Introduction: Motorcycle Speaker System

Picture of Motorcycle Speaker System

Why pay over $300 for a sound system for your motocycle? This instructable show you how to build speaker system from a few common parts for about $75!

Step 1: Parts Needed

Picture of Parts Needed

You will need:
2x Clamps to fit your handle bars (mine were 1 1/4" availiable on line for ~$10 from ebay)
1x Optronics QH-87CD 2 1/2" high performance Halogen driving light kit ($15 at Walmart)
2x 2" mid to full range speakers. Highter the RMS wattage the better.
(Partsexpress Tang Band W2-803SM $32.64)
4x 1" metal washers (Home Depot or Lows ~$2
Small peace of screen door
Wire and switch (can use parts from Halogen kit)
Also you may want
Mini amplifier (Ebay 500w for $18 shipped)
1/8" male phono to stereo rca type cable to plug audio source in to amp.

Step 2: Prepair the Speaker Housing

Picture of Prepair the Speaker Housing

Open the Halogen lights and remove the light bulb and assembly. Remove the metal bulb support structure with a pair of plyers. Twisting on them with a little force will break them away. Thread the speaker wire in the opening.

Step 3: Prepare Speakers

Picture of Prepare Speakers

Using the front cover from the light assemble, trace on the back of the speaker with awl. Use this as a guide so you will know where to cut. Using a rotery cutting tool trim the square speaker to the round shape. Be careful not to cut the speaker itself, just the plastic body. Leave about 3/8" of plastic around the speaker so that it will fit into the light cover.

Step 4: Finish the Speaker

Picture of Finish the Speaker

With a 2" square peice of screen from a screen window, cut to fit in the light cover. Use a hot glue gun around the edges to hold the screen in.

Step 5: Assemble the Speaker

Picture of Assemble the Speaker

While the Hot Glue is still warm, place the speaker inside the light cover. Connect the speaker wire to the speaker. Insert the speaker, screen, and light cover into the light housing.

Step 6: Mount the Speaker

Picture of Mount the Speaker

Mount the speakers to the handle bars using the clamps. Use the washers on the top and botton of the clamps to allow the speakers to be positioned. Run your wire under the tank to the location of your amp. The amp may be placed in several locations depending on your bike. You may want to place it in a tank bag, saddle bag, under head light tool bag or if there is room, under the seat. You may also want to get an optional in-line fuse for the amp power.
Connect the amp to your audio source. You can use an mp3 player, AM/FM radio, Cd etc.


wdsparrow (author)2013-08-25

Impressive and beatiful. I noticed the speakers are made mostly of plastics and rubbers but are not listed as water proof, do you get much rain where you are at?

Braveit1 (author)wdsparrow2013-08-25

Speakers are not water proof but are still holding up to date. We get rain here but I try not to get the bike wet if possible. No problems when washing either. If there is concern, you can always place ziploc bags over and hold in place with rubber bands.

Malhecho (author)2011-10-04

i had similar idea instead i used pvc end caps. i might do this on lowrider. since it fits the chrome styling

Adinkracom (author)2011-08-01

I'm having trouble. The speakers have this terrible hissing noise. Then I open them up and it goes away but then it starts again. Do you think the metal is touching the casing? I never soldered before but I got sound so I guess I did it right but the space is tight betwen the leads from the speakers and the casing. Any suggestions?

Braveit1 (author)Adinkracom2011-08-02

This could be from several things. Your soldering could have a cold short. You might not have heated the solder all the way or hot enough. Also you might have swapped the positive and negative sides of the speaker wires. Also you might be shorting out the wires on the light cases since they are metal. You could cover the joints in heat shrink tubing before you solder them or you can apply a liquid electrical tape over them to make sure they are not grounding out. There should be enough room for all this to fit.

Adinkracom (author)Braveit12011-08-02

I'm going to desolder and try again. What guage do you recommend?

Adinkracom (author)2011-06-29

Any suggestions of how to make the speakers detachable? I have no where I can find to put the amp so I'll put it in my tank bag. Can I use SAE connectors for the speakers or what about a earphone type jack and plug? I'm considerering that it might rain also. Thanks.

Braveit1 (author)Adinkracom2011-06-29

The problem with making them detachable is that it also makes them easier to steal. Radio shack sells all kinds of connectors that should work. has more. As far as the clamps go, you may be able to use thumb screws and a t-nut? Home depot sells those. With a fine screen cover, water doesn't get in the speakers. The ones I chose are also not made of paper so the can withstand a little water. You could also put a plastic zip lock bag with a rubber band over them if they are going to be in the rain for a long time.

Adinkracom (author)Braveit12011-06-29

I just want the wires to be detachable not the speakers, That would definitely invite theft. I found 3.5 ml plugs and jacks that look like they will work. The jacks are mounted so when the wires are diconnected it'll just be the speakers which I'm going to glue on (Blue strength) I'll post pictures if it works. Thanks for the fast reply. Now I have to wait for the mailman. Bummer.

