Amps and speakers for motorcycle installations have become a small but growing niche in car audio.
Arc Audio, JL Audio, Kicker and SAS Bazooka are some of the brands that offer mini amps or speakers and kits that work well in motorcycles.
JL Audio says it’s watching the category carefully. While the segment is only about one percent of the car audio business, it is expected to grow over the next few years, especially in California and Florida.
“We’re watching it. We’ve taken a look at doing some more specially engineered product,” said VP marketing Manville Smith of JL Audio, which makes kits for the Can-Am Spyder and sells compact XD amps that are often used in bike installs. The XD amps (also used widely in car audio installations) are now JL’s top selling line.
Arc Audio says it has tripled its motorcycle audio business each year. It makes several amp/speaker kits and its $319 Mini amp (KS125.2BX) is a motorcycle amp staple.
Motorcycle enthusiasts tend to spend a lot of money on adding chrome and custom parts to their bike even after spending $16,000 to $25,000 on a Harley and so the category can be profitable, said suppliers.
“Based on my observations, at least 50 percent of the bikers would spend almost half the value of their bike on accessories. These people have no problem taking a new bike and saying I want a new exhaust for $1,600,” said director of marketing, Fred Lynch.
The market also adds additional seasonality to the car audio business as bikers tend to start fixing up their rides in January to be ready for the spring season.
Arc Audio will introduce in January at the Consumer Electronics Show a full line of speakers aimed at the motorcycle market plus two additional amp/speaker kits. This year it also updated in Mini amp to include bass enhancement technology that gives the illusion of bass response but without causing more movement of the speaker.
“The new speakers will be weather resistant. “They’re designed to take more abuse, but at the same time, designed for more mid-bass, more volume and more performance;…things you can hear even wearing a half helmet doing 75 miles per hour down the road,” said Lynch.
Kicker also supplies a weatherproof 5 1/4-inch coaxial ($249.95) called the PS5250 designed for power sports installations.
Retailers we polled have seen an uptick in motorcycle audio installs in the past few years although it is still a small niche. ABT Electronics, Glenview, IL says it does a bike install about once a month.