Introduction: Add Sound Effects to Your Electric Motorcycle

Picture of Add Sound Effects to Your Electric Motorcycle

Add any sound you want to your electric motorcycle with some portable speakers and an MP3 player!

Step 1: Download MP3s

Picture of Download MP3s

Download some fun sound effects from the internet, use a sound effects CD, or go out and record your own.

Just get some sound into your computer and then into your MP3 player.

Suggested sounds would be those of a motorcycle, but why not a Jetsons car sound, The Electric Slide, or the Back to the Future theme song?

Step 2: Dig Up Some Speakers

Picture of Dig Up Some Speakers

Get some speakers to play your sounds through.

I am using self-powered, battery operated speakers of the kind that were used with portable CD players.

They have a small amp built-in, and run off four AA-size batteries.

Step 3: Install the Speakers

Picture of Install the Speakers

Mount the speakers somewhere on the cycle.

Hidden is best for the gag of an electric cycle making gasoline cycle sounds.

Under the seat or inside the hollowed-out gas tank can both work well.

Attach the speakers with zip-ties, screws, glue, or whatever works for you. I like zip-ties, because they hold tight, but are cheap and can be easily removed.

Remount the gas tank or side panels to cover the speakers when you are done.

Make sure the wire between the two speakers reaches.

If the speakers have a power button, make sure it is still accessable after mounting, or modify the power switch to relocate on the handlebars or another convenient location.

Step 4: Mount the MP3 Player

Picture of Mount the MP3 Player

Mount the MP3 player on the handlebars or other convenient location.

Use hook and loop fastener, double-sided tape, bongo-ties, or something similar. That way, you can remove the MP3 player for security.

Alternatively, it could be mounted inside the gas tank or another secure location, if you have a wire remote for it.

I used fancy rubber bands to pin down this iPod.

Plug in the cable from the speakers to the headphone jack, making sure there is enough slack to be able to steer the motorcycle properly without pulling the cord loose.

Step 5: Hit the Road!

Picture of Hit the Road!

Go for a ride and watch all the looks you get when you change your cycle sound from a Harley, to a 50cc scooter, to your favorite movie sound track!

Go to and brag to all your friends about your pimped out eco-ride!

PS: What make a quiet cycle make noise? Why do digital cameras still go "click"?

Cycles are harder to see, so making some sound makes sense in a parking lot with poor visibility, or while backing up.

It's also great to have as a come-back to the smart-@$$es who say loud pipes save lives.

Lastly, it's just plain fun! Instantly have your cycle sound like anything you want! Or if you don't want to, just turn it off.

You can't do that with a gas hog.


rocketguy (author)2008-07-18

Now I'm thinking about a synth/sampler chip that has a throttle input, and "plays" a sampled instrument of whatever. F-14, Semi Diesel, Batmobile, Wall-E, Jetson/outrageous UFO sounds etc. Sounds like a product waiting to be made, but I have a Job already. Dang. Arduino mp3 player? Hmm...

bennelson (author)rocketguy2008-07-18

I was also thinking about rigging this system up in such a way so that it automatically comes on with the "engine run switch". (With a manual OFF override of course)

That way, it really would serve the purpose of being feedback to let both the rider and others know that it's on - just like how digital camera's still go "click", it lets everyone know you took the picture.

Arduino MP3 player project would have to wait until I am done with my electric car conversion though.

alehnhar (author)bennelson2012-06-30

Might find this interesting.. It's how Audi is producing sound effects for for it's E-tron electric car..

abadfart (author)2010-07-31

can you think of a good way to mount a zune to a bike

DIY Dave (author)2010-03-23

you should post a slideshow of this motorcycle

bennelson (author)DIY Dave2010-03-23


agis68 (author)2008-11-27

HAHAHAHA......really funny....when i saw the title i said "another crap" but then i realised you talking about electric motorcycle. I saw the video.....very funny...

Sandisk1duo (author)2008-07-17

So how many car batteries are stacked in there?

bennelson (author)Sandisk1duo2008-07-17

They aren't car batteries, but rather sealed deep-cycle batteries which can be charged and discharged many more times that a starting battery.<br/><br/>There are four of them, for a 48 Volt system.<br/><br/>For more information on this project, please visit:<br/><a rel="nofollow" href=""></a><br/>or<br/><a rel="nofollow" href=""></a><br/>

Sandisk1duo (author)bennelson2008-07-17

oh, i see how many Amp Hours?

bennelson (author)Sandisk1duo2008-08-19

batteries are 55 amp-hours each.

