Will Water Get Into Speaker Lids on a Harley?

Can water damage motorcycle speakers?

Exposure to the elements like water, dust, mud, moisture and sunlight, are all part of riding a motorcycle, and the elements can damage expensive components on your motorcycle like your sound system and speakers. Most sound systems for motorcycles come with heavy-duty speakers that can withstand most of what you can throw at them, so water is generally not an issue unless you’re riding for long stretches in a torrential downpour (or totally submerge your bike).

To get a better understanding of what a speaker can withstand, you can look at the IP rating (Ingress Protection). The IP rating is "IP" followed by two digits. For most motorcycle speakers, the first digit will be 5 or 6 - IP5X or IP6x. The second number is about water. For water protection, your speakers should have an IP rating between IPX4 and IPX7 (best protection).

If you do have a sound system with speakers mounted in a saddlebag speaker lid cover and/or the Tour Pack lid, it's a good idea to have rain covers.

Is a sound system worth the trouble?

It depends on if you like to listen to music while you ride. You might think that all the noise would just drown out your tunes, but it's not the case. High-quality motorcycle speakers are powerful and sound great. They can also increase the resale value of the motorcycle. And it's just kind of nice to have music playing, if you're parked at an event, party, or just hanging with your friends.

Many Harley Davidson motorcycles come with awesome sound systems, and you can rest assured the speakers are heavy-duty and can withstand the elements. But Harley sound systems are usually available only on high-end touring models that have protective fairings like the Street Glide, Ultra Glide, Road Glide, and the Tri-Glide (note that Electra Glides do not come standard with a radio/sound system).

Other Harley models will require an aftermarket sound system. Many riders who have (or add) sound systems will put 6"x9" or 8" speakers on their saddlebags, which typically require speaker lid covers. Same goes for Harley King Tour Packs if you want to put speakers in the back.

What are speaker lid covers?

Speaker lid covers mount on the saddlebags of your motorcycle and replace the existing lids. Speaker lids will house your speakers and most come with mesh covers for the speakers. While these don’t really guard against water, again a little water is not a big deal. 

If you're thinking about putting speaker lids on your Harley motorcycle, Advanblack speaker lids are color matched guaranteed and come with everything you need to do the install, including mesh grills, speaker housings and lid tethers. You can also get speaker lid covers raw and paint them yourself. They are paint ready. You’ll end up using the one-touch hardware in your existing saddlebag lid to complete the installation.

Advanblack has a huge variety of saddlebag speaker lid covers including both single and dual 6"x9", 8" with a 1" tweeter, as well as 6.5" speaker pods for a lower fairing and 8” King Tour Pack covers. This how-to video shows you how to install the 6”x9” speaker lid on your Harley saddlebag*. If you’re swapping out the Tour Pack lid, this video will help you get the job done. 

If you purchase any of our 8” speaker lid covers that have the 1” bullet tweeter, you will have to drill the 1” bullet tweeter hole yourself. The reason is that there are many different types of bullet tweeters, and a custom drilled hole is required to accommodate the type of mount of the tweeter. But don’t be discouraged! It’s easy to drill. The video above shows you how.

Will water get into speaker lids on a Harley, and what can I do about it?

Unless you never ride in the rain or wash your bike, water is going to get into any opening. The good news is that Harley motorcycle speakers are designed to withstand the elements. Or you can purchase aftermarket speakers that are even more durable than what you'll get with a factory sound system. But bear in mind that if you go with a "marine grade" speaker that is specifically designed to be waterproof, it will probably not fit in a speaker lid cover without significant modification.

Bear in mind that Advanblack speaker lid covers are still the actual covers of your saddlebags, so they're watertight to protect the contents of the saddlebag. But the speakers are still exposed, and water will end up on your speakers if you ride in the rain. Generally, a little water won’t hurt. What you have to worry about is any water collecting on the speaker for a long period of time. While motorcycle speakers are built to handle the weather, corrosion will happen over time, so it’s best to keep the speakers dry.  

Advanblack has made some functional design improvements to deal with water in our 6”x9” saddlebag speaker lids. Our speaker lids now come with a water drain hole, so if you get water in the speaker assembly, you just open it up and the water drains out from a small hole on the side of the lid.

If you end up with water in your speaker lids and you don't have a drain hole, you can use an air compressor. Just put it on as low as possible and carefully blow out any residual water. Many riders will tell you that they never worry about water and their speakers have no issues. But why take chances with your pride and joy? Keep it dry.

If I have a sound system, do I need speaker lid covers for my Harley?

The fact is that not many Harley models come with factory sound systems, and if you did get the factory system, you’ll probably upgrade the speakers. If you’re thinking about adding a sound system and you want it to have the power and sound quality you expect, we recommend adding 6”x9” speakers in the saddlebag covers and/or 8” speakers if you have the Tour Pack. Both installations require a speaker lid cover. 

The Bard once said that “If music be the food of love, play on.” And we couldn’t agree more. If you end up with a custom sound system, Advanblack has your speakers covered, literally. Turn it up, and ride on.

Check out our complete line of speaker lid covers and accessories.

*Please note that if you have a CVO with a power lock, our speaker lids will not fit.