Super Sonic Sounds
After our month-long hiatus, we are back to work on the Lonely King. In this installment, we added some sonic upgrades with help from Street Star Designs, Dead Center Fairings, and Clarion Electronics.
We really wanted some loud, yet crystal-clear audio that could be heard at 70 mph. After doing some fact-finding, we found one could get good sounds on a Road King with either an add-on fairing or installing an some speakers in the saddlebags running off of an iPod. Good sound was not our intention: We wanted great sound. Another major concern was that we didn't want to render our saddlebags useless by filling them with amplifiers and speakers, so a well-thought-out system needed to be constructed.
A few calls were made that led to some great solutions from Street Star Designs. The guys from Street Star have more than 18 years experience in the mobile audio industry and are fast becoming the go-to guys for bagger audio. They have been making their signature product, dubbed Loud Lids, for quite a while with great success. If you haven't heard of Loud Lids, they are replacement bag tops that have sleek built-in speakers. This allows for tunes out back in the bags while retaining 100 percent of the storage space. Street Star Designs also makes a line of amps and power supplies under the Ass Kickin' Amps (AKA) name. Designed and tuned specifically for high-performance motorcycle audio, the AKA units are hands-down the most powerful and compact amps currently avaliable.
(1.)Allen and Jamie of Street Star Designs started the build by removing the outer fairing
(2.)A view inside of the Dead Center fairing shows just how the internal antenna, speakers
(3.)Allen pulled the specially designed AKA wiring harness through the fairing.
We also got our hands on a fairing from Dead Center Cycles and must admit it was one quality piece. Dead Center employs a hand-laid fiberglass construction processes that has been used to make light-yet-strong products in marine applications for years. The fairing shipped to us with a very nice factory-matched Vivid Black paint that looked right at home on the Lonely King. The quick-detachable fairing also comes with an ingenious locking feature that prevents it from getting jacked when your bike is out of sight. On the audio side of things, the 6 1/2-inch Polk marine speakers can handle 180 watts and sound crisp and clean no matter how high the volume was. The only shortcoming of the Dead Center system was the Jensen head unit. We found that once all of the top-notch products were installed, the receiver just fell short of what we wanted to achieve. Luckily Dead Center currently ships with a much nicer Jensen unit, however we had the bike on the stand and just couldn't wait for them to ship us one, so we gave our friends at Clarion Electronics a call. Clarion quickly had Kevin "The Captain" Kuenzie deliver one of its FB275BT receivers in black to our offices the same day. These head units feature an AM-FM radio receiver, but substitute an iPod input and an SD card slot in lieu of a CD player. The advantage of using this kind of receiver instead of a CD player is that there are no moving parts or discs to get scratched. Not to mention that with the usage of one 4GB SD memory card, more than 1,000 songs can be manipulated at a finger's touch. The unit also features Bluetooth handsfree HFP and audio streaming A2DP and AVRCP technologies. These features allow hands-free talk on the phone through the bike's stereo as well as wirelessly streaming music from many of today's mobile phones and MP3 players.
The install was easy due to the quality of the parts we used and took less than a day to tackle. With the quality components used the sound is as crystal clear from the lowest setting all the way up to an eardrum-shattering maximum. The system provides much more low-end than we expected and even without a subwoofer, it had plenty of bass without going overboard.
(4.)The wiring harness was attached below the tank and continued along the backbone of the
(5.)The Clarion head unit was installed into the front of the fairing and secured in place