Harley-Davidson Replacement Radio – When to Replace, and What to Consider

For music enthusiasts who also love riding Harley-Davidsons, enhancing the stereo system on their motorcycle is a popular and rewarding customization. The demand for aftermarket radio options skyrocketed when Harley-Davidson modernized its offerings and introduced Infotainment packages in 2014. However, this upgrade left a gap for touring motorcycles manufactured before 2014, which were equipped with inferior stock radios.

To bridge this gap and cater to the needs of riders, a wide array of aftermarket radio options emerged with modern features like Bluetooth connectivity and satellite radio capability. These cutting-edge replacements not only brought convenience but also improved the overall audio experience. Some sought-after features included multiple audio input options such as auxiliary and USB, built-in equalizers for fine-tuning sound, and enhanced compatibility with popular music streaming services.

Moreover, these upgraded radios offered higher wattage output, significantly boosting audio levels and improving the sound quality delivered to the speakers. This combination of modern technology and superior sound made upgrading the stereo system on Harley-Davidson motorcycles an absolute no-brainer for music-loving enthusiasts.

If you ride a Harley-Davidson manufactured before 2014 and want to enjoy the latest audio conveniences during your journeys, consider investing in one of these aftermarket radio options. With seamless Bluetooth connectivity, access to satellite radio, and the ability to fine-tune your audio settings, your rides will become an immersive and exhilarating audio experience like never before. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to enhance your Harley-Davidson riding adventures with a state-of-the-art stereo system tailored to your music preferences.

Our Top 3 Radio Replacements for Harley-Davidson

 

Rockford Fosgate PMX-HD9813 Direct Fit Digital Media Receiver for 1998-2013 Harley Davidson
9.8/10
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Pyle Marine Bluetooth Stereo Radio
9.5/10
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Sony DSXM55BT Bluetooth Marine Digital Media Stereo Receiver
9.45/10
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When it came to upgrading the audio systems on pre-2014 touring bikes, it wasn’t just about the volume or modernity. These bikes often suffered from subpar audio quality and frequent malfunctions, necessitating the replacement of the head unit. However, finding a replacement that offered both versatility and durability initially posed a challenge.

Fortunately, Harley-Davidson had the foresight to design the radios on their touring bikes to adhere to the single DIN standard. This design choice greatly simplified the search for a suitable replacement. The majority of aftermarket vehicle and marine radios are conveniently available in the standard single DIN size, which was intentionally adopted to accommodate the construction of both cars and boats.

Although there were a few exceptions in sizing during this era within the automotive industry, such as the larger double DIN displays found in older Chevrolets, these cases were uncommon. As a result, the sales of double DIN stereos remained lackluster compared to their single DIN counterparts.

By opting for a replacement head unit that adheres to the single DIN standard, riders of pre-2014 touring bikes can enjoy an enhanced audio experience. This choice offers a wide range of versatile and durable options, ensuring optimal sound quality and reliability on their motorcycles. Say goodbye to audio woes and embrace the convenience of an upgraded audio system that fits seamlessly into your bike’s construction.

What are some of the signs that you need to replace the radio on your Harley-Davidson?

Your Harley-Davidson’s standard radio will start to show some warning indicators that it is ready to fail when you start to notice them. When the factory-installed radio malfunctions, it frequently fails to keep powered on or has problems turning on, among other indications. Despite turning the volume up, the music coming from the speakers might be distorted, cracking, or sound strangely low or quiet. It’s possible that the radio’s display is less bright than normal or that the receiver isn’t regularly able to pick up any AM or FM stations. A specific sign that the radio itself could be physically damaged is a rattle sound coming from the speakers or dash. whenever the radio is truly and fully KO’d, it will power off, and then refuse to turn back on.

What features should be considered when choosing a replacement radio for a Harley-Davidson?

It need not be difficult to locate and select a new aftermarket radio for your Harley-Davidson. When making a decision, there are a few factors to keep in mind, such as the sort of audio inputs required to connect your phone or music player and if you want handlebar controls with the new receiver. Make sure the new radio is designed to take SD cards if it would be more convenient for you to pre-load your favourite tunes onto an external SD card. There are choices available to meet this demand if you’re on a tight budget, only trying to mend a damaged radio, and don’t anticipate needing any further improvements, like an amplifier.

