The Best Speaker Upgrades for Your Harley Davidson
While the thunderous V-twin rumble and roar of a Harley Davidson motor is music enough for many motorcyclists’ ears, for Harley riders with more touring-oriented models, sometimes a bit of actual music – the kind played with electric guitars, bass and drums – is just what you need on a long ride, and the Harley Davidson factory knew this well enough to fit speakers to certain models. However, while the OEM speakers are perfectly adequate for many applications, sometimes, especially if you really love your music, you might feel your bike’s speakers need a bit more oomph. If you need more bass, treble and mids – more everything, really – there are plenty of aftermarket Harley speakers available to really get your music soaring above the noise.
Best Harley Speaker Upgrade Quick Review
|Product||Best For||Our Rating|
|1. Rockford Fosgate 6.5″ Fairing Speakers||Best Speaker Upgrade For Harley Street Glide|
|2. Hogtunes Front Speakers for Harley-Davidson FLH Touring Models)||Best Speakers For Harley Davidson Ultra Classic|
|3. Harley Davidson Polk Audio Factory Speaker Replacement Kit||Best Harley Electra Glide Speaker Upgrade|
|4. J&M Rokker XXR 7.25″ Front Speakers forfor H-D||Best Speakers For Harley Road Glide|
|5. BOSS Audio Systems MC440B Bluetooth Motorcycle Speaker System||Best Bluetooth Speakers For Harley Davidson|
Top Choice: Rockford Fosgate 6.5″ Fairing SpeakersIf you just want to upgrade your Street Glide’s OEM speakers, these direct replacements from Rockford Fosgate will give you crystal clear audio at freeway speeds.
Best Speaker Upgrade For Harley Street Glide
Best Speakers For Harley Davidson Ultra Classic
Best Harley Electra Glide Speaker Upgrade
Best Speakers For Harley Road Glide
Best Bluetooth Speakers For Harley Davidson
Playing Music On Motorcycles
Music and motorcycles have gone together like bread and butter for decades. Even non-motorcyclists are likely to conjure an image of Harley riders thundering along a freeway when they hear the rockin’ sounds of Steppenwolf’s Born To Be Wild. And, of course, if you’re a motorcyclist, nothing adds to a good ol’ cruise down a lonely stretch of highway like your favorite tunes blasting in your ears. While most motorcyclists are content to do this via headphones connected to their phone, or maybe through helmet speakers, or perhaps via a bluetooth helmet connected to your music player, others, who own Harleys with built-in speakers, prefer to listen to music on their bikes the same way they’d listen to it in their living rooms.
Why Should You Upgrade Your Harley Speakers?
Why would you want to add an aftermarket air filter to your bike? Why put on a custom set of pipes? After all, Harley Davidson designed everything on your bike to function optimally, right? Well yeah, to a degree. The factory, however, also had to factor in a number of other things into their design of your ride, namely cost and government regulations. While your Harley speakers may perform perfectly adequately for the average rider, perhaps you just want more out of them. Maybe you’re an audiophile who’s really particular about crystal clear sound. Perhaps you’re a hard rocker who needs extreme volume. Maybe you just want everyone else on the road to hear how awesome your taste in music is. Whatever your reason for wanting to upgrade, though, when you decide to do this, you’ll be confronted with an array of choices of aftermarket speakers. So, which ones do you pick?
Which Aftermarket Speakers Are Right for My Harley?
First things first, you’re going to have to do a little research before ripping your old speakers out and putting new ones in – and that’s why we’ve written this article, to help you out a little in that department. Harley speakers aren’t like car speakers; you can’t just walk into any auto shop and pick up some universal amp and speakers. You’re going to need to make sure that you get speakers designed for motorcycles, and that you get the right speakers for your model. Motorcycle speakers are designed for the very specific purpose of working well on bikes, and are quite different to car speakers.
Are Motorcycle Speakers Waterproof?
