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!
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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.
rocketguy6 years ago
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)  rocketguy6 years ago
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.
Might find this interesting.. It's how Audi is producing sound effects for for it's E-tron electric car..
abadfart4 years ago
can you think of a good way to mount a zune to a bike
DIY Dave5 years ago
you should post a slideshow of this motorcycle
bennelson (author)  DIY Dave5 years ago
agis686 years ago
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...
Sandisk1duo6 years ago
So how many car batteries are stacked in there?
bennelson (author)  Sandisk1duo6 years ago
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/>
oh, i see how many Amp Hours?
bennelson (author)  Sandisk1duo6 years ago
batteries are 55 amp-hours each.
How fast can it go and how far/long.
bennelson (author)  Lego man6 years ago
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.
Does it have a transmission? If not could one be put in for faster speeds?
bennelson (author)  Lego man6 years ago
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.
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 man6 years ago
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.
Thank you, What is the difference between 48 volt and 72 volt?, it just looks like more batteries.
bennelson (author)  Lego man6 years ago
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.
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.
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)  Sandisk1duo6 years ago
Here is a video of the cycle running (without sound effects)

bennelson (author)  bennelson6 years ago
And here's another.

yay videos! that's really quite!
I like it, I personally like the quietness of the electric motorbut if you like the sound, that is cool too
mitchell126 years ago
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)  mitchell126 years ago
The one speaker is actually mounted very close to the speaker. You can't tell that the sound ISN'T coming from there.
What kind of motorcycle is that?
bennelson (author)  davethegiant6 years ago
The motorcycle is a 1981 Kawasaki KZ440 converted to electric.

More information on this cycle is available at:
monkey6666 years ago
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) 6 years ago
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!)
abadfart6 years ago
ill stick with my gas
frollard6 years ago
I love the idea of the jetsons sound - but its gotta be proportional to the 'throttle'... ;)
Gotta find some big diesel sound effects ; )