Adinkracom (author)2011-05-08

The mini amps on ebay say the dimesntions are 102X78X31 mm. Is that about 20 inches long? is that for real? I odn't think that would fit under my seat.

Braveit1 (author)Adinkracom2011-05-09

102mm is only about 4 inches long. the measurements you posted convert to 4.02x3.07x1.22 inches. I have no problem fitting that under the seat of my Victory Hammer or Yamaha FZR.

My local Walmart has the QH-87CD lights back in stock but raised the price to $20. They are getting harder to find as the move to LED lighting becomes more popular. The LED replacements are not as deep as the QH-87CD and might not fit the speakers.
I am still riding with mine in place now and it's been aver TWO YEARS!!! They have been in the rain and bright Florida sun. Ride to work almost every day and have no problems with the speakers.

Adinkracom (author)Braveit12011-05-17

Thanks for the clarification. I'm definitely going to try and make them. Great ible!

glugo (author)2010-12-01

Hey...really sweet instructable...I am in the process of creating this there anyway you can make a video of how loud the speakers are?

Braveit1 (author)glugo2010-12-01

They are fairly loud when you are directly behind them. I can hear them while riding without a problem and even better with a full face helmet or windshield. A video wouldn't show much because it is dependent on the quality of the mic on the camcorder and the amp used.

abadfart (author)2010-07-06

can any one think of where to put a stereo??

Braveit1 (author)abadfart2010-07-07

What kind of motorcycle? What type of stereo? You could wire a small head unit and put it in a tank bag or saddle bag with a steering wheel remote to control it. Sony makes a small marine head unit that would fit a small bag. As I said eariler, get a mp3 player with FM and a bike cell phone holder. Attach the cell phone holder to the handlebars and run wire to an amp under the seat.

abadfart (author)Braveit12010-07-31

ok i found a suitable sound system im going to use a zune that i picked up for $20 it has fm radio and 30 GB of hard drive now i just need help mounting it on my handle bars any ideas

Braveit1 (author)abadfart2010-08-03

Search ebay or amazon for a bicycle or motorcycle cell phone or satellite radio holder. It clamps on the handlebars and holds mp3 players just as well. Usually made of black plastic you can spend a little more for chrome. You could also get the black one and paint it chrome.

abadfart (author)Braveit12010-11-30

i bought myself a cb650 finally and after some creative toying with sketchup i came up with this

abadfart (author)Braveit12010-07-07

Well I don't have one yet but I'm looking at a 1982 Yamaha Maxim XJ550 that they are asking $600 usd

abadfart (author)2010-10-17

could you put up a picture of the mounts

Braveit1 (author)abadfart2010-10-18

Which mounts are you refering to? There is already a picture of the handlebar phone holder (in comments) and another picture of the handlebar clamps (Step1). Of the amp, I just placed mine under the seat. It fits snug and doesn't move at all without any hardware. You're bike may be different. This is the one I use for my mp3 player.

abadfart (author)Braveit12010-10-18

i was wanting to know how you fabbed the bar mounts

Paulb426 (author)2010-10-14

Do you have the specs on the mini-amp you used?

Braveit1 (author)Paulb4262010-10-14

The amp I use is a cheap 500W mini from ebay. Just search for those keywords. They are about $16 shipped from Hong Kong. There are many different sellers. The one I have has RCA inputs, a wire harness for the outputs and a USB outlet for charging your mp3 player. Sorry no specs.

bowmaster (author)2010-06-25

Do you think you could hear these at ~130MPH on the freeway? I want to blast highway to hell.

Braveit1 (author)bowmaster2010-06-25

That's on my playlist! I don't think you can hear it at 130 on a cruiser without a windscreen and a full face helmet. To much wind. I can hear it at 90 and I don't have a screen.

bowmaster (author)Braveit12010-06-25

I have a sport bike (a Kawasaki Ninja 650r) it has a pretty good windscreen and I wear a full helmet. What if on top of the wind noise, there was some police sirens and a helicopter?

Braveit1 (author)2010-05-10

I've had these speakers installed for over a year now and they are still going strong!  Most people don't believe all that sound is coming from the two little speakers.  You can hear them over my Ness pipes.  If you have a windscreen it's even better.  The only thing I would change the the cheap nuts and bolts that come with the lights could be changed out with some stainless steel ones so they don't rust.

astyles (author)2009-05-03

I would just like to say I bought the speakers and amp and the sound quality is great. I am looking for the clamps you bought on ebay...what is a keyword to use or an ebay store I can buy them at? I will post a youtube link once complete!

Braveit1 (author)astyles2009-05-05

Search ebay motors for "Chrome 3 peice clamp". They come in different sizes. Get the one for your size handle bars. Mine as 1.25". There are cheaper clamps out there but I liked the look of these. I believe they were made to be used with foot pegs on the bike frame. JP Cycles has them as part number 7000125.