Best Harley-Davidson Replacement Radio Reviews

What is the finest replacement radio for a Harley-Davidson, then? Below, we’ve included a high-level overview of a few replacement radio alternatives, along with information on their costs and standout features. Unless otherwise stated, all of the radios can be wired to connect up to four speakers, and they are sold with the basic installation components, such as bezels and wiring harnesses; however, depending on your setup, additional components may be required to make the installation on your motorcycle easier. Before making a purchase, it is also advised to check the manufacturer’s website to make sure there aren’t any potential incompatibilities with your specific model of motorbike.

#1 ROCKFORD FOSGATE PMX-HD9813 – BEST HARLEY DAVIDSON PLUG AND PLAY RADIO

Enhance your riding experience with the ultimate aftermarket radio option for Harley-Davidson motorcycles. The Rockford Fosgate replacement stereo has gained a stellar reputation in the community as the go-to choice due to its seamless installation process and unmatched popularity.

Impressive Features for Superior Performance:

Equipped with a 3-inch color TFT display, this stereo ensures optimal visibility in both bright and dim lighting conditions, thanks to its day and night modes. Enjoy a wide range of features, including an AM/FM tuner, Bluetooth connectivity, compatibility with popular streaming services like Pandora and SiriusXM, USB input with charging capabilities, preamp outputs, built-in equalizer, and independent subwoofer controls for future subwoofer integration.

Technical Specifications Designed for Harley-Davidson Motorcycles:

The Rockford Fosgate receiver is specifically designed as a direct replacement for Harley-Davidson motorcycles, offering a plug-and-play option similar to the Aquatic AV. What sets it apart is its IPX6 water-resistant rating, ensuring durability and protection against inclement weather. For added convenience, this receiver is compatible with remote controls (remote sold separately) and features a low voltage warning system, mirroring the Aquatic AV’s functionality.

Important Considerations:

While the Rockford Fosgate replacement radio excels in performance, there are a few factors to keep in mind. To utilize the SiriusXM streaming functionality, you will need to purchase a separate tuner, as the receiver is ready for SiriusXM but doesn’t include the tuner. Additionally, if you wish to use a Rockford Fosgate remote control, you’ll need to purchase it separately, as it’s not included with the unit. Finally, be sure to check Rockford Fosgate’s compatibility section on their website to ensure compatibility with your specific stock radio configuration and options.

Upgrade your Harley-Davidson motorcycle audio system with the acclaimed Rockford Fosgate replacement stereo. Enjoy exceptional sound quality, user-friendly features, and peace of mind with its rugged construction. Elevate your riding experience to new heights with this top-rated aftermarket radio option.

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#2 PYLE MARINE BLUETOOTH SINGLE DIN STEREO RECEIVER – BEST FUNCTIONALITY FOR THE PRICE

If you’re on a budget but still crave a high-quality aftermarket stereo for your marine adventures, the Pyle Marine Bluetooth Single DIN Stereo is a fantastic choice. With an impressively low price tag of just over $40 USD, this stereo may raise eyebrows considering most modern options cost upwards of $100 USD. However, don’t let the price fool you—this stereo packs a punch and has garnered over 2,000 ratings with a solid 4-1/2 star review on Amazon, cementing its reputation as a budget-friendly gem.

Technical Specifications:

Designed for 12-volt systems, the Pyle Marine Bluetooth Single DIN Stereo delivers a maximum power output of 300 watts (75w x 4 way). While it is not completely waterproof, it boasts a marine-grade construction that offers resistance to certain weather conditions and humidity. The stereo features various input options, including Bluetooth, auxiliary, USB, and an SD card slot that can accommodate pre-loaded SD cards up to 32GB. Its digital front panel incorporates both button and dial controls for easy navigation, and the built-in microphone enables hands-free calling. Compatible with both Apple and Android devices, the receiver also provides song title information display when streaming via Bluetooth or utilizing the SD card slot. Additionally, the stereo offers a built-in equalizer configuration to fine-tune the audio to your preferences.

Key Considerations:

While the Pyle radio includes a separate remote for convenient control within a modest range, it lacks handlebar functionality. If handlebar controls are not crucial to your stereo selection and you simply want to get the music playing again, the Pyle receiver is a strong contender. However, be aware that operating the faceplate buttons may prove challenging with gloves on. It’s important to note that this radio requires wiring and fitting during installation and is not a plug-and-play replacement for the OEM radio.

