Let The Music Play
I was surprised at how far aftermarket audio solutions for motorcycles have come, but unfortunately there are a bunch of junk products on the market. I’m not going to write a fully separate buyer’s guide for these, but there are a few things you should look out for if none of the products on this page take your fancy.
Wherever possible ignore the PMPO (peak music power output) wattage figure and look for the RMS (root mean square) number to get a true idea of how loud and powerful the system is. Systems with separate high range speakers (also known as “tweeters”) will generally give you a better, less muddy sound.
Make sure you have a bike with the right voltage. Most audio systems can only be used on bikes with 12V systems. These days 6V bikes are rare, but you may have one. So just make sure.
My opinion is that Bluetooth is non-negotiable, but if you have a cheap MP3 player that you don’t mind having wired to the audio system then you may be fine with it. When it comes to an expensive smartphone though, I prefer to leave it safely in a pocket. On top of this you can’t really work smartphone controls while riding. Bluetooth sound systems can skip tracks and control other playback functions remotely using the dedicated, glove-friendly controls on the control unit itself. So what I’m saying is, don’t rely on wired solutions unless you know it will work for you.
The Sound of Music
Also, you should seriously consider whether what you want are external loudspeakers. If you are driving at speed and/or are wearing a full-face helmet, you are unlikely to hear well. It may be better to get a helmet with built-in Bluetooth speakers if you want the best sound experience. If you want everyone else to hear the music however, then obviously these are the ones to go for.