With speakers on a loud motorcycle, bigger is almost always better. you can’t get around the physics. A bigger speaker can generate more sound. But what size is “adequate”?
My answer to that question, as big as you can fit and still enjoy the style of your bike.
Let’s start at the low end. The speakers you see online or even in your local Harley dealer. They often call themselves 4in, but that’s the housing size. They really have 3in speakers, and very low quality single cone speakers as well. These will fit on just about any bike, but will only provide enough sound for when you’re hanging out at bike night with the engine off. I’ve never seen anyone put these on their bike and not eventually decide they were a waste of money.
Next up is the various true 4in in speakers like ours and similar speakers by other companies. They have quality speakers with real tweeters. they are a large step up from the similar looking speakers above. They look good on handlebars and crashbars, although they look a little small when mounted to the crashbars of most bikes. But how do they sound? You still can’t get around the fact that it’s only a 4in speaker. You’ll enjoy the music (minus any real bass) at low speeds, but on the highway, they’ll start to distort if you turn them up loud enough to hear them clearly. Every bike we’ve installed these on (ours and other companies) the customer was happy, but wanted more.
Which brings us to why we decided to develop our own…..
Next up is our 5.25in model. This speaker looks good the crashbars, but maybe a little too big for many handlebars. The sound is a definite step up from any 4in speaker, but not as big of a difference as there was between the 3in cheapo speakers and the quality 4in. They’re a great choice when you just want a little more sound on the crashbar than the 4in and want a speaker that looks less whimpy.
….and then there is the Quad 4in. These are the king of crashbar mount speakers. Each one contains two 4in speakers in a larger housing (so you get more out of each speaker than in the individual 4in models). Although you still can’t get around the fact that a 4in speaker can’t make any real bass, with a proper amplifier, this model will sound loud and clear on any bike, even with loud pipes. They completely exceeded my expectations in all respects. They sound great, and they fit nicely under the crashbars without interfering with your feet, the pedals, or the fork. Coupled with a 6×9 in the bag lids, you’ll have as good or better sound than most full fairing bikes with custom systems. Even without speakers in the bags, they are quite simply the best sound you can get without a fairing. The down side to these? Cost I guess. The Housings, 4 speakers, and labor add up. But it’s still more cost effective than doing it wrong and then doing it over.