Just as the boom in car audio in the 80’s brought with it the phenomenon of car audio sound offs, so growing demand for motorcycle audio has resulted in the rise of motorcycle sound offs.
Traditional car audio sound off organizations including IASCA and MECA also offer motorcycle contests and IASCA plans to beef up this growing segment and MECA hopes to as well.
Up to 5,000 people attend Sound Warz motorcycle audio competitions, which draw up to 130 competitors. Ben Evans based in Memphis, TN puts on the events which have grown to a schedule of 15 per year.
Another competition is called Rumble Night, hosted by Big Wheel Women, led by Denise Markham. She holds two large events a year, plus a few smaller meets. At Bike Week in Daytona, her Rumble Night sound off drew about 1,000 attendees.
Mike Hall, who has sponsored competitions in the past (and is now a Regional Rep for MMATS Audio) said he attended five different motorcycle audio competitions during Bike Week in March alone.
A prolific shop in NJ, NVS Audio, said a third of the bikes it works on are audio installations for competitions, according to owner Carlos Ramirez. Motorcycles at sound off events can hold as many as 30 speakers.
Markham, who runs a trucking company, said she got bored attending the same old car and motorcycle shows. She saw the trend in audio on bikes and decided to hold shows just for motorcycle audio. That was about four years ago, around the same time that Evans started his Sound Warz.
Evans’ competitions lead with a rookie class with up to four speakers in factory positions, to an unlimited class where any number of speakers are allowed. “What tends to happen is the guys who start at rookie level, in the next year, they move up,” Evans said.
“Some of the top classes get 40 to 50 bikes. Guys are running 20,000-plus watts: six 12-inch woofers, six 10s and six 8s. There’s a bike with two 15-inch subs that goes to all our Sound Warz events,” he added.
Hall said the events are more about sound quality than loudness. This is true at SOS (Sound Off Series) shows by Team Money Cycle out of Philadelphia. The shows run from Philadelphia down to Florida plus Michigan and will soon expand into the Midwest (Chicago; Tulsa; Memphis, TN; Cleveland).
Rickie Will of Team Money Cycles started the shows in 2016 as part of the organization’s theme of uniting people through music and motorcycles. “We saw that motorcycles and music were catalysts for bringing people together no matter, age, race, and gender. If you combine those two together it’s a melting pot for fun.”
When the shows first started, competitors used larger car audio products on bikes, but then Will moved to pro audio and eventually to smaller amps from SounDigital and speakers from Beyma, which are now both SOS sponsors. His shows can attract 50 competitors, or 100 at the finals. He’s got a Featherweight class with up to six speakers, up to a Heavy Weight class with up to 18 speakers and then an Unlimited class with unlimited speakers. Judging is either on a point system per show or there’s a separate competition where two bikes go head to head in two-way competition.
Note: Ben Evans of Sound Warz owns the shop, Dirty South Custom Cycles, Memphis, TN. The largest motorcycle audio install he’s performed was a $35K job.