmet speaker system, and want to find the best helmet speakers on the market today, we strongly recommend the Sena 20S-02 Motorcycle Helmet Speakers.
They are very well made, slim and comfortable, sound great, have excellent noise cancellation, work with pretty much any music source – phones, tablets, MP3 players, or anything with Bluetooth, and they even have a built-in FM radio. And if you get two sets you can talk to your passenger in full-duplex while still listening to music.
For a great choice at a lower price, we think that the Cardo Audio & Microphone Kit is a brilliant choice, with great sound and excellent design and functionality for music and communications. Another company that clearly really knows motorcycles and riding!