Yet another reason to not use generic car speakers on your bike is that they’re not waterproof. Using any speakers other than motorcycle specific speakers on your bike will likely result not only in poor audio performance, but also broken speakers, eventually, as rain and condensation from being outdoors will get into them, damage the electronic components, and eventually break them beyond repair. Motorcycle speakers are designed to be waterproof, and to be able to handle a downpour and still work perfectly well. The best motorcycle speakers will be able to withstand all manner of adverse weather conditions, from scorching hot days to torrential downpours to blizzards (not that you should be riding in blizzards, though), and, if they’re really well-made, will keep functioning at optimal levels for many years and over many thousands of miles.
What is the Best Amp for A Motorcycle?
Again, while any auto parts store is likely to have a wide range of generic car audio amps, many of which will provide awesome sound in a car, most of these won’t work very well on your bike. You have to remember that the sound space inside a car is very different to that of a motorcycle; a car is insulated against both the sound of the motor and the sounds of outside traffic and the rushing wind. As such, many sound frequencies – especially bass frequencies – which will come through loud and clear inside a car will simply be lost while using that same sound system on a moving motorcycle. You can generally count on a motorcycle-specific amp and speakers to have been designed to allow you to hear the various frequencies of your music over the roar of your engine, the hum of traffic, and the rush of the wind.
Another reason to use a motorcycle specific amp and speakers on your bike is that they’ve been designed to work within the limits of your motorcycle’s charging system. While motorcycle and car charging systems operate on similar principles, something that works fine on a car charging system may well be too much for a motorcycle’s smaller charging system, and the overload will destroy it over time.
How Many Watts Are Motorcycle Speakers?
Motorcycle speakers need to be fairly powerful, since they have to compete with the howl of the wind at freeway speeds, as well as the roar of the motor and the sound of traffic. When talking about speaker wattage, it’s important to remember that there’s a difference between PMPO wattage and RMS wattage. While you can go into quite a lot of very technical details about the difference between the, basically, what really counts in terms of real world performance is your speakers’ RMS output. Manufacturers, particularly of cheaper speakers, will put their PMPO figures in big, bold displays on their packaging, and usually these numbers will be very high – but if you check the small print for the RMS output, you’ll see that it’s generally a lot lower.
For motorcycle speakers, make sure you look at the RMS figure, not the PMPO figure, for really good clarity of sound and decent volume at freeway speeds.
Best Harley Speaker Upgrade Review
1. Rockford Fosgate TMS6SG Power Harley-Davidson Street Glide 6.5″ Full Range Fairing Speakers (2006-2013)
Best Speaker for Harley Street Glide
If you just want to upgrade your Street Glide’s OEM speakers, these direct replacements from Rockford Fosgate will give you crystal clear audio at freeway speeds.
If you don’t want to rip up your Street Glide’s entire sound system, and all you want to do is upgrade the speakers themselves, then these 6.5″ Full Range Fairing Speakers (TMS6SG) from Rockford Fosgate are likely just what you need. All you’ll have to do to complete the upgrade is remove your old speakers and slip these in; they’re designed to be installed with your original fittings, so no modification or extra speaker adapters are necessary. At 75W RMS they provide enough power to get your music’s low, mid and high range frequencies through to you with crystal clarity at freeway speeds. They’re not badly priced either.
- Direct replacement for your OEM speakers; no modifications necessary
- Water and weather resistant
- Tweaked for good lows, mids and highs at freeway speeds
- Decent price
- Not plug and play for CVO and Screaming Eagle models
2. Hogtunes 352F-AA Replacement Front Speaker (Gen3 5.25″ for 2006-2013 Harley-Davidson FLH Touring Models)
Best Speakers for Harley Ultra Classic
If you’re looking for a bit more oomph than your stock speakers give you, Hogtunes’ 352F-AA Replacement Front speakers, rated at 100W RMS, will give you crisper sound at speed.
If you’re finding that you’re regularly maxing out the volume of your stock front speakers on your FLH Ultra Classic, and the sound of the music is getting kinda fuzzy at freeway speeds, you’ll probably be quite pleased with what Hogtunes’ 352F-AA Replacement Front speakers can achieve in terms of sound performance. At 100W RMS they definitely have enough power to play your tunes at a volume that clears both the roar of the motor and that of the wind at speed, but the biggest difference you’ll notice, compared to your stock speakers, is the clarity of sound. These water and weatherproof speakers delivery a very crisp, clear range of frequencies, and since they drop right into your existing system without any need for modification, installation is a breeze. For a quick and easy upgrade that’ll make a clear difference in sound, these speakers tick all the right boxes.