Upgrade your marine audio system without breaking the bank by opting for the feature-rich Pyle Marine Bluetooth Single DIN Stereo. Enjoy high-quality sound, versatile connectivity options, and hands-free functionality, all at an unbeatable price point.

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#3 SONY DSXM55BT SINGLE DIN BLUETOOTH STEREO RECEIVER – SIRIUS XM READY

When it comes to affordable options with advanced features, the Sony stereo takes the lead, offering built-in SiriusXM satellite radio functionality. This receiver surpasses the Pyle stereo in terms of features, making it an excellent choice for audio enthusiasts. Equipped with a built-in mic and hands-free control, similar to the Pyle, the Sony stereo offers seamless connectivity through Bluetooth, USB, and auxiliary inputs. Additionally, it goes beyond budget options by supporting Pandora streaming on both iOS and Android devices, as well as providing hands-free control of Apple devices through Siri integration.

Technical Specifications for Unmatched Performance

Apart from its extensive audio capabilities, the Sony stereo boasts impressive technical specifications. It is water-resistant, making it suitable for outdoor use, and comes with a built-in equalizer featuring a Mega Bass option. Furthermore, it supports various audio file formats, including WAV, AAC, WMA, MP3, and FLAC files. For those seeking a booming sound system, the Sony stereo offers 2-volt RCA pre-amp outputs, allowing easy integration with an amplifier. As a marine-grade receiver, it offers enhanced protection against moisture and UV exposure, ensuring durability in challenging environments. Additionally, the built-in Near Field Communication (NFC) technology simplifies device pairing and enables convenient music streaming.

Important Considerations

However, similar to the Pyle radio, the Sony stereo does not provide handlebar control options. Nevertheless, its clear front display and easily identifiable buttons minimize the risk of accidental button-presses, especially when wearing thick riding gloves. It is important to note that installing this receiver requires some effort, as it is not a simple plug-and-play replacement option.

Upgrade your audio experience with the Sony stereo, combining cutting-edge features, exceptional performance, and durable construction. Enjoy high-quality sound and seamless connectivity during your rides, making every journey a truly immersive musical experience.

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#4 JVC KDR490 STEREO BUNDLE – COST-EFFICIENT RECEIVER WITH HANDLEBAR CONTROL COMPATIBILITY

Introducing the ultimate stereo replacement option for Harley-Davidson enthusiasts—the JVC Stereo Bundle. This all-inclusive package not only provides handlebar control capabilities but also offers an affordable CD player option. In fact, it’s the least expensive radio with a CD drive compared to the Pyle and Sony alternatives that are receiver-only. Let’s dive into the features and specifications of this impressive bundle.

The JVC Stereo Bundle includes a single DIN receiver that boasts AM/FM radio, USB, and auxiliary inputs. It even comes with a convenient wireless remote for easy operation. Additionally, there’s an accompanying dash kit designed to seal the radio against moisture and vibration. To safeguard the stereo and keep dust and water out of the electronics, a protective cover is also provided.

TECH SPECS

Thanks to the included Metra ASWC-1 module, handlebar control functionality becomes a reality without the need for extensive modifications to your existing wiring. The JVC stereo itself features a built-in equalizer and preamp outputs, allowing for further customization and expansion of your audio setup if desired. However, it’s important to note that this is not a plug-and-play replacement. If you’re not confident in wiring aftermarket electronics, it’s recommended to seek professional installation assistance due to the additional wiring involved with both the stereo and handlebar module.

KEEP IN MIND

While the JVC stereo bundle offers impressive functionality, it’s important to be aware that it doesn’t include Bluetooth compatibility. Instead, it relies on the USB connection to interface with smartphones and other devices that would typically connect via Bluetooth.

Upgrade your Harley-Davidson stereo experience with the feature-packed JVC Bundle. Enjoy handlebar control, CD player capability, and the convenience of an included remote. Enhance your riding pleasure with this reliable and versatile audio solution.


#5 JENSEN JHD1635BTB BLUETOOTH STEREO – READY FOR THE ELEMENTS

When it comes to visual aesthetics, the Jensen stereo may not boast the same flashy presentation as its Sony and JVC counterparts discussed earlier. However, its true value lies in its ruggedness and exceptional features. Marketed as a weather-resistant and durable stereo option, the Jensen model outshines its competitors in various aspects.