Lego man (author)bennelson2008-08-20

How fast can it go and how far/long.

bennelson (author)Lego man2008-08-20

The cycle is geared for 45 mph (speed limit right outside my house) and everything is 25 mph in town. A charge is good for 20 to 30 miles depending on how fast I drive and want to run down the batteries.

Please see for the current specs on the cycle.

Lego man (author)bennelson2008-08-20

Does it have a transmission? If not could one be put in for faster speeds?

bennelson (author)Lego man2008-08-21

No transmission. Gas vehicles need one to slip the clutch to pull away and to match the speed of the gas engine to your ground speed. You could go faster with transmission gearing, but it makes you pull more power from the batteries, which shortens the range. It is better to add more batteries, which raises system voltage and spins the motor faster. The Tesla Roadster is a $100,000 electric sports car. It has a One-speed transmission.

Lego man (author)bennelson2008-08-21

Is there any way to make one be able to go about 40/50 mph or is that to complicated with more batteries?

bennelson (author)Lego man2008-08-21

It already goes cruises at 45 mph. If you want further range. You need higher ah batteries. I could double the range on this cycle by using deep cycle boat batteries, but it would be hard to water them and they wouldn't have as good acceleration as my Optima Yellow tops. Cycles are limited by their shape and size as to how many batteries you can put on them. If you made a "chopper" you could extend the frame to put as many batteries in there as you want.

Lego man (author)bennelson2008-08-22

Thank you, What is the difference between 48 volt and 72 volt?, it just looks like more batteries.

bennelson (author)Lego man2008-08-22

Yep. 48 volts is 4 12V batteries and 72V is 6 12V batteries. Higher voltage spins your motor faster, which makes you drive faster. Higher system voltage also allows you to pull fewer amps from the batteries at the same speed, helping extend your range and battery life.

Lego man (author)bennelson2008-08-22

OK so the more amps and voltage the longer the battery life. Thats pretty cool. Do some 12 volt batteries have more amps than others? So if I want a electric motorcycle with long range and battery life I need 12volts with more amps, and probably a 72 volt system? I need to go 30+ miles a day with little time to recharge. I might also have to get a good charger to charge the batteries faster. This little project I'm coming up with is getting pricey, and that will lessen my chance for getting an OK from my dad. Well I am eligible for a moto permit in 3 months so I have a while to convince him. And here I am puking my life on you, Sorry about that.

Lego man (author)Lego man2008-10-03

Wow that was a long post. It looked like I was placing an order. My robotics team and I built 2 robot dragsters (small things) for Kingman's annual street drags,and it helped to know how amps and volts work after we fried 2 motors and 4 speed controllers. Now I have a much better understanding of this, Thank You Ben Nelson!

bennelson (author)Sandisk1duo2008-08-21
Here is a video of the cycle running (without sound effects)

bennelson (author)bennelson2008-08-21
And here's another.

Sandisk1duo (author)bennelson2008-08-21

yay videos! that's really quite!

shammallamaman (author)2008-08-20
I like it, I personally like the quietness of the electric motorbut if you like the sound, that is cool too
mitchell12 (author)2008-08-19

I think it'd be funny if someone rigged up a system so the sound came out the motor. It's not hard to do but I dunno how loud or if it's bad for it.

bennelson (author)mitchell122008-08-19

The one speaker is actually mounted very close to the speaker. You can't tell that the sound ISN'T coming from there.

davethegiant (author)2008-08-19

What kind of motorcycle is that?

bennelson (author)davethegiant2008-08-19

The motorcycle is a 1981 Kawasaki KZ440 converted to electric.

More information on this cycle is available at:

monkey666 (author)2008-08-04

maybe you could rig it so as you pull the throtle the sound gets louder. so it would be like realalistic motor sounds. then if you want affects like music you could turn that funtion off.

bennelson (author)2008-07-16

Diesel sounds? I like it. Must add that one. I stopped by and talked to some Harley guys on my way out from work the other day. They loved the sound effects! They actually thought the whole bike was pretty cool "considering was gas prices are these days"(their words!)

abadfart (author)2008-07-16

ill stick with my gas

frollard (author)2008-07-15

I love the idea of the jetsons sound - but its gotta be proportional to the 'throttle'... ;)

Hands Without Shadows (author)2008-07-15

Gotta find some big diesel sound effects ; )

About This Instructable




Bio: Ordinary guy with no special skills, just trying to change the world one backyard invention at a time. See more at: On ... More »
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