- Crisper, clearer sound at freeway speeds
- No need to modify your existing setup; these drop right in
- Decent price
- Not a massive improvement in volume over stock speakers, just much clearer sound
Best Speakers for Harley Road Glide
These 7.25” front speakers from J&M Rokker’s XXR range are the largest that can be installed in a Harley fairing. If you’re looking for volume, these are loud.
If you’re looking for the biggest speakers you can install in a Harley fairing (without cutting it up and doing extensive modifications) your search will probably lead you to J&M Rokker’s XXR 7.25″ Front Speakers. J&M Rokker claims the cone mass and volume potential is comparable to a 6×9 speaker, which is pretty impressive, and a 165W RMS they’ll be playing your tunes to you with crystal clarity even at speeds of 80mph. All of this comes at a price though; these are certainly not the cheapest speakers around. Also, you’ll need acoustic pads for an optimal installation of these speakers, and those have to be bought separately.
- Largest diameter speaker that can be installed in a Harley fairing
- 165W RMS provides plenty of volume
- Waterproof and designed to operate perfectly at extreme temperatures
- Need to order acoustic pads separately
- Quite pricey
For a budget upgrade of your Electra Glide’s stock speakers, Polk Audio’s FLHT Factory Speaker Replacement Kit does a decent job, and it’s easy to install too.
It might be the case that you’re mostly happy enough with the stock speakers on your Electra Glide, but you really wouldn’t mind just a little extra in the way of volume and clarity of sound. If you don’t want to splash out on an expensive upgrade, then Polk Audio’s Factory Speaker Replacement Kit for your Electra Glide may well be just what you’re looking for. These 6.5” weatherproof 100W RMS speakers deliver great clarity of sound at enough volume to be clearly audible at cruising speeds, and they’re a direct replacement for your factory speakers, so no extensive modifications or complicated installation procedures are needed. At just under $60 dollars, they’re perfect for the budget-conscious Electra Glide rider.
- Great price
- Improvement in sound over stock speakers
- Easy to install
- Not a massive improvement over stock speakers
BOSS Audio Systems’ Bluetooth Motorcycle Speaker System offers a handy one-size-fits-all aftermarket bluetooth handlebar-mounted speaker system, which can be fitted to most Harleys. It also comes with an amplifier.
If you ride a Harley (or any other brand cruiser, for that matter) that doesn’t have built-in speakers, and you’re looking to add a sound system to your bike, but don’t want to have to do too complicated a job installing it, or splash out too much cash on this project, then a generic bluetooth motorcycle speaker system, like this one from BOSS Audio, will likely suit your needs. This kit comes with a bluetooth amplifier, mounts for the handlebars, and two 3” speakers. The mounts can fit right next to your cellphone mount. It’s got everything you need to install a basic sound system on your cruiser. While the small speakers might not provide great volume or clarity of sound at higher speeds, for lower speeds it’ll handle just fine. For just under $80 it’s a decent setup for a basic motorcycle sound system.
- Should fit on most Harley Davidson cruisers (and other brand cruisers)
- Weatherproof speakers
- Good price
- Comes with an amplifier
- Small speakers might not provide great volume and sound clarity at higher speeds
Good Speakers + A Harley Davidson + Your Favorite Tunes = Cruising Bliss
If you’re a motorcyclist who loves his or her music almost as much as you love your Harley, then upgrading your motorcycle’s stock speakers (or adding a bluetooth sound system to your cruiser) is an upgrade that’s guaranteed to put a smile on your dial. With the best Harley speakers on your ride, you’ll be able to hear the sweet sounds of your favorite tunes with crystal clarity (and at a rockin’ volume) over the roar of the V-twin motor and the howl of the wind. If there’s one thing that makes a long cruise on the freeway even more satisfying, it’s music, and with upgraded speakers on your cruiser you’ll never have trouble hearing your tunes again.