This versatile stereo offers not only Bluetooth connectivity but also SiriusXM capability, allowing riders to enjoy their favorite tunes on the go. Additionally, it provides both front and rear USB and auxiliary connections, ensuring convenient device compatibility. Similar to the previously mentioned models, the Jensen stereo supports hands-free calling and features a pre-amp option for expansion and customization, catering to individual preferences.

Notable Technical Specifications:

Setting the Jensen stereo apart from the rest are a couple of unique features:

  1. Built-in Seven-Channel NOAA Weather Band with S.A.M.E. Technology: Equipped with this feature, the stereo can receive critical weather alerts specifically tailored to the programmed region. Stay informed about severe weather conditions and ensure your safety on the road.
  2. Low-Battery Alert: The Jensen stereo includes a low-battery alert mechanism that triggers a notification when the onboard voltage drops below 10.8. This proactive feature helps you stay aware of your battery’s condition, preventing unexpected power failures.

Important Considerations:

While the Jensen stereo excels in many areas, there are a few points to keep in mind:

  1. Handlebar Control Options: Please note that confirmed handlebar control options for this stereo are currently unavailable. However, it does offer functionality with both wired and infrared remotes. Do keep in mind that neither of these remote options is included with the unit.
  2. Installation Expertise Required: Installing the Jensen stereo correctly requires a certain level of skill and may not be a straightforward plug-and-play option for Harley motorcycles. Take into account the complexity of the installation process and ensure you possess the necessary skills or seek professional assistance.

The Jensen stereo presents an excellent choice for motorcycle enthusiasts seeking a robust and feature-packed audio system. With its weather resistance, diverse connectivity options, and unique capabilities, this stereo is designed to enhance your riding experience. However, be mindful of the installation requirements and handlebar control limitations to make the most of this remarkable stereo system.


#6 AQUATIC AV MP5 REPLACEMENT RADIO FOR HARLEY-DAVIDSON (1998-2013 TOURING MODELS)

Looking for a sleek and hassle-free replacement radio for your Harley-Davidson motorcycle? Look no further than the Aquatic AV radio. Designed specifically for Harley-Davidson bikes, this waterproof and non-OEM replacement radio offers a simplistic display and easy installation.

Impressive Tech Specs

Featuring Bluetooth connectivity with handlebar control functionality, the Aquatic AV radio allows you to stay connected while on the road. With a convenient pocket behind the faceplate, you can plug in your smartphone to the auxiliary input and keep it tucked away. Installation is a breeze since the Aquatic AV utilizes existing motorcycle connections and the included mounting bracket, making fitment a hassle-free process.

Considerations to Keep in Mind

While the Aquatic AV radio boasts a minimalist interface and limited buttons, operating it with gloves on may pose a slight challenge if the handlebar controls ever fail. Additionally, the display type used in this radio may not provide optimal visibility in bright daylight situations. However, the design of the Aquatic AV complements most Harley-Davidson cockpits.

In Conclusion…

Upgrading the stereo in your Harley-Davidson can greatly enhance your riding experience. Whether you need to replace a worn-out factory radio or desire additional functionality, there are excellent options available. The Rockford Fosgate stereo sets the benchmark for brand-name replacements, offering outstanding features. For budget-conscious riders, the Pyle and Sony receivers provide cost-effective alternatives. If you prefer CDs, the JVC bundle is perfect, offering handlebar button compatibility at an affordable price. For those embarking on long journeys, the Jensen stereo with NOAA functionality can be a life-saving addition in case of severe weather. While a single DIN setup for Infotainment replacement remains a future possibility, the Aquatic AV radio is an exceptional choice for a seamless and stylish upgrade.

Consider the advantages of handlebar control compatibility with your receiver when you compare replacement radio alternatives, as well as whether you’ll be streaming music from a USB flash drive or SD card, Bluetooth, USB, or auxiliary input. This will allow you to focus your search on the products that will best suit your needs because each replacement radio has a varied range of compatible devices. You can select the ideal replacement radio for your Harley-Davidson motorbike with some time and patience, and before you know it, you’ll be listening to music while driving once more.

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