The problem a lot of Harley riders face when switching from the OE antenna to a hidden antenna is a loss in signal quality of the AM/FM stations. This is often more of a problem for folks living further out of the cities where broadcasting ranges naturally tend to drop off. There’s no real way to know if the signal drop is due to the antenna or due to distance, without testing your OEM antenna against some of the top hidden antenna brands.
- Rydonair Antenna
- Kuryakyn Tune Trapper
- J&M Audio shorty antenna
- Pingel Radio Antenna
- CravenSpeed Bullet Style Antenna
I’ve done some digging and a fair bit of testing to find out exactly which is the best hidden antenna for Harley Davidson’s.
Something very important worth mentioning is that where you decide to place your hidden antenna can and most likely will play a big factor in the quality of your audio signal.
When it comes to the actual hiding part of the antenna, you have a few options. One option is to place the hidden antenna inside the fairing.
Another option is modify the stock antenna and hide it under the fender so that it comes out under the seat. To do this remove the original antenna from the rear fender and feed the antenna under the fairing all the way so that the end of the receiver sits neatly underneath the seat where it meets the gas tank. While I’m on the topic of seats, If you’re a tall rider like myself, do yourself a favor and check out this guide to Harley Davidson seats for tall guys, and how to make your ride more comfortable with a seat pad.
The other option is run the stock antenna inside the rear wheel well and up along the frame of your bike in the direction of the fuel tank. It’s not going to be completely hidden, but it will be hardly noticeable. Having the antenna on the outside also helps with signal loss. Some of the powered antenna’s work fairly well if placed correctly like underneath the bat wing. Another good option is to look at an amplified hidden antenna whose purpose is to increase the signal strength.
If you go this route, make sure you pick up a rubber plug to cover the hole where the OE antenna comes out – usually between the fender and saddlebag. This mod does make the rear look a lot cleaner and usually works pretty well around town where signals are stronger, but when you head out on a good long ride, expect to lose reception.
The problem is that not all Harley models allow for this little trick and so finding an antenna specifically designed for this purpose may be your only option.
There are a number of aftermarket hidden antennas, some of them designed specifically for Harley Davidson models. Harley antennas can be a bit pricey – just like all other things Harley, but they do work well.
Harley Davidson Hidden Antenna Reviews
The most popular hidden antenna is the Kuryakyn Tune Trapper. It works great when mounted in the fairing area and the reception is strong enough to pull a strong signal even while working inside a steel garage. It’s a relatively cheap option and definitely worth a try. Ofcourse, reception can vary depending on where you live and the areas you’ll be riding in.
The J&M Audio shorty antenna offers some great reception. It also works really well with the J&M amp and speakers. You’ll most likely get all the same channels that you did with the OEM antenna and a very similar signal quality, if not slightly better. While we’re on the topic of Harley speakers, you can make significant improvements over your existing sound with a speaker upgrade- In this guide I review the best Harley speakers.
The Pingel Radio Antenna is an antenna kit manufactured in the USA which allows you to mount your antenna down below and out of the way. The relocation kit includes all the hardware and brackets you will need. This is another affordable way to hide the OE Harley antenna.
It fit’s great for all radio equipped Harley touring models including the older models from 1985, Electra Glide, Street Glide & Road Glide. Some guys have made comparisons to the Biketronics HogTenna and the Metra. Neither of which seem to offer quite as good reception for local stations.
We took a look at the CravenSpeed Bullet Style Antenna as well. It’s not exactly a hidden antenna, but at 5 inches in length, it’s as hidden as a non hidden antenna gets. It fits pretty much all Harley models from 98-2020 as it’s designed to match the original antenna base exactly.
It’s also great because of how simple it is to install, and it’s made in the USA. It’s incredibly durable as it’s machined from billet aluminium and coated with a neat black non fading finish. But with all antennas, the question is, how good is the signal. In this case, reception is great. Definitely one of the best “hidden” antennas you can fit to your Harley.
A direct competitor to the CravenSpeed Bullet antenna is the Rydonair Antenna. This bad boy has an incredible amount of positive reviews all over the internet and has proven itself to be one of the best short stubby antennas that you could fit to your Harley. It’s super low profile and will work with all 1998-2020 models. It’s slightly longer than the CravenSpeed by 2 inches but it really does work incredibly well. If you’re not concerned about completely hiding your antenna, this would definitely be my recommendation.
The reality is that your Harley is a vehicle. Find an antenna that fits inside the fairing and pair it with any “auto” antenna mod along with a Y cable and it should work just fine. If you’re not interested in using the original Harley antenna and are just looking for a recommendation for a new hidden antenna that offers the best radio signal quality, I would go with the Rydonair Antenna.
If this still doesn’t meet your standards, I would suggest a bluetooth headset that would be compatible with your mobile devices AM/FM player, this will still allow you to communicate with your passenger and the other riders in your group.