There’s no doubt that Harley-Davidson motorcycles are a popular choice for riders all over the world. But what about the music experience?
For many motorcyclists, the stock audio system just doesn’t cut it. While it may be loud, it’s certainly not what you would call “high quality.”
It’s hard to believe Harley-Davidson would economize on the audio system in a motorcycle that costs $20,000 or more.
However, the good news is that there are aftermarket upgrades that will deliver top-notch sound quality.
In this article, we will review the 8 best Harley stereos upgrades available on the market today. Whether you’re looking for enhanced sound quality or more features and controls, we’ve got you covered.
We’ll also provide you with a buying guide on how to choose the right stereo for your bike. So, without further ado, let’s dive in.
Too occupied to read the entire article? Quickly go through our brief of each of the Harley stereos we have reviewed.
“While there are many different options available, we believe that the Aquatic AV MP5 Replacement Radio for Harley is the overall best option available. This unit offers great sound quality, plenty of features, and a sleek, compact design that looks great on any bike. Plus, it has a price tag that’s just right for the end users.”
Best Budget-Friendly: GoHawk RD8 Gen.2 Waterproof Bluetooth Motorcycle ATV Stereo Speakers Soundbar
“This top-quality audio upgrade not only delivers amazing sound, but it’s also a great value for the price at under $70. Thanks to its Bluetooth connectivity, you can easily stream your favorite music from any compatible device. And with its weatherproof design, the RD8 Gen.2 is perfect for riders who love hitting the open road.”
Best Weatherproof: Jensen HD1BT Radio With Full iPhone/iPod Controls
“This awesome weatherproof stereo upgrade not only delivers amazing sound quality, but it also allows you to control your music and other audio functions right from your iPhone or iPod. Its rated (IPX6) construction and rear chassis (IPX5) withstands the harshest road conditions, making it perfect for riders who like to hit the open road no matter the weather condition.”
“This top-of-the-line car stereo not only offers superior sound quality, but also features integrated Apple Carplay and Android Auto capabilities, making it easy to access all of your favorite music, navigation, and messaging apps while on the go. Plus, with its sleek design and intuitive user interface, the Sony XAV-AX7000 is sure to add a touch of luxury to your ride.”
“Many aftermarket options are available, but we’ve found that the Aquatic AV AQ-MP-5UBT-H is one Harley stereo that blends all together without the expensive price tag. It offers great sound quality and tons of features, all without breaking the bank.”
Affordable: Sony XAVAX5500 Receiver
“The Sony XAVAX5500 receiver has the same function as the Sony XAV-AX7000 receiver but at a more affordable price.”
Best Harley Stereo Upgrade With Excellent Sound Quality: Rockford Fosgate PMX-HD9813 Radio for 1998-2013 Harley-Davidson Motorcycle
“This system is designed specifically for motorcycles and offers superior sound quality that is sure to please both audiophiles and motorcyclist music enthusiasts alike.”
Best Upgrade Kit With Speakers: Rockford Fosgate HD9813SG- Digital Media Receiver & Two Speakers Kit for 1998-2013 Harley-Davidson
“This kit comes with the Rock Fosgate HD9813SG- digital media receiver and two speakers that will make your bike sound as good as it looks. The speakers fit perfectly to 1998 -2013 Harley fairings, so you don’t need to stress for installation. However, it is an expensive kit.”
Our 8 Best Harley Stereo Upgrade Picks:
1. Rockford Fosgate PMX-HD9813 Radio for 1998-2013 Harley-Davidson Motorcycle
When you think of motorcycle music, the first thing that comes to mind is a thumping bass line. You need something to keep your adrenaline pumping when you’re cruising down the open road. That’s where Rockford Fosgate comes in.
They make some of the best motorcycle-specific audio systems on the market. And today, we’re going to take a look at their PMX-HD9813 radio.
This top-of-the-line model is designed as a direct replacement for 1998 to 2013 Harleys and delivers unparalleled sound quality with its 25W x 4 @ 4 ohms RMS and MAX 50W x 4 @ 2 ohms power rating.
It has A2DP & AVRCP Bluetooth wireless streaming, an AM/FM tuner with 12 presets, support for USB charging, Pandora, and SiriusXM satellite radio. There are 4-Volt preamp outputs and an auxiliary input so you can plug in your phone or iPod.
The PMX-HD9813 stereo comes with a 3” full color, ultra-bright TFT display with day & night modes and large buttons for comfortable control.
