Riding with music on the radio can be a great way to relax and enjoy the scenery. However, the benefit of having a radio is not always available as not every motorcycle has one.
In this article, we will be discussing which motorcycle types feature a radio, whether having one is worth it or not, and what other options you can consider for an audio setup on your motorcycle.
Do Motorcycles Have Radios?
The majority of motorcycles don’t have built-in radios, with one exception – high-end touring bikes. These types of bikes usually come with factory-fitted, integrated radio systems.
You can set up your radio in two ways:
Here, you will need to plug the headset device into the audio jack of your bike’s dash. You don’t have to worry about outside noise in this setup since the audio doesn’t have to travel through the air.
Intercom-style systems often also provide audio features like cell phones and pillion communication, which is useful in many situations.
Traditional speaker systems
Much like your car stereo system, with the additional problem of exposed speakers that need to be protected against the elements. They will only be really useful if the bike has a substantial shield from the wind and rain.
What Types of Motorcycles Have A Radio?
If you need to listen to the radio while riding, you should opt for a motorcycle with significant protection from the wind as that can affect how clearly you can hear the audio.
Most touring bikes have large fairings (see what are motorcycle fairings) and windshields, which are perfect for accommodating a radio and protecting it from the wind. These bikes usually come with factory-installed radios and have different audio playback options, including a CD player.
Generally, you can expect high-end bikes from companies like Honda and Harley-Davidson to feature built-in radios.
Is A Motorcycle Radio Worth It?
A lot depends on the bike and the way you ride. Bikes like Harley-Davidsons are naturally loud, and you may not be satisfied with the performance of the traditional speakers since the engine noise will drown out the audio.
If you like to drive at top speed, the howling wind, coupled with the engine noise, will dilute the sounds from the radio. Also, if you crank the radio volume too high, it may cause disturbance for other drivers and pedestrians on the road.
Some riders use headphones to combat the issue of too much or lack of sound. However, there are a lot of states that do not consider this an ideal practice.
Headphones can reduce your ability to pay attention and react to your surroundings immediately, becoming a safety hazard for you and others on the road.
Adding A Radio To A Motorcycle That Does Not Have One
You can retrofit the radio on your bike if it doesn’t come factory-fitted. Remember that it must be compatible with your bike’s specs for it to work, so always check before you buy.
Most radio sets are small enough to fit on motorcycle handlebars. Generally, you’ll need ones with a diameter between 0.7 and 1.25 inches.
You will also need to make sure your bike has some sort of audio output. If you are unsure what output wire your bike has or where it is located, consult with an expert before attempting any installation.
Other Options To Consider
For people who are keen on adding a custom audio system on their motorcycles apart from the traditional factory-fitted radios, here are a few other options:
The go-to solution for most riders is an intercom headset. They come in a variety of styles and allow riders to listen to music and communicate with passengers and other bikes. You can opt for both wired and wireless Bluetooth intercoms.
If your radio has an audio input port, you can use headphones for better sound quality without causing any disturbance to other people on the road.
Earbuds are another option if there is Bluetooth connectivity available on the radio.
However, as noted earlier, you need to be extra cautious of what is happening on the road when you opt for either headphones or motorcycle earbuds.
Another alternative is to go for an aftermarket radio that can be easily fitted on your bike. One popular option is the Boss Audio System.
It features a couple of pairs of full-range weatherproof speakers. You can also connect your smart device through Bluetooth or an Aux wire. For people who like to save music in external memory, it also features an SD card slot.