Most people are contented with riding their bikes without music. But, if you’re like us, you prefer listening to some music because it’s more entertaining. It can also somehow increase the driving experience. If you wish to install a sound system on your bike, getting motorcycle amplifiers should be on top of your list.
Your bike’s sound system consists of a radio, speakers, and an amplifier. An amp is perhaps the most important of these because it boosts the quality of sound signals from your devices. With good music, longer trips can be more fun and addictive.
However, buying a motorcycle amplifier is easier said than done. There are a lot of factors to consider to ensure you get the best sound quality. So, continue reading as we share what makes the perfect amplifier for your motorcycle!
Where Do I Install Motorcycle Amplifiers?
This is probably the most common question motorcycle riders ask. However, what you need to know is that there’s no specific place when it comes to installing your motorcycle amp.
Look for an area that won’t block its audio input so you can easily insert your memory card or USB. This can be on the saddlebag, tank bag, handlebars, under the headlight, or even under your seat.
Most motorcycle amplifiers have a compact design, so most riders choose to put them under their seat for easy access.
What Do I Look For When Buying Motorcycle Amplifiers?
Picking an amp for your bike doesn’t have to be hard, especially if you already know what to look for. Here are the top factors that determine the ideal motorcycle amplifier:
Type of Speakers
Firstly, do you like Bluetooth motorcycle speakers, helmet speakers, or handlebar speakers? This is more of a personal choice and depends on what’s most convenient for you. However, it’s worth mentioning that the last type is the most popular among motorcycle riders.
Motorcycle amplifiers come in different shapes and sizes. While most amps on the market are compact, we still recommend double-checking before making a decision.
This is to make sure that the specific model you choose fits in the available space of your motorcycle.
You also have to check if the amp you’re planning to buy has an output power that matches your speakers. But, why is this important?
If your amp output and speakers don’t match, this can result in under or overpowered speakers.
For instance, if you get an amp that supplies less power to your speakers, you’ll end up with weak, distorted, and unclear sounds. Meanwhile, you may risk blowing out your speakers if you get an overpowered amp. This is true especially if the output is a lot higher than your speakers.
To make sure you get the perfect speakers and amp match, check your amp’s RMS rating. This indicates the consistent power your amp can provide. Then, compare it with your speakers’ total power requirements.
Additionally, make sure your amp is compatible with the entire motorcycle audio system and not just the speakers. Getting the wrong amp won’t give you any results.
Choose amplifiers that have extended frequency responses and low deviations. You’ll also want to check if the manufacturer lists the device’s THD (distortion.) The lower the number, the better.
Number of Channels
Motorcycle amplifiers are usually categorized depending on their number of channels. For beginners, a channel simply refers to how many discrete speakers an amp can adequately power.
If your audio system only has a speaker or subwoofer, look for a mono-channel amp. Pick a two-channel amp for two speakers, a three-channel amp for three speakers, etc.
Also, keep in mind that some amps let you bridge several channels into one. This feature allows them to form better sound outputs for multiple speakers.
This one is an important factor to consider because it’s the reason why you bought amplifiers in the first place. Higher wattage means a louder volume.
A lower wattage would be fine if you’re just driving around town or over short distances. But, if you’re mostly using your motorcycle on highways, we suggest going for a higher wattage. Highways are a lot noisier, so having a high wattage lets you enjoy the music even more.
Some additional features that are nice to have include:
- Bluetooth connectivity – consider investing in an amp with Bluetooth technology if you don’t want anything to do with wires.
- Thumb controls – allow for convenient access while driving to help you avoid distractions.
- Weatherproofing – especially crucial if you often ride your bike in wet weather. Water-resistant amplifiers are great for little protection from the rain. But, if you ride through extreme weather conditions, a waterproof motorcycle amplifier is strongly recommended.
- Ease of installation – look for a product that has a user manual and comes with all the necessary installation hardware.
- Docking station – to let you enjoy personal music from your phone, tablet, or mp3 player. Having a docking station also allows you to charge the said devices while on the go.
- Low and high pass filters – a low pass filter cancels high frequencies while a high pass filter does the opposite. This results in a clearer and smoother sound output.
- Warranty – a warranty insures your investment in case it fails to work one day and you need to return it.
How Do I Install Motorcycle Amplifiers?
A motorcycle amplifier helps boost your speakers to improve their volume and audio quality. Follow these steps when installing an amplifier on your motorcycle:
What you need: (may vary based on your motorcycle or installation needs)
- Wire Cutters
- Wire Crimper and Stripper
- Electrical Tape
- Zip Ties
- Amplifier Wiring Kit
Getting a Motorcycle Amplifier
See to it that you buy an amplifier meant for motorcycles. These amplifiers won’t strain your battery since they’re made to run at low load levels. Motorcycle amplifiers have smaller, compact chassis sizes to fit tighter spaces. Plus, they’re made of materials that withstand vibrations and outdoor elements.
The power rating should also be the same or similar to your bike’s requirements for the best performance. Lastly, determine where you want to install your new amp to narrow down your choices.
Disconnecting the Negative Cable of Your Battery
Always disconnect your battery’s negative cable before starting to keep yourself and your electronics safe. Remove the seat to access the battery and unscrew or unbolt the negative cable from the terminal post.
Doing this will prevent shocks, shorts, and other unwanted issues.
Installing the Motorcycle Amplifiers
Depending on where you plan to mount the amplifier, you need to have access to that area.
So, if mounting next to or on top of the stereo, remove the windshield and/or outer fairing to have access. Otherwise, remove the seat if you’re planning to mount it under your seat.
You’ll also need a mount plate bracket and zip ties to mount the actual hardware. Make sure you can access all the necessary wiring before securing everything in place.
Connecting and Wiring the Amp to the Stereo, Ground, and Battery
Once your amplifier is in the right spot, it’s now time to wire it to the necessary components.
Like any amplifier, the remote power and any RCA cables will run to the stereo’s receiver. The power wire will then run to your battery’s positive terminal and the ground will wire to a grounding point.
Always check your model’s instructions if there are any wiring diagrams you can follow.
Testing the Amplifier
Test everything out before finishing up.
Connect the battery and test the stereo, speakers, and amplifier controls. Make sure that all parts are working as they should. If not, now’s the time for some troubleshooting and making any necessary changes.
Reassembling and Cleaning Up the Installation
Use excess zip ties to clean up and run all wiring so they won’t be seen. Reassemble the seat, outer fairing, or other parts you removed while making sure not to crimp or pull any wires.
Test your handlebar steering by turning the front wheel to the left and right. This will ensure that the wiring didn’t cause any issues.
Can I Use a Car Audio Amplifier as Motorcycle Amplifiers?
No. Never use a car amplifier on your motorcycle. Since car amplifiers operate at very high loads, using one on your motorcycle will drain the battery very quickly. You’ll eventually start experiencing issues such as engine failure, dimmer lights, and so on.
This is why we strongly recommend sticking with motorcycle-specific amplifiers since they draw low loads from the battery. Meaning, they won’t strain the battery to enable it to last longer.
Investing in a good motorcycle amplifier helps you endure a long and strenuous ride. Just make sure you know what you want and you’ll likely end up with what you’re looking for.
We hope our post helped you find the best model to make your trips more enjoyable and memorable. Keep this post in mind to help narrow down your search and to help you make that final decision.
Happy shopping and stay safe on the road!