It will deliver awesome sound quality thanks to its band graphic EQ + PEQ, separate subwoofer level control, and selectable HP/LP/AP crossover with a 12/24 dB/octave slope. With its IPX6 and IPX4 water rating, it won’t get damaged from water for a long time.
This Harley-Davidson motorcycle stereo is easy to install, featuring a Plug and play installation. However, you will need to buy or use a factory wiring harness and connectors to retain the stereo functionality.
Also, it isn’t compatible with the handlebar controls. That said, Rockford Fosgate has a full 2-year warranty on it.
- This Harley stereo supports Bluetooth connectivity, Pandora, and SiriusXM satellite radio.
- It is IPX6 and IPX4 water-rated, so water has nothing on it.
- There is a full two-year warranty from the manufacturer on it.
- It sounds awesome and has a plug-and-play installation process.
- It doesn’t come with a wiring harness and connectors.
- It is expensive.
- It is not compatible with the handlebar controls in 1998 to 2013 models.
2. Aquatic AV MP5 Replacement Radio for Harley (1998-2013 Touring Models)
Next on the list is the Aquatic AV MP5 replacement radio for Harley. It is not as pricey as the Rockford Fosgate, but it comes close with quality.
Made to replace factory stereo in 1998-2013 Harley touring models, this multimedia receiver offers superior sound quality. It comes enabled with Bluetooth wire streaming. However, the Bluetooth malfunctions at times.
Unlike the Rockford Fosgate stereo, it is compatible with handlebar controls, giving you more functionality.
The Aquatic AV MP5 has a power rating of 4x 45W RMS @ 4 ohms and 4x 72W MAX @ 2 ohms. Its internal 2 ohms Class A/B 288W amplifier can power up to 8 speakers.
Plus, it has AM/FM US and European frequencies with 18 FM and 12 AM presets. You can play music through its MP3, AUX, and USB ports. Even the USB port charges your phone.
Furthermore, this stereo is rated IP55, so it’s fully waterproof and UV/salt/fog resistant. Its 3″ monochrome display with tempered glass gives you quick access to see information while riding.
You can adjust the screen brightness to suit your needs from 100% to 30%. The stereo faceplate can be removed to store your phone/device when charging on the go. However, it’s not easy to remove.
The Aquatic AV MP5 features a plug-and-play installation process. It works with Harley-Davidson factory mounting brackets and wiring connections. Be informed that if you have an amplifier installed in your Harley, this stereo won’t work.
To boost buyers’ confidence in its built, the manufacturer, Aquatic AV, has a two-year warranty on it.
- It is an affordable Harley stereo with an IP55 waterproof rating.
- It is compatible with handlebar controls.
- You can adjust the 3″ monochrome display screen brightness to your preference or according to your surroundings.
- It plays music through Bluetooth, MP3, USB, and AUX.
- This stereo has a built-in 288W amplifier.
- It won’t work if you have an amplifier installed on your bike.
- Its Bluetooth connectivity leaves more to desire.
- It doesn’t last for long.
3. Sony XAV-AX7000 6.95″ Apple Carplay/Android Auto High Power Media Receiver
The Sony XAV-AX7000 high-power media receiver brings a whole new functionality and ergonomics to your Harley-Davidson motorcycle. We are talking about the ability to easily access all of your stereo’s functions via its 6.5” bezel-less anti-glare capacitive touchscreen.
This feature makes it easier to ride safer and smarter without inconvenience. There are still sealed buttons underneath the screen for regulating volume, jumping to home, and reversing/forwarding music.
This receiver not only delivers stunning audio quality, but it also features weblink compatibility, Apple Carplay, and Android Auto so you can easily access all of your smartphone’s features while on the road.
Its Carplay and Android Auto capability allow you to use voice control to navigate its functions. With its built-in Bluetooth capabilities, you can comfortably make hands-free calls or stream music from your favorite streaming service without ever having to take your eyes off the road.
The Sony XAV-AX7000 high-power media receiver offers crisp, clear sound quality, along with 4 x 100 W Max. (45 W RMS) power output to ensure your music sounds great.
With its Dynamic Stage Organizer function, you can make virtual speakers on your dashboard. Its twin USB connections allow you to connect your smartphone and a USB device simultaneously. Plus, it has three 5V pre-outs.
This stereo is fully weatherproof, so you don’t have to worry about the weather causing any damage to it. Note that it doesn’t come with a wiring harness, so installation is not straightforward.
- It supports weblink compatibility, Apple Carplay, and Android Auto.
- This stereo features a 6.5” bezel-less anti-glare capacitive touchscreen for easy access.
- It offers crisp and clear sound quality.
- It offers excellent value for money.
