Installing a Radio on a Motorcycle

by Steve Smith

Mounting the Radio

The first step to installing a radio on a motorcycle is to find a place to mount it. The radio needs to be far enough away from the engine to be isolated from excessive heat, which will ruin the electronic components, but close enough to run wires to the batteries. A good location is under the seat (if there is enough room) or on the front console of larger cruiser bikes. This is the best place to install one, so we'll focus on this type of installation.

Mount the Stereo

The first step is to find a good position on the console to mount the radio, so it does not interfere with the speedometer or other gauges. Place the radio into the bracket which comes with the stereo, and mark the mounting holes by pointing a pencil through the mount holes on the bracket. Remove the radio, and drill holes through the console at these marks. Then mount the bracket with screws. Once the bracket is mounted, insert the radio into the bracket with the supplied hardware.

Wiring the Radio

Wiring the radio involves running a red power wire to the bus on the machine. One will be located in the console, where all the other electronics, including the headlights, digital fuel and speedometer, horn and brake lights, are wired. Remove the console cover by loosening the hardware with a screwdriver and pulling it back. Run the red power wire from the radio to the positive side of the circuit bus side. It will be marked clearly, and if it isn't read the wiring diagram on your motorcycle to find out which side is positive. Then connect the black ground wire to the ground terminal or negative side on the bus. Install the recommended circuit breaker--a 2 or 5 circuit is common--into the bus. Then turn on the bike and test the radio.

Speakers

Most motorcycle radios will use headphones or small speakers. Every bike is different, so where you install them is probably going to depend on where they will fit. On the left and right side of the rear frame near the back wheels is a common place; along the handlebars and in the steering yoke are other options. Mount the speakers by drilling holes in a metal bracket and threading a clamp through it to fasten to the bike. Then drill matching holes to mount the speakers or adhere them with strong plastic adhesive. Thread the radio speaker wires (yellow wires that attach to the back of the radio) along the main bike wire harness. Then connect these yellow speaker wires to the speaker input connections.

References

About the Author

Steve Smith has published articles on a wide range of topics including cars, travel, lifestyle, business, golf, weddings and careers. His articles, features and news stories have appeared in newspapers, consumer magazines and on various websites. Smith holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and journalism from University of New Hampshire Durham.