Cycle Sounds amps up riding experience
Dave McMahon, Senior Editor
April 2, 2012
Filed under Features
Audio company offers products to enhance music, ride
Ed Files is the first to admit that at times, he prefers to be alone with his thoughts and the wind aboard his bike.
Other times, however, offer a time for serious music merriment, and Files is ready and prepared for those rock-out moments, too. As owner of Cycle Sounds, Files understand how important audio systems can be for the touring and cruiser riders. His company began in the car audio segment before expanding into motorcycles.
“It’s real simple for us to get the wiring, ampage integration and sound,” he said. “We did find some challenges initially with ambient road noise and open air wind and semis next to you while you’re riding. But we feel like we’re dialed in now.”
The company’s new 6-by-9-inch Bagger Audio Saddlebag Lids provides riders with the answer to an age-old question: How do you add bass to a motorcycle?
“You can get the mids and the highs, but how do you get the lower end? The new Saddlebag Lids do it,” he said.
The Saddlebag Lids ($699.95) come as an all-in-one set with easy installation. The low-profile speakers and mini amp are constructed in way that still allows for plenty of storage space in the bags. The water resistant speaker grill prevents moisture from getting into the electronics.
Touring and cruiser riders have turned to Files so often about providing a phone-free music option that he answered them with an invention. RockBox ($299) was released in 2011 and offers a radio, in addition to an MP3 reader. It also provides time and temperature and illuminates. Audio input selections include FM stereo, USB music sync with thumb drive or iPod and a 3.5mm auxiliary for external players. It’s known as the industry’s smallest head unit at 4.25 inches wide by 2.375 inches tall by
1.25 inches deep.
“A lot of people in the past year have come to us and said they didn’t know how to go to iTunes and download music, or they didn’t want to spend $400 for an iPhone,” Files said. “With the RockBox, you can put the music on a zip stick and plug in it with all the music you have on your computer. Some of the older guys, you wouldn’t believe how much easier it is for them to listen to their music this way. It allows them to bring their own music along for the ride.”
For 2012, Cycle Sounds is releasing its new Power Puck for baggers, a 5.25- or 6.5-inch speaker upgrade.
“It’s a hybrid driver that actually goes between 2 ohm and 4 ohm with one speaker,” Files said. “We actually got about six of our competitors’ speakers and a few other speakers in the car audio world. I liked the tweeter, and I liked the cone, and I liked the coil from various competitors, so I dissected all the components and made my own speaker for the powersports industry.”
The Power Puck Speaker Amps provide an enhancement for what could be perceived as a lacking audio output on new bikes. They sit hidden inside the faring and mount directly onto the speaker magnets.
“Most guys that buy a new bike, they go right back to the dealership and instead of getting a seat or windshield or a new exhaust, the first thing they say is ‘My radio doesn’t sound loud enough at highway speed,’” Files said.
The Power Puck, which retails for $249.95 and includes two speaker pucks, triples the output of a stock or aftermarket speaker, Files said.
“We enjoyed it so well we actually trademarked the slogan ‘Go from OEM to OMG,’” Files said. “It’s that simple. It’s plug and play and walk away.”
As someone in tune with the V-twin industry, Files expects that audio will continue to grow in popularity among touring/cruiser riders.
“People are much more receptive to having audio on a motorcycle,” Files said. “Ten years ago you either had the guy who wanted to have music along for the ride, or you had the guy who wanted to listen to the roar of his pipes and the wind in his face. We used to joke — ‘There is a power switch. You can always turn it on or off.’
“I think people are starting to come around with having music along for the ride.”
The brand gets distribution from a variety of companies, including Tucker Rocky, Bikers Choice, Marshall and Western Power Sports.