4. Jensen HD1BT Radio With Full iPhone/iPod Controls
If you’re a Harley-Davidson rider who likes to blast your favorite tunes as you hit the open road, then you’re going to love the Jensen HD1BT radio.
This bad-boy gives you control of your iPhone or iPod, so you can access all your music without ever taking your hands off the handlebars. It has a power output of 50W x 4 channels, which is enough to deliver clear, crisp sound.
This Harley stereo features AM/FM/WB radio to listen to the latest news, sports, music, and weather updates on the go. The radio has presets (12 AM, 18 FM with weather alerts) to save your favorite stations.
This stereo features a USB for iPod/iPhone control and charging, comes SiriusXM ready, has an auxiliary input (rear) input, and Bluetooth connectivity (A2DP, AVRCP) for music streaming. Plus, it has cool aviation-style button controls with red backlighting that let you toggle through your options with ease.
The HD1BT stereo can handle harsh environments. With its (IPX6) and rear chassis (IPX5) waterproof rating, you can be sure that it will stand up to mother nature. It fits into a Harley Davidson factory opening without requiring any mounting kit or brackets.
Plus, it works with factory handlebar controls, giving you more functionality.
- This Harley stereo is cheap and offers value for money.
- It comes with a lot of features that will improve your day-to-day ride.
- It can stand up to the elements and has been rated (IPX6) and rear chassis (IPX5).
- This stereo sound quality is top-notch.
- It has a poor radio reception.
5. Sony XAVAX5500 Receiver
Suppose you love the Sony XAV-AX7000 receiver features and all that it brings to a Harley, but you can’t afford it, this Sony XAVAX5500 receiver is a perfect alternative. It has all the features of the XAVAX5500 receiver but at a much more comfortable price.
You’ll get features like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, web linking, SiriusXM ready, dual USB ports, and Bluetooth connectivity.
The Sony XAVAX5500 receiver 6.95″ ultra-slim bezel-less touchscreen display allows easy access to its functions and smooth map navigation while on the road. It also has a dynamic reality amplifier that enhances sound for clear sound quality and a dynamic stage organizer that creates virtual speakers on your dashboard.
However, it has some difficulties with installation.
- It supports weblink compatibility, Apple Carplay, and Android Auto.
- This stereo features a 6.5” bezel-less anti-glare capacitive touchscreen for easy access.
- It offers clear sound quality.
- It is affordable and offers excellent value for money.
- Installation isn’t so straightforward.
6. Aquatic AV AQ-MP-5UBT-H Factory Harley Davidson Replacement Media Player Stereo
The Aquatic AV AQ-MP-5UBT-H factory Harley Davidson replacement media player stereo is a great option for those looking for quality sound and an interesting design.
It has a unique design that distinguishes it from other media players on the market. When paired via Bluetooth with an Apple device, its 3′′ LCD displays album artwork, giving you a whole new experience.
Furthermore, the Aquatic AV AQ-MP-5UBT-H media player offers superior sound quality. It features a built-in 288 peak watts amplifier with RCA pre-outs for connecting an external amplifier or powered subwoofer.
The manufacturer, Aquatic AV, built it with IP65 rated materials to withstand UV rays, water, salt, and fog. It will please you to know that you can remove its faceplate to store your smartphones and media devices when riding. Also, it is compatible with handlebars & rotary knob control.
Designed specifically to fit all Harley Davidson models, this unit will provide an impressive level of sound quality and functionality with easy installation.
- It is a high-quality Harley stereo.
- There’s no hassle with installation or fitment.
- The stereo is IP65 rated, so the elements have nothing on them.
- It offers superior sound quality.
- It doesn’t last long.
7. Rockford Fosgate HD9813SG- Digital Media Receiver & Two Speakers Kit for 1998-2013 Harley-Davidson
Rockford Fosgate makes our list again with their HD9813SG stage 1 digital media receiver & two speakers kit for 1998-2013 Harley-Davidson motorcycles.
The receiver is designed specifically for 1998-2013 Harleys. It comes with all the features you need to get the most out of your music, including Bluetooth capabilities, USB input, a 3.5mm aux jack, Pandora, and a SiriusXM® Ready AM/FM digital tuner. However, this kit doesn’t come cheap.
The HD9813SG pair of 6.5″ 4-Ohm full range coaxial speakers has a power handling of 75 Watts RMS and 150 Watts MAX. They are built with high-quality materials to withstand even the most intense vibrations. A 25mm dome tweeter in each speaker produces crystal-clear highs and deep, strong lows.