Phoghat (author)Braveit12010-05-10

Just went to eBay  and JP's stuff is a little cheaper

ryukyu (author)2009-08-04

Nice Ible. What kind of bike is that?

Braveit1 (author)ryukyu2009-08-04

It is a Victory Hammer.

yo man (author)Braveit12010-05-06

crazy cool bike!

bnlfan (author)2010-01-09

I have built this system and I am in the process of putting it on the bike.  The question I have for you is where do you put your switch? 

Braveit1 (author)bnlfan2010-01-11

My switch is behind the cover on the left side of the bike near the battery box.  I don't have to remove the cover to turn it on and off.  I have it so it sticks out alittle.  I can tuck it in when needed.  (Held on by magnets.) 
You can get an adapter to put the switch on the handle bars but I don't have a need to turn the amp on and off while ridding.  I bought a wireless switch for my LED's that could just as easily be used for the amp if needed.

Da Nugesta (author)2009-08-21

Tang Band Drivers!

zikanis (author)2009-05-22

very nice instructable dude. made some for myself AND my dad, we both love them XD

Braveit1 (author)2009-04-30

To answer a question posted on another board, Hot Glue guns can melt the glue at two different tempters, Low and High. Low hot glue melts at 250º F while high will melt at 380°F so unless you are traveling through the oven at Hershey's Chocolate factory I wouldn't worry about the glue melting. Small spearkers don't always produce crappy sound. Bass requires the movement of air to get big sound, however bass also requires an enclosed area, something you are not going to get on a motorcycle. So that leaves mid and high range. Truth be told to produce high quality mid an high ranges is not expensive and does not have to be a large speaker. There many high end micro stereo systems with 2" speakers. The problem with the small speakers is that the sound is going to be focused and will not always spread out to fill a large area. Not a problem on a motorcycle because you won't be walking around at all. In fact it works great because the sound will not bother those around you while you are riding. These speakers are quite popular in the do-it-yourself audio groups. The speakers have a Frequency range of 160-20,000 Hz

Braveit1 (author)2009-04-30

For those that have questioned the sound quality, I can her the speakers very well at 70 mph with a Full Face Helmet on and the shield down to keep out wind noise. With a half shell or no helmet it is difficult to hear at speeds above 40mph. The speakers came in handy this past weekend with the opening of the beaches event in town. Traffic was bad so speeds didn't above 30mph for the most part. Was nice to be able to listen to the music while cruising and still talk to people.

abadfart (author)2009-04-18

where is your radio?

Braveit1 (author)abadfart2009-04-23

I have a suction cup phone holder I stick to the tank and place my cell phone in. (was a gps window mount) My cell phones, Sony w580i and HTC Fuze, both play mp3's, videos and also have radio tuners. I also have a Inno satellite radio I swap it out with. The Fuze will also get internet radio channels. My GPS will also play mp3's so what ever I'm riding with I can plug in to the amp.

Utah Motorcyclist (author)2009-04-03

Wouldn't these get ruined in the rain? I like the idea and I like the price even better. Can anyone give a review on the sound quality.

I usually don't ride in the rain and the bike kept in the garage but the rain shouldn't effect it because the speakers are not paper, they are Polycone. Also, the size screen you use for the speaker cover can also keep the water out. If you ride in the rain often you may want to use a marine screen and drill a weep hole in the bottom of the light housings to let the water drip out. You could also coat the electrical contacts with electrical grease or hot glue to prevent corrosion. I have also covered the speaker wires with black vacuum tubing to make it look more finished. My amp is under the seat so it stays dry, even when washed. I might be able to find some 2" covers for the lights in the future if needed. The sound quality is quite good. I have good sound to about 70mph. The best sound is around 40. Of course it depends on your amp and audio source. I have a suction cup cell phone holder on my tank that I play mp3's and radio from. As a bonus I got a call they other day while I was riding. The sound came out the speaker and the caller could hear my voice from the phone mic. To test I called by buddies voice mail and left messages at different speeds. We could still make out the message even at 70.

renzo24441 (author)2009-03-28

This is GENIOUS man.... PROPS for ya... I am preparing to go on an "Iron Butt Ride" this may, and was looking into sound system options... looking is OVER! Got any video with audio of how this sounds? Thanks again... searching for parts as we speak!

PKM (author)2009-03-27

I would do this if a) I had any spare space at all for adding the amp, and b) they weren't going to be immediately stolen by scallies. Maybe some junky speakers that I don't mind getting stolen...

Braveit1 (author)PKM2009-03-27

It's said we have to live in times you have to worry about things like getting your stuff stolen. Of course if I worried about that all the time I would never ride. Someone could just as easly load my bike in the bed of a truck or steal my pipes, mirrors or any other chrome on the bike. If they are going to take the seat off the bike to get to the amp they could just as well take anything else. I use a portable sat. radio with mp3 so I always take it with me.

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