The speakers are frequency-response calibrated to resist wind, exhaust, and road noise up to 75 MPH thanks to the built-in 50 watts amplifier. As a result, you’ll be able to hear the sound at high speed.
You won’t have any issues with installation because they are specifically designed to mount directly onto your Harley handlebars fairing position. No drilling or cutting is required.
The receiver and twin speakers are weatherproof, so they don’t get damaged easily. Plus, Rockford Fosgate has a two-year warranty on the kit.
- The kit’s two coaxial speakers have an exceptional sound reproduction.
- The receiver fits perfectly in a 1998 to 2013 Harley motorcycle.
- You don’t need to buy an additional wiring kit because the receiver and speakers use factory wiring.
- The receiver has all the features you need to get the most out of your music.
- It is expensive.
8. GoHawk RD8 Gen.2 Waterproof Bluetooth Motorcycle ATV Stereo Speakers Soundbar
Last on the list is the GoHawk RD8 Gen.2 Bluetooth motorcycle stereo speakers. This high-quality waterproof speaker is inexpensive and delivers incredible sound quality, making it the perfect choice for budget-conscious riders.
It features Bluetooth connectivity to stream your favorite music and radio channel from your smartphone (Android & IOS) device. You can also play music through its microSD card port, 3.5mm audio jack AUX-IN, and USB port. However, the USB port doesn’t support device charging.
The RD8 Gen.2 speaker has an advanced noise-canceling system that eliminates unwanted background noise, so you can focus on riding while enjoying your favorite music. It has aluminum and waterproof housing to withstand all season impacts. The screen is bright and displays a digital clock.
You won’t have any problems installing this stereo speaker with the new and improved mounting clamps that support ⅞” to 11/4” handlebars. Plus, you’ll get all the essential hardware and wiring. Simply connect red and green to positive, then black to negative. Alternatively, connect red to positive, black to negative, and green to ignition.
- This stereo speaker bangs for the buck.
- It is made from aluminum housing with weatherproof materials.
- You have Bluetooth connectivity, AUX-IN, SDcard, and a USB to play your favorite music.
- The sound quality is decent.
- It is not so loud when riding.
In this buying guide, we will walk you through some key factors to consider before buying a stereo for your Harley.
One of the most important factors when choosing a Harley stereo is sound quality. After all, this is what you will be listening to while cruising down the open road!
It is important to find a unit that has a good bass response and clear sound reproduction. This way, you can enjoy those classic tunes on your ride. If the stereo sounds bad, you will not be happy with it!
Read Also: Best Harley Speaker Upgrade
The next factor to consider when purchasing a Harley stereo is the stereo features. Some Harley stereos have built-in Bluetooth capabilities, USB port, Android Auto, Apple Carplay, the list goes on… so shop around until you find one that meets all of these needs within budget constraints! With that said, let’s take a look at some of these features.
One of the most important factors to consider when upgrading your Harley stereo is Bluetooth capability. This will allow you to easily stream music from your phone or other device, without having to fiddle with cords.
One thing you may want to consider if you plan on using your phone as an audio source is whether or not the stereo has an auxiliary input jack for connecting devices like iPods or other MP players.
USB Charging Port:
Another feature to look for in your new Harley stereo system is a USB charging port. This way, even when you’re out riding around town all day long, there’s no need to worry about running low on battery power because this port allows convenient access to charge your device.
If you use your Android phone as your major source of music in your Harley, having Android Auto compatibility on your new audio will be a great addition. This great feature allows you to use all of your android apps, maps, and music from the comfort of your bike without having to operate a phone or tablet while riding!
Similarly, for those with an iPhone, having a stereo with Apple Carplay support will be a great addition. This allows you to use all of the features of your iPhone while riding, like making calls, sending texts, using maps, and even listening to music without ever taking your eyes off the road!
These are just a few features to look out for in your new stereo.
The installation process can be another factor that plays into your decision. You’ll want something that requires no tools or technical know-how, so look for a unit with plug-and-play capabilities.
When making a purchase such as this, it is important to consider the warranty. This will give you some peace of mind should something goes wrong with your new system.
Upgrading your Harley stereo is fun and rewarding. We’ve spent hours compiling this extensive list to help make your decision easier. Each of the eight different options we reviewed has its own set of benefits.
Also, whether you are shopping for a new setup or looking to upgrade to an older system, our buying guide should have provided everything you need to make your decision with confidence.
Remember, there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all solution, so be sure to consider all of your options and the factors we have discussed before making a purchase. Now it’s up to you to select the upgrade that best suits your needs and make a purchase. Happy Riding!